Presenting both the women’s spring / summer 2021 collection and the new men’s collection for Milan Fashion Week at via Senato in Milan, Hugo Boss damned the pandemic torpedoes to provide a live-runway show.
“Coming back to Milan is a show of optimism. Plus, we are German, we have rules. And we will follow the rules for our 133 guests and our staff very carefully,” says chief brand officer Ingo Wilts.
The collection is a mix of luxury and wear ability for home dwellers who are locked down, with a push for “casualization.”
Hugo Boss: Casualization
On display were extremely elegant and youthful looks and always well-chosen colour combinations that blend in rather than clash. The maison certainly did not disappoint fashion enthusiasts. The colour palette ranges from neutral colours, black and white, white with flowery designs. There were inspired by the floral work from British artist Willam Farr. Also there’s just plain virgin white, a sea of ocean blue, and herbal green.
Hugo Boss also aims at Canada as it recently launched the brand on its Canadian e-commerce site. Moreover, the company donated 40 acacia trees to the City of Milan. That’s in support of the city’s initiative to plant three million trees by the year 2030 to help fight climate change.
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Ingo Wilts interview: What is your criteria for the theme of a show?
It’s different every time. For this show we started from the location, choosing the Palazzo del Senato in Milan. That’s where the first Boss Women’s collection was presented 20 years ago. For the 20th anniversary of our women’s line, we wanted to think about the future by taking inspiration from the past. Then continue the story of Boss Men and Women in the Italian fashion capital, which has meant so much to us over the years.
In a show like this, how do you balance “avante-garde” models and the authentic Hugo Boss style?
We are always very careful to preserve the Boss identity. Even on the catwalk, where obviously we can be more daring and experiment with colours and proportions. But this does not mean forgetting how our customers dress. Today, it’s easy to combine bolder runway looks with more classic pieces. And it’s always fun to explore new directions, while keeping the character of each show in the unique and recognizable Hugo Boss style.
In your opinion, what’s the criteria that determines the success of a fashion show?
I am curious to know how the success of such an important investment is measured. What needs to happen for you and your team to think “we made it”? The moment when the models hit the catwalk and all elements of the show come together perfectly represents the culmination of many months of work. So even then we can say “we did it!”
How is it possible that so many fashion brands have the same key elements in their collections?
We do not collaborate with other brands or fashion houses. Everyone has access to the same inspirations, trends, street style and so on. And this would partly explain the possibility of overlapping. We have access to research and forecasts on upcoming trends. But our collection is kept well hidden until the day of the show.
In terms of style, in a pandemic world, what will Hugo Boss do to remain competitive while retaining brand identity in its stores?
The trend towards a more casual way of dressing in the workplace had emerged even before the pandemic. For several seasons now we have been focusing on sportier and softer tailored garments. These are perfectly in line with the style and identity of our brand. We have included more casual items, which customers can combine as they like, such as sweatpants with a tailored jacket.
This choice is reflected in our campaigns, as well as in the collections themselves. That’s in order to offer our customers ideas on how to combine and wear these new garments. We believe that even when working from home, people want to wear clothes that make them feel good and comfortable.
How did the pandemic impact the upcoming Spring/Summer 2021 collection?
Of course we had to adapt the way we work. Many meetings with my design team took place over the phone or video conference rather than in person. We also had to cope with the limited availability of the Italian fabrics we work with. And this affected the production. However, we approached the situation as a creative challenge, finding solutions to overcome these limitations. We have made a beautiful collection for this season and I am very proud of it.
Is it difficult to find inspiration for the new collections? Are there repeated sources of inspiration in your history?
Inspiration never fails me. It can come from anything: a book, a film, a work of art, a song, but also from how people dress today. Trends come and go, but what really matters to us is to keep growing the brand’s story.
We have a very large archive of models, which we often refer to in new collections, to always respect the consolidated code of the brand. We are not going to fish out inspiration from the past. Rather we choose key details, such as the shape of a collar, or the line of the shoulders, and reinterpret them in a new way.
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