Jasper Garvida illustration from the S/S 2012 collection
A main inspiration for the S/S 2012 collection is the painting Autour d’un Point by Frantisek Kupka, which gave the collection its name. What drew you to this particular work by the bohemian illustrator, painter and graphic artist Kupka?
Coincidentally, a new film about Diana Vreeland has just come out called The Eye Must Travel and Autour d’un Point means ‘around the point’. They both are about your eye travelling around, but the painting made me think of the core. When you look at something, your eye goes around it, and you look at the point of it, as in ‘what is the point’? So I found myself inspired by how the painting drew me to a centre point through moving my line of vision around, and what I felt came from the centre of a human being, the heart. How you feel affects how you see things, and if you are open to everything and your heart is open you are able to see the ‘real thing’ in others, the core. To me, when I start a collection it’s really based on how I feel, which I try to translate into clothes, into sound and the senses. And this is why I was inspired by the painting, which I spent the entire afternoon gazing at, thinking about what it was saying to me, enveloping myself in the painting so much so that I can just close my eyes and picture it perfectly.
You’ve obviously got a very strong emotional connection to your work, which I love. Maybe it’s part of why people respond to your clothes so well?
I’m a sensitive and emotional person! When I’m dressing people, I never like to force something on them; I know that for a woman to look incredible she has to feel comfortable inside. There’s nothing worse than going out and not feeling yourself, which I’ve experienced. Trying to be something other than what you are will never work.
Jasper Garvida S/S 2012 illustration by Gareth Hopkins
How was Project Catwalk as an experience?
For me it was really emotional, and I never expected to win it. All the people involved were incredibly talented, and I’m still in touch with all of them. The show helped me reveal myself as a person, as I’m a naturally very shy. I wanted to do Project Catwalk to show my family what I’m all about, as they’d never been to any shows or really seen me as the now grown-up designer. I also hadn’t come out to my family yet to tell them I was gay, so I really wanted them to understand my industry, my world and me. It was difficult as I hadn’t seen my parents for two years, and I had to tell them right there and then backstage at the final catwalk show about my life and my partner. Naturally, I was afraid as I didn’t want to disappoint them or upset them, and I wanted them to accept me. I felt that if I could do something for them to feel proud and happy about the person that I am, that maybe they could accept me. So I did they show, and I couldn’t have been happier, as it opened up my parents’ point of view towards homosexuality and me as an adult with a business of my own. Now, we are closer than ever. So having said that, doing Project Catwalk was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and being myself gave me the confidence to do what I do now.
I love how all of your collections highlight and explore the contrast between the delicate and the strong through your use of silhouettes and fabrics along with hand-embellished details, which it sounds like we are going to see even more of in your S/S ’12 show. Why do you think this is a recurring theme in your work and how you like to dress women?
As I’ve said, never like to push a look onto women, I see myself as a servant to women and their clothing needs! I love creating my embellishments by hand, accentuating parts of a woman’s body like the neck one season or the shoulder another season. Little features and touches go a long way and celebrating the female figure doesn’t have to be something that’s obvious or in-your-face.
Diana Vreeland and her striking sense of style with a passion for the exotic is one of the main inspirations for your collection this season, so I’ve got some Diana-inspired questions (with her memorable answers) for you:
What character in history would you most like to be? (Diana once said she would have liked to be Queen Elizabeth the 1st in all her finery and various intricate hairstyles, which sparked a giggle between Jasper and me about the random dramatic tangents she goes on).
I would have to say Jesus Christ. I try to live my life in goodness; I try to treat people the way I like to be treated. I’m also quite devoted to what I do, I’d do anything for it, which is how passionate I am. I try to be as good as I can and give as much as I am able to.
Jasper Garvida S/S 2012 illustration by Sam Parr
Which era in fashion history have you found most exciting and why? One that Diana loved was the 1920’s, as she has just started to live in Europe, and she felt it defined history with startling backless and knee-length dresses, as well as the artists, music and ‘newness’ surrounding it all.
I’m going to say the same as Diana (he’s a true Vreeland fan) and pick the 20s, as it was a time was fashion ‘became fashion’ and before then only the rich could afford it, and the 20s changed all of that, allowing everyone to enjoy fashion. Without that, I don’t think I would be able to do what I do today. So much was happening, as women were cutting their hair short, throwing out the corset and wearing trousers. It allowed women to use their looks to really make a statement, which is what fashion is to me. It’s quite symbolic, women being rebels and using fashion as power.
Diana was extremely positive about Royalty: I love royalty. They’re always so clean… and the way they dressed. What comes to mind when you think about the new wave of attention Kate Middleton and her sense of style has attracted? (Particularly as you create bridal dresses alongside your main collections).
The wave of New Royalty today, particularly Kate Middleton with her new role, does get a lot of attention. I think that the way she portrays herself is a great example to young people. I love her sensibility; she doesn’t necessarily have to wear designer clothes, and she personifies it all being about how you present yourself. It’s important as a public figure to keep in mind that you’ve got a responsibility towards other people whether you like it or not. You’re in the public eye and in Kate’s case she’s won their admiration. Having the privilege of being Royalty can’t be taken lightly, and with that comes responsibility. In that position especially, you’ve got to think of others and not just yourself.
Diana was extremely well known for her Harper’s Bazaar Why Don’t You… column with suggestions like Why Don’t You… Wear violet velvet mittens with everything? Have an elk-hide trunk for the back of your car? Hermès of Paris will make this. Have your cigarettes stamped with a personal insignia?. What Why Don’t You… suggestions would you come up with?
Why don’t you… eat ice cream in the rain?
Why don’t you… wear a coloured wedding dress instead of white?
Jasper Garvida S/S ’12 illustration by Amber Cassidy
While showing at London Fashion Week is an intensely exciting experience for designers, it requires a cool head and inner calm to make sure everything runs smoothly. How do you prepare for the day of the show to help you stay on top of it all?
I like to be as organised as possible. I give myself a deadline of the week before the show, which is when I like to have everything finished. Any stress or worrying can be done before that deadline, as I need to be calm and focused for my team. The day before the show, I like to get up at 6am and sit somewhere in silence or with calming music. I then play the entire day of the show in my head, visualising the prep backstage, the sound of the music, and the entire catwalk show from the first girl out to the finale when they all walk out together. This way, when it comes to the day of the show I’ve seen it all before already, so I’m calm, collected, and positive.
Your collections are getting stronger with more admirers each year, what can we expect from Jasper Garvida in the future?
In the future, I’d like to be able to get more time to focus even further on the collections, always refining and developing the quality and look of each season. I want to keep working towards providing that ‘surprise element’ in my work, always exploring new things and never being categorised.
Jasper will be showing his Spring/Summer 2012 collection on Monday the 19th of September 2011 at the Bloomsury Hotel during London Fashion Week.
Alia Gargum, Aliyah Hussain, Amber Cassidy, Autour d’un Point, Diana Vreeland, Frantisek Kupka, Gareth Hopkins, Harper's Bazaar, jasper garvida, Kate Middleton, Lady Gaga, London Fashion Week, preview, Project Catwalk, Queen Elizabeth I, Sam Parr, Spring/Summer 2012, The Bloomsbury Hotel, The Eye Must Travel, Womenswear
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