LFW preview: Aquascutum

19 February 2009

Today we visit Michael Herz, the womenswear designer of Aquascutum, at his brand new design studio on Piccadilly. Inside his studio is Edward Enninful – the US Vogue and i-D stylist – who is styling up the collection ahead of Sunday's show at the Saatchi Gallery on King's Road. While the model was layered with clothes, Michael pulled me into his office, sat right back in his chair as if I was his shrink and began to talk...


'When you are being creative so many things come at you, and it doesn't make sense to an outside viewer, but then you start making connections in your head. So for me I was lying on the floor last summer, and I suddenly knew the show was to be about texture. A texture you could replicate on all sorts of fabrics. So I decided we would work for a few days in the dark.' (They wore hats with torches on them so they could see where they were going!) 'If you can feel and touch something and it makes you feel good, then that is enough for it to be beautiful,' he says. 'Then, one evening, a girl in the design studio was going to meet her boyfriend for a date and she had nothing to wear. We dressed her in this rumpled black plastic trench we found in the backroom. She looked like a spy. Then it was bingo. We had the attitude. We had the feeling.'


'When we started building the shapes, we started layering everything up. We were thinking about versatile clothes; things you can wear for everyday that are good-looking, familiar and useful. Then I realised we had to do a two for one! You get a rainproof mac, and inside you've got your coat. Then you get the textures – a rubbery crumply outer layer with a cashmere under layer that is buttoned together. The whole thing is very young Glenda Jackson.'


'Things have changed so much in the last six months. Every day is like "what's going on?". It has been the most difficult collection because of the external things that are going on. What do people want? Sombre? Escapist? What's the right thing to be doing? You will never know, you just have to do something that you love, and that's what we have done. We are respecting other people's situations in this collection. It's all about having good-looking and particular clothes.'


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