Tome Interview & SS13 Lookbook
"We didn't want to make anything that required instructions to put on."
Tome is one of those beautiful labels you don’t ever want to take off. Its appeal lies in the simplicity, attention to detail and ease of wear each piece embodies. Following their presentation with accessories label Anndra Neen as part of New York Fashion Week, Oyster caught up with the charming (Australian) gentlemen behind the brand, Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin. They showed us their new collection, ran us through their design process and discussed plans for Tome’s future in the Big Apple.
Rosie Dalton: Can you tell me a bit about Tome’s new SS13 collection?
Tome: We like Tome to be an everywoman-spirited collection, so we make sure to accommodate all different shapes and sizes. That’s always important to us. But the real inspiration behind the collection came from a handful of female artists who have always really inspired us. There’s Pina Bausch, Louise Bourgeois, some Vanessa Beecroft in there and some others as well. We were very inspired by the movement and shapes within Pina Bausch's dance and costumes, for example.
And how does this concept of movement work itself into the fabrications?
Well, there are a lot of beautiful satins that are really fluid, with plenty of drape in them. We definitely wanted to make clothing that moves with the body. Even when we do body-conscious pieces, they are quite sensitive to a woman's natural shape; there's nothing constrictive about our clothing.
There are also a lot of neutral colours in the collection.
Yes, we were very influenced by the tones and colours of Louise Bourgeois’ sculptures and handmade dolls. That’s why there are a lot of nudes, flesh tones and pale colours in the collection that appear almost sun-bleached. A lot of the pieces are designed to be like second skins. They really come to life on the body.
There's an item of jewellery in your collection this time around as well. What was the inspiration behind that?
We certainly didn't try to have an agenda of growth or anything like that, we just felt that we needed that little bit of hardware to punch away at the collection. Our work process is very organic — we'd never force ourselves to do anything, it's just about instinct and what feels right. Clothing is a priority for us right now, but we are in our third season, so branching out is certainly an option.
Can you tell me a bit about the inception of Tome?
We have known each other for years and years, we studied together and have been very close friends for a good fifteen years now. We always said that if we were going to do something, we would do it together. Respectively, we have each done very different things in the industry, so between us, we have quite a good experience base within the industry. Then, towards the end of 2010, it all just came together. It felt like the right time and we said, "Let's do it".
What do you think sets the brand apart?
We have always had a really clear idea of what we wanted to do and that is to make really unfettered, straight-forward clothes that have a sense of humility to them because they service the woman who wears them. We didn't want to make anything that required instructions to put on. I think our customer has a very good sense of her own style and she also has a busy lifestyle, so she doesn't want a headache in anything she does, but she does want to be inspired.
How would you describe the overall aesthetic of Tome?
I think 'a stripped-back beauty' would describe it best. Aesthetically, we don't try to create a total look or do anything that dictates how a woman should dress. There are a lot labels out there that we love in womenswear and that we hope to sit alongside, whether it be in a department store, in a boutique, or in a woman's wardrobe. We'd love to think that she'd throw on a piece of Tome with her Acne jeans and a Stella McCartney blazer.
How are you guys finding New York so far?
We're loving New York! We have both settled here now, which is exciting. It's a great city, especially when you're starting a label, because it's very nurturing. There is such a strong industry here and people are more than willing to help. We've had a lot of support from people within the industry and there's just a really good sense of, I suppose you'd call it family.
You showed with Anndra Neen as part of New York Fashion Week, how was that experience?
So good! When the girls approached us, we were so excited and flattered, because we’re big fans of their work. It was really such a natural process; there is a great rapport between our two aesthetics. Design-wise it fused really well and we were very happy with the presentation.
What are your plans for the future of Tome?
The plan for the immediate future is a holiday [laughs]. I think the ultimate goal though is to keep doing what we're doing. We get so excited about each new collection and we never want to get to the point where we don't love what we do. We're very invested, we're very excited and we don't want to lose that thrill!