We are now just a matter of days away from London kick starting the menswear calendar with a celebratory showcase of British brands and businesses embedded in a cultural programme of shows, presentations, installations and talks as part of London Collections: Men. Having toiled both in and out of the spotlight over the last seven years or so, London menswear finally has the platform that it deserves and we cannot wait. Over the next two weeks, as designers apply the finishing touches to their SS13 collections, we will share a series of studio visits and peeks at the inspirations behind each collection. Here, Raimund Berthold discusses his methods, updated us on his progress and allows us to take a close look at his latest shimmery mood board rich in detail shots and found imagery of art installations..
"With it being such a short season we are trying to be even more organised than normal. The studio is so small and given the lack of time, all the patterns had to be finished and sent to the factories, we are just waiting on the print that will shortly come back from the printers. Actually, the print will be familiar to you. Do you remember the close up photograph of the glass of orange juice that featured on my wall last season? That's going to be the print but we've blown it up and manipulated it so it will be more abstract. I've been working with the girls from Patternity and they are absolutely brilliant. They tend to do quite graphic prints but I showed them the original shot and let them loose to experiment. One is really washed out so the idea is to introduce a flash of yellow to the collection. The other is darker. I don't tend to go for literal prints, I prefer subtlety and something more organic and muted. I'm always more interested in shape than colour or print and this season has been fun, lots of variety and experimentation.
There are lots of different elements this season. I think it’s important that people can see where the clothes have come from, from where they have evolved. As always, the mood board is a collection of found images and a few photocopies that are all feeling based. There's a lot of subtle, relaxed and soft silhouettes, fabric ideas and in particular leather which I seemed to rediscover this season, art installations and stand out imagery. You'll notice a few shots of accessories and this season because I began to think about the types of bags that I use and came up with three different styles. A shopper, an extendable tote and an oversized hold hall. Now, I've not worked of bags before so I thought it would be a fresh challenge. We've been playing around with different fabrics and shapes but then started talking with a good friend of mine Nick Bond, who is Porte Monnaie. We began brainstorming and Nick really helped to direct my ideas. I then challenged him to take the toiles and he's been brilliant, even sewing himself. He approaches accessories just as I do with clothes and it was great to use his expertise..."
"This season is all about pushing myself whilst having fun. We've even used silver foil, similar to the one used for last season's mood wall, for an oversized coat. I was a little suspicious at first and wanted to use the reverse side which is black and have the silver on the inside but Dal (Chodha) pushed me that bit more. As a small label it is good to offer exciting pieces because basics can be picked up anywhere and in particular from larger brands. Last season, I thought a couple of the jackets would only be picked up for editorials but in fact they proved to be some of the most popular items with buyers.
"I'm really excited about London Collections Men. I'm so happy to be part of the schedule. I've checked out the space and my position, I'll be next to Baartmans & Siegel again which will be great and I'll be close to H by Harris. I'm still deciding on how I'll dress the space and working out exactly what I can do and what I can't. There needs to be a balance between an interesting and impactful display and a functional one for selling because ultimately that is what we're all there to do. I've got friends that are furniture designers so I think I'll work with them to create a couple of items. Ultimately it is all very exciting and great for menswear."
Berhold's excitement for the new season is shared. Rather than being something of hangover of the womenswear calendar, London Collections: Men has thrusted London menswear so far forward that it now launches the new season. Previously as part of Menswear Day, although successful in gaining momentum for the industry, many eyes would have already diverted to other fashion capitals as we celebrated our homegrown menswear. Now, the new platform will ensure all focus is deservedly on the design talent that uniquely exists in our capital.