In an age where the instant gratification of ‘see now, buy now’ and ‘fast fashion’ continues to gain momentum, it’s a breath of fresh air when a designer disrupts the status quo with an approach that champions quality over quantity.

Barcelona-based Berta Cabestany left a design position at Mango to pursue her eponymous collection with this philosophy in mind – seeing it as a welcome opportunity to take time to really ‘sweat the small stuff’.

Her debut collection for SS18 seeks to bridge the gap between prêt-à-porter and haute couture by making intricate, hand-drawn and embroidered pieces just that little bit more accessible.

So, does ‘slow and steady’ really win the race? Berta elaborated on the brainwave behind her brand, and what we should expect for the coming season.

Your SS18 collection has got us pining the glory days of summer! Walk us through your inspirations.
The ‘ME AND FOU’ collection was inspired by the Jean-Luc Godard film Pierrot le Fou from 1963, starring the beautiful Anna Karina who is my muse! I’ve paid particular attention to the primary colour palette of the film, which forms the basis of this season for me. I’ve also included a parrot motif that you’ll see throughout, which is inspired by the scene where Jean-Paul Belmondo’s character is carrying a parrot.

How have you gone about incorporating that?
We use a combination of hand and machine embroidery – the machine work is usually because the base is plastic, and so is completely different. All of the motifs are first hand-drawn, typically through a technique I call ‘blind drawing’ that I picked up at art school. Humans generally only use one side of our brains; through practicing this technique, we begin to develop the other half.

It’s also part of what makes the drawings themselves so special and unique. It’s not perfect, which is because I was sketching without looking at the paper.

We wouldn’t be able to resist; we’d have to look!
It’s part of my brand’s DNA to have slightly off-kilter images; I’ve been drawing like this for ten years.

Do you then aim to marry that signature technique with your Catalan heritage as a further reference point?
Yes! In addition to the art and movie nods, it’s really important to me that my collections translate where I come from. It’s something I really like to exhibit – and you’ll see it in the super bright colours and positive energy, even the clear blue sky and scorching sun from the campaign. Everything is handmade in Barcelona.

I really like to mix contrasting concepts: I love the marriage of plastic and organza, or plastic and hand embroidery.

That’s indicative of how people dress now – they don’t tend to shoehorn themselves into a single genre. That’s part of your manifesto isn’t it? Not to let dressing become a habit.
Yes, it’s about having fun when choosing your outfit! In the future, I would like to create bespoke or one-off pieces that I can work directly with a customer on, and make something together.

Does that mean that, at this stage, there’s a lot of yourself within each piece?
Yes, definitely. It’s my debut collection and as an emerging designer every piece is a bit of me… You can definitely tell! I spend hours on each one, but the core idea remains that they're for everyone. So we’re taking embroidery and super-expensive techniques and working them in to everyday wear.

Through that though, you’re starting to slow down the process of modern fashion and make it that little bit more considered.
In 2018, people need focus all the time! Sometimes I do machine embroidery in a thread that’s the same colour as the background, and it occurred to me that it’s only the people who really care and stare at the garment that will see these embroidered details. Through these, I’m essentially trying to say: “slow down”.

All images courtesy of Berta Cabestany. Click here to shop the Spring/Summer 18 collection.