Gabrielle Todd, Marietta native and alumna of The Walker School, is showcasing one of her collections at dk Gallery on the Marietta Square through June. She has spent the past three years as a fashion design student at Parsons School of Design in Paris and returned to Marietta recently to debut her five-look collection “Sensuality.” Todd and Parsons classmate Aubrey Briggs designed the sportswear-inspired collection as part of an assignment for school. Todd said the collection brings a sense of delicate dysfunction to the tracksuit.
This is the first time Todd’s work has been seen outside of Parsons’ Paris studios. Of the collection’s opening earlier this month, Todd said: “That was really cool because I had never had the opportunity to show my work to people outside of my school. The way projects work is you spend all this time on a project, you present it for 10 minutes in front of the class, get your feedback and then take it home and put it in the back of your closet.”
Dk Gallery was packed at the opening with friends and well-wishers.
“It was really nice to be able to see especially people outside the realm of fashion take a look at the work and tell me their thoughts,” Todd said. “It was almost an overwhelming amount of support just from all areas of my life, so it was a really cool experience.”
In describing the collection at dk Gallery, Todd said students were asked to do objective research, so “we all went to libraries around Paris and looked for pictures and stuff that inspired us, but it was nothing related to fashion.” From then, students were paired with another student whose research was similar to theirs. They then combined their research with an archetype of clothing, such as a parka, bomber jacket, sportswear, etc. Todd and her partner chose the Gabbers as their subculture in the realm of sportswear. “From there, we wanted to create delicate sportswear that’s not really indented for the use that sportswear is,” she said.
Todd said she has long been interested in fashion: “I was really into fashion in high school in the way I dressed all the time. I liked to wear things that nobody else would wear.”
It was a trip to Europe between her sophomore and junior years in high school that sparked the idea of pursuing fashion in college: “I was like, what about fashion because it’s really artistic, and I really like fashion as well. Why don’t I see if I like it?”
To ensure fashion was what she wanted to pursue, she entered a summer fashion program between her junior and senior years at Kent State University in Ohio. “I really liked it, and so that’s when I fully decided to apply to design schools,” Todd said.
Parsons Paris was at the top of her list, and it was the first school she heard back from during the college acceptance period. Todd said she preferred Parsons Paris because “They’re really preparing you to go into couture-level fashion, especially with all of the access we have to work at Paris fashion week, and all the fashion houses, Paris is the hub of fashion.”
Todd, who is pursuing a minor in Entrepreneurship, said she is one of only two people in her graduating class earning a minor. She credits The Walker School, where she attended from Kindergarten to graduation, for helping her learn time management, for challenging her academically and for giving her access to Advanced Placement classes that enabled her to be ahead with her classwork once she arrived at Parsons.
“The way that I learned how to manage my time and get my work done efficiently at Walker is crucial to my success now at university. Because of the amount of work that was expected of us at Walker, I am able to keep up, and I’ve been able to do a minor in college,” she said. “I felt like the research papers I had to write in my AP classes were harder and more harshly graded than in my university classes. Walker prepares you well.”
Upon graduation, Todd said she would like to stay in Paris for a couple of years because “it’s the place to be for fashion, and also, I’ve made it my home outside of school.” Todd, who also is also a personal trainer and nutrition coach, said she doesn’t envision herself coming back to the United States for quite some time.
“There are just so many opportunities over there, whether it be France or Italy for fashion, and also there’s just a whole world to explore. I love to travel, and there are so many great opportunities to travel over there.”
Todd’s collection will be on exhibit at dk Gallery for the rest of June. dk Gallery is located at 25 W Park Square, Marietta, GA 30060.