Having recently spent a balmy Friday afternoon catching up with Paula Gerbase on the continued rise of 1205 and discussing AW12, I couldn't resist looking in to the near future by snatching up the opportunity to take a long look at her mood boards for SS13 and hear how she turned her design attentions to her native Brazil.
Gerbase is a designer inspired by individuals and for the upcoming season she was inspired by the photographic work of Marcel Gautherot and the many that came together to build the modern Brasilia that the documentary photographer focussed his lens on. Gautherot, the ideal architectural photographer, made an epic undertaking in the late 1950s – photographing every step of the construction of the city of Brasilia, from untouched grassland to modern capital. he photographed not only every stage of construction, but also the faces and homes of the workers. Inspired by this detailed document, Gerbase was drawn to the interplay between both physical structures and human input alongside that of man made and nature. The resulting mood boards are littered with modernist architectural delights, snapshots of workers, people using buildings and the evolution of the designer's own prints in to intricate jacquard fabrics. Here Gerbase talks us through her inspiration...
"For Spring/Summer 13, I've not only embraced my Savile Row side but for the first time I've looked at the country in which I was born, Brazil. It's the first time ever that I've been inspired by Brazil. Normally I look at architecture a great deal and it tends to be German but for this season I looked at Brazilian modernism of the 50s and how it included a natural element, both the build itself and the natural environment are considered. I was interested in the fact that they always have an architect and an urban planner on all builds who looks after the planting and green credentials. There is a lot of green in this collection. Up to this point, I've been so controlled with my palette and this time green was the big accent. In terms of research, as I'm not looking at it from a foreigners perspective, I knew where I was going, where to look and of course my family helped. Some of the shots are of my home town. From prints that I designed based on insulated walls and wall paneling that are so common in Brazil and these evolved in to jacquards. When I think about my past these things feel normal but given that I've been gone for so long I realise how special it was.
The real starting point was finding a book called Building Brasilia by this French photographer Marcel Gautherot and it depicts the times in which Oscar Niemeyer was chief architect of the new capital. Gautherot documented the entire process, from desert to the completed city. From untouched grassland to skeletal structures to ultimately the realisation of a modern capital and touching on the works who played their part in shaping it. It's an amazing book. The building of an icon. I was drawn to the human side of architecture, obviously these building are quite imposing but the fact that they are built by people and lived in. In terms of the collection, I wanted to balance technical aspects with a return to cottons - a tale of contrasts. I built on the contrasts of the buildings and the people building them by contrasting cotton jerseys with with a more technical finish and introduced more casual wear almost work wear inspired pieces. I was keen on bringing the inside outside and marrying subtle contrasts of something traditional with something undeniably modern. I worked with English mills to develop truly innovative fabric, for example wool and nylon. In addition to this marriage, the book also ties in with my own fascination with the manufacturing process - I love being involved in this part of the building of a collection so Gautherot's images really struck a chord."
A look at Gerbase's mood board for 1205 SS13
In Gerbase's work we are treated to a cocktail of of tailoring, technical sportswear and an unexpected softness. Here, despite being inspired by the modernist architecture in her native Brazil she looks deeper than just the physical structures and is drawn in to both the personal and natural worlds that so often go unnoticed. She is a designer with a penetrative creative eye and it was a delight to hear her talk through everything that combined for SS13.