As the great grandson of oil tycoon and philanthropist Jean Paul Getty, August Getty has enjoyed a very privileged lifestyle. The Getty name alone represents prestige and opulence. August Getty could have easily lounged in the lap of luxury without a care in the world. On the contrary, Getty’s passion for fashion and industrious nature fueled his true calling. The self-taught neophyte designer is forging his own legacy in the fashion industry. Since launching his own studio called August Getty Atelier in Los Angeles, Getty is quickly becoming a fashion mogul. With his mother, sister, actress Judy Garland, the late singer Michael Jackson, and the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen all serving as influences, the 21-year old prominently flaunts his unique flair with his coveted designs.
During his youth in Los Angeles, Getty drew inspiration from flowers in his family’s botanical gardens, statues, and an array of clothing from his mother’s wardrobe. As a hobby, Getty would draw and practice fashion design with ordinary household objects. “I used to dress up metal forks by making gowns out of napkins,” he explained to The Huffington Post. “I also would cut up my mom’s silk shoe bags and make couture gowns for Barbie dolls.” His sister Natalia, who is also his fashion muse, has always been supportive of his career, which is why the siblings are inseparable. Getty’s family nurtured his talents while he meticulously perfected his craft. After years of working in relative anonymity, Getty was ready to take the fashion world by storm.
In 2014, Getty premiered his Spring/Summer 2015 collection at the Mercedes-Benz fashion show in New York City. In an interview with Fashion News Live, an online resource for fashion design, beauty tips, and industry updates, Getty talked about the inspiration for his debut collection. “It’s based on childhood fantasies that I had when I was growing up of heiresses and these women that I envisioned in my head […] Just these women who lived this lifestyle of presenting one thing but actually doing another, you know what I mean? She wears a beautiful gown and goes to the opera, but secretly she’s the other woman.”
Getty is fascinated by the female form, and his collections reflect that captivation. His use of black, white, lavender, lace, and leather create ensembles that embody feminine ferocity; a blend of boldness and beauty. One of the collection’s standout pieces, a lavender dress suit, symbolizes the duality of a debutante and a diva. The overall motif stems from Getty’s appreciation for women’s empowerment. His mother’s stylish sophistication and Natalia’s avant-garde personality permeate every piece in this collection.
In November 2015, Getty collaborated with photographer David LaChappelle for his Spring/Summer 2016 collection called “Thread of Man.” In contrast to a typical runway show, “Thread of Man” was an art installation at Universal Studios that featured models arranged in seven vignettes. Getty and LaChappelle created a surreal atmosphere with the inclusion of graffiti, a scene depicting a car accident, an arrangement of candles and flowers beneath a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and looped footage of Fox News and Donald Trump playing beneath a neon “Hell” sign. The event also featured a star-studded group of attendees including model Jessica Stam, artist Langley Fox Hemingway, actresses Jaime King, Holland Roden, and Jessica Szohr, and shoe designer Louis Leeman. Getty specifically chose this venue because of his love of fantasy and his connection to Los Angeles. His desire to transcend normal convention, along with his ostentatious proclivities, makes him a force to be reckoned with in fashion circles.
Maintaining the tradition of philanthropy in his family, Getty has encouraged and welcomed diversity. He invited Canadian transgender model Gigi Gorgeous to headline “Thread of Man” and also enlisted a black Pentecostal choir to perform. Getty’s acceptance for diversity is also reflected in his designs. The color palette for the models’ clothing was based on skin tones of five different women. Getty and his assistants then dyed fabrics based on those skin tones. The materials used for the clothing included gold lace, silk, and leather. Most of the models wore tan and beige contour fitting dresses while others wore flowing gowns. Collectively, these models represent a new age of fashion that emanates from Getty’s vision. As he explained to fashion news publication Fashionista, “a female army representing strength and empowerment is at the heart of the collection.”
August Getty is ambitious in his own right and his fashion sensibilities are intriguing. He approaches fashion from a directorial perspective as evidenced by the “Thread of Man” collection. Designing fashion is his homage to the stylish women who have inspired him, and his latest designs embody the true spirit of a femme fatale.