LES HOMMES URBAN
Les Hommes is expanding into streetwear with the launch of the Les Hommes Urban line, which is available for sale at the brand’s Milan showroom during fashion week.
“The LHU collection was born out of a creative and a practical idea. When we go back to the very early days of Les Hommes, there were a lot of urban influences in the collection, such as graffiti and workwear. It is a creative playground that we always embraced and are very fascinated by,” said Tom Notte, who designs the collection with longtime business partner Bart Vandebosch.
“From the practical point of view, we were pushed to launch LHU by the feedback we were getting from our own stores. In Antwerp, where the first store was founded, we were confronted with a demand from young guys who were very interested in our collection, but because of its positioning, it was out of reach for them. We created a streetwear brand that carries the originality of a designer brand since many pieces are treated and designed with the same care as we do for Les Hommes.”
For their first LHU collection, the designers took inspiration from the worlds of street art and sports in the major cities, from New York and London to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul.
“The aesthetic is focused on a play with volumes as well as colorblocking and mixed materials,” Vandebosch said. “The feeling needs to be real and credible for the street. Being a fashion collection, LHU stretches this look, but it still must be authentic.”
Urban staples like hoodies, sweatshirts, T-shirts, short pants and baggy trousers are crafted from a mix and match of materials, from classic cotton to high-tech nylon and wool, and are layered to obtain a street-cool look. The kaleidoscopic color palette spans from more neutral tones of black, olive green and beige, to pops of saffron yellow, red and green.
Notte said the collection includes a capsule developed in collaboration with Milan Monkeys, the pioneering Milanese parkour association. “We created a capsule in the collection dedicated to this street discipline,” the designer observed. “We found it very interesting in terms of material research and volumes. We also created a sneaker for parkour that is made to jump.”
Positioned in the contemporary segment of the fashion market, the collection retails for between 95 euros and 185 euros for T-shirts, and from 190 euros to 290 euros for sweatshirts. Pants retail from 195 euros to 295 euros, while outerwear is sold at an average price of 550 euros. — Alessandra Turra
The transition from being a music event producer to becoming a fashion designer was a natural one for Vincenzo Palazzo, who last year closed his Kode_1 nightclub in Putignano, Apulia, to install an atelier in its stead and launch his Vìen brand.
Established in January 2017, the label combines Palazzo’s first name with that of his right arm, Elena Nitti.
“We found out by chance that in archaic English, the word ‘vien’ means ‘the nicest person,’ which is actually very cool,” said Palazzo, who produces his collection in factories in his native Valle d’Itria, an area in the Apulia region traditionally focused on the manufacturing of fashion collections. “I’ve always been surrounded by fashion. Not only because of the area where I grew up, but also because my grandmother was a seamstress.”
Inspired by international subcultures, Palazzo aims to rework classic fashion references, in particular linked with the Victorian age and the Fifties, through a punkish approach to deliver genderless collections infused with a contemporary, edgy attitude. In particular, he starts with traditional constructions, which he likes to destroy and recompose to create garments, especially outerwear, with a unique feel.
For spring, Palazzo said he looked at the style of certain metropolitan crews of the Eighties, which used to mix urban staples with African references.
In the lineup, men’s street pieces inspired by Eighties’ break-dancers are paired with sartorial blazers and jumpsuits with elegant peak lapels. Bold volumes are crafted from incredibly lightweight Japanese pin-striped fabrics with texture.
The color palette includes neutral tones of white, black, blue and tobacco, with pops of bright colors inspired by the Maasai tribes.
While the collection will be focused on unisex pieces, quintessentially feminine items will include couturelike dresses and frocks inspired by African tribes yet revisited with a modern and urban filter.
Accessories will include hybrid styles that combine the shapes of a bag and a fanny pack, as well as a flat sneaker and two brogues showing a wedged chunky sole.
Available in about 10 stores across Korea and Japan, Vìen’s collections, which are distributed by Milan-based showroom Riccardo Grassi, retail from 150 euros for T-shirts to 1,500 euros for outerwear pieces — A.T.
A Royal College of Art graduate, Jae Hyuk Lim teamed with Bona Kim, who graduated from the London College of Art, to launch fashion brand Besfxxk in late 2016.
