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The first rule of fashion for the German, Paris-based designer Lutz Huelle is that it has to be real.
“I always feel like I can do all these things here, but as long as they’re not being worn by somebody, at least one, and preferably regularly, then I’ve missed my job in a way,” he said from his design studio in Paris’s third arrondissement, two days before his Spring/Summer 2018 show. “It needs to be real, and you can only do that when you look at how people use clothing and how they wear clothes.”
Spread out on the long white table, surrounded by racks of samples that are almost ready for the show, are thumbnail images of models wearing his previous collection. Right above are photos in the exact same style, the exception being the clothes which are from the new season.
“What’s interesting for me for this collection is that for a long time, I was very much interested in the street and the super cool atmosphere,” says Huelle of his cut-out jeans, oversized bomber jackets and intrinsically cool deconstructed, rearranged basics. “The last few seasons, it’s become slightly more refined, almost couture. You can still wear it in that same way—it’s not something you can only wear on the red carpet.”
While seamstresses and the designer’s business partner buzz around the small sunlit space, Huelle picks up a few of his favorite pieces. “You can wear it with a big men’s shirt,” he motions, to a silky cocoon-like taffeta jacket that’s equal parts feminine and punk. Bomber jacket with lace and silver jacquard (a collaboration with cult brand Alpha Industries) look like long dresses. Jeans come with cut-outs that completely reinvent them not only as an everyday staple, but a must-have layering piece to be worn under other garments. “This is a dress, but it can be worn as a coat in the front opened up,” he says of another glimmering jacquard hybrid dress-coat.
That’s the beauty of the label’s pieces though—you can wear them multiple ways. On the runway just a few days later, the blending of clothing was not lost—especially when it came in the form of those ball-shaped jackets layered over men’s shirts, or tiered dresses topped the silhouette of a denim jacket. And while Lutz Huelle may still be slightly under the radar when it comes to Paris Fashion Week, he trained under Martin Margiela before launching his own line in 2000, and is a twice winner of the ANDAM Award in France. Observer spoke to Huelle about the state of Paris fashion and his love of people-watching.