"I've never met a leopard print I didn't like." So said Diana Vreeland, and, evidenced by the very feral feel of House of Holland's Resort 2015 collection, Henry Holland agrees. Leopard, python, and zebra prints were all gaudy in the greatest of ways: Fuchsia, tangerine, neon green, and "Vreeland red" appeared on a fit-and-flare dress, culottes, a blouse—even as details on jeans. There was the orange/acid green version of a bomber jacket that bore, somewhat jarringly, the slogan "My Pussy, My Rules." Explained Holland: "It was a slogan from a sexual health campaign in the seventies." Pause. "I know, right?"
Details were irreverent and true to form: a dipped curved hem in the brightest of silks, a miniskirt with a rah-rah ruffle that could be zipped right off "in case you didn't think the skirt was short enough," and a very cool iridescent fabric that was a like a mood ring—green in some lights, lavender in others. There was also a surf element, inspired not just by Beyoncé but a picture of Cindy Crawford kissing a surfboard in an eighties OP ad. An animal-print "rash vest" and a swimsuit were the result of a collaboration with Roxy Silver. Accessories, still relatively new at House of Holland, were amusing: Key chains appeared in the shapes of a lit joint, a shrimp, and a burger. There were also slogan clutches that read "Crap," "Trick," and "Treat," and a fuzzy camo-print acrylic purse that had a chubby to match.
All fun and frivolous? Of course—that's true of any House of Holland collection, but there was also some serious thought, material, and quality behind it all. A technical silk fabric was made in a Nottingham mill; Holland agonized over a chenille fabric, willing it to be just right for a particular sweater, and explained how difficult and exacting the process was to make it so. The trophy look of the collection, a sequined dress in an unrestrained zebra print, was painstakingly hand-beaded in India. There is no assembly line in Holland's world.
The designer is part of Lulu Kennedy's Fashion East success story, and whereas some have gone on to a more commercial approach, Holland has defiantly kept and nurtured his East London style (even as East London itself undergoes rapid gentrification). A sure-footed businessman, Holland knows that the "Shoreditch chic" look has huge international appeal—and he can certainly deliver it to a legion of fans who can't get enough of that aesthetic.