Camp: Corinne Grassini
Rational Fashion: The lauded designer of L.A.'s Society for Rational Dress on keeping a cool head and making a space your own
Corinne Grassini broke her tailbone snowboarding in college. “It was icy and I kept hitting the same jump over and over again and landing on my butt,” she remembers. Typically her ambitious spirit is met with great accomplishment, but after several falls she knew it was time to see a doctor. Perched on an inflatable donut riding home from the E.R. Grassini realized it was time to give up her hopes of becoming a professional snowboarder. We have to admit: we’re really glad she did.
Today Grassini is at the helm of a successful fashion label, Society for Rational Dress, known for its blend of masculinity and femininity with an emphasis on comfort. The label’s name comes from a late 19th century group of reformers ditching the discomforts of corsets and frippery of Victorian-era fashions in favor of clothing more, well, rational—a concept Grassini finds relevant almost 150 years later. “For me rational means you’re comfortable, you’re functional, you can move around and feel good.” The clear duality present in her work is owed in part to her tomboyish upbringing of snowboarding in Southern California. “In high school I was just one of the guys. I’ve always been a tougher girl, which is a weird place to be in fashion,” she says.
While she’s often inspired by architecture and industrial raw spaces like her converted toy factory office, her own nestled in the Franklin Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, is anything but raw or stark. Indeed it’s rather cozy with organic shapes and materials accented with plenty of soft textures. Grassini affectionately calls her house cabin-like with its wood paneling and low slanted ceilings, perhaps recalling a six-month period she spent living in Mammoth snowboarding every day after school when she was 16. Decorated almost entirely by scavenging garage sales and eBay, Grassini patiently designed at a snail’s pace since moving in five years ago, finding one piece at a time, waiting for the perfect objects and furniture to appear before her.
After much renovation including landscaping and painting, she sits in her 1963 home, barefoot, in just a white tee and a pair of jeans, her chestnut hair pulled to the side, with her arms out over the back of the sofa as if the room extended from her outfit. The atmosphere she’s cultivated is casual and soft, pleasant and serene. Fittingly, in tandem with her spring 2012 line, Society for Rational Dress will launch a home goods collection, including bed linens, pillows, beanbags and poufs all made from the same materials as the clothing. “It’s a totally different medium for me, but it makes so much sense.” Yet another wonderfully rational idea from Corinne Grassini.