We like to think of The Brvtalist as a place where different disciplines collide but maintain a common thread that weaves throughout. The work of designer Daniel Gregory Natale could not be a more perfect example. Initially inspired by Brutalism and other architectural forms, his creations go beyond traditional boundaries and enter realms of conceptual fashion, performance art and more. His exaggerated silhouettes and striking textures immediately seize both the viewer and wearer. The disproportionate lines seem masterfully plotted and the ensembles' equilibrium is just right. Today we are proud to present the designer's Fall/Winter 2016-2017 collection. Natale continues to build on an already impressive catalog and was also recently chosen to install some of his works inside the famed department store, Selfridges in London. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with the designer and spoke about Brutalism, his thought process and the upcoming installation. Please find our Q&A below:
The Brvtalist: I would love to get a bit of background on the label. Talk briefly about your history as a designer and the inception of Daniel Natale. What is the mission or ethos of the brand?
Daniel Natale: I think that I was just always curious about design. I always wanted to be an architect when I was growing up so I was always interested informs and materials. I remember one day just deciding that I wanted to design garments instead of structures.
The first collection's concept was rooted in the history of Berlin. I was always interested in different parts of the city like the Bauhaus of course, so I started to look at the city as a whole entity. I wanted to create something that would translate Berlin’s history within the clothes. For example I’m looking at the Berlin wall and how it strictly divided the city and exploring how to conceptualize that same stark division of the wall into clothes, which is why the outerwear was made of different wool fabrics fused together, to create this division while still being apart of the same. Brutalism was a beautiful architectural movement that celebrated material purity in these gargantuan almost overpowering forms. Berlin was prominent in the Brutalist movement so exploring the movement made sense, I'm elaborating on the large structural form. There are many more aspects of Berlin that all came together and allowed me to design the clothes that way. It was a merging of different aspects of Berlin's history into ideas of a critical way of design thinking and design process.
TB: Your fashion is very conceptual and exaggerated. We love how you play with proportions and layer many of your looks. Talk a little bit about this practice and what has inspired you to create fashion like this.
DN: This is where my initial interest in architecture takes hold. I love the focus on the garments being on the form and the material rather then very fine details like top stitches or what not. There are entire stories in the layers of each look and how the different textures of the fabrics within each of the looks interact with one another as a whole. I like the complexity of layering and trying to find the right proportions and textures for each layer while being cohesive to the design concept.
TB: Let's talk a little bit about the new collection. I love the grey tones, heavy fabrics and the silhouettes of the outerwear. What is the concept behind the collection and how does it build on and/or differ from past Daniel Natale collections?
DN: The new collection is just a further exploration of the general concepts from the first collection. I was (still am) learning at the time I did the first collection so there were a lot of things I wanted to refine afterwards. There is still a lot within the concept that I would like to explore. I’m not bored of the concept yet so I’m still going to work on it, discover new things and also try and make old things more interesting. And like I said before, the concept is mostly about the way I'm thinking about design and I'm constantly thinking of new ideas that fit the design philosophy. I really love working on the coats. I feel the most freedom working on it. The forms can be so exaggerated and explored because a coat doesn’t have to fit underneath anything else. It’s like the grand finale of layering, and that’s why the coats in the collection can be a little dramatic.
TB: In other exciting news, this collection will also be installed in Selfridges London. Talk about your approach to this project. What did you want to do with the presentation and what we can expect from the installation?
DN: Yes, it is scheduled to be installed on July 11th at the Selfridges Oxford store. I wanted to present something that celebrates the material rawness of the collection. I’m designing a installation that kind of plays with similar ideas of lots of layered textures and materials. It will act as a sort of center piece where the rest of the collection will hang and be displayed. I can’t give to many details away but the collection will be available in its entirety.
TB: What's next for Daniel Natale? Any plans to expand further beyond the fashion medium?
DN: I have lots of things I want to work on. I’m currently working on a fine jewelry collection with a very talented jeweler and craftsman. He’s helping refine the forms of the pieces and conceptualize it so it merges with the clothing. I’ve also been collaborating with an architect on the Selfridges piece. I would love to continue our collaboration with an expansion into a small kitchenware collection. It sounds silly, but it's exciting to have the opportunity.
We would like to thank Daniel Gregory Natale for taking the time to speak with us. His works are both thought provoking and inspiring. If you're in London after July 11th please do visit his installation at Selfridges Oxford. For more information please visit http://danielgregorynatale.com/.