Hubert Burda Media

Thunder Only Happens When It’s Reigning

Change is afoot at HUGO BOSS, as the German fashion house amps up the power for its conceptual tailored womenswear line. 

The Shanghainese were grumbling that Hugo Boss had brought the bad weather into the Chinese city. Fog hung low over the skyscrapers and an incessant drizzle fell like a leaking tap. Sure there was no thunder, but lightning was present, albeit man-made, in the form of a special effect at the presentation of the German fashion house’s Winter 2013 collection.
Turns out it was completely deliberate, to tie-in with the venue of the fashion show — the Power Station of Art, China’s first public museum of contemporary art, named for its previous incarnate as an electricity provider.
Through the use of LEDs, “lightning” zigzagged across the ceiling and catwalk, the latter on which strutted international models like Liu Wen, Joan Smalls, Karmen Pedaru, Alex Lundqvist and Clement Chabernaud, as they showed off Boss’s clothes and accessories.
Headlined “Conceptual Luxury”, the collection was skewed largely towards womenswear — some 70 percent, according to Dr Gerrit Ruetzel, Hugo Boss’s president and CEO Asia-Pacific — with the remainder focused on menswear.
The show was clearly one of many messages the brand is sending out to indicate its intention of increasing the modest 11 percent of its annual sales from womenswear. Less than two weeks after the show, Hugo Boss announced that its womenswear brand and creative director Eyan Allen was exiting the fore, to be replaced by Jason Wu, who has been given a newly created position of artistic director.
Still, this impending news did nothing to dampen the spirits of Allen, himself upbeat and enthusiastic when he gave a behind-the-scenes tour of the womenswear Winter 2013 collection to a group of media in late-May.
“I think it’s a wonderful statement for Hugo Boss to really push womenswear — it shows the potential of what we can do,” he said, as he rummaged through the racks and pointed out the highlights.
Common to each look is what Allen dubs “conceptual tailor wear”: “It is taking the idea of tailoring and doing something which is slightly unusual or slightly unexpected.”
Which is how the pieces each have a dab of fancy to them, be it in the form of a 24k gold zip, or never-before-used fabrics, or even a solid brass belt made to mold around the body. Leather takes the spotlight this season, as do colours, with the generous use of gold, green, purple and blue paired alongside the ubiquitous black.
“I still want to make sure that the collection represents Boss so I didn’t want to be too experimental. The DNA of the brand is still in every piece — you will see some kind of tailoring.”
Back in Singapore, the distributorship of the brand has been returned to Hugo Boss from this month onwards. It remains to be seen how these changes will go down with fashionistas, but if the Winter 2013 collection and the news of Wu’s appointment is anything to go by, grumblings will cease but the thunder will remain.