Today will see the Paris presentation of Bruno Pieters’ second collection for Hugo, the edgy diffusion line of Hugo Boss. A graduate of Antwerp, Belgium’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, 31-year-old Pieters worked as assistant to Martin Margiela and Christian Lacroix before launching his signature ready-to-wear line in 2002 at age 24. In April 2007, Pieters was appointed art director of Hugo. Sales for the designer’s first collection there, currently in stores, rose 18 percent.
WWD: What’s your aim with Hugo? Bruno Pieters: The original idea for Hugo was to create an avant-garde, fashion-forward brand within the Hugo Boss Group. I’m trying to develop a look and codes for them that are recognizable and are theirs by focusing on their strengths, such as tailoring and cut. Hugo is known for suits and it’s an element I love to play with in my designs.
WWD: What was your vision for the spring collection? B.P.: I explored all that is interesting in Germany’s culture, its history and art scene, since it was a German company originally. This season it was Bauhaus. I wanted the whole collection to look very clean and graphic, with elements of classic men’s tailoring.
WWD: You’re holding a party here. Is it a sign you’re opening a store? B.P.: The last two shows were in Berlin. Next January we would love to debut in Paris. I think Paris is unavoidable tocreate growth.
WWD: How has your new position affected work on your own line? B.P.: I consider my own line today as a laboratory. It’s fun to do.
WWD: Is taking up design posts at established houses vital to your own brand’s survival? Are you receiving any financial support for your line? B.P.: I’m completely independent for now. One of the reasons I accepted this position is because I love to work on different projects. I also work for Delvaux, a little-known luxury leather goods house in Brussels — actually the oldest in Europe — a great place to learn the trade. Of course, having a contract with Hugo Boss does make life as a designer more comfortable.
WWD: You’re based in rainy Antwerp. Do you socialize much with fellow Antwerp designers? B.P.: Antwerp is very small. It’s like a village; everybody knows each other. I enjoy it because it allows me to focus on my work, whereas cities such as Paris have too many distractions. I went to school at the same time as many other designers, such as Kris Van Assche. When I was offered the position at Hugo, Raf Simons was so kind as to advise me on certain things. We all respect each other. We all work hard so there is not much time, at least not for me, to socialize often.
WWD: How is it to be a Belgian designer today? B.P.: I think it doesn’t have any importance today. I feel people accept Belgian designers as part of the industry. We are just there, as are London designers or New York designers. What I find is a positive change in fashion is this tendency to focus on the individual, and no longer the nationality. If there are many Belgian designers working for different companies, I think this is because they fit the brand, not because they are Belgian.
WWD: Looking back, do you think you jumped into launching your own brand too early? B.P.: Of course it was too early, but I don’t regret it. It was fun, naïve and completely mad but everything that happened was necessary for where I am today. I feel like I have learned a lot and that I can begin my journey.
WWD: What are the pros and cons of being a young, independent designer today? B.P.: This reminds me of what Julie Gilhart from Barneys New York told me when I presented my first couture collection: “There will never be enough good designers, always room for more.” Today the interest in new designers is very low. It exists in London. When the press and buyers have a moment of interest in a young talent, the difficulty, then, is the ability to compete with the quality, deliveries, etcetera, of established houses. This was for us a big issue in the past. As a young designer, you are also expected to present something different — extreme — to be noticed. Big companies can afford to show a press collection and a different showroom collection adapted to retailers; this is impossible for an independent designer with no financial partner. They need to show what they sell, which is not always very exciting or innovative. But it’s not all bad — if there is a will, there is a way. This is still very true, and there will never be enough good designers.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)