I saw you .. walking in the Rain.. Fall/Winter 2012/13 Watching people covering themselves against the rain during a sudden downpour made me think of oversized hoods, crinkled coated cottons and other shiny surfaces. It was the first season of the coats with draped, generous front panels wrapping around the body, like pulling a coat closer in a sudden burst of rain .. there was also the draped, hooded Biker Jacket that became a staple in the collection for years afterwards. My favourite look was the shortsleeved biker jacket in wool worn over a superhighwaisted pant and caramel gloves ❤️🔥
..the thing with inspiration is that it’s never foreseeable nor can it be planned. I’ve spent hours staring at a white page waiting in vain for the sparks to fly, only to be waking up at three in the morning with my brain on fire 😝This collection, Spring/ Summer 2014, happened while sitting in a cab going to work in Italy. I had arrived in the morning and stepped out of the plane into gorgeous sunshine, and for a second I had an incredible urge to tell the driver to go past the factory and straight to the next beach… so this collection became about spending the day at the beach still dressed for work- a collection in black bleached out by the sun. Tie-dye, fading prints, stripes, bleached knits and wet- look wool and denim, as if having rushed into the sea with your suit still on. Dresses and tops were draped like towels slung over the shoulders or tied around the waist. My favourite look was a bleached biker jacket, partly draped, worn over a pair of oversized denim pants bleached out towards the upper part.
As any Fashion House we had our ups and downs, but there was a moment around 2013 where it felt like our time was finally up. We did go on in spite of seemingly overwhelming odds, stopping the shows and winding down the collection to an absolute minimum. When we started showing again in 2015 I felt a new energy around us and my work, that whatever direction Fashion was heading to it was finally turning our way. Streetwear, sportswear, casual and couture, taken out of context, elevated and transformed. This, in turn galvanised me, and it all came together in this collection, Fall/Winter 2016. We were suddenly more visible than we had ever been, had the best reviews of my career, and the sales were the best we’d had for years. I sometimes wonder what would have happened had we given up.. but it’s a futile thought because we didn’t 😎💪😍.
Ahead of my first collection for AZ Factory last Summer I spoke to the very wonderful Amy Verner for a film produced by and for the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in Paris. Thank you to all involved ❤️
I spend most of my saturdays in the studio.. it doesn’t really feel like work to me. The telephone doesn’t ring ( unless it’s friends or family) and there’s no rush in getting things done. It feels more like pottering around, looking at stuff , trying out things, without a clear aim apart from maybe stumbling onto a good idea 😎 .. in fact this place has never felt like an office to me, more like a sanctuary 🙂
Here we go again ..working with the fabulous team at AZ Factory was such a brilliant experience.. so happy to get to do this again!
Do you remember the first time ? Here’s mine, Fall/Winter 2000. I had spent 6 months on the preparation of this collection, taking my Central St. Martin’s Degree Show‘ as the starting point. I wrote down some words to make clear to myself what I wanted to do : “Change the Silhouette. Pull up the Waist. Skinny Legs and Volume on Top. Mix neutrals and strong colours. Make in Knit what is normally made in Fabric . Put on top what is normally underneath. Make everything supersmall or superbig. Wear everything together. Sexy and Non-Sexy.”It was maybe a slightly pretentious Manifesto but I’d spent so much time preparing that first collection in my mind, in the end just had to define it, get it out of my system. Does it hold up ? what do you think ? We organized a Show at Fabrice Hybert’s studio, which was just down the road from our own office, not having the slightest idea if anyone would actually turn up. It’s still one of my most cherished ( as well as nerve-wrecking) memories. The beautiful photos are by Wolfgang Tillmans ❤️
I sometimes think about that day .. I’d met Karl before, as member of the jury at the Festival d’Hyeres.. we sat next to each other during the show, and chatted throughout. He was utterly charming and he made me laugh with his kinda dry sense of humour typical of people from Northern Germany.I was flattered when he invited me to the shoot organized by Nicole Picard for Madame Le Figaro- after all I was very much an independent and undergound-ish designer ( which is just a more romantic way of saying ‘under the radar’ ), but he told me he loved my work and that he wanted me to be part of this. He was slightly dubious about the fit of my Tshirt though, and pinched it together in the back with a clip for the photo 😎 .. It’s still such a brilliant memory for me, because he made me feel that I belonged there, with my strange mix of sportswear and couture that most of Paris really didn’t care too much about at the time. I’ll always be grateful to him , and I’m just so pleased I got to meet this extraordinary man. ❤️
I had an interesting conversation yesterday with someone about why I communicate about pieces that might not be available at this moment in time- designs from past collections, or pieces that are long sold out, the question implying, basically : “What is the point in making an effort in publicising anything if it’s not for sale? “
The answer, for me is manifold: I’ve never understood why Fashion is supposed to lose its value after 6 months, … More