The London Look: Giorgina Atkinson Reed

by Guest of A Guest · June 6, 2024

    Giorgina Atkinson Reed is one of those annoyingly chic creatures where you just wish you could buy their whole look off their back.

    Thankfully, with the recent launch of her fashion brand Villea Vara, you can. Inspired by her travels and time living in India, the interior designer turned fashion designer's very London look is all buttoned up, in that tousled hair, luxuriously louche sort of way.

    Curious where you'll find this Londoner out and about, how she takes her tea or which private members clubs she's loving most at the moment?

    Where are you from originally? 
    Born by the sea in Northumberland and later brought up further into the city in a beautiful village-y area. 

    What brought you to London?  
    I spent a lot of time growing up in London, we used to have a mews house in North London, although my parents would stay in hotels a lot, where I would find an abundance of inspiration for all sorts of design and culture. I remember when you would still jump on the back of the bus, (no doors!), evening trips to the theatre. I have a special memory of a shopping trip to Harrods that has just this minute prompted a new design for our autumn denim collection; I was allowed my first pair of jeans, they were stitched with beautiful shimmering embroidery, I still wish I had them! 

    In my teens, naughtier weekends were curated with friends, sneaking from boarding school
    to Notting Hill house parties. I never wanted to leave, and sometimes I wouldn't, forging
    emails from my mum telling my house parent I was snowed in at home up north.  

    How long have you been here? 
    On and off forever, but properly, 14 years.

    What neighborhood do you call home? 
    My first place was Chelsea, with my best friend, Anouska. Now though, soon to be Notting Hill. I seem to spend all my evenings there, so it will make for a much easier commute to my favourite restaurants. It's a brilliantly creative area. 

    What's your job?
    I am the Founder and Creative Director of Villea Vara, a newly launched clothing brand that is dedicated to empowering women with structured cuts, timeless pieces and unique embroidery. 
    Villea was inspired by the flower, Bougainvillea, my mother’s favourite, and Vara represents
    strength and power in female form in Hindi.

    What do you actually do all day?
    Every day is a busy day! Growing a business takes constant care and attention.

    I try to make my 7:15am barre class at least 3 times a week. It puts a spring in my step. I
    choose an outfit for the day, which is so much less time consuming now I have by beautiful
    clothing brand; it's like having a uniform. Our factory is in in Mumbai so I wake up to a
    flurry of emails and schedule our daily call with the factory. Starting the day with a call to
    India is a joy; hearing the horns in the background, I can instantly close my eyes and feel I’m
    back there. It’s an important place to me as it’s where the idea of Villea Vara was born and
    where I have learned so much about fabrics, tailoring and respect of the way women dress.
    Whilst I’m on my way to visit and deliver our Villea Vara pieces to clients who like me to
    advise on the fit and help style them, I will tackle my Whatsapps, so much is done on there
    which I find much quicker. I will have meetings all around London with people visiting from
    America and Europe, now we are at the exciting stage of choosing which boutiques we would
    like to be in.

    Going about my day, I am constantly taking inspiration from everything I set my eyes on and
    designing pieces for the future. I love the people I meet who I can work with and collaborate
    with. I am amazed by the incredibly, talented people who I am put in touch with and get the
    opportunity to develop relationships with within the industry,

    I will most likely finish the day with some sort of launch, exhibition or meeting with
    someone new and then go on to see my close friends.

    Social smoker? 
    Very much so, and only with a drink, although I can go weeks without.

    When my mum first caught me, she told me that if I was going to smoke, I must never ever
    walk in the street smoking, and I never have. 

    Go-to pint? 
    Milk, with cookies or a cupcake.

    Crisp of choice? 

    Preferred pub?
    The Grenadier, it's a very traditional pub in Belgravia tucked away between a mews and a church. I do have to also mention the Walmer Castle in Notting Hill, a beautifully chic design yet still holding on to a typical pub atmosphere with a central bar, wooden tables and tapered candles. It’s also where I had my clothing brand's launch, Villea Vara, so it holds an exciting place in my memory. 

    What's worth the wait? 
    New sheets! I would love to do an embroidered bedding collection!

    Tube or Boris bike? 
    Tube, I love it. 

    Tesco or Sainsbury's? 
    Sainsbury's! They sell Clamato, and once you have a Bloody Mary with Clamato juice, you will never go back.

    Weekend getaway trip? 
    I have to pick 3 - I adore travelling. The mountains in winter, anywhere along the French Riviera in summer, and Paris any weekend at all.

    Favorite restaurant? 
    Anywhere I can people watch, for which London is particularly perfect for. I am incredibly curious, I can write a thousand stories in my head just watching one table. For me, creativity derives from curiosity, my designs are born out observing women's lifestyle, a culture, how they move, so many different factors come into women's style, and so, learning from women around the world gives me constant inspiration. 

    Marmite or marmalade? 

    British stereotype that rings true? 
    We constantly discuss the weather.

    How do you take your tea? 
    Indian chai, spicier the better. I would have it all day long when I lived in India.

    Most British thing about you? 
    I’m hot on manners.

    Least British thing about you? 
    I talk to everyone and anyone.

    Remedy for a rainy day? 
    Get cosy, put on a film I don't have to follow and work.

    First thing you miss when you leave London? 
    My friends and routine.

    Private Members Clubs - yay or nay? 
    Yay! I am a member of multiple members clubs in London, it’s a real culture of the city as this is where they originated from, the first being a women’s club! One of my favourites is the The Twenty Two. It's opening in New York which is exciting as I will be spending time over there for some launches for the brand. I also adore 5 Hertford Street for getting dressed up and sitting by the fire.

    Where in town are you almost always?
    The tube.

    Where in town would you never be caught dead? 
    No comment.

    Best place for a fun night out? 
    Stumbling upon a place with your closest friends where you meet new interesting people, you just never know where the night will take you.

    How would you describe your style? 
    Elegant bohemian.

    Top shopping spots?
    Anywhere hidden where I can find one offs. If I had an unlimited budget, Harrods. It just oozes luxury and it's so organsied. In June, we will be doing an event at The Apartment which is just such a huge milestone and achievement just 6 months into launching. 

    What's your greatest extravagance? 
    I have a new dress made for every big event I go to – I write it off as marketing.

    Cheap thrill? 
    Sunset and sunrise.

    Who's your favorite person in town? 
    My best friends! They have to come as a collective for this one.

    What's your most overused Briticism? 
    Constantly saying sorry.

    Reading anything good at the moment? 
    Chanel Cleeton's latest novel. All of her books are wonderfully written and the most captivating story lines about the Cuban and Spanish Revolutions. They are historic, fast paced, filled with mystery and romance is weaved throughout. Each time I have finished the last page, they leave me crying and pondering about the characters for days later. I love anything that can transport me to another country and culture.

    What are you most excited for next? 
    I cannot wait for a long-haul flight I have coming up, no phone, no emails and no whatsapps.
    And once I land, I will be spending time with my brilliantly, typical English father and our amazing family friends which is special. Every trip I take now, I try to combine with business and once I’m in the Caribbean, I have several meetings set up with boutiques.

    But most of all, I cannot wait for Villea Vara's spring/summer collection launching in May – a
    beautiful array of embroidered pieces in whites, pinks and blues in linen. We are following this with summer silks that will transform your beach lunch to evening dinner. We can't wait to show you!

    [Photos by Kirk Truman]