interview by niamh connolly
London Fashion Week The Daily proudly presents a back-of-the-Mercedes interview with London Fashion Week designer, Sophie Hulme.
NC: This is your first on-schedule presentation at LFW, did you do anything special to celebrate when it was confirmed?
SH: Well I definitely danced around the studio with my production manager for a while and then I went out for drinks with my friends.
NC: This presentation marks a great start to the year for you, what else is in store for Sophie Hulme in 2012?
SH: My designs will be arriving in Harvey Nichols, Matches and Liberty this year; which is amazing because since I was little I have always loved Liberty, so I can’t imagine going in there and seeing my designs being sold there. I am doing a collaboration project with the Japanese company Onward Kashiyama, which will include notebooks, and I’m very excited about that because I’m such a geek for stationary product. I have also done a collaboration with Globe-Trotter suitcases.
NC: Having grown up in London, what is it that you love about British fashion?
SH: I think there is something really interesting about the sub-cultures of London, which results in experimental and creative fashion. And over the past three seasons I think there has been a nice change in British fashion, becoming a lot more focused on the business side of things by having a proper sellable product, which in turn has added an exciting new angle.
NC: Describe the Sophie Hulme woman this season?
I don’t normally like to define the Sophie Hulme woman, particularly because I don’t normally design in looks, I very much design individual special pieces. I like the idea that my pieces are not trend-lead so you can keep them for a long time. But she has definitely grown up this season, whilst maintaining a sense of humour. For example, there is a tiny waist-belt with two mammoths with their trunks in a clasp; it’s quite fun because from a distance it looks very posh but then up close it looks like something from Ice Age. And there is also a gold party popper holder neckpiece – which I absolutely love – so she’s very much about having fun.
NC: What was the source of inspiration behind this AW12 collection?
SH: Toy dinosaurs; the amazing thing is that because we don’t know what colour they were, toy dinosaurs are painted in the most amazing colours, for example bright pink fading into pale blue with these amazing graduated colour spectrums; so in this collection we have mohair with all the colours bleeding together. Another source of inspiration was men’s traditional jumpers, such as the fisherman jumper.
NC: Your designs are known for their fusion of the feminine and the masculine, what motivates this incorporation of the masculine?
SH: I really love the functionality of menswear; it starts from a really practical viewpoint, which I think can lead to very interesting detail. Menswear is very much about real classic pieces, like the classic trench, and I love my pieces to be anchored in something classic but with a Sophie Hulme twist. Also the masculine element ties in with the sportswear edge of my designs. And I think ladies like the mix of not being too girly.
NC: You like to incorporate a juxtaposition of contrasting fabrics into your designs, what fabrics dominate this season’s collection?
SH: This season it is quite textual including flat silks with mohair embroidered onto it. There’s also sheepskin, goatskin, and a leather and knitwear combination. And I designed this non-girly wool lace with loads of little dinosaurs running through it.
NC: Each season you have a brass trinket that comes with every garment, what’s the idea behind this?
SH: It’s the idea of keeping things. When I was little my grandma gave me the most beautiful charm bracelet, and every now and again she will buy me a new charm and I really love that idea of building a story. This season’s trinket is a dinosaur and the great thing is you can hook its arms onto the edge of a cocktail glass.
NC: Is there any LFW parties you’re hoping to get to over the coming week?
SH: Oh, I haven’t even thought about it. I think I might head to the designer’s party this evening, but to be honest I haven’t made any plans beyond this morning’s show.
NC: What is your favourite move to break out on the dance-floor?
SH: It has to be the skipping rope.
NC: And last but not least, what’s the cheekiest thing you’ve ever done in the back of a car?
SH: Oh, I couldn’t be telling you that.
Mercedes-Benz, whose fashionable fleet of cars ensure London Fashion Weekers get around in style, celebrates its London Fashion Week affiliation with Voices of Fashion, a daily blog filled with exclusive LFW updates and interviews with designers and other movers and shakers of the fashion world. See voicesoffashion.co.uk