Gabrielle Amaturo introduced gabulous!, her fashion brand, at a pop-up shop at Ironworks in South Norwalk last month.
- Photo by Lonnie Webb
Fashion Plate Gabrielle Amaturo
By Georgetta L. Morque
Fashion design is in Gabrielle Amaturo’s DNA and last month the 24-year-old Rye High School grad fulfilled a lifelong dream when she launched her own brand, gabulous! The collection of whimsical and colorful lifestyle staples exudes effervescence, excitement, and joy.
“Having been a designer for a decade now, it’s really exciting to focus on my own brand at the moment,” said Gabrielle, who successfully opened her first pop-up shop in the courtyard at Ironworks SoNo, a trendy apartment building and nightlife destination in South Norwalk, Conn. The boutique-like outdoor shopping experience – masks required – was made possible by her friend since toddler days, Alanna Morque, project manager at Spinnaker Real Estate Partners. Passersby and eager shoppers stopped to browse and purchase the eye-catching women’s yoga pants and matching tops, bathing suits, cover-ups, and signature high-top sneakers, all with vivid prints, hand designed. The capsule collection also featured equally appealing men’s shoes and swim trunks. “Putting on clothes and shoes can make your day,” said Gabrielle, whose wearable fashions are all about fun and comfort.
Each item starts with one of her original paintings. “Once I have my print, then I am inspired to see it in the pieces.” Some of her painting styles were influenced by exercises in AP art classes at Rye High School and one of her favorite artists, Kandinsky. “We used to carry around little cardboard boxes that held the paintings we were working on,” Gabrielle recalled. “Little did I know I’d be carrying around and referencing these paintings six years later.” Tony Campbell, Rye High School AP Art teacher, said Gabrielle could do anything she set her mind to.
Growing up, Gabrielle consistently charmed and wowed friends and teachers with her creative flair and award-winning smile. From her Coco Chanel costume at the Midland School Halloween parade to her dress made of Snapple cans, Gabrielle never failed to amaze, leaving many in high anticipation what she would come up with next. “It was apparent from an early age that Gabby was an amazing talent with a passion for fashion and clothing,” said Addie Chabot, an RHS classmate.
Gabrielle honed her skills at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in the city during middle school and high school summers, and at home, where she always had a project in the works. Her first job was her dream job, interning with fashion icon, Betsey Johnson, who became her mentor, friend, and one of her biggest influencers. Over a span of seven years working with Betsey, Gabrielle’s role expanded to make her an invaluable part of the team. Mr. Campbell remembers the time when Gabrielle was finishing her AP Studio Portfolio. “At one point there were big deadlines for school, and she was managing models for Fashion Week, and she did it all with effortless grace and enthusiasm. It was so impressive.”
After high school, Gabrielle took her talents to Marist College, a school renowned for its fashion program, where she earned a BFA in Fashion Design and Product Development. There she toiled away many hours working on portfolios, runway shows, and design competitions. Among the highlighted moments were being a finalist for the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Liz Claiborne Design Award, exhibiting at the National Arts Club in the city, and appearing on ABC’s “Good Morning America”, having been chosen with her classmate, Kate Norkeliunas, to participate in a two-week design competition to upcycle an old wedding dress into a new usable creation sustainably with a $50 budget. The pair created a three-piece outfit – blouse, skort, and vest – with a matching bag using vegetable dyes, organic turmeric powder, and rose petals. Her GMA experience inspired her to employ environmentally-conscious practices in her own fashion line.
During summers and after college, Gabrielle worked at top brands such as Kenneth Cole, Marc Jacobs, Kate Spade, Michael Kors, and Katy Perry, where she gained valuable experience which helped shape her ideas for her own brand.
Another creative force in her life, as well as her biggest supporter, says Gabrielle, is her mother, Maureen Amaturo. Maureen is a fashion/beauty industry copywriter, author, and valued contributor to The Rye Record and community arts organizations.
She is currently fulfilling custom requests and special orders via the gabulous! Instagram account. An e-commerce store is in the planning stages. To learn more, visit gabulous.com.co