Talented artist and textiles designer Georgia Macmillan has launched a WOMAN and CHILD collection designed and made in Dubai, where she resides with her family, and inspired by her European travels...
Made from 100% linen and printed with her with original watercolour art, we can’t decide between the women’s Fasano dress or the Classic skirt? And as for the childrenswear, we’ll take it all. We caught up with Georgia to find out more about the new collection…
Shop the Georgia Macmillan WOMAN and CHILD collection here
Can you tell us a little bit about your gorgeous new collection?
The collection represents well-considered pieces made of beautiful French linen that feels fabulous to wear. The linen is printed with my original watercolour art. The pieces do not seek to follow trends or be the ‘it’ clothing worn by the masses – this is a capsule collection which celebrates summer, balmy nights, barefoot beach parties and outback horse races. The GM WOMAN Collection consists of three designs – The Fasano Dress, The Caranna Dress and The Classic Skirt, with the addition of The Big Sash. The Sash works as a wonderfully dramatic headscarf or can be tied around the waist. As mentioned each of the pieces is made of 100% French linen printed with my original watercolour designs. The Fasano Dress is fitted with a ruffled hem and available in Saadiyat Blue Stripe. I could dance in it all day! The Caranna Dress comes in Saadiyat Blue Stripes and Campania Double Pink Stripes and is a freer, more casual style with lovely big front pockets and a gorgeous adjustable bow tie at the back. The Classic Skirt is also available in the pink and blue stripes and is just that, a classic piece with generous pockets and a slim, flattering waist. The GM CHILD Collection features the Savelletri Dress in Mirande Hydrangea, Saadiyat Stripes and Campania Double Pink Stripe. One size fits ages 5-9 years. It is flowy and full and makes for great twirling! The adjustable bow straps allow for plenty of growth spurts. The Day Short is a simple, yet versatile, stylish short for active little ones ages 2-3 years. In Dibba Dots and Saadiyat Stripes. I have kept the range simple and concise for a number of reasons. Primarily because it is a capsule collection being made in limited numbers, AND this is my first foray into the business of fashion. I’m risk averse!
Where did the inspiration come from, and how much of your own lifestyle informs your design choices?
The collection is the result of designing a few simple pieces for our long July/August 2018 holiday, in lieu of buying a new wardrobe for this southern European summer vacation. I had a quantity of leftover Saadiyat Stripes linen from a client order here in Dubai. It happens to be one of my favourite prints, so I designed a maxi dress and skirt. Then I thought it might be fun for Olivia and William to have something made too. I looked to one of my own dresses from the 80s, which my mother had made and Olivia now loves to wear, and loosely based the design on that. I struggle to find long dresses which are flattering and chic and comfortable (and don’t cost a fortune). Our holiday plans involved living out of suitcases for two months as we moved from villa to villa in Italy and Greece. I needed pieces which would travel well and were sophisticated enough to take me from day to night. AND I also needed clothing with enough give and movement to allow me run around after children. I favour wearing clothes with length, which provides both comfort and style. I know I’m not alone in this predilection. I posted a few images on Instagram wearing (the now named) Fasano Dress and Classic Skirt and images of my daughter Olivia wearing the Savelletri Dress and William the Day Short when we were in Puglia, and again on the Greek Islands. The feedback was incredible and completely overwhelming, with many wanting to know if they could have clothing made too. It probably helped that I had beautiful idyllic Puglia and Mykonos as a backdrop! I have essentially made a collection for me, to suit my needs. A relatively practical person, I also want to wear something that is pretty and chic and sophisticated with a touch of drama.
You already have a beautiful range of textiles and wallpapers - why did you decide to incorporate clothing?
