LONDON, United Kingdom — If Yohji Yamamoto and Jil Sander had a love child, it would probably look like 1205, the label by Paula Gerbase, former head designer of Savile Row tailor Kilgour. In a London where the quality of fabric — and, to a certain extent, precision — too often seems to play second fiddle, 1205 has carved out a clear niche.
Gerbase is definitely a material girl. On each seat — along with blankets in a range of materials — was the label’s seasonal fabric chart. And, this time, we were invited to touch Japanese jersey pleat, basket-weave de-bossed suede, thread-worked cotton and linen and open-weave paper. Focusing on how things feel, rather than look — more of an obsession in menswear than womenswear — is to be applauded.
For Spring, Gerbase went on a journey to the Atlas Mountains where she had a Berber guide take her to local villages to learn about the region’s nomadic inhabitants. Backstage after the show, she said it was beautiful to experience a place where the elements matter — and, in the collection, she transformed this feeling into a meditation on protection and vulnerability. This played out either in loose, fluid and sometimes folded, tucked or pinched looks, or something more rigid, exemplified by cross-body, tailored pieces. “It was quite funny to do tailoring which has no fastening so you have to put on the piece over your head,” the designer explained.
It was a collection filled with great looking clothes that struck the right balance between accessible and interest arousing, but as with all minimalist designers, the risk is that the clothes can be repetitive. This was why a nylon top with a texture that made it look 3D-printed stood out in between the other pieces. “I love to work in nylon and polyester,” Gerbase said after the show. “People always think the best materials are things like cashmere but I love nylon because you can do something new with it.” You looked at that top and felt she was speaking truth. And you wanted more of it.