It’s always big news in Berlin when Hugo Boss decides to stage an event in the German capital during Fashion Week. Yet the decision to return with Hugo after a hiatus of seven years was primarily driven by the city itself. Not only was Berlin’s techno culture and “creative energy and eclectic street style” a key influence for the collection this season, but “with its very unique mix of fashion, art, music, literature and tech, it’s a good eco-system to take a brand like Hugo to the next level,” Boss chief executive officer Mark Langer told WWD prior to the show.
And what better place to do that than in the original home of techno, Motorwork, a gargantuan industrial space that Hugo transformed into a dark and gritty Nineties rave environment. The decade also figured strongly in the men’s and women’s looks on the runway, especially in terms of the prints based on ripped and collaged Rave posters or period album artwork, and the oversized, wide-shouldered, tailored silhouette for both genders derived from a Nineties Boss archive piece. However, that jacket and coat silhouette and baggy tailored pants were customized with DIY flair. Drawstrings were used to create new volumes and defuse any sartorial strictness, backs were cut out, buttons eccentrically placed, and bright mesh linings peeked out from under perforated wool suits.
“The attitude is streetwear, mixing completely different things together,” said Hugo men’s designer Bart de Backer of this “Mixmasters” collection which combined more aggressive attitudes with poetic musings, or athletic and hyper-techno fabrics with more urban textiles and styles. The accessories, especially backpacks, looked almost one with the clothes, and the natural tones, neon brights and soft pastels were less blocked than stacked in transparent layerings. As Hugo women’s designer Jenny Swank-Krasteva summed it up, “It’s like taking elements from your relative’s closets and screwing them up a bit, playing with them.”