For months, Deanna Didovich had an illustration pinned to her mood board. The Ruby designer was drawn to the fluid, linear work of Gattobravo, an enigmatic illustrator whose work had caught her eye online. The illustrator had worked for everyone from Vogue to Dior and Vanity Fair to Topshop, but her background and identity were still somewhat a mystery. She let her drawings speak for themselves.
Looking through the illustrator's blog - with its focus on food and fashion, and the tagline "an illustration blog that focuses on relatively unnecessary but beautiful things in life" - Didovich became even more intrigued, eventually contacting the anonymous illustrator to pitch an idea: lend her hand to a collaborative collection.
The results of that initial contact earlier this year arrive in store later this month: a 15-piece collection featuring Gattobravo's distinctive script - a watercolour raindrop print also translated into bejewelled crop tops, a leopard print with a few surprises (a hat, lips and heart hidden within the leopard spots), and the illustrator's distinctive eye embroidered in gold thread.
Gattobravo is, in fact, Yasmin Sandytia, who has been illustrating under the Gattobravo moniker since 2010 but explains that she prefers to "stay at the back of the curtain" rather than have her face out there for all to see.
We asked her a few questions about the new collaboration - and the story behind that name.
Why the name Gattobravo - or "Good Cat", as it translates to in English?
I have admiration for these creatures. I think they are very mysterious and unpredictable. I came across a lot of nice stray cats while I was travelling in Italy, and I picked up the name.
How would you describe your work?
It's freestyle and fun. I want it to look more on the quirky side. Most of the drawings I'm most satisfied with are when I do them without thinking much. And I try to bring a small story behind my illustrations ... something funny.
How long does it take you to create your illustrations?
It depends. A simple one I can do in a couple of hours. But only if the ideas come at the right moment. If not, it can take more than a day. There are days when I can't come up with nice drawings.
What are your favourite brands or designers to illustrate?
Anything with interesting colours or details. Silhouette is important, too. With these kind of pieces the illustrations will turn out fun. Raf Simons, Dries van Noten and Prada always come with great story/theme and styling.
What is your own personal style like? Who are your favourite designers?
I am very relaxed and practical. Most of the time I want to be comfortable. I have a weakness for coats and jackets. I'll save and get pieces from Dries van Noten and Celine.
Describe where you work?
I recently moved to Switzerland from Clerkenwell, London. My neighbourhood in London was the perfect place to live. Many design offices and showrooms around there. It's a little gem in London. In Switzerland my base is in the Alps, surrounded by nature. But, at the moment, I stay in Asia a lot. I pretty much work from everywhere as long as I have my drawing equipment.
Tell me about your collaboration with Ruby - why did you choose to collaborate with them, all the way in New Zealand?
They first contacted me and I love what they are doing, so I was happy to be able to collaborate with Ruby. Deanna translated my illustrations into great pieces. I love the shapes and colours. They're very fresh and modern. They gave me freedom to do my drawings and I enjoyed the project very much.
How did you develop your prints, and interpret the ideas or concepts given to you by Deanna?
She would give me the brief and we bounced ideas throughout the process. One of the prints, we wanted to have it along the line of animal prints with hidden little gems. So when you look closely you will find small surprises.
Tell me about the cool embroidered eye print?
I always love drawing lips and eyes. They always have been novelty objects in the fashion work, and yet are powerful elements of your body. And, of course, it's fun to draw eyes.
Your favourite pieces?
The animal prints: I spent a lot of time thinking of the objects that should go on it. And the colour Deanna picked is just perfect. The embroidered eye top is another; it has a nice silhouette and makes any simple ensemble look chic.