From Paris to Los Gatos, via Monte Sereno, Gabrielle Rothschild, 14, is a student at Fisher Middle School by day and a fashion designer in her spare time. She opens her first sample sale and trunk display later this week when her designs go on sale at Heidi’s Boutique, a downtown Los Gatos boutique that caters to the Junior Market. This is how Los Gatos fits into its plans.
Parisian fashionistas inspire her designs, and since she lives in Monte Sereno, it comes full circle.
Gabrielle has been working for months to make 25 dresses, blouses, pajamas and a few shorts that will be included in the show. “There are maxi dresses, short ruffled dresses, and more casual play dresses,” Gabrielle said. A hot pink and black evening dress has 14 yards of tulle under the skirt, so this is one of the ruffle dresses.
Gabrielle and store owner Heidi Rehbock are still deciding how much to pay for the unique outfits, but Gabrielle says they’ll be reasonably priced. “I asked my friends, who are also my role models, how much they would be willing to spend,” Gabrielle said. “Prices vary depending on the cost of the fabric. “
Gabrielle learned to sew while still in elementary school. “I started sewing by hand when I was 9 or 10, then I started using my mom’s old sewing machine when I was 11,” she said. “When I was 12 I got a new machine for Christmas.”
To some extent, Gabrielle uses business models that she incorporates into her designs. “I’m still learning, so I plan to go to design school,” she said. “I also want to learn the end of the construction. I can now do the bottom of the dresses, so what I do is sketch it out and then look for a pattern that matches my design. I take off sleeves and add darts, depending on what I designed. Gabrielle also uses fabric pens to apply extra touches, and the waistband of a navy evening gown is embellished with Parisian scenes that have been applied with a silver sharpie pen. From start to finish, Gabrielle estimates that it takes 10 to 12 hours to make a dress.
This is quite an accomplishment for a 14 year old, who is grateful for all the support she receives. “All my friends are coming on the 30th,” she said. “They are really encouraging and enthusiastic.” Gabrielle says her friends are also patient, as they are the ones she tests everything on.
“She is incredibly enthusiastic, focused and organized,” said Rehbock. “This is a fun and unique opportunity for me to support a girl from Los Gatos.”
Once the parade is over, Gabrielle plans to start all over again. “I’m going to sketch an entire collection and then buy the fabric and make it all,” she said. “No more delays. I’ll take my time.
Gabrielle’s dresses will go on sale at Heidi, 14 N. Santa Cruz Ave., April 29. On April 30, Gabrielle will be doing custom fittings at the store from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Its website is www.gabriellefashions.com.