As the daughter of one of the oldest ranching families in Uruguay and the wife of Austin Hearst, (grandson of publishing magnate, William Randolph Hearst) Gabriela Hearst's background suggests she might be the kind of woman more at home seated among couture clientele front row at a runway presentation, as opposed to toiling behind the scenes of it. Not one to follow convention, Hearst's eponymous label - which she established in 2015 - has already garnered the approval of some of the world's most discerning press, buyers, (Barney's, Nordstrom and The Line are all stockists), and followers within the first year of business.
Her collections have a Wes Anderson quality to them - quiet, intelligent and charming with a glimmer of good humour. The garments themselves are tastefully luxurious, yet utterly wearable. A premium is placed on clean palettes, unfussy silhouettes and most importantly, the finest of fabrics - for A/W '16 this meant lightweight yak yarn, waxed canvas, double-faced cashmere, merino wool (from the family ranch, no less) cady silks and leather.
"For me, modern luxury means understanding that it truly comes from where the materials are made, how they are made and by whom," Hearst explains. For A/W '16, this meant partnering with Manos del Uruguay, a non-profit organisation employing over 250 craftswomen. "I look for intelligent beauty. Design with a conscience," she emphasises. "When purchasing a Gabriela Hearst knit, women have a beautiful and luxurious piece but are also supporting and empowering other women at the same time."
This regard for humanity is woven into each piece of her newest offering, literally, in a house-engineered Morse code pattern sewn onto each hem, seam or embroidery, spelling the word 'love' over and over again.
When asked how important it is to challenge convention in her designs, she offers, "We are in a very fast-paced world and it is essential to slow down and think about the reasons behind what we do. It's important to stay true to yourself."