Interview with designer Paula Gerbase (1205)
“The subtle thought process and continuity of a mans wardrobe has always interested me” commented Paula Gerbase at ‘The London Collections: Men, Harvey Nichols launch party.’ I grabbed a few minutes with Paula Gerbase, the designer behind the brand ‘1205’ who held my attention dressed in AW12 Amrath trousers and a striking leather biker jacket to match.
Gerbase studied at Central Saint Martins, where she believes taught her “strength.” From there she went on to apprentice at the prestigious Savile Row with Hardy Amies atelier which allowed her to progress to a creative director job at Kilgour for five years. For those who don’t know, Savile Row is widely known as the Crème de la Crème of fine, British tailoring, a haven to the tailoring world. Designers and apprentices will learn from the very best and it was here where she explored and acquired new knowledge, “sharpening her senses for detail, trims and cuts” which allowed her to extend and use the information to launch 1205.
The Harvey Nichols party showcased the brands Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection and set an eclectic, glamourous mood for the week ahead. The 1205 style is pure androgyny which can be worn by both men and women and this reflects Paula’s personal aesthetic: “I have always loved mens clothing for its attention to detail, focus on fabric, cut and considered construction, and have worn mens pieces for as long as I can remember.”
The band 'Kindess' (a mix of male and female band members) took to the stage dressed head to toe in bespoke 1205. Lead singer Adam Bainbridge donned a fitted white shirt and heather grey trousers that nipped in at the waistband and featured a sports-luxe stripe down either side. The performance featured masculine cuts that retain their femininity, combining 1205s use of different textures.
“The idea was to collaborate with other creatives to showcase the wearability and versatility of the collection, as well as to show tailoring in movement, removing it from its usual rigid representation.”
As the lead singer roamed the stage and the rest of the band danced freely for a half hour set, it was obvious to guests how utilitarian and versatile the collection is. Tailoring is usually seen as rigid and extremely formal but Gerbase has turned it on its head and shown that austere and stiff clothing can be worn from day to night.
Although 1205 has quite a large following within the Japanese community, Gerbase hasn’t gained much attention in Britain. The Brazilian born designer who is now London based was originally stocked at the independent boutique LN-CC but has now moved from independent to international luxury retailer, Harvey Nichols. When asked why, Gerbase explains “we felt we needed stronger partners in our home market.” So, could this be the start of expanding her British following?
1205 is usually shown in a private showroom during Paris Fashion Week by appointment only because “the collections are always so much about fabric and subtle details that a catwalk show has not felt right for the collection.”
The new collection was inspired by “A compilation of ‘Recits de Voyage’ by a Swiss journalist and photographer who travelled through the Middle East, US and Europe in the 1930s and 1940s...the clothes are largely inspired by travel and this was the starting point for this season.”
Gerbase’s inspiration created a new platform for 1205 “playing with contrasts of formal/casual fabrics, shapes and [as always] introducing new fabrics such as waterproof flannel...as ever, the focus was on subtle details and texture contrasts.” Fabrics are a huge part of the 1205 brand as there are no prints and extreme cuts to distract from the composition. When choosing fabrics Gerbase looks for “thoughtful, intelligent fabrics developed by the best fabric mills in the world.”
Paula Gerbase is extremely thankful for the opportunities she had at Central Saint Martins and Savile Row and feels there is great things to come for 1205, exclaiming her career highlight “being able to express my vision completely and freely.”