BERLIN — The industrial setting — cavernous factory halls about 20 miles from the city — and the turbolike engine revolving at the end of the runway was the perfect backdrop for the relaunch of Boss Orange during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin. More than anything, one felt Hugo Boss’ massive industrial wheels rolling.
The more casual Boss Orange line, now under the creative direction of Eyan Allen, represents the German power brand’s second largest source of sales after Boss Black. In 2008, that added up to about $426 million, or 19 percent of total Hugo Boss brand sales of $2.25 billion (converted from the euro at an average exchange rate for the year). The men’s Boss Orange collection is sold in more than 3,000 points of sale, the women’s range in more than 1,000.
But last fall, the decision was made to move Boss Orange in a new direction: trading the collection’s original ethno-boho approach for a cleaner and more urban look.
Allen said he had three style icons in mind when he started Orange’s transformation: Sienna Miller, “a cool little girl who knows how to put stuff together in her own way” and who’s the new face of the Boss Orange perfume; Kate Moss, whom Allen said “gives a fresh approach to the obvious,” and Johnny Depp.
The new geometric Boss Orange logo bears a faint resemblance to that of Carhartt, and indeed the new collection has more in common with such authentic workwear and denim brands than in the past. But while Boss is one of the biggest denim producers in the world, Boss chief Claus-Dietrich Lahrs said the goal was not to make Boss Orange a denim brand. Denim is a key element, and Allen used the group’s tailoring expertise to craft a denim trenchcoat and even an evening dress. But essentially, Boss Orange aims to provide today’s denim-bred generation the items with which to build their own style statements.
As seen on the runway, that means long line, scoop-neck Ts; relaxed roll-up jeans and casual pants; tailored denim coats and jackets; chambray shirts, and superfluid cardigans for men. Boss Orange staples for women include swingy, floor-length, sash-waisted skirts in fabrics ranging from chambray to satin prints and silver lamé; denim trenchcoats, peacoats and neo-traditional jean jackets; shorts of all lengths; jumpsuits; blousons and sports blazers, and skinny jeans and pants.
Boss Orange also has a new retail design, featuring lots of burnished steel for a decor Allen said will look better with age. “We’re also using beautiful solid oak that looks 100 years old, together with very modern fixtures and concrete walls. And the denim wall is made of just big steel girders and horizontal wooden planks.”
The new store design will be gradually introduced over the next two years, and is slated to premiere in a store opening in Singapore in December.
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