Friday, April 30, 2010

Style Salvage Speaks to... 1205

As you all know both of us are interested in the interplay between the social constructs of masculinity with style and menswear. We have been meaning to discuss the relationship in a series of posts for some time now but however many posts we draft, we ultimately do not know quite where to begin. Thankfully a number of designers are posing and examining the questions for us and the resulting collections are full of variety and interest. With 1205 Paula Gerbase offers a unique concept of a functional unisex wardrobe – pieces for men and women that can be worn by either.

After graduating with a BA in Womenswear from Central Saint Martins she worked for Alistair Carr and Gareth Pugh before beginning her couture tailoring training on Savile Row with Hardy Amies and Kilgour. At Kilgour she began a long term collaboration with Carlo Brandelli. After five years working as Head Designer at Kilgour, Gerbase launched her own label 1205 with it's debut collection, 'One', due for s/s10. As a consequence of her menswear and couture training, quality of cut and fabric are paramount in Gerbase’s designs. The design process begins with fabric, looking at everything in a microscopic way, resulting in a unique, modern, almost clinical point of view. Earlier this week I was invited to see the debut capsule collection of menswear, womenswear and unisex pieces at her store/studio located at Kingly Court (Unit 1.3). Regardless of gender the collection showcases Gerbase’s trademark sensitive use of luxury fabrics and erudite pattern construction for a modern-contemporary muse. While admiring the collection I took the opportunity to sit down with the designer to discuss the label in more detail. Below we talk about how experiences at CSM, working with Alistair Carr and on Savile Row alike influenced her design aesthetic and take a closer look at her designs for SS11.

The shop front in Kingly Court.

Style Salvage: You graduated with a BA in womenswear from Central Saint Martins, as a student were your collections influenced by tailoring or did this evolve from your internships and through working with the likes of Carlo Brandelli at Kilgour?
Paula Gerbase: I actually started working with Carlo two years before I graduated. He needed a second person and he called Willie from Central Saint Martins and she recommended me because she knew I was keen to get in to tailoring and I ended up working alongside him practically full time during my final year. As for my final collection, it certainly had some tailoring influences but I used handmade lace from Brazil. So my tailoring influences were already there during my time as a student. I was interested in getting tailoring experience and learning how to make pieces correctly. I also worked with at Hardy Amies to really learn, they made me sit there and watch for some time before I was able to make anything.

Paula makes these origami leaves herself and I just love the subtle branding on the safety pins which are used instead of labels. With the 1205 pin, not only is it completely removable, but it can be placed anywhere the wearer likes. Paula loves the idea of the 1205 customer using the pin to add their own interpretation to the garments. It gives each piece a more personal aspect which is part of their ethos.

SS: You have worked with an amazing array of design talent. You worked with Alistair Carr and Gareth Pugh before beginning your couture tailoring training on Savile Row with Hardy Amies. From this, you went on to work at Kilgour - a move which let to a long term collaboration with then Creative Director Carlo Brandelli. What did these experiences teach you?
Paula Berbase: My main internship was with Alistair, it was here that I really got involved with the constructive side of things and then I realised that I wanted to get in to tailoring. This decision came at the right time because there was an opening at Kilgour. I started working there for only one day a week because he was unsure whether at first but then it slowly built up to a full time opportunity. So before I was full time at Kilgour, It was at this time that I was also working at Hardy Amies and I would work here for the rest of the week from nine until five. As my workload at Kilgour began to increase I did less and less at Hardy Amies. All of these experiences have really helped form my design aesthetic. At the beginning I could never have known that I would become so closely involved in tailoring but people have always told me that I can be quite severe, so in a way I knew tailoring would be right for me because of the way I think. it just fit. 1205 was a natural progression from what I had learned in pure tailoring and menswear and going back to my original passion.

