From Savile Row To A Label Of Her Own—Just Don’t Look For Her Name On It
“I wanted it to be about the clothes, not my name in lights,” explains designer Paula Gerbase of her young line, named, somewhat obscurely, 1205. “1205 is just the day I was born, but more importantly, it’s four numbers that you can read in any language—you’re not wearing a person’s name on your back.”
Gerbase spent five years as head designer at Savile Row tailor Kilgour before launching her own line, an experience that put her in the thick of the real production of clothes. “I was always drawn to structure in terms of how I look at things,” she says. “I found my home when I arrived on Savile Row.” Her razor-sharp men’s and womenswear betrays her Savile Row leanings, as well as her obsession for keeping close to the hands making her clothes. “I wanted to know the guy who’s putting the buttons on and the one that does the sleeves, and the quality control girls always bantering,” she laughs. “I come in, they make me some terrible tea and we just have a chat.”
For her fourth collection, for Spring 2013, the London-based Central Saint Martins grad looked at Brazilian architecture and Marcel Gautherot’s collection of photographs documenting the construction of the Brazilian capital, Building Brasilia. Her favored contrast of sharpness and softness is exemplified in a photo of a uniformed construction worker leaning up against a building—and just as much in the 1205 clothes, which mix classic materials and newer ones, like a gray wool skirt given a slight crunch thanks to nylon yarn mixed in. A suede-looking jacket is not actually suede, but Alcantara, an interiors fabric—”You can drop coffee on it and then just wipe it clean!” Gerbase crows. That’s about as modern as traditional-seeming garments get. And if the clothes are upending tradition, the clients are following suit. “I’ve had men buying skirts to wear as kilts,” the designer says, “and I’ve had women wearing full-on men’s suits.”
1205 is available at LN-CC in London, ln-cc.com, as well as Beams, Isetan, Land of Tomorrow, and United Arrows in Japan. For more information, visit 1205.eu.