Hentsch Man AW13: Exclusive Print Preview

  • Swiss-Brazilian Alexia Hentsch talks to George Ghon about prints and design process ahead of her London Collections: Men debut next week

    Goats Print

    London-based designer Alexia Hentsch says things like “it’s quite a fine line to be restrained in your silliness”, and sees her Hentsch Man brand populating the peripheries of the fashion system, where a good deal of self deprecating humour doesn’t scratch the glossy surface of the well-dressed man. She doesn’t book models but rather sniffs them out of tattoo parlours. The real man, the humorous, masculine, anti-ideal boyfriend, according to Hentsch Man, isn’t to be found on the catwalk but rather any place else. Although considering herself as an outsider in fashion with a background in graphic design and branding, the Swiss/Brazilian designer enters the schedule of London Collections Men for the first time this season.

    George Ghon: Are you working increasingly with prints?

    Alexia Hentsch: Prints are a new direction for the brand, which we’ve started with SS13 in a retro Californian surfer boy setting. For Winter, we moved the guys back to Europe, to a fictitious Alpine environment that could be derived from Swiss life. In some sense, though, it is probably more Austrian as I wanted it to be almost a cliché of itself. We bought old skiing gear from the 1960s on eBay, and used an old sledge, Jaegermeister bottles, and artificial snow.

  • block-print
    The prints are more graphic this season, which I found a better way of introducing them in a winter collection. I actually look for them in vintage print houses. I have about four or five places in London that I go see, where people take great pains to catalogue vintage prints, make them presentable and sell them to designers for inspiration. The goat-print we used this season originates from a piece of 1950s curtain coming in very strange colours. I took the colour out and had a play around with it. George: Does the Swiss or the Brazilian side dominate your design approach?

    Alexia: Being Swiss definitely helps to run the company and handle the serious aspects of it. My love of colour and the humour is more Brazilian for sure. You generally have a lighter mood in Brazil and it is a very colourful country. I am not scared of putting guys in red and yellow jeans. Ironically, I don’t think that Brazilians would wear that, as it is a quite conservative society regarding the ways they dress.George: Do you start a collection with the materials or do you already have a particular look in mind?

    Alexia: I definitely start with materials – all kinds of different materials. Fabrics are probably the most interesting part of what I do. I am obsessed with fabrics. And I am increasingly fascinated by all these different herringbones and geometrically woven patterns that we’ve been using this season – Prince of Wales check, and…you name it, it goes on and on. I tried to stay quite monochrome within those – black and white, green, browns and greys – that muted kind of thing.