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It took him six years to work his way to the
company's flagship Madison Avenue store and a
further two years to reach the design team. He was
made associate designer and product manager of
Lauren's exclusive Black Label in 1997, then a year
later became its senior designer before becom-
ing senior designer of the company's highest end
Purple Label women's collection.
But after 16 years with the company he felt
stifled by the corporate culture. "It was a great ex-
perience, I can't say enough good things about that
company, but I needed more" A stint as design
director of the St John luxury couture label helped
complete the puzzle for him. "I discovered the
world of knit, what it can do, and how perfect it is
for the modern women, just the drape of it."
But by the time the financial crisis hit last year,
he had become fully disillusioned with the regi-
mented corporate approach to design that typifies
the big American brands. Having just turned 40
he decided to trade the northern winter for a break
in the Perth summer with his family. A week later
a girlfriend asked him to sketch a couple of designs
for her to wear to a wedding. He not only sketched
up eight designs, but drafted the patterns and
sewed them in a jersey fabric he bought himself.
Then the penny dropped. He realised he'd finally
found the key to establishing his own label.
Never one to waste time or opportunities, in
April this year he went back to New York to pack
up and was back in Perth to present his inaugural
summer collection in August. "From the very be-
ginning," he says, "things just fell into place. "I can
sense the hope here in Australia that has evapo-
rated in America."I'm very excited about the future
here, I see a lot of optimism and opportunity," he
adds. "I can see the horizon here."
For stockists see timothygodbold.com.au.
After 16 years and great
success at Ralph Lauren, Perth
designer Timothy Godbold
has come home.
text bron sibree « images stef king @ vivien's creative
It's the question that has the Australian
fashion industry abuzz. Why has Timothy
Godbold, the Perth-born former senior
designer of Ralph Lauren's exclusive
women's wear collections chosen to return
to Australia to establish his own high-end fashion
label? And why, for that matter, has he chosen to
establish it in Perth?
But for Timothy who has notched up over 19
years designing for luxury American brands, it is
the realisation of a life-long dream. "I've known
since I was 14 that one day I needed to have my
own brand," says Timothy. "Australia is a beautiful
country and I love Sydney and Melbourne, but
there is just something I really love about Perth, I
guess because it was always my home. I feel there is
a complete rightness to establishing it here."
There's an unmistakable sense of "rightness", too,
to his elegant, understated, clothes. His inaugural
summer collection, consisting of 14 flowing, almost
fluid, looks shaped exclusively from jersey fabric in
tones of ivory and oyster and indigo, is like a breath
of cool fresh air on the local fashion scene and has
already been championed by Vogue Australia. Timo-
thy himself describes it as "a palate cleanser".
"It's like the sorbet before the next course. I
needed to clear my palate of everything I had ever
learned and start afresh. It's about hope, a new ho-
rizon." Indeed even as his summer designs hit select
national outlets last month, his winter collection
or "second course" was wooing buyers across the
country with masterly uncluttered lines, and a level
of seamsmanship and detailing second to none.
Driven by a desire to create timeless clothes and
forge a global lifestyle brand of uncompromising
quality and style, Timothy is clearly not a man for
frills or clutter. He admits to being more inspired
by architecture and the aesthetic of science fiction
films than he is by current fashion trends.
"I just don't want my clothes to age," he says. He
even prefers to avoid looking at fashion magazines
because "fast fashion", as he calls it, "just hits you
over the heard with a hammer. If everyone else is
doing it, why would I do it? To me pack mentality
is extremely dangerous so I shy away from that."
"Even as a child growing up in Kalamunda,
Timothy insists he "was never part of the pack."
From an early age, he planned to follow his father
into architecture. But at 14 he discovered new
wave British fashion and his fate was sealed. After
graduating from Bentley Tech with a BA in Fash-
ion Design he bought a one-way ticket to London.
He knocked on Ralph Lauren's doors and within two
hours was hired to sell on the floor. Within 24 hours
knew what he wanted to do for the next part of his
life. "I just said to myself I'm going to be a designer
one day for Ralph Lauren. So I just worked my way
up the ladder."
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