“It all started with a single and simple procedure, a natural process that grew during our fashion studies,” said Lim. “The philosophy of Besfxxk is young and brave with a strong personality. We never want to look back.”
Described by Kim as “experimental, practically functionable and fun,” Besfxxk made its debut at New York’s Capsule trade show and, after several seasons of presenting at international fairs, including Tranoi in Paris and White in Milan, it is showing for the first time in Milan on June 17. Established as a women’s wear label, Besfxxk will introduce a men’s wear line on the Milanese catwalk.
“We don’t have a particular mood, our way to design a collection is much more similar to a surgical operation: we physically combine different fashion elements in order to create a garment. It is more about what we will see, what we will mix,” said Lim, summarizing the process behind the creation of the brand’s collections.
For the spring lineup, the designers combined an Eighties American streetwear inspiration with English traditional tailoring and garments, including the trench coat, which according to Kim, is a key piece in the collection.
“If we could [sum up] the collection in a few words, it would be: ‘The streetwear from New York City in the Eighties meets the traditions of the United Kingdom,’” said Lim, revealing that the lineup’s most important material is a technical fabric in different neon colors.
Asked about the strategy behind their decision to show in Milan, Kim said “we would like to raise our sales by 40 percent by showing our upcoming collections in Milan and Seoul in 2019. In the beginning, we were only three and now we can count on seven people with different roles.”
Lim added that they are also planning to launch a second label to respond to a request coming from buyers looking for “more wearable and easy-to-buy everyday pieces.”
Besfxxk collections, which retail for between 200 euros and 1,300 euros, are available in 30 shops, including L’Eclaireur in Paris, Barneys in New York and I.T in Hong Kong. — A.T.
IH NOM UH NIT
“Imagine taking a Parisian fashion house, but started by an American designer — this is the [brand’s] aesthetic: it’s how we would reinterpret the Parisian style in fashion,” said Chaz Jordan, the creative director behind Ih Nom Uh Nit [pronounced Innominate], the Los Angeles-based brand that launched in 2015.
The designer moved the label’s production to Europe last year, focusing on French and Italian suppliers and decided to do a coed collection for Milan. The spring collection for men and women will be unveiled with a presentation on June 18 as part of the city’s official fashion week calendar.
Focusing on street-inspired luxury pieces, the collection juxtaposes a soft color palette of neutral tones with bold and opulent materials, including fox fur and crocodile, the latter crafted for an oversized fanny pack. The season will be the “most cohesive to date, you can definitely see the progression from where we started and you can see the potential of a true fashion house, which is the strategy that we have, to build it into a full house,” explained Jordan.
For spring, the designer was inspired by a 2016 sci-fi movie called “Midnight Special,” translating the futuristic vibe into a coed collection of “uniforms for a modern-day astronaut and what he would be wearing if he was a cool one,” the designer explained. Jordan blended it with a darker reference, explaining the movie’s title hints to “things that are available after midnight, illegal things.” For example, a T-shirt with the word “codeine” accompanied by a warning label offers the opportunity to send a positive message, according to the designer.
Jumpsuits crafted from organza elevate a collection full of brand’s staples: sweats, hoodies and shorts with bolder, more exaggerated silhouettes compared to the past, flanked by anoraks crafted in a nylon-blended fabric.
In line with the brand’s previous seasons, the color palette will include neutral tones such as light gray and off-white, peppered with more colorful pieces, in light pink and powder blue for women’s wear.
Accessories, such as clutches, purses and fanny packs, along with footwear, are a new priority for the brand, which started its expansion in 2016 introducing women’s wear. By the end of the year, Jordan plans to unveil its first fragrance through a license with an American niche producer, whose name was kept under wraps.
After being spotted on a lineup of A-list celebrities including Jared Leto, Chris Brown, Beyoncé and Kyle Jenner, Ih Nom Uh Nit gained momentum in Europe, especially Italy, and Asia, Jordan said. The brand entered the U.S. market in the fall and plans to expand its network of retailers in the country. These will include H Lorenzo, one of the early supporters, as well as Los Angeles-based Maxfield, Miami’s The Webster and Riccardi in Boston. — Martino Carrera