“GILTY” as Charged: Designer Gaby Juergens Weds Newport’s Past to Present Fashion

The chic designer at Rosecliff

 

Designer Gaby Juergens  is recalling the eras of Mrs. Astor ’s 400, the Vanderbilts, the Whitneys and Jay Gatsby with an inspired line of casual clothing, designed to assure Newport Rhode Island’s  designation of “America’s Downton Abbey.”

 

Ms. Juergens in her studio

Preservation became inspiration for Ms. Juergens who (like many) came to love Newport while living here.  But to translate that love into a line of T-shirts?  That is truly inspired!

 

NewportSeen sat down with Ms. Juergens recently, and asked her about the sources of her creativity: 


Q. Where did you grow up? And what did you study? How did you come by your fashion training?

GJ:  I grew up all over the world as my family served in the military and then I married into the military. I am a self taught artist. But I was blessed that everyone in my family, especially the women were all very creative.
When it came to creating  A Gilded Age Girl, it was to embrace the wit and history that I felt was an excellent marriage in this beautiful city we are fortunate to call home. My fashion training comes from being a self-confessed lover of clothes, shoes…I am a girly girl!

 

Each T-shirt is marketed with its Gilded Age inspiration. This one: "Party like it's 1880."


Q: Two of your personal heroines are Audrey Hepburn and Isak Dinesen, whom you researched on a trip to Denmark (not Africa). What about her drew your interest?
 

GJ: One defining factor, that certainly embodied their lives as women was their courage in the face of disappointment and adversity.
Audrey Hepburn, was one a kind, a rare beauty, inside and out, that captured the imagination of the world with her gamine elegance and in later years, her extension to give back by using her fame to spotlight needs around the world through UNICEF.  Isak Dinesen, was an incredibly eloquent writer, a trailblazer in many ways for her era, owning a coffee farm, a marriage of disappointment and convenience, a broken heart borne of a love affair that ended tragically and then returning after the loss of her farm after 20 years to her childhood home in Denmark; she reinvented herself; she became a writer and her 2nd act of her life was on her own terms
 

Q. After living in Paris and Europe, what did you learn about fashion and femininity?
 

Honoring Newport's sailing history


GJ: I have a love affair with Paris and always will. Gertrude Stein famously said, “America is my country, but Paris is my hometown” in so many way I feel the same. Besides the romance of the city and it’s history there is it’s love affair with beauty, and just truly living and enjoying life. Sitting at Café Flore or Deux Magot watching the world go by and sketching is one of my favorite pastimes while I’m there. I am inspired by Parisian street style. I always remember Hubert de Givenchy famously quoted, “The dress must follow the body of a women, not the body following the shape of the dress.”  

 

 

 

 

My fashion philosophy:  even if you only own one good piece, pick a great Chanel jacket pair it with jeans, a white tee and black stilettos and you are set. (I will say that, having lived in Europe for so many years I recall especially my Parisians friends, I experienced the careless elegance with which they truly make what they wear about who they are; their greatest piece is being comfortable in their own skin; confidence is a priceless accessory.)

 

In the end, it’s the woman that makes the statement not the outfit, at least that how I see fashion.

 

Alva Vanderbilt held sway


Q: How has adversity shaped your creation of a “ A Gilded Age Girl” Fashions?

 In 2016 and 2017, I fought a serious illness and wasvgoing through a divorce. But I fought and beat it, and when I came up for breath, I wanted to create something just for this beautiful place that offered so much joy and happiness to me since I have been coming to it since 2001. 
The idea of an apparel collection, starring stylish tees, inspired by the great pride and love of the history of this city by the sea, and what’s it meant to me, its history. as designer the idea of witty, elegant tees that expressed a bit of that whimsy, allusion to the romance of its Gilded Age, was something that took off in my studio and I created the line and collection.)

Q:  What is next in the past- meets- present fashion trend?
 

GJ:  My next steps are to make the tees available in local stores in Newport. Right now they are currently available only through www.agildedagegirl.com. As the collection does well here in Newport, I plan to take it to other iconic spots that have their own realm of romance, history, elan…Beverly Hills and Hollywood, and am excited at a possible collaboration with that in the future. But also, Cannes, New York City, Charleston, The Hamptons, etc., It’s very exciting prospect, wedding history and current fashion, and I am thrilled at how it has been received by Newporters, who love the witty sayings that hint at, and define,  the history behind the designs.

 


With such witty quotes as “Turn left at the Mansion” and “Has Anyone Seen My Butler?”, Designer Juergens’ creations have assured that Newport  remains ageless.

 

  —L.P.


For information on the tee shirts, go to
www.agildedagegirl.com


                                                                                



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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