Acne Studios Morning Gabardine Dress - £363   Charlie May Leather Foil Jacket - £625
 
Blake LDN Foxborough Sweater - £120   Topshop Unique Pool Sliders - £55
 
Etre Cecile Bad Ass Paris - £70   V Simplicity Tier Ring - £75
 
Merchant Archive Leather Tote Bag - £430   Moxham Otto Silver - £62

Master of Print: Basso & Brooke






Take one graphic artist, Bruno Basso and one fashion designer, Christopher Brooke, and you have one of the most influential fashion duos specialising in digital print, Basso & Brooke. After winning the Fashion Fringe Award with their 100% digitally printed collection, they have been independently showing at London Fashion Week since February 2005, gaining worldwide reputation from international press and stockists. Not content with being dubbed 'The Pixar of clothes', Basso & Brooke have translated their signature prints onto non fashion products, collaborating with Coca-Cola, Converse, Swarovski, L'Oreal Paris, Mac, Habitat, Lycra, and the British Council to name a few, propelling the label into a lifestyle brand. They've also been busy coaching budding print-makers in their one-day Fabulous Digital Power Print Workshop in December 2011, giving young designers a chance to make their own bespoke printed dress. Talk about dedication to their craft!

In their Spring/Summer 2012 collection, the duo have moved away from the symmetry and precision of placing prints on certain areas of the garment, by humanising the digital in what they call a 'tropical constructivism'. Hard-edged foliage clashes with distorted seascapes and man-made textures bleed onto facing sunlight. This season also sees one print evolving into the next from garment to garment, which brought in more variety in the colour/print/garment combinations. We can almost hear Chris requesting Bruno not to stop developing each print. "More! More! MORE!"

This new found freedom brought new fabrications, delivered via soft drapery which sometimes lent a trompe l'oeil effect to the swirly sensational print. And of course there's always a full palette of colour artfully applied with an intensity that makes even a rainbow seem grey.

Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke divulge in the art of their latest collection, backstage after the show.

Tell us about your travels whilst sourcing the prints?

Bruno Basso: Immense. We travel for days and days and you don't see many people. It's very cold, it's very warm. I had mixed feelings because we feel it's beautiful but also bleak and lonely. At the same time I was travelling I was producing the prints.

Christopher Brooke: He would send them to me in London so while he was out I was working in the studio. There's a lot of emotion in Bruno's prints and you can feel that. So as I downloaded the prints I could see what Bruno was up to on his travels. That would then inspire me to make the print into a reality and to make it into fashion.

Basso: I think that the prints aren't what I saw, it was what I'd like to see because I figured they were images of escapism and I felt I needed to show the ambience. It was almost alien territory whilst travelling because in the mornings with the high fog it just didn't look like planet earth. It's an incredibly beautiful and weird place - you need to go and check it out.

What was the thinking behind the silhouette?

Brooke: I wanted it to be effortless and I wanted it to be beautiful. There is a lot of complex cutting in the dresses but I didn't want it to look over worked. When I work with Bruno's prints I need to respect his work that he's spent hours and hours producing and I don't want to cut right through the things he has been labouring over so that's quite a challenge to work with.

Basso: Keeping the harmony is key. The best thing about our partnership is because I'm not a fashion designer, I'm a graphic designer and so we don't compete. I don't know how to do what he does and he doesn't know how to do what I do. There is no stepping on toes. Sometimes we disagree of course but in order to generate something beautiful we need to have a harmonious discussion. We give opinions to each other's work but we don't do each other's work.

What do you want to be synonymous with?

Basso: Embellishing prints, prints that make you dream, prints that make you happy. I like the prints to evolve to a different feeling. I always say our favourite customers are ones who buy our clothes because it makes them happy and beautiful and more intelligent.

Brooke: We want an emotional response - we just want the customer to fall in love.

Basso: Our clothes are the type of clothes you buy to keep in your wardrobe. It's like you can buy a piece of your imagination and have it forever.

How do you continue to recreate prints from season to season? Recently you've been deriving prints from your travels. Do you feel you want to keep travelling to further your designs?

Basso: The travel is amazing. Different cultures and different people inspire you to do different things. I always think that the most important thing about the travel is to collect emotional content to develop. When you travel you acquire new information to translate into collections. Our inspiration has come from lots of different places. I know it's a cliche but it's true. It's so random the way that the prints come.

When it comes to a new collection, what comes first, the print or the colour?

Basso: I think they come together. Some of our prints take loads of time to produce and as you're doing it you're colouring it. Usually I have a palette in mind but I think colours alone are different when you put them together with another colour. When you put red and pink together you diffuse a brownish. The neighbouring of colours is as important as the colours themselves because you give different emotions.

Basso & Brooke will be showing at London Fashion Week in February 2012 and has recently re-launched their site featuring an extensive archive of collections, prints, the much-blogged about Sweatshirt collection, special projects and E-shop where you can purchase their awesome prints.

Catwalk images by Catwalking.com


Louisa Lau
09:51 - 19/01/12

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