The designer shares her army-surplus and equestrian-shop inspiration.READ MORE
For Corinne Grassini, the art of apparel came naturally. “Growing up, I always made my own clothes and doctored my sister’s,” she explains. “If I babysat, I doctored the kids’ clothes—which got me in trouble sometimes.” But it never really occurred to her to make a career of her hobby. “I went to school for sociology, and then I waited tables at a Mexican restaurant in Santa Barbara, not knowing what I was going to do with myself. My mom sat me down—we were on the beach somewhere—and she said, ‘What are you doing? You’re making all these amazing clothes. Why don’t you do something with them?’” she recalls.
Corinne enrolled in design classes at Central St. Martins in London almost instantly, having determined that she needed to supplement her natural talents with some serious technical skills. “I wanted to know the entire process, and I knew that I would get stuck creatively if I didn’t,” she says. Her first company was a pattern-making outfit that allowed her to put her new abilities to use, working with designers including Maryam Nassir Zadeh. In 2004, she brought all the pieces together, launching her hard-meets-soft, L.A.-based line, Society for Rational Dress, which has evolved into one of the city’s most respected and recognizable fashion brands. —erica