Thursday, 26 January 2012

Inspired... Berthold AW12

In 2009 Raimund Berthold launched his eponymous line of creative yet functional menswear. "I remember feeling that menswear was either a bit samey or too crazy and overwhelming in London. What I do is not about completely reinventing menswear," the designer states. The Central Saint Martins graduate's philosophy is simple; to design interesting, well made and inspirational clothing for everyday wear. His collections are characterised by a utilitarian sense of colour and a silhouette that is free from defined shape in nylon, neoprene and synthetic fabrics cut against natural wool and cotton. Berthold is confident, sophisticated and refined. His are bold clothes crafted for men lead by inventive design and fit – not by fashion. "I think it’s important that people can see where the clothes have come from, from where they have evolved," he proclaims. This blogger could not agree more with this sentiment. So, with these words ringing in my ears I visited the designer at his studio to see just where his AW12 collection came from. Here, Raimund introduces his methods and allows us to take a close look at his mood board...

"I stick found and shot images on my silver foil, I've been doing this for years and I just love the appearance of it, I throw these marathon blankets over everything really and they always look perfect. They aren't mood boards as such, for me, this collection of images merely provide a reminder to myself of a small detail. I take many of the photographs myself, from things I notice on the street to an empty glass in my kitchen, I enjoy taking them out of context and experimenting with them. One of the main inspirations for AW12 was a vintage garment that I found, an ancient brute of an army overcoat. It was the detailing; the zips and the use of velcro in particular. Much of the collection evolved from this item, I designed from this garment and it took me to places where I might not have gone otherwise. I had never thought about using velcro before..." 

From a series of detail shots of a well worn overcoat from yesteryear to cropped modern day street style shots, Raimund's studio is dissected by this shimmering wall of curiosities...

A selection of Raimund's own photographs and scans of curiosities that played a part in shaping AW12. 

"My design process is quite organic. There are two aspects to it really. First, my research either entails discovering a catalyst that sparks the thought process (and for this collection that was the army overcoat) or in other instances, I approach it with a clear mind and spend a day in the library going through book after book, collating images that do something and inspire me to start sketching. In both cases I keep the design quite loose initially. It is more about a feeling, a silhouette, shape, a length or rough details because I work with a pattern cutter. Now, if you sign off garments when you work with a factory, you have to be very specific but it is a real luxury to work with a pattern cutter or if you work on them yourself because you can think about it as you do it. When you start working on a garment you can uncover clever additions or notice amendments that elevate it, then of course it can all change again during the first fitting. This ability to change is important. There is only finality when the last toile is made." Raimund Berthold

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