Meet The Designer: Bernadette’s Charlotte De Geyter
Meet The Designer: Bernadette’s Charlotte De Geyter

Meet The Designer: Bernadette’s Charlotte De Geyter

Charlotte de Geyter is one part of the mother-daughter duo behind Antwerp-based label Bernadette. Blending playful botanical prints with fine Italian silk, its designs have long been a hit with fashion editors and influencers alike. Here, Charlotte tells us more about creative inspiration, working with family and what’s made the label such a success.
By Emma Bigger

Bernadette is best described as effortless luxury meets uncompromised comfort. It’s about building and embracing a lifestyle that makes you feel good. We started with ready-to-wear, but quickly realised we wanted to work with other mediums. Now, the brand is an entire universe. It’s the most exciting challenge: it isn’t just about the look of the clothing or the collections – it’s about how everything is conveyed to our community, be that through the photoshoots, the written materials or the way we design our e-commerce site.

I grew up in the suburbs of Antwerp – in a small village surrounded by lots of greenery. Eventually, I moved to London to work for a renowned fashion house, but after six months my mother and I realised we had a special story to tell, and it was worth taking a chance. Now, I spend a lot of time in Spain. The peace and quiet has had a big influence on my overall aesthetic – whether that’s in the prints or overall design of the garments.

After moving back to Antwerp I started painting hundreds of different botanic drawings – and my mum and I started researching her extensive archive of vintage gowns and lingerie. That was the start of the brand. Our initial stock was sourced at markets in Brussels; we began with a small capsule of around eight dresses in several prints. The brand has evolved a lot since then – from our homeware line to our eveningwear and our lifestyle collections.

BERNADETTE IS AN ENTIRE UNIVERSE – it isn’t just about the look of the clothing or the collections, it’s also about how everything is CONVEYED TO OUR COMMUNITY.

Our Summer 2023 campaign was shot with one of my teenage idols – Lindsey Wixson. The collection focuses on Mediterranean prints like the mimosa and the lilacs. I drew these prints in Spain and wanted our customers to feel how I did when I was there – calm, in nature and at peace. Plenty of the pieces could be worn on holiday but also dressed up for a summer wedding. I’m very proud of the way we translated the prints into the embroideries and knitwear.

My personal style icon is probably Chloë Sevigny. I'm also obsessed with Gwyneth Paltrow – especially the way she dressed in the 90s – but even now she's so chic. She wore one of our dresses last summer which was another dream come true. She’s always on our moodboard and when she wore Bernadette, it felt like everything had come full circle.

My own style is best described as polished. I have a few accessories I wear everyday – I love my pearl earrings, white heels and a small bag but my wardrobe must-have is a robe. I can wear one in so many ways – for dinner with oversized jewellery, over a bikini or just to have my coffee. It’s so versatile. My favourite designers tend to be the younger ones like Simone Rocha, Medea, Abra and Coperni. I feel like they reflect my aesthetic and all of them complement the Bernadette aesthetic, too. Oh – and Prada. It’s just iconic.

My mother and I have always had such a special bond. Not only do we share a similar passion for interiors and art, she’s also my fashion icon. She’s never been afraid to dress exactly how she wants and is always keen to experiment. I remember trying on all her shoes when I was young – as well as just sitting on her bed watching her dress up. 

We've also conquered many different challenges together. In November, we will celebrate our five-year anniversary at Bernadette. We know how to balance each other out, when to have each other’s back and when to leave one another alone. It’s important to move between our different relationships too, from mother and daughter to best friends, through to work partners. Once you figure that out, working with family is incredibly rewarding.

Each of us design for different women, which is our biggest strength. I look after the women my age who want to challenge themselves, while my mother is the voice of a different generation who prize timelessness. I love designing for the modern woman. It’s so important to feel good and comfortable in your clothes. That’s why we love adding pockets and working with lots of elastic. It’s all about highlighting the strengths of a woman – and comfortable clothes can do that. The secret to great style is to find out what suits you and not be too influenced by what other people are doing or wearing. 

My tried and tested office look is a white t-shirt and beige trousers. I have a pair from Raey that I wear with my Sophie Buhai pearl earrings. At night I always go for one of our PJ sets and style it with chunky jewellery and slingback heel – sexy, nonchalant and cool.

I only shop online – I love scrolling through NET-A-PORTER, MATCHES and SSENSE. Each site has such a different edits of the collections. I obviously wear a lot of Bernadette but I’m always looking for new accessories to broaden my style. I like making wish lists – if something stays in my mind for more than a few days on the trot, then I know it's probably going to be my next purchase.

My first big designer purchase was a pair of Miu Miu gold sparkly boots – they had a banana shaped heel and are still so iconic. I really wanted them, even just to look at like a piece of art or a sculpture. I still have them – although they haven’t been worn in a very long time!

My mother and I have always had SUCH a SPECIAL BOND. Not only do we share a similar PASSION for interiors and art, she’s also my FASHION ICON.

At Bernadette we try to keep our environmental footprint as small as possible. We reuse all our leftover fabrics and turn them into little dust bags. We also only produce what has been ordered by our customers. We don’t carry stock. Now that our team is getting bigger, our focus is turning much more towards sustainable growth.

When our first collection launched at NET-A-PORTER, my mum and I would dream about celebrities wearing our line. About two months later, my mum was scrolling through Instagram and found photos of Brad Pitt's birthday party to which Sandra Bullock wore our red robe. She immediately called me and we screamed over the phone. It was such a special moment.

It's still so humbling to see our designs worn by high-profile influencers and the fashion elite. It’s always inspiring to see the collections take on a life of their own and become part of people’s wardrobes. Last month we hosted a dinner in New York, and everyone wore our summer collection so differently. That’s what I like about fashion – everything is possible, but clothes always look their best when you stay true to yourself.



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