LONDON — John Lobb, the high-end English footwear brand owned by the Hermès Group, has named London-based designer and Savile Row veteran Paula Gerbase to the post of artistic director.
The position is a new one, and Gerbase will oversee all collections, ready-to-wear, bespoke and accessories, as well as the creative development of the brand. She will join the company on July 1, and report to Lobb’s chief executive officer Renaud Paul-Dauphin.
Gerbase’s first collection for Lobb will be presented during London’s men’s wear shows in January. She will continue to show 1205, her tailored clothing label for men and women, during London Fashion Week.
“Within the Hermès group and at John Lobb, we approached the decision to appoint an artistic director with earnest intent,” said Paul-Dauphin. “We wish to bring a modern vision to the brand, whilst respecting its intrinsic values of craftsmanship. Paula Gerbase’s uncompromising eye for quality and detail is perfectly aligned with John Lobb.”
Gerbase said she has admired Lobb for years and has “the utmost respect for the team in Northampton,” England, where the rtw collections are made. She said she’s looking forward to being a part of its future and to “preserving its ethos of purity and innovation.”
Founded in 1866, Lobb specializes in handmade shoes and boots for men. It was acquired in 1976 by the Hermès Group. John Lobb bespoke is made in its Paris workshop while the rtw is made in England. The brand has 20 stores, including flagships in London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai. In 2013, it expanded its Northampton manufacturing site by acquiring additional logistics and office buildings.
Gerbase founded 1205 in 2010, and remains its creative director. Her collections are a study in androgyny and understated elegance. She joined the Savile Row tailor Kilgour in 2004, eventually serving as head designer. She has a B.A. in women’s wear from Central Saint Martins, and started her career at Hardy Amies, where she served as a tailoring apprentice.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
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