I just love this silk Georgette scarf (available from oki-ni in addition to 1205 directly)

SS: We are always intrigued by numbers, tell us about the name...
Paula Gerbase: 1205 is simply the day I was born! Some people have asked me why I don't say 'Birthday' because they think it means the same thing but it doesn't ....your Birthday is a day that happens every year and usually means a party and lots of people calling you etc etc etc... A big fuss which I don't like! 'The day I was born' only happened once, and to me it signifies the beginning. A fresh start, which was what this project was supposed to be to me. Also, the reason I wanted to have only numbers is because of my slightly complicated history. Born in Brazil, German mom, Italian dad, traveling around with them during my life living in different places, learning different languages I wanted something that meant the same thing in all languages and everyone could in fact say in their own language so it became personal to each person. 'Douze - Zero - Cinq' in French or 'Tolv - Null - Fem' in Norwegian etc etc.

One of the real standout pieces from the collection is this tailored cardigan (available from oki-ni as well as 1205 directly).

SS: So that was the driving catalyst behind launching 1205?
Paula Gerbase: I certainly wanted to return to the more feminine side of things but to still keep my masculine element. The idea of a unisex wardrobe was very important to me. I think if something is well made and the fabric is great then it should not matter whose wearing it.

Lightweight 100% white linen summer shirt with a patch pocket, granddad collar and grey and cream mother of pearl buttons. Once again this is available from oki-ni as well as 1205

SS: So, in terms of your approach to design do you think of both body forms when designing...
Paula Gerbase: I guess that I take both in to account but my more menswear bits are quite feminine and my more feminine pieces are in some way masculine also...
SS: So your design approach is quite fluid. I think our ideas of what is masculine and feminine are always shifting anyway. Previously, especially coming from a tailoring background, a garment had to be made in a certain way
Paula Gerbase: Yes, completely. I'm not interested in the strict rules of tailoring as such. For example that a pocket needs to be in a specific place, or there at all in some cases. I understand what they are but I don't necessarily have to follow them.
SS: At the end of the day rules are always there to be broken or should at least be tested.
Paula Gerbase: It is quite freeing not having to follow them actually.

One of the rails in store, blurring the lines between the sexes.

SS: Are you conscious of pieces lending themselves more obviously to menswear or womenswear?
Paula Gerbase: I tend to see it as a collection over anything else. For the SS10 collection it is more feminine and for AW10 it is more masculine but the both just happened that way, both felt right. With the AW10 I took the decision to shoot it on a female model only because so many people have questioned the idea of a unisex piece and I wanted to surprise people and it will hopefully make people that bit more open. I like the idea that people might be confused a little at first because it means they are thinking about it. For me, it is great being able to play with fabric in a menswear way for women and it is nice to experiment in a womenswear way with cutting.
SS: I think that the concept and understanding of unisex clothing here is a little behind where it could and should be, when compared to other countries at least...
Paula Gerbase: I find it really surprising, I always thought people were more open minded. For AW10, if you see each piece you might assume that it is menswear but it can be worn extremely well by women also and I wanted to demonstrate that in the look book. Of course there are quite a few people like yourself who get it straight away, for others it might take a little time. I've just tried to push it because I feel it is right, at least for this. The reaction of journalists is always interesting. They are not quite sure where to put us really. They try to put collections in to boxes and we do not necessarily fit them. Buyers tend to place us in menswear but that is mainly because of my history. The customer is always more open to experiment with the pieces.

I was particularly taken with the prints. Paula photographed wool and blew them up to create them

SS: In terms of SS10, this is actually the first time I've seen it in person but the importance of prints and lightweight tailoring hits me straight off. What are the other themes running through to the collection?
Paula Gerbase: Comfort, playing with colour and mixing fabrics. For example using jersey and cotton in trousers, adding a jersey back makes them so much more comfortable. One of my favourite pieces is the tailored cardigan which is unstructured and hangs loosely with no fastening. It has shoulder pads but is extremely lightweight, it has piping but there is no fastening.
SS: At this point of the year I am always searching for my idea of a perfect Spring/Summer jacket and this is perfect. It is a wonderful example of relaxed tailoring.
Paula Gerbase: A formal jacket is great but this is so comfortable . I wanted to design pieces that could be thrown on. To still ensure that the wearer was dressed appropriately while the pieces feel so light. I enjoyed playing with jersey and cotton throughout the collection.

