John Lobb Bootmaker has announced Paula Gerbase, creative director of her own label, 1205, as its first ever artistic creative director. John Lobb Bootmaker is not, as incorrectly reported by some other sources, a northampton based shoemaker which was purchased by Hermes in 1976. In reality, the Lobb brand was started in London, and expanded to Paris, where it found its position untenable, so entered an agreement with Hermes that they would take on the Paris business. This independently run arm maintained all of the quality of the original, which is still located on St James Street as a bespoke only business, including for example Paris based workshops, and later was re-branded, and expanded, and now has 20 stores world-wide.
The appointment of Paula Gerbase, viewed in this context, comes as somewhat less of a shock. It represents not the original bespoke only business, which is still family owned, appointing a dynamic, modern artistic director. Rather it is the Paris based offshoot, which always produced ready-to-wear since Hermes took on the obligation to run it, becoming a little more up to date.
Expect to see collections from Gerbase by January 2015.