From Macedonia to Fashion Week: Designer Genoveva Christoff

Meet Genoveva Christoff

We love celebrating strong, successful women here at The Caviar Spoon, which is why we’ve created ReBelles. These are the women who are working it and owning it in life, work, and everything in between. Our newest #ReBelleBoss is Genoveva Christoff, the US-based founder and designer of her eponymous fashion brand.

Genoveva Christoff sparkled her way into our radar earlier this year when Pra stumbled upon her stunning dresses on Instagram. Her designs are beautifully feminine with an eye-catching edge, whether through the use of bright colours, lustrous fabrics, or intricately laser cut leather accessories.

And since we sometimes have magpie-like tendencies and are prone to becoming captivated by anything pretty and sparkly, we reached out to Genoveva to find out more about her and her design career.

Currently, GC clothing is only made to order. But fear not #rebellebosses - Genoveva has goals to make a ready-to-wear clothing line available online and in stores. In the meantime, though, you can still shop her stunning accessories online - go have a peek at the utterly gorgeous leather bracelets. The detailing is absolutely breathtaking!

 The Eva bracelet (laser cut black lambskin leather)

The Eva bracelet (laser cut black lambskin leather)

Q&A With Genoveva Christoff

Ed. note: some answers have been edited for clarity

Please tell us about your career to date.

I was born in Macedonia. I moved to the United States and studied fashion design at Columbus College of Art & Design (CCAD) in Columbus, Ohio, graduating in 2009 with a BA in Fashion Design.

I debuted my first collection at Fashion Week Columbus 2011. Shortly after my first fashion show, three other designers from the nation and I were handpicked by Diet Pepsi to showcase looks at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC, as part of the Diet Pepsi Style Studio Show which was held at the Lincoln Center on February 9, 2012. During the same month, I won First Runner-Up in the Adrianna Papell for E! Live from the Red Carpet’s design contest, from a total of 676 dress designs. 

 Genoveva backstage at one of her shows

Genoveva backstage at one of her shows

Soon after that, I founded my own label/company. In March 2016, I sent my designs to China’s Guangdong Fashion Week, and I won best Cutting-Edge Designer of the year.

GC designs are fashion-forward and chic as well as feminine and sophisticated. The designs are made of the finest of fabrics. From heavy to light, from neutrals to bright colors, from matte to shiny, GC is about balancing the extremes. 

When did you have your “AHA!” moment with your business concept?

When I showcased my small first collection at Fashion Week Columbus, I got a lot of attention, and I noticed an interest in my work. That was the moment that I realized I wanted to take the collection to the next level and start my own clothing and accessory line. 

Who has inspired you the most in your journey and why?

My kids inspire me the most. I want to give the example that they can achieve whatever they want in life and to follow their dreams.

What's been the biggest reward to date being a businesswoman and entrepreneur?

The biggest reward for me is knowing that my designs make women feel confident, strong, and beautiful. If I can help women enhance what they already have and make them feel good about themselves, I've accomplished my most important goal.

And the biggest challenge?

see video

Genoveva Christoff tells us about her biggest challenge being a businesswoman and entrepreneur

What do you do when faced with a creative block?

Usually I take a little break and look for inspiration. 

How do you measure success?

Achieving the goals that I’ve set for my business.

The biggest learning lesson since founding your business?

When I started with my business, I didn’t have a plan, and I missed out on some opportunities. I believe that planning and strategizing is the most important for any business. 

What advice would you give to women looking to succeed in the workplace or with their own business?

The success will come if you love your profession or the business you are in, or if you are good at what you are doing. So my advice would be to pick a profession or establish a company that you are passionate about. If you like your job, you will put your heart, hard work and that will lead to success. Other advice would be not to give up when it gets hard and learn from the mistakes.

 Busy but stylish ;)  (photo by Megan Leigh Barnard)

Busy but stylish ;)

(photo by Megan Leigh Barnard)

What makes the “Genoveva Christoff” woman? Who do you design for?

The “Genoveva Christoff” woman is sophisticated young women or mothers who are fashion-savvy with impeccable style; intelligent women with social influence who are always seeking exciting new designs.

Do you have any style icons (past or present) who you look to for inspiration or appreciation?

Iris Apfel is very inspiring and a true original. It's impressive that someone her age is so fashionable and still relevant in a fashion world. I love Grace Kelly’s sophisticated style and Victoria Beckham’s style. Right now I appreciate and enjoy following fashion influencers, as well. Some of them have exquisite style, and they are very creative in mixing and putting things together.

What does your process look like, from concept to creation, when designing a new collection?

Most of the time the starting point of my creative process is searching for fabrics. The materials usually give me direction for the collection that will follow. GC is all about using unique fabrics, textured materials, and mixing heavier with delicate materials.

At the same time, I'm looking for additional inspirations. Next, comes the sketching. Sometimes I envision the design and I start directly with draping the garment on a dress form. There is no specific order that I always follow. 

Tell us about one of your favourite or most memorable projects/designs

As I mentioned above, I and three other designers from the nation were handpicked by Diet Pepsi to showcase our looks at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in NYC, as part of the Diet Pepsi Style Studio Show at the Lincoln Center February 9, 2012. The fashion show was presented by Simon Doonan and was attended by celebrities including Mary-Kate Olsen, Debra Messing, Angela Simmons, Jay Manuel, J. Alexander, Jonathan Adler, Lorenzo Martone, and Kelly Rutherford, among others.

I was the most excited about this project and creating the designs for this fashion show. There was a lot of excitement knowing that I would be presenting at Lincoln Center, in the same building with the most prestigious designers. That happened right after I showcased my first collection.

It was a dream come true.

Are there any pieces in your collection that are in constant rotation in your own closet?

The Alene Bracelet is always rotating in my closet because it looks good with many outfits. If I have something more simple, I like to elevate the look with the Chloe Bracelet. I also keep coming back to some of the separates.

 The Alene bracelet that Genoveva loves to wear

The Alene bracelet that Genoveva loves to wear

Your advice for women looking to build their own signature collections?

To have your signature collection, you need to leave a personal touch on the designs. You need to know who you are as a designer and what you stand for. If you are well defined as a designer, your customers will be able to recognize your designs without even knowing they are from you. As designers, we need to follow the trends and what's going on in fashion. We can incorporate trends but to be able to be different, we need to put a personal twist on our creations.

In 24 months’ time, Genoveva Christoff will look like this…

Right now, the GC accessories are available for purchase online, while the clothing is made to order. Our goal is to have a ready to wear clothing line, that will be available online and in the stores.

When the going gets tough, you…

Take it one day at a time to deal with things as they happen, or I focus on one task at the time.

A healthy work/life balance is different for everyone. What does balance look like for you?

Balancing work/life is something that I’m struggling with daily, but I’m managing to balance out everything at the end.

What do you do to unwind, refresh, and recharge?

I like to spend time with my friends and have a glass of wine. I love to travel, as well, when time permits.

3 words to describe your clientele

Fashion-forward, sophisticated, strong

3 words to describe you

Hard working, sensitive yet strong, fashionable 

One woman in business who deserves a shout-out…And why?

All the woman in business and women balancing business/work/family deserve a shoutout.

One woman that I admire is Angelina Jolie. She is talented, she has an incredible career, but I respect her the most for her humanitarian efforts.

Your motivational quote

“Great things never come from comfort zones”

Your business mantra

Quality first

Connect

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