SS: One of the great things about having your own store like this one is that you can see how customers react to your clothes. Since the opening how have you enjoyed the experience?
Paula Gerbase: I've never had a store before but I enjoy it very much. As I'm always working here as well people were a little tentative coming in at first but it is quite odd for someone to be shopping in and around someones work environment. It is fun seeing people discover the store. Plus the set up of the store allows customers to ask questions about the pieces directly to me which is great. Initially we had more female customers because we opened without a number of pieces because we were still waiting on some of our garments to be made, as we produce everything in the UK it can take a little longer but since we've had all of our stock on sale and introduced a male mannequin to the display we've actually had more men coming in. I've been pleased by how guys have reacted to the collection. I love watching customers pick out pieces to try on without even asking me if they are meant for men or women. It makes me so happy because it proves that I'm on to something.

1205 Made in England

SS: You've mentioned that most of the production happens here in London. It is so refreshing to hear that because it is so rare...
Paula Gerbase: As much of it as possible takes place here in London. It just felt right. I love the idea of having a transparency in the way in which we work and this involves how our products are made. I enjoy working with craftsmen, I can spend hours talking to someone about a stitch or fabric construction and it is great being able to see them in London and to talk through pieces with them. They can give me suggestions, I'm not selfish in that way at all, in fact I enjoy bouncing ideas off with them.
SS: We have such a great history of tailoring here in London but it is seen as a dying trade in some quarters. So it is great to see a new brand embrace it, use it and to learn from these craftsmen.
Paula Gerbase: Definitely. I'll do a lot of the cutting but there are times where I'll have a question and I go back to cutters on Savile Row because those are the people that I know and we'll work on something. There are younger people coming through, whether or not they stay there depends upon the number of opportunities. It is great working with the mix of people drawn to Savile Row.

SS: And where are the fabrics sourced?
Paula Gerbase: They are English and Italian. I have really good relationships with certain mills that I worked with at Kilgour and I just really enjoyed working with them. I used to design the fabrics at the old place, it was nice to continue these relationships in a different way with this line.

In the middle of the shop floor is Paula's workstation and she let me take a quick peep at her beautiful sketches for SS11. Customers frequently ask her to sketch them something on the spot.

SS: How do you see brand evolving over the coming few seasons?
Paula Gerbase: One of the most obvious differences between menswear and womenswear collections is that womenswear can shift, swap and change with each season but menswear tends to be more gradual in its development and this is more attune to how I work. I want to push the idea of cut and playing with fabric and textures.

Bollywood Hindi Movie Raavan Preview and Synopsis

ImageHost.orgLanguage: Hindi

Release Year: 2010

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Govinda, Ravi Kishan, Priyamani, Vikram

Producer: Mani Ratnam

Director: Mani Ratnam

Music Director: A R Rahman

Banner: Big Pictures, Madras Talkies

Background Music: A. R. Rahman

Sound: TAPAS

Lyrics: Gulzar

Cinematography: Santhosh Sivan

Editing: Sreekar Prasad

Dialogue: Vijay Krishna Acharya

Story/Writer: Mani Ratnam

Action Direction: Sham Kaushal

Costume: Sabyasachi

Movie Synopsis

RAAVAN is not a story, it is a world.
Beera Munda – Undisputed, Unlawful, Untamed
Dev Pratap Sharma – The Punisher, The Law, The Righteous
Ragini – Conscience, Beauty, Music

Dev falls in love with Ragini, a spunky classical dancer who is as unconventional as him. They get married and he takes up his new post in Lal Maati, a small town in northern India,

A town where the word of law is not the police but Beera, a tribal who has, over the years, shifted the power equation of the place from the ruling to the have-nots of the area. Dev knows that the key to bringing order to any place is to vanquish the big fish; in this case – Beera. In one stroke Dev manages to rip open Beera’s word, and set in motion a chain of events which will claim lives, change fortunes.

Beera injured but engaged hits back starting a battle that draws Dev, Beera and Ragini into the jungle. The jungle which is dense, confusing, scary. And in this journey they must confront their own truth. A journey which will test their beliefs, convictions and emotions. Emotions which are as scary and confusing as the forest. The forest becomes the battleground. The battle between good and evil, between Dev and Beera, Between Ram and Raavan. But when the lines dividing good and evil are blurring fast whose side will you take. When hate turns to love and the good starts looking evil which side will you battle for? Love is a battle that nobody wins but everyone must fight. Even this Raavan.

