Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Basso & Brooke interview exclusive for revista b- London Fashion Week SS 2012

Back Stage Before the show

Basso & Brooke show invitation
The accessories table for the all important finishing touch....

Last minute preparations take place with good old fashioned needle and thread...

The other worldly hair and make up emerges

The sumptuous collection of vibrant prints on hangers ready to be launched on the runway.
Bruno Basso discussing the styling with the model dressers before the show...

The Show

Above is the article that is about to be published in Sao Paulo Brazil in revista B magazine.
Below is the edited english version. It was an amazing show and brilliant to meet and chat with Bruno Basso. 

The Brazilian Anglo design duo Basso & Brooke have been part of the established London fashion label club since 2004 when they were given the prestigious Fashion Fringe award. Awareness of their ground breaking and pioneering use of digitally printed patterns were confirmed when Vogue championed them as ‘ones to watch’ in their annual ‘Vogue list’, and they won best new designer at the Elle Style Awards. Christopher Brookes completed his fashion studies at the famous Central St Martins. Bruno Basso has a marketing and advertising background and found his creative penchant for print was given life with Christopher Brooke’s simply crafted pattern cutting and tailoring skills. In 2009 Michelle Obama made headlines wearing one of the label’s pieces, making Basso & Brooke one of the very first UK designers to be worn by the First Lady. The duo think of their label as a lifestyle brand and have a highly successful interiors collection as well as seasonal fashion collections.
I met Bruno at London Fashion Week in September after their show. He is a small, good looking unassuming man. The most striking aspect being his large brown eyes framed by thick almost joining in the middle eye brows.
I asked him what was the inspiration for this seasons collection. An amazing journey by car was described from London to Beijing, driving for weeks in relentless Siberian twilight. I scribbled down lots of notes as he verbally painted for me images of the amazing sunsets on the Siberian plains, how his Brazilian roots form a foundation in his concepts, tropical colours, organic lush plant like shapes seem to always creep in to create the almost other worldly realism and constructivism of his Art. For me this recent collection 'is' the stuff of art installation, the body and flesh it is adorns the gallery.....
Christopher Brooke the gallery curator frames the art in perfect balanced simple silhouettes and drapery. The effect is elegant and sassy and recognizable as the Basso and Brooke brand. Bruno told me he designs for intelligent women. I take this to mean cultured, knowledgeable and aware that fashion of his and Christopher's creation is a timeless investment... 
Their collections are stocked worldwide. 

Interview with Bruno Basso back stage after the show....

1) Bruno Basso – You were born in Santos Brazil. Tell us about your time there.

All my childhood remembrances are amazing, I was born and lived almost all my Brazil life by the seaside,  looking at the sea everyday gave me a sense of amplitude, curiosity and somehow freedom.  I studied Advertising and Journalism and started to work, very young, as a junior art-director.   And at the age of 15 in an advertising agency, I loved it!  I used to go work everyday very happy because I was doing what I had chosen to do and I knew I would be working in the creative field forever.  Also most of my true long-life friends are still living there and always i can escape from work and go to visit them.

2) What made you move to the UK?

I came initially to study Synesthesia, but then met  Chris after two weeks of arriving and engaged in a conversation of different creative interests instead. 

3) Brazil has become an increasingly important centre for fashion. Where can we find your label in Sao Paulo?

We will be selling exclusively to a newly opening store soon,  it will be a very private luxury boutique in Vila Nova Conceição /SP 

4) What do you miss about living in Brazil?

After living in London for so many years I still have Brazil in mind almost everyday, and I'm not missing anything  in a nostalgic sense, but i have joy in remembering how our people are naturally happy and blissful.  Our regional food is so exotic and delicious, our folklore and popular culture is enchanting, our lifestyle is 'easy' in the sense that people don't plan things  too much ahead it just happens ...  and so many other things.  Trying to translate all these feelings into words when you're immersed in a totally different culture but equally amazing as the British one, is difficult.

5) Do you both come from artistic families?

No. my parents come from trading/commerce & restaurants and Chris's are from a managerial and secretarial background.

