Mungo Gurney Interview
Bold modular block prints, intense vibrant hues, super cool swimwear, long sweeping silhouettes with body skimming sex appeal, a perfected blend of 1920’s Riviera and Art Noveau…….. it is our divine pleasure to introduce you to Mungo Gurney.
Find out what this graduate of the prestigious Central St Martins is all about and why he has been earning rave reviews since his recent first showing this past September at London Fashion Week.
Fashion Salade: Mungo, first we must congratulate you on your S/S12 swimwear and RTW label launch at London Fashion Week! Tell us a little bit about what being there meant to you as a designer?
Mungo Gurney: It’s been a great opportunity to make press contacts and the press following has been fantastic. Some promising introductions to potential stockists were made and our first stockists have been established.
FS:Your prints are playful and exotic, can you walk us through your inspiration for creating such designs, time and place.
MG:This season was 1920s Riviera. A 1970s chloe dress led me to the work of Aubrey Beardsly and Art Nouveau Glass Work of Emile Galle.
FS: Every great designer seems to have “a style of their own” created often by their signature pieces. What would you say your design signatures are?
MG: Printed sets. I like matching prints. I think the long maxi dresses this season and the shorts and shirt sets. I like playing with 2 garments as one. The laser cut classic speedo one piece swimsuit is a signature from the swimwear line.
FS: Congratulations on making it into Italia Vogue! What did seeing your designs in there mean to you as a designer?
MG: There was a little online coverage of the launch. The Italian market is key, I think our clothes suit it. We had quite a lot of interest from Italian stockists so press in Italian Vogue is obviously a real plus. I hope there are some more editorials in the pipeline!
FS: Can you describe the “Mungo Gurney” woman for us?
MG: Cool and unidentifiable. Youthful spirited with elegant ease and a sense of adventure.
FS: What are some of your favorite pieces from your first collection?
MG: The ombre cotton pleated short and shirt for their simplicity, the satin “matisse” maxi dress and ‘Galle’ macramé shoulder one piece swimsuit.
FS: Recently, fashion insiders have labeled you “the one to watch” (aka “the next big thing”) How do you feel about getting such well deserved hype? Pressured, elated, nervous?
MG: Elated – I think you need to be one to watch these days, there is so much talent around. but there are mountains to climb. Stability is the aim at the moment.
FS: Do you feel it was hard to break into the fashion luxury scene with all the big well known players out there, (ie Gucci, Prada) How has The Creative Archives helped your career?
MG: Breaking into this world is about making sales in amongst all these super brands. In this sense I am still breaking in! This is a challenge. But it really makes you think commercially which is good because the artistry is second nature. TCA was an important stepping stone allowing me to get my artwork to the market at an affordable price. This season I’m working on 2 range’s of scarves with Shwetal Patel from the TCA, which is exciting.
FS: What did you learn from working at Roberto Cavalli?
MG: It was my first experience working for another designer, in this sense everyday was a learning curve, and it is where I developed my interest in print.
FS: What is your advice to all the young emerging designers out there?
MG: Think a few season’s ahead – creatively and financially !
FS: Who or what has had the most influential role in your career?
MG: There is no one great influence on my career, there are lots of little experiences I draw from. Recently I have been looking a lot at film and working from stills and projections.
FS: Why were you interested in putting out a swimwear collection?
MG: I feel swimwear has a lot of potential. Poly elastane is a very flexible material that allows for great exploration, it also projects print amazingly. I plan to bring my R-T-W aesthetic to swimwear as I feel as though there is a gap in the market for it.
FS: If you were not a womenswear designer, what other career path would you have chosen?
MG: I grew up surrounded by interior designers and photographers in the family, so these are areas I am interested in and would have considered as options. More realistically I probably would have ended up working in the family fish business.
FS: Any hints for what we can expect for next season?
MG: I will be focusing on transparency next season, looking at micro-minimalist shaping created through the layering of mesh. Prints will be based on the work of Bruno Manri, xerography and micro minimalism. I will also be producing a collection of scarves displaying seasonal prints inspired by modernist shapes and the work of Peter Saville.
FS: Other than Mungo Gurney, what are some of your favorite designers out there?