Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Hentsch Man AW10

Back in May last year we discovered a new menswear brand whose design ethos and approach to retail struck a chord with us. We have been following the continued rise of Hentsch Man ever since. The brand evolved from a seemingly simple search (in theory not practice) for the perfect white shirt. The two friends (Max and Alexia) set about designing their perfect shirt and when they felt they got it right, they placed a small order. After the shirts were soon snapped up by friends and family, the duo set about expanding their offering without compromising their core values of simplicity and function. Over the last year, we have watched with interest as the pair have added trousers, boxer shorts, footwear and luggage to create a more complete menswear collection. Earlier this week I was lucky enough to be talked through the AW10 collection by Alexia and there are quite a few exciting additions to share with you. Over the course of this post I will attempt to offer you the same journey I was fortunate enough to take supported by quotes from the lady herself and an exclusive look at their AW10 look book...

As in every collection, they have the original Jack shirt. This is Alexia's "own personal favourite, probably because it was the first piece we designed. Due to their cut I just think they make guys look really good." They've added three new shirts which have really added a new dimension to the collection, in Benny, denim and Sunday. The Sunday shirt is a button down and the cut is a little square making it a more causal shirt choice. In previous seasons they've received some feedback that their other shirts are too elegant in a way, so they wanted to have a few more relaxed offerings. In addition to the Sunday, they have added a denim shirt which comes in two washes, the washed is super soft and the other is influenced by work wear. Finally, they have added a flannel shirt, which again is more of a casual weekend shirt based on a casual workman's shirt. The looser fit and double pockets make it ideal for a dressed down look. The new shirts have certainly added a more relaxed dimension to the collection.

The collection for AW10 has really grown with this season and in addition to the new shirts, they have added sweaters and jackets. Firstly, there is the Simon striped sweaters and cardigans which are all produced in Scotland and come in three gorgeous striped colourways. There is another new sweater addition to the line which is a hand made, heavy knit that can have a customised pattern added to it. Alexia enthusiastically confessed that this piece has worked extremely well with their buyers in the States who have integrated the logo of their stores in to the knit.

As for the jackets, Alexia was inspired by Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox and his breathtaking double breasted corduroy jacket. Mr Fox's ensemble of a tight-fitting corduroy suit was based on fabric from one of the dandyish forty year olds own suits and it certainly captured the sartorial imagination of quite a few of us. Mr Fox's suit is made of orange/brown-ish corduroy and this really inspired Alexia Hentsch. It came as no surprise to see that its hero sports a natty double-breasted version of Anderson's own beloved suit, (as captured by the Sartorialist on at least one occasion) tastefully accessorised with a few ears of wheat in the breast pocket. The whole look is akin the colour of a leaf in autumn, in fact Anderson and his team wanted the whole film to look like Autumn. It is little wonder then that this film's style resonates so strongly, as you all know, I am obsessed by the colours of the season and dressing accordingly. Hentsch Man have been making their Joe trousers in corduroy for a couple of seasons now in navy, coral, ochre, aubergine and sky blue. Alexia casually remarked that "AW10 felt the right time to make two piece corduroy suits" and it is difficult to disagree, I'd love to wear one. Their cords come in bright hues and there is something quite exciting and fun about seeing a corduroy suit in coral and sky blue. A mustard suit might be too much for some, certainly not for me but you could always wear them as separates. If these eye poppingly colourful jackets and trousers are still too much,the corduroy offering has been extended in to ties. I've not encountered a cord tie before and I just love the subtle texture of them, I could not stop stroking them. Finally on the jacket front, Hentsch Man have added a couple of safer options, one of which is a beautiful tweed jacket that has the same slim cut silhouette.

"The Autumn/winter season tends to be so drab, everything is grey and blue but we wanted one or two items that just bring a smile to your face. Since the beginning we have experimented with colour and been surprised by the reaction. The very first pair of trousers we did a few seasons ago now came in just a few colours; navy, bright red and pistachio green. We made so many of the navy ones because we thought they'd be the ones to sell but in reality it was the pistachio and red ones which just flew off of the shelves. I think it is because everybody has navy trousers but our customers tend to be the ones who are inclined to push it that bit more." - Alexia Hentsch

The role of colour in a man's wardrobe, particularly during the colder months is an interesting one. I feel that with the help of a certain Japanese high street retailer attitudes have shifted. As mentioned in previous posts, I have injected a much needed shot of colour in to my wardrobe's jugular in recent months. I have mentioned the 'Uniqlo effect' at least twice before on the blog and the Japanese retailing power house is still having an effect on the colours hanging on my wardrobe rail and I've had a a great deal of fun experimenting with the various hues. Walk in to any Uniqlo store and you are instantly hit with an almost overwhelming number of colour variations and it has certainly had an effect on most male attitudes to colour. These colour variations confuse the mind initially but ultimately inspire. The available colour ranges have helped seduce me and many other men away from more muted tones. It is great to see brands such as Hentsch Man offer a similarly colourful but extremely well made and lasting alternative. Due to my recent colour experimentation I've discovered that there are a number of colours that actually suit my natural colouring and tones. Colours that I would have previously steered well clear of now grace my back and wrap around my neck. Even if some colours don't work together, it is fun trying.

Having first heard about the label watched the development of the label ever since I first discovered it via Monocle, it is great to see the labels naturally evolved collection of pieces with each new season. It takes seasons to grow and it refreshing to see that Hentsch Man have not forced anything. What began as a shirt company where they investigated different fabrics and cuts to design the ultimate line of shirts has slowly but surely developed. The next logical step was to add trousers and then they've grown from there, systematically adding new products. It is now only one or two pieces away from a complete collection and I for one am chomping at the bit to see what Alexia and Max have in store for SS10. In the meantime though, I am going to daydream about wearing a sky blue corduroy suit...

A near complete, colourful collection for Aw10


I_Wanna_Be said...

your blog is great !!
it's intresting to know more about man's trends :)
for a french touch, go there!
see u :)

Adam said...

Great post. YES to colour during winter. These cords could cheer anyone up.


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