6) How do you keep your ideas fresh each season?

Constant conversation and reflection.  Fashion is a unique example within the design industry where it must be constantly reconsidered every 6 months, and its success is often very dependant on the mood of that particular season.  It is persistently challenging and it is this which drives us to always keep our eyes open to new developments in technology, art movements, design movements, social & political developments, economic situations - these all influence how you see the world and how we ultimately respond to them which informs the change and shift of how people are feeling and how they would like to dress - the zeitgeist; the mood of the time.  It is not about over-intellectualizing the concept of dressing, but to create something which suits its time.  Another great aspect to our partnership is that we are from different design disciplines - Bruno, Graphic Design; Chris, Fashion Design.  We have our own points of reference which often crossover, but sometimes do not - and this again gives us a unique point of view within fashion design.

7) What have been your main influences for your latest S/S 2012 collection ?

For Bruno, the journey to freedom was a literal one – an expedition by car, from London to Beijing. Driving for weeks in the relentless Siberian twilight, amidst its bleak and brutal landscape, the formal foundations for this collection’s prints were laid: hard, angular lines, sharp contrasts, strong structures – the constructivist essence. And for relief from this daily monochrome reality, he found himself imagining ever-more impossible and colourful alien interjections - a ‘tropical constructivism’, if you will, where hard-edged foliage clashes with distorted seascapes, and man-made textures explode over fading sunlight. Going further still, a second idea emerged, one that questions the idea of what defines ‘a collection’ – rather than produce a politely related set of prints, why not have them evolve from garment to garment? So here we see each print carrying within it the seeds of the next one, on and on, a journey through clothes.  In contrast, for Chris, the garment architect, the newfound freedom was an internal one, an excursion into drapery, an exploration de l’atelier. Furnished with the printed fabrics, he has in places transformed flat graphic prints into deft drapes, whilst in others accentuated the printed trompe l’oeil effects to create further spatial play. A range of complex construction techniques are deployed, and jacket and lapel lengths juxtapose extended with cropped, yet at all times the finished feel is one of effortless simplicity and elegance, creating a loosely structured, flowing silhouette.

8) What would you and Chris Brooke put your success down to.

Of course talent is essential, but pure determination, curiosity, pragmatism, constant hard work and ALWAYS outputting ideas are key.   And we have pioneered the digital print process within the fashion industry.

9) What are your ambitions for your label?

As we are print-driven the possibilities are endless - whatever has a surface can be printed.  We are extremely excited particularly to work on a hotel or restaurant commission, where the consumer can experience the whole Basso & Brooke digital experience - this would be a dream.  

10)Would you consider working for a big French fashion giant such as LVMH if asked ?

Of course, we have worked with another major fashion conglomorate, Aeffe, for several years,

11)What is the best and worst part of starting up a fashion business in the UK.

There is fantastic support for new talent in the UK, and London is specifically looked upon in the fashion industry for new ideas.  We won the very first Fashion Fringe prize in 2004, an initiative setup by respected Fashion Historian and journalist Colin MacDowell.  This gave us the platform to start our label initially and gave us the International exposure to launch our label.  

12)Where are your garments produced?

Depending on each piece, we work with the best manufacturers but mainly Italy, they are the still the best for tailoring.

13)Have you noticed the economic downturn affecting your industry?

It has affected everyone, of course, but from a negative comes a positive and consequently makes you become more resourceful, creative and to look for new possibilities.  It is important to evolve and seek new markets & territories.  Fashion is an industry constantly searching for the new, and is a challenge regardless of economic difficulties.  We must endeavour as a fashion design label to evolve and to output new ideas at twice a year whilst always considering your brand aesthetic.  The challenge is always to offer your customer the product they require,  but still offering something new, desirable, trendy, and press-worthy - one depends on the other.  

14)Do you take on interns to help with your label?

We do, but at the later stages of the collection in the run-up to the catwalk show.  

15)Who or what has been your main influence in your successful career?

Bruno:Ettore Sottsass
Chris:  My Mum

Words and Photography Schelay McCarter pls credit