Rinaldo Girasoli is one of the most successful and celebrated international fashion designers today. It has been a treat and a tremendous pleasure to be able to introduce you to him via my blog! You may be wondering how a top notch couturier and Clan Hunter are connected. Well, I’ll tell you…
For the New York Tartan Day Parade 2022, our clan chief Madam Pauline had a beautiful ensemble created for her by couturier Rinaldo Girasoli. The New York Tartan Day Parade 2022 was an event to be truly celebrated this year! After two long years of absence, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, representatives of our beloved Scottish clans were once more able to gather together in New York and show the strong bond and community that binds them with their ancestral roots 3,000 miles away.
With his inspiring design, Rinaldo has taken our Clan Hunter tartan to new heights and Madam Pauline was easily the most stylish lady at the New York event this year!
The juxtaposition of the fabric, deliberately asymmetrical, shows that a modern approach can enhance the tradition of the tartan. What is Rinaldo’s secret? Where does he get his inspiration from? In this blog, Rinaldo reveals his passion for couture design and the making of a dress for a Clan Chief.
Hard work and skill
After graduating with a 2:1 honours degree in fashion design from Edinburgh College of Art in 1995, Rinaldo worked as a designer and illustrator before starting work as a pattern cutter in the bridal industry. Having laid the foundations of his skills, Rinaldo moved to set up his own label in 2003 for which he was able to ‘offer a unique service of designing and making pieces by hand’. ‘Pushing the boundaries in cut and form’ has made Rinaldo’s label the success it is today.
While his label was growing, Rinaldo also found time to return to Edinburgh College of Art where he taught design and pattern cutting for a number of years. His involvement in teaching creative minds, also sparked off a resurgence in his own creativity.
The demands for his own designs grew and Rinaldo left the teaching profession to concentrate on his label. He has worked on designs and patterns for such names as Missoni, Alfred Dunhill, Gieves and Hawkes, Jaeger and Timothy Everest. In addition to his own bespoke work, he continues to supply patterns for other designers.
Rinaldo in his own words
The label was set up in 2003 and I have been based in Paisley, Scotland where all my designs are made on site. During the first lockdown in 2020, I became involved in making scrubs for NHS Scotland. After moving to the Old Embroidery Mill in Abbey Mill Business Centre (the oldest of the original Coats buildings in Paisley), I changed the name of the business to Rinaldo Girasoli Couture.
The design for the dress and my inspiration
Having both Scottish and Italian backgrounds, makes me value tradition and heritage with a view to a modern aesthetic. Pitching my ideas to Madam Pauline, I quickly realised that she had the same approach to the design, about taking the tartan forward with a more contemporary feel. The Hunter tartan is quite a dynamic and vibrant design, so I wanted to show the ‘movement’ of the colours by cutting the dress on the bias and not trying to match the design at all. The emphasis was on the ease of wear and shows that tartan cloth can be fashionable as well as elegant.
My training is in design and pattern cutting so the fit was extremely important. The use of the half raglan sleeves flatters Madam Pauline’s frame and highlights the wonderful colours found in the tartan.
I wanted to keep the jacket simple and suggested one of my designs from the showroom, making the jacket in a vibrant, warm, green silk wool using the tartan as a trim on the half collar and cuffs. The left-hand side of the jacket is kept plain to act as a background for the tartan sash or any pieces of jewellery that Madam Pauline chooses to wear as an accessory.
The double collar, using both fabrics, is one of my best sellers this season, easy to wear, versatile and can take a day dress into a more formal occasion. We did explore the many ways it can be worn at her last fitting, and we had a pretty good time laughing at the many costume changes you could have with just one piece.
The tartan can work with a variety of colours but I felt the green really made the tartan pop! The salmon pink silk satin lining gives the outfit that individual edge with a nod to the red in the tartan.
The colours in the outfit, for me, were also a subtle nod to my Italian heritage especially using the green against the tartan. (You appreciate the Greens, the Whites and Reds as well as the Royal Blues in the tartan!)
It was such a great experience working with Madam Pauline and an honour to make her special outfit for New York.
Thank you again, Rinaldo, for taking the time to explain in detail your inspiration behind the design. It has been a great treat to take a ‘keek’ in the design world of a couturier. From Clan Hunter, we wish you continued success with your label.