It’s his iconic fabric, the one he reinvents in every collection. The Denim PV event has given carte blanche to designer Lutz Huelle, who shares with us his intimate relationship with denim. And explains how it infuses all his collections.
Has denim always been at the heart of your work?
It’s my favourite textile, and the foundation of my wardrobe. I used denim in my very first collection in 2000. I used it to make a pair of classic high-waisted pants in sky blue and red. The funny part was you didn’t immediately get that they were jeans.
Do you like giving a new spin to materials?
It’s the foundation of my work. I often use basic, popular pieces, and try to transform them, to create something surprising. And denim is ideal for this. Like a painter’s white canvas.
Has the way you look at denim changed? Do you work it differently today?
I look at it in a new way each season. I mix it with other fabrics, I exploit new shapes. For three to four years, I’ve been reworking the traditional triple-breasted fencing jacket. I first added volume to the front. They were so successful that I began designing coats and bomber jackets in the same spirit, varying their volume and length and mixing jeans with lace for example.
What role does it play in your latest collections?
I worked denim jackets with a rather narrow cut, in a very ‘new look’ spirit. I added gold and black lurex, which lends a couture touch without the formality. These are clothes I love seeing worn on the street. I never design for a fashion show, but for daily street reality.
What were your inspirations for these designs?
I look a lot at couture – Balenciaga, Dior, Courrèges in the ’60s – but I don’t want that to show in my work. The challenge is to transpose the precious, somewhat dramatic side of couture into clothing for today. I am very sensitive to comfort but I think that true street wear has had its day, and has to be reinterpreted in a more precious context. Denim is perfect for that.
Do you often wear jeans yourself?
All the time and since forever! When I was a child, I wore them to play in the garden and had to change for dinner. Now jeans adapt to every situation – work, travel, home, an evening out. I think there’s nothing sexier for a woman than a pair of jeans and a white shirt. That’s true for men too.
And what do you think about the future of jeans? Are they likely to lose out to sweats?
I love sweat pants. I recently reworked them in a tuxedo spirit, with a shiny black band on a matte fabric. Sweats are now perfectly fine to wear on the street, but they just don’t have the versatility of jeans and can’t, in my view, attain the same kind of universal destiny.
This year you’re collaborating with the Denim PV event. What were your ideas for this carte blanche invitation?
We selected five inspirations from my latest collections (evening, wild, active …) that we illustrate in a clothing exhibit. These then serve as a guiding thread to present the work of the exhibitors, to show the entire range of possibilities.