Christian Louboutin‘s Third Barbie

Christian Louboutin‘s third Barbie collection is out! The limited-edition Anemone Barbie wore a satin chartreuse and purple gown with a bow. It also comes with four mini red-soled shoes. If you want to own this $150 fashionable doll, you can check

Christian Louboutin,barbie

Marc Jacobs in Time Magazine World's Most Influential People

marc jacobs
Marc Jacobs was named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine. When I checked the Time Magazine's website, I was surprised by the story written by Victoria Beckham for her friend, Marc Jacobs. Victoria praised Marc Jacobs for the changes he had made with each of his collection. Marc Jacobs must be very proud because he is the only fashion designed that was included in the list.

Meanwhile, some artists and entertainers like Lady Gaga, Robert Pattinson, Sandra Bullock and Glee‘s Lea Michele were also featured on Time‘s list.

Click here to view the complete list.

Katrina Kaif spotted in Jaipur - Photos

Katrina Kaif spotted in Jaipur
Katrina Kaif

Sexy Anushka New HQ Pics

Aishwarya Rai Cleavage

Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan & Aishwarya Rai Bachchan At Laila Khan’s Wedding Reception
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Aishwarya Bachchan

The gift of KZO

While Susie was grounded in New York for an extra week due to the Volcanic Ash billowing out of Iceland she used her time wisely by visiting a number of designers at their studios, experimented with a spot of DIY and even went shopping...for me! I think you'll agree that this is the best type of shopping. So, when I finally saw her huffing and puffing down our corridor followed by more luggage than she left with she was was excitedly clutching a bag from Aloha Rag. Her excitement soon erred towards apprehension as she handed me the bag as doubts whether or not I'd like it began to creep in...the words "If you don't like it, I'll have it" rang out as I tore open the bag like a spoilt brat on Christmas morning. As I discovered the unstructured patterned knit blazer inside her concern soon evaporated as I let out some exclamation of joy.

The present that Susie can borrow but not steal off me. KZO Knit Unstructured blazer worn over Silver Spoon Attire shirt and wool trousers by Unconditional.

I had only recently become aware of KZO after stumbling across them on oki-ni while searching for the perfect pair of casual shorts for the (hopefully) warm months ahead. This wonderful gift made me dig a little deeper on the brand. KZO might be based in the Arts District of Los Angeles but there is a distinctively Japanese aesthetic that is intertwined with and seen through a US West Coast lens. The reason for this is KZO took its name after creative director and brand founder Joel Knornschild's American-Japanese grandfather, Kazuo Iwasaki. Kazuo translates to Peaceful Man. From a young age, Joel fell in love with photography, cinema and film and each collection is designed around a cinematic process that begins with a video treatment, soundtrack and visual storyboard. A video camera capturing unfolding stories always accompanies him. Fashion, music and film collided when Joel began writing and directing music videos for various bands in the US and Japan, and from there KZO evolved.

KZO's Into the blue, out of the black

The SS10 collection that drew Susie's gaze is titled 'Into the blue, out of the black' is made up of an indigo, black, blood red, heather gray, sky blue, charcoal and sky blue palette. Pieces include chambray woven shirts, organic fabric knits, tom Japanese selvage denim and mosaic fleeces. However, the real highlight of the collection is the soft unstructured jacket in a blue and cream cotton mix that Susie expertly picked out. Regular readers will know that I tend to avoid prints and patterns (polka dots aside) by playing it safe all too often but this is something I'm keen to work on. Having had this piece at my disposal for the last week I have to say that I've enjoyed injecting a dash of pattern in to an outfit and this present has given a little more confidence to experiment.

