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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.
This story first appeared in the June 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
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.