An interview with Gil Carvalho.
What inspired your new collection?
This collection was very much inspired by abstract art. simple, geometric and linear forms were metaphorically transported into the collection. Contrasting finishes and textures enhanced decorative elements such as the perforations and the slashed leather confining a figurative sense of life and movement to each style. Fashion is an escape from the drudgery of everyday life, a way of putting the sparkle back when one is feeling less than enthusiastic, for me this collection embodies that feeling of escape.
Some time has passed since your last collection and this one. What happened?
Sadly the factory that took care of our production was a victim of the Europe wide recession and finding a replacement that could produce shoes to the high quality that my customers expect, was to say the least an arduous task! Quality of workman ship is my personal mantra and so the hunt for the new factory took longer than I had hoped but the wait was worth it!
It was interesting to see in the meantime replicas of my work ie slashed leather, everywhere from fashion houses to the high street! Well, I am please to say, I’m back for more!
How have sales been for you?
Many of our customers are small privately owned boutiques and they have been hit particularly hard by this recession, but there is always a place for quality even in the hardest of times and the bulk of our customers have weathered the storm and remained loyal.
Which is your favorite shoe & which is your best seller?
I am very happy with the outcome of this collection and I think there are several strong pieces such as BUZZ, CULT or NOVA, which are visually very exciting and that I am very fond of. Although aesthetically RISK is the style that best defines my inspiration, vision and style in terms of design. It is a bold, sharp and geometric reinterpretation of a Gil Carvalho ‘Classic’, which for me personifies the refinement and sexiness that I hope I capture with my designs. My old time favourite and best seller has to be IVY.
I love that I can recognize a Gil Carvalho shoe. How difficult is it to create brand identity in footwear?
Brand Identity is probably the most elusive of things, my advice is design for yourself and from the heart, ignore the well meaning advice from well meaning industry types and hopefully that identity will follow.
What is your fashion background? You’ve worked with Moët & Chandon, Faith Footwear, Vivienne Westwood.
I have had the fortune to work with some amazing people, some of which you mention but the ability to create my own collection so soon after leaving college was the one thing that I remain most grateful for. More collaborations are on the cards so watch this space!
Are you working on your next collection?
For me personally the design is an ongoing process , my head is always so full of ideas. The problem is always the necessary editing that must take place to produce a succinct and well-balanced collection. SS11 is already mostly realised. The difficult thing will be choosing the most workable models that deserve to sit in that collection.
Which trade shows do you exhibit at? Do you have a favourite?
Premiere Classe remains my favorite, it is where the great and the good of the fashion world converge and because of this it is the best place to do business, and when the business is done, Paris is a great place to party.