Designer spotlight: Interview with Louise Trotter, creative director of Joseph

Designer spotlight: Interview with Louise Trotter, creative director of Joseph

Understated luxury

Text: Andrea Sim

Louise Trotter, the authority on smart, clean wearable basics shares Joseph's approach to balancing trends and classics

British label Joseph is the go-to brand for building the foundation of your wardrobe. Invest in their finely tailored basics and you'll find yourself pulling an outfit together season after season with the very same pieces — their luxury essentials are the very antithesis to all things kitschy with limited shelf life.

Despite that, the collections spun from luxurious fabrics in a sharp, minimalistic aesthetic is in no way lacking when it comes to rousing desires and drawing out the plastic. Take a trip down to their newly opened boutique in the heart of our cityand the racks of smart ready-to-wear designs will speak for the wardrobe mileage Joseph is known and loved for.  

In an interview with creative director Louise Trotter, she shares her two cents worth on the store experience you can expect, the definition of understated luxury, and for a peek into the Joseph woman's mindset towards getting dressed.

Louise Trotter, creative director of Joseph

She's assured in her sense of style and intelligent in her choices. Her clothes are an extension of what she is, enhancing rather overshadowing.

Functionality and ease of wear is clearly a priority for Joseph. What is the secret to achieving that?
It starts with the tailoring. At Joseph, we offer well-cut essentials in luxurious fabrics with a detail-orientated design. The brand's core DNA revolves around creating key essentials channelled through a modern luxury lens. I covet pieces that are easy and functional — clothes that should be worn as well as admired.

What is the Joseph woman's story?
She's assured in her sense of style and intelligent in her choices. There is a focus on the need for functional, modern clothes that can be worn with ease day to night. Her clothes are an extension of what she is, enhancing rather than overshadowing.

Being such a quintessentially British brand with classic sensibilities, was there a need to adapt to the Asian market when the brand first opened in Asia, and now Singapore?
The Asian market is incredibly receptive. It's slightly more welcoming to change and new ideas. I don't think we've necessarily tailored our approach specifically to the market. The brand takes its influence from Anglo/Franco roots and I think those clean lines and modern vision translates equally as well to the Asian market.

The Joseph store in Singapore

What do you hope potential Joseph customers will uncover about the label on their first encounter?
The launch in Singapore marks a significant moment in the brand's expansion in Asia. Jospeh Singapore has been executed in line with the global store design concept which strongly echoes the brand's sensibilities — clean lines and a monochromatic palette. I hope the store will enhance our customers buying experience, enabling a wider insight into the brand and its aesthetic.

We admire the Joseph aesthetic that never looks out of place season after season. What is your take on trends as opposed to longevity and classics?
We try to create products that have longevity even if it seems of-the-moment. Joseph is a brand with a unique heritage that we respect. We still create wardrobe basics but update them seasonally to keep them relevant. However, in recent years we've been developing our own unique handwriting — creating collections with an identifiable narrative and directional wearable pieces. 

Joseph pre spring/summer 2016 campaign

It's clear that it's about so much more than just the clothes with the label. How do you think Joe's Cafe in London complements the Joseph stores?
Joseph our founder was a curator. He created a brand which was as much about the food you ate and the photography and architecture you like, as it was about the clothes. He created a lifestyle and Joe's Cafe is a part of that.

We've read that you gravitate towards monochromatic colour schemes. Why so?
It's a palette that the brand has been recognised for since the very beginning, and it has become part of our DNA — contrasts is something we always refer back to. Our label is black and white and I try to use contrasts as filter in all my work.  

Joseph uses a lot of luxurious fabrics such as silk, cashmere and shearling. Describe your take on understated luxury.
We offer perfect essentials through luxurious fabrics and a detail-orientated design with the perfect cut. Joseph elevates the every day pieces. For me, there is nothing more luxurious than clothes that look and feel good at the same time. When designing and realising our products, we always consider the proportions, the smallest details and the functionality for the wearer. Clothes need to feel modern, luxe and wearable. 

What are your tips for building a woman's closet from the ground up? 
My own wardrobe starts with trainers, black pants, soft jersey basics, a white shirt, cashmere knits and a man's overcoat. I think they're fairly stable building blocks for a functional modern wardrobe.

For the woman looking for partywear for the upcoming festivities, what would you recommend they pick out?
The Jake jumpsuit in fluid crepe is one of my favourite pieces for evening, along with the Georgette Dash dress — both are light, easy and comfortable.

And lastly, what is your most memorable Joseph buy? 
I can still remember buying my first pair of Joseph pants in the nineties, and at that time I had to save to buy them. Safe to say they didn't disappoint. 

Joseph is located at #01-19, Capitol Piazza.