New York’s finest

Georgia Lazzaro

Like many RMIT alumni, Georgia Lazzaro (Bachelor of Design, Fashion, with Honours, 2010) pursued a career overseas, landing in New York thanks to a prestigious Fashion Foundation Scholarship and now works as a designer for Calvin Klein Collection. As part of RMIT’s global alumni community, she gives her insights into living and working in New York and the hidden hotspots that inspire her. [Photos by RMIT alumnus Angus Mordant]

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Brunch at Dimes   [Dimes, 143 Division St, New York]

An artist friend told me about this new café, Dimes, run by a group of women involved in the art scene and the downtown culture of the city. Chinatown has a lot of independent galleries, so there’s a great young, burgeoning art scene here. There are so many cafes in New York but a lot of them lack that special energy or attention to detail that is so prevalent in the Melbourne café scene. Dimes has a very Melbourne vibe which is probably why I feel at home there.

I came to New York about four years ago when I won the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation Scholarship. As part of that I had the opportunity to do two internships, at Narciso Rodriguez and then Calvin Klein, where I was offered a full-time role. Now I’m lucky enough to help with the initial judging for that same scholarship. The panel always mentions the calibre of the work coming out of RMIT is incredible, and that’s something I feel really proud of.

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Brunch at Dimes
Brunch at Dimes   [Dimes, 143 Division St, New York]

An artist friend told me about this new café, Dimes, run by a group of women involved in the art scene and the downtown culture of the city. Chinatown has a lot of independent galleries, so there’s a great young, burgeoning art scene here. There are so many cafes in New York but a lot of them lack that special energy or attention to detail that is so prevalent in the Melbourne café scene. Dimes has a very Melbourne vibe which is probably why I feel at home there.

I came to New York about four years ago when I won the Australians in New York Fashion Foundation Scholarship. As part of that I had the opportunity to do two internships, at Narciso Rodriguez and then Calvin Klein, where I was offered a full-time role. Now I’m lucky enough to help with the initial judging for that same scholarship. The panel always mentions the calibre of the work coming out of RMIT is incredible, and that’s something I feel really proud of.

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A visit to the Elizabeth Street Gallery
A visit to the Elizabeth Street Gallery   [Elizabeth Street Gallery, 209 Elizabeth St, New York]

The Elizabeth Street Gallery is actually a community garden. The sculptures here are a really strange amalgamation of things and I guess that’s also why it’s intriguing to me, because it doesn’t really sit with the rest of the neighbourhood of Nolita. I like to just come here and sit and have a coffee. Sometimes they have jazz bands on Sundays or little plays, and yoga classes. I just think it’s a beautiful little place to escape from the madness of the city.

I had done sculpture before fashion and I also danced a little bit when I was younger, and I’ve always loved fabrics, so for me fashion design felt like a marriage between form and movement. I think as a woman you live your life through clothes and you form these relationships with them. It’s so much more than just expressing yourself, it’s emotional, it’s experiential and it’s tactile.

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A walk down Bond Street
A walk down Bond Street   [Dashwood Books, 33 Bond Street, New York]

I love Bond Street because of the incredible architectural facades. There’s a really interesting juxtaposition of old and new. There‘s a grandness to the street and an eclecticism that really encapsulates New York. Spatially it’s a lot wider and the streets around here are a lot quieter, so I like to come down here to feel a shift in the sense of space. There’s also a really amazing bookstore called Dashwood Books and they sell a lot of speciality publications, artist’s books and sought after publications, which are no longer in print.

I’m incredibly fortunate to be a part of a creative team for a brand and a design house that I love the aesthetic of. It’s probably every designer’s dream, other than having their own line, but this for me is better than that because I’m constantly learning under the direction of Francisco Costa [Women's Creative Director of Calvin Klein Collection].

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Shopping at Mayram Nassir Zadeh
Shopping at Mayram Nassir Zadeh   [Mayram Nassir Zadeh, 123 Norfolk Street, New York]

Mayram Nassir Zadeh is a small boutique run by an Iranian woman who collects all sorts of amazing independent designers, many of which are slightly younger in their careers. It has a really eclectic selection of garments, unique jewellery, artisanal objects and some zines and books. I find it really inspiring to go in there and see what is going on in the independent design scene in New York. I like to keep in touch with what is happening more broadly in art and design in the city.

I loved how the course at RMIT pushed me conceptually. I feel that it gave me an incredible breadth of knowledge in fashion in a more general sense, not just in fashion construction and technique. Emphasis is made on exploring the idea of fashion beyond garments and I think that’s special and unique to the course and the lecturers there, who work very hard to keep that culture alive.

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Inspiration at Pace Gallery
Inspiration at Pace Gallery   [Pace Gallery, 534 West 25th Street, New York]

I love the neighbourhood of Chelsea. Specifically all the galleries here, which are all within a few blocks of each other and show the absolute crème of contemporary and modern art. The exhibition at the Pace Gallery today is Tara Donovan, a New York born and bred artist who I followed during my time in university. She makes these incredible extrapolations of mundane, everyday objects. She’ll see the beauty in a plastic cup and organise to have millions of them brought together in a sculpture that looks like the essence of the cup exploded. [Untitled, pictured, is made from thousands of acrylic rods]. I love being in a city where you can access people that have influenced you. It’s like going to a music festival and all your favourite bands are playing.

For me, leadership in fashion design means taking on the great responsibility of contributing to design as a whole, and to people’s lives, rather than just making beautiful things. Leaders in the field of fashion work with integrity, thinking about fashion and acknowledging its impact in the broader context of people’s lives and the world.

Previous Artwork
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Previous Artwork
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Brunch at Dimes

Brunch at Dimes

A visit to the Elizabeth Street Gallery

A visit to the Elizabeth...

A walk down Bond Street

A walk down Bond Street

Shopping at Mayram Nassir Zadeh

Shopping at Mayram Nassir Zadeh

Inspiration at Pace Gallery

Inspiration at Pace Gallery