It was all very spontaneous and initially, I was light-hearted about it, thinking it would be a bit of fun. I completely underestimated how demanding and challenging incorporating a whole new offer to my brand would be, in addition to operating and building on my existing textiles business. Cutting corners was not an option. I wanted the finish to be at a very high standard. The ‘just for fun’ mentality quickly wore off as I sat down with spreadsheets and started planning. From designing fabric logo tags to washing instructions to perfecting sizing and creating a size guide. To trialling various suppliers, to perfecting the design, and questioning everything – will this dress be too long, or is it too slim around the waist, is there enough movement, will the fabric sag, does it crush. Fortunately, I could use my own experience as ‘product research’ over the two-month summer holiday where my wardrobe was endlessly packed and unpacked. I was hard wearing on the clothes and did a lot of chasing children … AND sipping rosé whilst trying to look relaxed living la dolce vita. (And if anyone is interested… I didn’t iron the dress or skirt once! They passed the tests).
Now most importantly - how are you managing it all? What are your time and business hacks?
Not very well at the moment! I know I’ve taken on too much – too much for me anyway. It’s impossible to really know what your limit is until you hit it. I’m signing contracts with textiles wholesalers on three continents, which is incredibly exciting, but it also requires a lot of work establishing pricing, providing labelled textiles samples and displays for their showrooms etc., plus I have a painting commission due in a week. I’m trying to send out orders, stay on top of customer queries, assist with measurements for curtains, cushion covers etc. etc. The list goes on. With the capsule collection, I’m learning a whole new business and developing it at a rapid rate, in addition to carrying on with my existing one. In hindsight, I set myself a ridiculously tight and unachievable target to launch in time for the southern hemisphere Summer. Hopefully once old and new systems are in place and in sync, I’ll find my composure again! I’m a big fan of the old school handwritten ‘to do list’. I write a new one each morning (even if it’s almost a repeat of the previous day). It includes the immediate action plan plus some long-term agenda items. Lately, I have been doing a weekly plan. This helps with bigger more time-consuming to-dos. The lists calm my anxiety. If I can see what needs to be tackled I can get on and do it systematically, rather than stress about how that particular job will fit into my day or week. I often wish for a magic fairy assistant! I have started listening to classical music in the car. Very loudly, which is surprisingly relaxing. My daughter Olivia has taken interest in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. We have fun trying to work out which concerto represents which season. SO daggy, but it makes me happy. I only like the melancholy ones. If you’re interested Concerto No. 4 in F Minor, L’inverno (Winter) III Allegro and Concerto No 2 in G Minor L’estate (Summer) III Presto are my picks.
“ From the simplest wild flower to the grandest fresco – there is beauty everywhere and it’s an important part of life. The simplest of joys can be found in the most unassuming places. ”
How do you currently manage your time between your business and your children?
I exercise very early before school and nursery drops off, then work from 8.30am-12.30pm. Pick up my son from nursery then come back and work until 2pm before collecting my daughter from school. Afternoons are reserved for the children, chores, post-office deliveries, supermarket, school swim squad, gymnastics etc. etc. The day is structured entirely around the children. Sadly, I’m not one of those amazing people who can muster up the energy to work once the children go to bed. That’s my time – wine and dinner with my husband. I then promptly fall asleep on the sofa 10mins into watching TV. I have zero energy reserves! I actually apologised to Olivia last week. Lately, I’ve been feeling distracted and ‘absent’ when I’m with the children. My mind has been in the studio. I said, darling I’m sorry, I don’t think I’m being the best mummy at the moment. She replied, “I think you’re a good mummy”. She’s not one to liberally hand out compliments, so I guess that’s enough for me! The point is they’re going to love you no matter what, regardless of tossing out the entire contents of their Halloween trick or treat loot (which I did!). So I need not worry. She also told me her favourite time of day was ‘book time’ on the sofa with both children at 6.30pm because it’s the only time we get to cuddle. This made me feel a little sad. But I guess that’s the reality of a modern family!
What legacy do you hope to carve out for your children?
I do hope my children have the courage of their own convictions. To have confidence to behave and speak in accordance with their beliefs, especially in the face of criticism. That takes strength and is something we all continue to develop throughout adult life. I hope to help them seek and appreciate beauty. From the simplest wild flower to the grandest fresco – there is beauty everywhere and it’s an important part of life. The simplest of joys can be found in the most unassuming places. But most of all, I want them to be kind, loving and thoughtful. To be givers, not takers. At the moment though, I really just want them to sleep through the night!