may be a far cry from haute couture, but that doesn't stop designer Guillaume Henry from romancing his message. "It's not just clothes, that would be boring. There's always a story," he said at the label's rue Royale headquarters today. For his first-ever pre-collection, the story is a holiday in Switzerland. It gave him the opportunity to revisit some previous hits in clever new ways. The lace appliqués that he used to provocative effect on his Fall runway were altogether sweet here, creating trompe l'oeil lederhosen on a sweater or an apron on a skirt. A photo print of vintage postcards of the Alps appeared on both a silk shift and a nicer-price cotton T-shirt dress. Colorful map prints also turned up on tops and skirts. Basics with a difference make up a big part of the line, and Henry delivered those in the form of a mac cropped at the waist, a toggle coat cut in rugged white denim, and a trench left unlined so it can be worn all the way through summer.
The brand is growing by leaps and bounds. In addition to larger-than-ever offerings of shoes and bags, Henry showed his first bathing suit, a white maillot with a cutout above the midriff. Not much of a connection to Switzerland there, but the cutout will be familiar to his fans, and that's even more important.