L.A. WOMANFrom a commune in Silver Lake to a hacienda in the Hollywood Hills, Rosetta Getty gets real about her American dream.

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Balance. It’s an L.A. obsession – like mindfulness and self ­realisation – and one that often gets bandied around in interviews with ambitious women. But for Rosetta Getty, balance is a philosophy, not a trend, and one that springs from her background. Raised in a commune and surrounded by artists and creatives, Getty and her family, “didn’t place a lot of value in many things other than art and spirituality,” she says. So it came as a surprise to her parents, who belonged to a self­styled ‘brotherhood,’ and eschewed material possessions, when Getty became captivated by fashion and the world of luxury. “I always looked at things in a different way,” she says.

It’s a fascination that has paid off. Stints modelling for Azzedine Alaïa – as well as two successful fashion labels – have equipped Getty with the business savvy and well-honed aesthetic on which her third, eponymous venture is founded. “The accomplishments of the last five years are really the accomplishments of a lifetime,” Getty says of her brand’s anniversary. It was a milestone she celebrated with some trepidation. “Milestones are always a double-edged sword because you feel so excited that you’ve accomplished something, but then there’s pressure.”

However, not a hint of worry was evident at the brand’s AW19 presentation. Inspired by photographer and conceptual artist Kayode Ojo’s nightlife photos, Getty flipped the concept of day-­to­-night dressing and played with the idea of a woman heading into the office after a night out. Collaborating with artists is the thread that links all of Getty’s creative projects, and her designs are indeed wearable, collectable art. And art – like spirituality – was a facet of her upbringing. “I needed to be able to make something beautiful and create change,” she says. “So I think, from an early age, that’s how the process started.” Her childhood set the tone for a life less ordinary. Tootling around the states in her mom’s tiny car to visit relatives, Getty always sat in the back, acting as a barrier between her quarrelling siblings, “I was very quiet, and I hated fighting, so I had to sit there. I thought that was unfair.” But it was on one of these trips that she debuted an early design: a fuchsia leotard and wrap skirt. “I went to Las Vegas with my mom, and I remember walking into one of the big casinos wearing it, and thinking I looked great.”

It takes imagination to picture Getty, who’s known for her precise and fuss-­free aesthetic, wearing something so garish. A lot has changed since she started sewing at six – but what’s remained is an innate need for beauty. “There were some things that were very difficult about my childhood, and I think I turned that into being self­-sufficient and finding something that I could really get lost in,” Getty says. Art gave her a place to exist, and she built her world around it, adding structure to a loose and unrestrained existence. It’s an ethos that can be seen in her collections’ expert construction, clean lines and cool minimalism.

Unsurprisingly, Getty says if she weren’t a designer, she’d be an architect; she has gotten close to that ambition, working with starchitects and engineering her own beautiful universe. “I’ve always been good at protecting myself, and creating my own world within a world,” she says. Like the blueprint for an elaborate building that’s all light and space on the surface, Getty’s collections, though sleek, fluid and streamlined, are the result of academic-­level research. Woven together, the two aesthetics create a tapestry of influences – something she calls “complex simplicity”. Yet while many designers are focusing on larger proportions that serve women’s desire to be seen and to take up space – both physically and gesturally – Getty is streamlining. Her once capacious shapes have been pared down to slim silhouettes that demonstrate her desire for a quiet kind of beauty. “I try to take things that are thought-­provoking and boundary-­pushing and bring them into a place where they feel calm, easy and sort of relaxed,” she says. Though for Getty, relaxation seems even more elusive than her search for perfection. Instead, it’s the act of making that brings her solace. “I think I surround myself with projects so that I’m never done. I always have something to create.”

Words: Mischa Smith
Photography: Paul Mpagi Sepuya