Laura Figueras is a young talented Catalonian designer based in London. After achieving a great success with her first label Bambi by Laura, she moved to the British capital, where she has begun a new exciting adventure with Sur, a firm that captures the Mediterranean essence with a sophisticated spirit. In the following interview, Laura introduces us to her current projects and unveils some keys of her work.
Could you tell us about the origins of Sur?
When I moved to London, I saw an opportunity to start a label with a Mediterranean flavour. It's an inspiration if you live in the north, to imagine the life of the Mediterranean, the food, the beach, the colours and the lifestyle, and it was this I wanted to capture. That's why with Sur we not only want to do womenswear but also to take a piece of the essence of the Mediterranean to London and to the rest of the world.
How would you define the personality of the label? What would you want to transmit with Sur?
Sur is a brand which is fresh with a touch of sophistication. It's intended to transmit Mediterranean culture and lifestyle. With Sur we wanted to create an international brand, but that really showed it's origins. For this reason our products are made in specialized ateliers of Barcelona.
After the success achieved with Bambi by Laura, did you find difficult the change?
When I stopped doing Bambi by Laura the brand was doing really well. We had a diffusion line in Topshop, and some good distribution. On the other hand, I had a lot of other things going on in my life, I had just moved to a new city, and I was quite tired of the constant fashion cycle, so it was a chance to take some time out for myself. But I always knew I wasn't finished for good, and that if I made a brand again, I wanted it to be a step up in terms of luxury level and sophistication. I also wanted to make a brand that worked in a slightly different way, which is why for example, we really put a focus on selling online, in having different relationships with stores than we had with Bambi.
Where did your inspiration come from for your latest collection, Sforza Spring/Summer 2014?
The collection is one of contrasts, in that it combines the sophistication of urban living, in this case, I was thinking of Milan, with the colours and laid-back style of the Mediterranean, especially the Costa Brava.
I know that for people in Barcelona it's obvious; but living in London, I really got inspired by the colour tones, the light, and also by the way the girls are dressing. Simple, elegant, and easygoing. So I wanted to get those two things across, which is why you see for example Hawaiian shorts combined with sharp shirts, and leather combined with cotton. It's about where these two worlds meet, not one or the other.
Which type of fabrics do you like using in your creations?
With Bambi, I always loved to work with silk. That hasn't changed, and I still work with silk. The big change now is the variety of fabrics we work with, including leather, all different types of cottons, wool etc. I've actually been lucky in moving to England; many of the fabrics I'm now using are made or sourced there, something I didn't expect when I got there. Working with leathers has also been an amazing experience. They are from small producers in Catalunya; they supply people like Hermes, and they are the best. A real pleasure to work with.
Any material you would like to experiment with?
Yes, loads! We´re really serious about getting into knitwear, which we are definitely exploring. However, when we do, we want it to be of a certain quality, so we're thinking about cashmere, alpaca, and so on. I really like to work with such fine fabrics, but the challenge is then to make it at affordable prices. Aside from that, and I know this sounds weird, I´m really interested in 3d printing. I know lots of people are talking about it, but I would really like to try making something from printing it like that. Maybe it could be details, or accessories, but being able to actually print it myself sounds really exciting.
Do you have any favourite colour palette?
If I look back at my previous collections, they always seem to contain a strong part of the collection all in white. I´m not sure why, but I really like the clean, simplicity of white. Aside from that, I explore a different palette in each collection.
However, I always have the following three colours in my collections, red, blue, and yellow. Different tones, but always these three, so I guess I like the primaries. And blue, I'm always looking to recreate Klein Blue on a fabric, but I never found it yet.
Which element is a must in your collections?
Whatever collection it is, I always have some oversized tops, shirt/dresses, as these are things I really like to wear; a few pairs of shorts, and a good number of silk event dresses. Actually, right now, we're looking at the pieces we have, to decide which ones we will keep running, as we really want to have a kind of basics collection, which carries on despite the season. We do a piece, for example, called the Napoli Top which I think we will make every season, with a few changes. It's always amazingly popular, as it suits so many different kinds of styles and occasions.
One thing that does run through every Sur piece is the two golden balls you find on the back of each and every item, which is our signature.
Where you would like to see your designs?
In general, I get the most pleasure out of seeing my designs on well dressed women and girls. Especially when you see that unexpectedly, it's really great. I really like to work with women with character. We've worked with musicians in the past, such as Spanish singer Russian Red, and recently Aluna from British band Aluna George. I've always actually wanted to dress Sofia Coppola, as I think her and her work are amazing.
As for shops, we're really focused on our own shops, both popup and online, BUT there are some shops which I love around the world. First would be Santa Eulalia, which is the most amazingly chic shop, so if you're reading Santa Eulalia, we love your store! Otherwise, I would say Lane Crawford, Barneys, or Isetan in Japan, because I love department stores.
If you had the opportunity to make a collaboration, which artist or brand would you choose?
The first and main person is the photographer Viviane Sassen. I really love the way she makes fashion photography into something more than just marketing, but into art. Her work is amazing, and I have had her in mind from before we even started the brand. For shops, stores or whatever, I really like Uniqlo. I know it sounds strange, but what they did with Jil Sander was perfect, and I really appreciate their dedication to quality, even if they are cheap.
Could you tell us something about your next collection?
If you're talking about Fall/Winter 2014, I haven't even thought about it yet! However, I can tell you that we're looking into knitwear, and we're also taking a trip to Italy shortly looking for some inspiration, so maybe that gives a few clues. But really, I'm just recovering from the last one! Ask me in two months….
To conclude, Is there any present project you would like to share with us?
Right now I'm really busy just getting the brand up and running. However, we keep really busy with our pop up shops, which we hold in London, but want to start holding around the world. Aside from that, we are still working on publishing our first book. It's a tough project, so it might be a while before it happens, but it's important for us to look broader than just being a fashion brand. We'll keep you posted!