At just 23-years-old, fashion designer August Getty is creating covetable, feminine gowns that are worn by music's elite, including Halsey, Ciaraand Katy Perry.
The Los Angeles-based creative recalls that since childhood, he's had a "thirst for fashion and beauty," rather than a traditional "aha moment" of self-discovery. "I said I wanted to be a designer, and that's what I've always done," Getty tells Billboard. Since then, he’s gone from drawing sketches of flowers in his family’s botanical gardens to creating a sleek deep green silk gown with a thigh-high slit, worn by Rachel McAdams at the 2016 Oscars. Most recently, Getty created a strapless patterned jumpsuit that looks like a ball gown for Katy Perry's iHeartRadio Awards Red Carpet look.
Billboard exclusively spoke with Getty to talk designing Ciara's Oscars maternity gown, getting a client ready on the streets of Manhattan, and what his favorite custom piece has been thus far.
You’re consistently designing for big name musicians including Katy Perry and Ciara. How can music be felt in your designs?
My work is hugely inspired by music, and I create scenarios in my head while designing. I picture women in different places and different moods, with music playing around them. You can usually tell in the movement of an outfit, or from the print, what kind of mood I was in at the time.
When you’re in the studio, who are you listening to?
My music is super-diverse, but I love me some Toni Braxton. Usually, I’m playing something a little dramatic or I’ll watch old interviews of her; I could watch those all day.
Tell us about the first musician you ever dressed and how they found you.
It was J.Lo! I was ecstatic when Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn pulled a cut-out chocolate leather look from my collaboration "Thread of Man," with David Lachapelle. As a designer, you're never sure if the artist is going to wear what is pulled, so when you see them wear it or post about it, it's a feeling like no other.
You recently designed a stunning white gown for a very pregnant Ciara. Were there any challenges in developing and creating a maternity gown that you don’t usually experience?
The Sunday before the Oscars, we were working on a couple of options, and I was getting so nervous because I had never done an outfit for somebody pregnant before. But then, I was reminded that [Ciara’s team] came to us for my aesthetic and I shouldn't stress. I couldn't be more grateful that she wore my gown.
What’s the story behind the craziest piece you’ve ever created?
My best friends and I were in New York for an amfAR event alongside my muse, Gigi Gorgeous. We were waiting the entire trip for Gigi’s clothes to arrive from my studio in Los Angeles, only to find out right before we needed to leave for the event that the gown was held up at customs. We left and met a courier in the middle of a street outside of the venue and had to change right then and there. It took eight of us to get Gigi into a huge ball gown skirt that has over 100 yards of fabric, while she was wearing eight-inch heels. We were steaming her gown in the streets. It was so funny.
Why do you think entertainers are fans of your work?
My brand can be perceived as sexy, dramatic, feminine, but above anything, it represents a lifestyle that we haven't seen since old Hollywood. It's a romanticism for fashion and elegance. The women I've worked with -- Halsey, Rachel McAdams, Katy Perry, Gigi Gorgeous, Bebe Rexha, Ciara, to name a few -- carry themselves in a glamorous and unique way.
Any rising musicians who are catching your eye in terms of style?
Erika Jayne because she's over the top, sexy and disco.
Dream celebrity to dress?
Lady Gaga, Scarlett Johansson and Monica Bellucci.
Favorite custom piece you’ve ever designed?
The Getty Girl pièce de résistance, which is our Swarovski crystal "Million dollar dress."