Society for Rational Dress’s Corinne Grassini Is Expanding Internationally


The economy being what it is, small design companies are forced to find creative ways to make ends meet. And Corinne Grassini of Society for Rational Dress did just that, by deciding to open her Los Angeles press showroom and studio as a retail store named Reserve. "To be able to have clients come in and see how they interact with their bodies in a dress or colors or their insecurities — it's been really huge for me," says Grassini. "Now I look at the store as something that gives me access to my customers so I can tailor my line." That line — named after a nineteenth-century London women's club, Rational Dress Society, that fought against the Victorian style — captures the same notion of choosing comfort over trends, as the collection features a mix of flattering prints, soft knits, and supple leather. "I like to design pieces that are comfortable, nothing too stuffy or overtly sexy." Grassini describes her clothes as art-inspired, literally: She has picked a piece of artwork and molded a collection around it every season since the line's inception in fall 2005. Fall's inspiration came from a custom print of brushstrokes by a local L.A. artist, while spring's palette was inspired by a brutal-cut chandelier in her own home. And with Harrod's in London recently placing a hearty order, Grassini's success demonstrates that creative and artistic expansion is still possible, no matter what the climate. Society for Rational Dress, a featured line on, is available at Coclico, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Nikki Laura, and Jazz Manhattan. Click ahead to check out some of the fall and holiday offerings, as well as what you can look forward to for spring.