Two of my favourite looks from KZO's SS10 look book.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Style Salvage Speaks to... Oliver Spencer

Oliver Spencer founded his eponymous label in 2002 and has always made clothing that is seen rather than heard. Oli wanted a collection that mirrored his own wardrobe; a bridge between popular street wear and traditional tailoring. He approaches everything from a luxury standpoint but then injects functionality to create collections that combine classic English style with hints of Americana and Japanese ideas to consistently dish out a modern sophisticated aesthetic. Quality fabrics. Modern fits. Old school construction. Characteristic details. Exquisite craftsmanship. This recipe remains today. It is undeniably a modern British brand. More than half the line is made in the UK and while striving for quality Oli sources the fabrics and buttons before overseeing how it's all sewn. So, when we were invited to pop down to the flagship store on Lamb's Conduit Street to see the store and to speak with Oli we jumped at the chance. We've said many times on the blog that strolling down this special street in Bloomsbury feels like a little retail reconnaissance and Oliver Spencer has played no small part in that. Here we learn more about the evolution of the brand from Favourbrook, the community spirit of Lamb's Conduit Street, the importance of craft and manufacture and how Oli sees the brand evolving over the next few years...

The inviting store front on Lamb's Conduit Street.

SS: How did it all start for you? What were your inspirations, your dreams and the driving catalyst behind Oliver Spencer?
Oliver Spencer: It all started with some corduroy suits. I was doing more and more work for our other label Favourbrook that was becoming more and more luxe utilitarian/casual. I like the whole un-constructed thing. At that time a dark brown corduroy suit washed, unstructured was a big turning point for me. I wore it virtually every day.

SS: Aside from it being your name, what does Oliver Spencer mean to you?
Oliver Spencer: It’s Englishness. I am lucky enough to have two interesting straight forward names, I think it tends to stick in peoples heads, at least we would like to hope so! Otherwise I still find it a bit weird!

SS: When you founded the label back in 2002 you wanted a collection that mirrored your own wardrobe; a bridge between popular streetwear and tailoring. Does this recipe still remain? How has the label evolved over the years?
Oliver Spencer: Yes this recipe does still remain. I still make everything for myself. Colour has been the main influence going forward, primary colours are a big area in menswear.

SS: What were the first and last item you remember designing?
Oliver Spencer: First item was a waistcoat. The last was a cardigan.

SS: Craft and local manufacture are obviously very important to you as over half the line is made here in the UK. You must work with some extremely small and remote factories. Is it difficult to find them and how has your relationships grown over the years?
Oliver Spencer: No it is not difficult to find the factories, you just need to know how. Most of the factories that we work with, we have developed so they work to within our specifications. The main one that we use is an ex Burberry factory, so they have all the tools and the experience for the job. We love making in the UK.

SS: Now on to your wonderful store. Lambs Conduit Street (as profiled by Monocle last year) shows what can be achieved in retail areas as it champions a real community spirit. Whenever I speak to brands looking for a premises of their own they often dream about this stretch of Bloomsbury. How easy was it to come by? And what, do you think, makes the street so special?
Oliver Spencer: The street has great community in it, with a mix of local and professional, generally very open minded people. Key to the whole mix is three or four great pubs, which means it is a good place to go out at night too. My friend Cathal from Folk introduced me to the street and I have never looked back.

SS: What are your favourite pieces in store at the moment?
Oliver Spencer: Chukka Boots in blue suede with a white sole. Tennyson Red Navigator Jacket.

SS: How has the menswear landscape changed since you launched the label? What excites you about the future of menswear?
Oliver Spencer: Sorry to bang on about it but colour! This is the way forward for menswear. We have become more casual in the right way over the years and we use a lot of detailing. Our mantle is to be seen and not heard.

SS: Collaborations are a key facet of the brand. During the last couple of weeks we've seen the unveiling of your travel shirt with Monocle and your capsule shoe collection for Topman. What have been your favourite collaborations to date? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Oliver Spencer: For me collaborations at the beginning were brought to mind for Junya Watanabe for Commes des Garcons. Future collaborations, I have to think carefully about this as we get approached a lot and it is important that brand synergy is on the same playing field. All I can say is it will definitely be an English brand.

SS: How do you see the brand developing over the next few years?
Oliver Spencer: Footwear will develop for us. Accessories, bags and trousers I believe will be the main growth area.

SS: Finally, would you be able to share a few address book recommendation to our readers which we will duly add to our map...
Oliver Spencer: Badlams Hairdresser’s on 37 Lambs Conduit Street (Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3NG). The Espresso Room on Great Ormond Street (31-35 Great Ormond Street, London WC1N 3HZ) and Café Gitan in New York.


If you are ever in and around Bloomsbury you just have to stroll down Lamb's Conduit Street and pop in Oliver Spencer.