I am honored to introduce to our Mezza Audience Ms. Marie DeGeorge of Marie DeGeorge Design located here in Atlanta Ga. Marie and I met a few years ago when I was planning my daughter and yes my son’s weddings which were only months apart. As many of you know this can be a thrilling time as well as a bit stressful with lots of details and emotions swirling around. Since I was in the Fashion industry I decided to go a different way and not go to the big department stores or even some bridal shops for the gowns that I would wear at my children’s weddings. Marie has a fabulous Salon Studio in Atlanta. The minute I walked into her studio, which by the way , was like stepping into another world much like a Paris Atelier. I knew I made the right decision. Each of my gowns was not only sketched but had such amazing details. For example the gown I wore to my daughters wedding had a hand beaded design that we took from my wedding dress that I had kept. The gown I wore to my son’s wedding had an amazing beaded belt that gave it that special one of a kind look.
As we head into the Wedding Season this year, I thought it would be fabulous to have Marie tell our audience a bit more about herself and her career in fashion as well as the design process. So here is the interview that we had:
1). Please tell our Audience your background in Art and Design and how long you have been in the Atlanta area. What attracted you to Atlanta? Or did you grow up here?
I grew up in Euclid Ohio where I attended an all girls private school, Villa Angela Academy, majoring in fine art. I continued in design at the university of Cincinnati and then on to a more focused study in fashion design at the Virginia Marti Fashion School.
At that time, we were a very small number of students which meant that most of us learned traditional french design methods directly from Mrs. Marti who had studied in France.
My work path has allowed me to experience many facets of the design and art world. For example, an initial job in Visual merchandising for a department store led to work as a fashion illustrator for their advertising department.
This was at a time when department store newspaper advertising would often feature fashion drawings of what was currently on offer in their store, much like they used to do at Lord and Taylor.
Before starting my own design label, I spent many years as an assistant designer to Stephen Yearick In South Carolina. His business was primarily in pageant gowns and while that was not what was planned for my own business, It was a very good place to put into practice all that I had learned. In addition, it taught me to consider the context behind a design choice.
At that time, many of the girls for whom I designed were very close in age to me. This meant that when I finally moved to Atlanta to begin business under my own label, I had the privilege of being asked to design many of their wedding gowns.
Also, I can’t understate the many wonderful and enduring friendships which began during this time and continue to this day.
I am often asked by current fashion students about what the best path to a career in fashion design would be. I can honestly say that it has been my experience that any and all exposure to the arts is what I would recommend since that is what has formed the building blocks of my work today.
2) I had the great experience of working with you for my daughter and son’s weddings, How do you compete with the Bridal shops out there?
Well, I don’t tend to think in terms of competing with others since it has been my experience that everyone finds their way to the place most suited to them. Additionally, the way that I work is very different from the retail shop experience.
My studio is a very private and quiet design space where we meet and work. This is different from a store setting which has many pieces to sell.
Everything I create is one-of-a-kind beginning with a series of sketches which I will do after extensive conversations with my client.
It is a very collaborative process which works very well when creating one of a kind designs for a special occasion.
Once we are focused on the look we will go on to schedule toile fittings and in some cases hand embroideries, or hand painted fabrics and so on.
On my website : Marie DeGeorge Design, there is a menu selection under couture titled “the couture story” where we follow along the whole process behind the creation of a wedding gown.
I like to refer people to that page because this process is the same whether I am designing a wedding gown, an elaborate evening gown, a more traditional clean and classic look, or a silk evening skirt and top.
3) How do you assess the needs of your clients?
We always begin with just a chat about their event, how they would like to look, and more importantly how they would like to feel.
It is my way of getting to know their style and personality as well as their way of determining if I am the one with whom they would like to work with. In most cases there are many pieces that would look beautiful on them, but I see it as my job to reflect who they truly are, in anything I create for them.
4) Can you tell us how long you have been designing?
I began designing under my own label in 1987 so it has been quite a while. I hesitate to say that, since I am continually learning new techniques with each design. Also, I have had the very good fortune of building both work and personal friendships with other incredibly gifted design professionals so there is an ongoing learning and sharing of ideas all of the time.
5) Do you have a line of your own?
If everything falls into place , a limited edition collection of “five after five” separates is on the drawing board but we shall see.
6) How do you decide who to work with in terms of Vendors and artists that assist you with your projects?
I definitely tend to gravitate toward like minded people.
I am happy to be able to say that I have a network of talented and positive people of high integrity who I trust and have worked with for many years.
7) What are your future plans ?
I would like to start the limited edition collection, of course, and while I have done work for events in Europe in the past, I would love to travel more and be able to offer my work globally.
I think my instagram bio might describe my overall philosophy best: “I am continually inspired by beauty and authentic creation, guided by kindness for humanity and care for the world in which we live.
If you would like to know more or get in touch with Marie please feel free to email or call at: