Guillaume Henry presented traditional pieces designed in a modern way at Carven’s new Saint Germain des Pres HQ
Carven is always tailored for men in love with traditional garments designed for a contemporary lifestyle. There’s a constant stream of slim suits, crombie coats and cashmere knits, but always mixed with quirky details and technological solutions. Having said that, Carven could never be anything but Parisian. Designer Guillaume Henry takes an über French approach to the male wardrobe but shows off his lack of old age by fusing it with smart and unconventional proposals, such as the AW13 collection’s cropped suit trousers and printed herringbone fabric. Throughout the collection, Henry studied the tension between opposites, merging old with new, classic with contemporary and hand made fabrics with industrial materials. At the new Carven HQ, just south of the river Seine, we spoke about Carven’s hybrid approach to clothes…
“This season, we worked on a new style of blouson jackets, mixing two different kinds of fabrics to make them more modern – it’s a crossover between a sporty and a more traditional aesthetic. We’ve used wool that is normally reserved for tailoring and attached it to the neoprene lining. It’s a hybrid piece, but the entire collection has that theme. Carven is all about contrasts…. for example this jacket, it’s a mix of navy and grey. Both are traditional uniform colours, but here they are on a long suit jacket.”
“We worked on…mixing two different kinds of fabrics to make them more modern –
it’s a crossover between a sporty and a more traditional aesthetic”
”They way the the top half is blue and bottom half is grey kind of makes it cropped anyway. The shirts are in Oxford material, which is the perfect office shirt material – but I wasn’t able to choose between white and blue so I did them in both!
The trousers are all about highlighting a weakness… but a nice weakness. The suit trousers are three quarter length and inspired by the trousers worn by men in the 40s when skiing. They wore this shape but with wool socks underneath to protect them and keep them warm and dry. With most of these pieces I just wanted to have a classic design but with a technical finish to keep the volume. Because of Carven’s Couture history we adore the idea of a 3D approach to the clothes. We try quite a few versions in the factory before we get the right shape and fabric.
The fishtail parka is good because from a distance it looks like it’s been woven in wool but it’s actually a down jacket. There’s a sporty touch to it with the red fox fur collar. If you get to warm you can wear it as a backpack as well – there are straps attached to the back of the coat! It’s got elbow patches as well – normally they are made of leather but this nylon parka has got wool patches to really make sure all fabrics swap places… ”