More than ever, denim is playing a key role in the fashion industry. What is the reason for this success and will it last? The designer Lutz Huelle and Première Vision’s fashion director, Pascaline Wilhelm, analyse the trends in denim and consider its future.
The show has decided to give carte blanche to a designer. Why have you made this choice? And why Lutz Huelle?
Pascaline Wilhelm: We are at a very specific moment in time where the worlds of denim and fashion are moving closer together, and it seemed logical to us to illustrate this proximity by working with a designer. Denim is undergoing great changes these days. After its cowboy and rebel periods, it is now turning towards hybridization, combination, customization. This corresponds very closely to the work of Lutz Huelle who is a pioneer in this area, playing with mixtures of codes, acting on the structure and the use of the garments. His strongly couture approach, which is both visual and poetic, is the perfect illustration of the current movement.
Lutz, in what spirit did you accept this invitation?
Lutz Huelle: Firstly, I would like to say that I find it very interesting that a show wants to work with a designer. It’s a first, but it’s also very logical, as we are working together on the future of material and fashion. In more concrete terms, I think that the point of view of a designer can be very useful for exhibitors, as we are a direct link with the client, and thus with the reality of the market. Our perspective allows them to better anticipate the demands of the end consumer. This observation can help to enrich the considerations of exhibitors, stimulate their creativity and help them to imagine new ways of producing items. And obviously, this enrichment is a two-way street. Designers are always inspired by discussions with manufacturers.
Denim has a very specific role in the fashion world today. How would you define it and in which direction does it seem to be going?
Lutz Huelle: Jeans are a more universal item than ever. They are masculine, feminine and transgenerational. This supremacy comes from the DNA of denim which is like a blank canvas, offering infinite possibilities. And this adaptability allows designers to be very reactive, rapidly aligning themselves with new consumer desires. Denim is gradually becoming the backbone of the wardrobe. It can adapt to all situations, alternating between cool, chic, comfortable, sexy, etc.
Pascaline Wilhelm: Denim is now present everywhere, not only in streetwear but also in tailoring and structured garments, even approaching made-to-measure. Its performance is improving in terms of comfort and femininity and the range of uses is constantly expanding, enriched by research on fabrics and finishes. Creativity does the rest by broadening the formal vocabulary of denim to jackets, coats, etc. and not limiting it to trousers.
What does this mean, structurally, for the denim industry?
Pascaline Wilhelm: Denim requires great expertise, which can hinder creativity. The industry has understood this and is opening up to a new approach in terms of format, expertise and various perspectives. We are seeing the development of new fabrics and finishes; new machines are being produced to transform items. The sector is experiencing a boom and the show plays its role by suggesting directions and tools for thinking about tomorrow.
And in terms of fashion trends for the next season, AW1920?
Lutz Huelle: The versatility of denim will become even more pronounced. Its transformation will be visible by an increase in quality (with a more couture, luxurious denim) and a broader palette of materials with new blends: denim and cashmere, denim and linen. Similarly, uses will continue to multiply. The next season will undoubtedly see an increase in the idea of protection.
How will the show reflect these changes?
Lutz Huelle: The starting point is the display of a number of items of clothing taken from my collections. The selection will be arranged according to the five themes (wild, evening, active…) which are designed to showcase the richness and modernity of denim. These themes will then be explored by manufacturers who will present their products and demonstrate their creativity.
Pascaline Wilhelm: Once again, the show will be the ideal place for the industry to show off its transformations and its open-minded approach. Alongside Lutz Huelle, the industry will illustrate the changes it is undergoing, the new worlds that are coming together and generating extraordinary energy and dynamism.
To be discovered at the show!