Swedish clothing line L’HOMME ROUGE, the red man, is a reminder to live life to the fullest. The founders / creatives / friends behind the brand are John-Ruben Holtback, Jonatan Härngren, Carl-Johan Holtback and Axel Trädgårdh, and they are showing us the “red” way of life.
During Fashion Week Stockholm, August 29-31st, L’HOMME ROUGE introduced their AW16 collection ‘Blind Dimensions’ and SS17 ‘The Garden Group’. This brand has stepped into the fashion scene and are now challenging the menswear norms, finding that rare balance between rawness and delicate. The “red” way, through poetic expressions and patterns, leads us to the borderland between arts and commercial design.
After the show we had the opportunity to talk more about the new collections, models, creative processes and new ideas to be explored.
The inspiration behind these two collections?
We really try to go deep into the concept of each collection. Our designer Jonatan Härngren is really talented when it comes to researching and developing these concepts.
For AW16, ‘Blind Dimensions’, the subject was blindness so we did interviews with blind people. It was really interesting to visualize and discuss the abstract perceptions of the blind. For SS17, ‘The Garden Group’, we went back to look at the green wave and gardening in Sweden during the 70’s. This period was really characterized by a do-it-yourself mentality which resulted in an interesting simple yet raw aesthetic. We contrasted this with classically beautiful things like flowers and found something really interesting right there. We’re always balancing between poetic and playful expression to find the true L’HOMME ROUGE DNA.
AW16 ‘Blind Dimensions’
Is music an important element to you when presenting the collection?
Well, all kinds of things moving your senses can be inspiring. A variation of odd music was a good choice for this presentation, but silence as well as sounds of the streets or the sea can be inspiring as well. Two songs from the show, which have been part of the presentation are Lambert – As Ballad and Gabor Szabo – Three King Fischer. Music is always a good tool to work with trying to touch the right kind of feelings.
You put up posters around town during Stockholm fashion week, “guerilla style”. What made you think of that?
The guerilla marketing and the show itself was part of our collaboration with CFA Projects. Marcus and Catt of CFA presented this idea and it was just perfect for us. Balancing that contrast between something as delicate as these vulnerable photographs with this kind of street posting style was just very much L’HOMME ROUGE. [images at lhommerouge.com @lhommerouge and @cfaprojects ]
SS17 ‘The Garden Group’
About casting models. You had such an interesting and diverse selection of models.
How do you find them? What makes it feel “right”?
Thank you! We have to give an extra big thank you to our N.Y. based casting director Sydney Bowen who came in to help for this project. For the guerilla marketing part, we street casted six young people who’s looks kind of set the standard for the show. For the show there were a combination of street casted models and models from agencies.
We often go for looks that are a little bit “off and unexpected”. Rather than the classic and perfectly symmetrical faces, we look for something that feels more interesting. This connects much more to the spirit of our brand. We like to twist and turn things around a bit, explore and expand the perception of things.
The creative process is of course about what is being made, but the place/space and “rituals” around this process is often an interesting aspect. Do you have a place where you usually work, or any rituals to get the work flow going?
A good working environment is of course important. I think it’s good to be able to both spend some time alone to think and work, as well as collaborate closely with the rest of the team.
In your opinion, what makes a creative team extra strong?
You have to try to always have an open mindset towards inspiration, it’s hard to just sit down and “get inspired”. By the same reason you always need to have big respect for time in a creative process, you don’t know how long it will take to have the right things fall in place.
Your thoughts on menswear today?
We’re obviously many years behind the women, but it feels like it’s really starting to pick up everywhere. Men are still wearing that masculine uniform but in Sweden you can tell people are going more towards casual in all sectors of work. I can also see that androgynous looking men are more and more common in the streets which is liberating.
New ideas, projects or techniques you wish to explore in the near future?
Since we’re opening our first store this weekend we will do some experimentation with that. We would like to explore the presentation of the concepts of each collection a bit more, to really explore that space.
So, you are opening your first flagship store in Stockholm. Tell us something about the look & feel of this place?
We’ve been working a lot with natural materials in it’s natural colorways such as oak, concrete, steel and canvas toile fabrics. In addition to this we’ve added a lot of playful shapes and elements, the ambience is a little bit off and odd but still warm. The space is quite big so it will have a good luxurious but raw vibe to it.
Photography runway looks: Mathias Nordgren
Photography backstage: Emma Svensson / Studio Emma Svensson
Fashion Direction: Marcus Söder / C F A Projects
Art Direction: Cat Söder / C F A Projects
Casting: Sydney Bowen Studio
Production: Anna Sofia Skog / A Production
Hair: Henrik Haue / Linkdetails
Make up: Josefina Zarmén / Linkdetails
Music: Jonas Kleerup
Models: Nisch / Mikas / Stockholmsgruppen / Le Management / Tiad