3 posts tagged "Margareta van den Bosch"
Stockholm fashion week came to a close yesterday, and it was fitting that the Swedish Minister of Culture chose this season as the first to award a representative of the fashion industry with the government’s oldest medal—the Illis Quorum. It was given to Margareta van den Bosch, H&M’s head of design for more than twenty years, for her contribution toward raising Swedish fashion to international success and stimulating the growth of Swedish designers. And her efforts, it would seem, have paid off. During the Spring ’14 shows, there was a noticeably stronger international presence from buyers, members of the press, and even street-style scenesters—some of whom experienced a touch of wardrobe confusion thanks to the sunny and unusually hot weather.
Suitable for an outdoorsy nation of egalitarian renown, quite a few of the shows featured both menswear and womenswear, and there was an emphasis on practicality, nature, and the modern luxury of affordable garments. Impossibly high heels and astronomically expensive handbags were nowhere to be found—rather, designers expressed a fascination with functionality. J.Lindeberg articulated this via puffer jackets and boots punctuated by insect prints (above, left). In her BACK presentation, Ann-Sofie Back offered workwear that was mirrored in her collection for Cheap Monday, and monochromatic and nude color schemes dominated at Whyred and Carin Wester. Tiger of Sweden provided a refreshing closing show that mixed punky details with micro-patterns and sharp tailoring.
There were a few stand-out moments—Filippa K’s sand-colored menswear suit with a black leather shirt and black suede shoes (top, right), The Local Firm’s designer Richard Hutchinson opening his show playing the flute, and Bea Szenfeld’s haute papier collection of giant animals made out of paper (above, left), among them. AltewaiSaome—designed by Natalia Altewai and Randa Saome—deserves a mention, too. Inspired by a gentleman’s wardrobe, with garters and oversized un-tied bowties, the innovative collection (above, right) was impressive for a duo only in their fifth season showing. Overall, Stockholm felt more confident in its identity as an emerging fashion capital, understanding its strengths and building for the future.
H&M is more than a ridiculously successful Swedish company—it’s also a training ground for many of the country’s top designers, and Stockholm fashion week was full of collections by “graduates” of the affordable-fashion giant, from the geometric, seemingly cloud-moistened wrappings at Nakkna to the skinny suits and tawny nature prints at Tiger of Sweden.
Statistically speaking, this is no huge surprise: H&M retains about 100 designers and takes on 35 trainees a year, according to Margareta van den Bosch, the legendary H&M design chief emeritus. Van den Bosch (who still plays an advisory role at the company) provided those numbers at the Hope show, where she was checking up on the latest from former H&M designers Ann Ringstrand and Stefan Söderberg. Having envisioned waiters and fairies at a mid-summer feast, they’d served up a seventies-inflected mix of utility and romance.
At Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair (left), former H&M patternmaker Astrid Olsson is experimenting with exaggerated silhouettes, feminine draping, and the occasional voluminous knot of jersey. (To the disappointment of her growing fan base, her label didn’t show at SFW.) Olsson’s preferred textures at the moment are dry and papery. The mod looks in Roland Hjort’s Spring collection for Whyred, on the other hand, have a greasy sheen that suggests the oily protective layer on feathers. Even if he’s taken flight with his own label, Hjort is grounded in the commercial realities he and his fellow H&M alums picked up there. “What you really learn is that the product has to sell,” Hope’s Söderberg said backstage. “If only one person wants what you design, it won’t last.”
There are a couple of significant firsts involved in H&M’s Christmas collaboration with Sonia Rykiel. It’s the Swedish giant’s first designer alliance for underwear. It’s the first time that the collaborateuse will be selling H&M product in her own shops. And it’s the first time there’ll be a gigantic all-the-trimmings launch. Tomorrow night, the Grand Palais (scene of many a Chanel extravaganza) will be transformed by show producer Etienne Russo into a Parisienne fantasia, through which nearly 80 models will parade in the kind of underpinnings that would—as Raymond Chandler memorably observed about the power of female beauty—”make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.” The Chandler reference isn’t (just) me being silly. There’s a real femme-fatale glamour to the Rykiel lingerie. As Sonia’s daughter (and artistic director) Nathalie said in Paris today, “The Rykiel woman has a very specific image: It’s St. Germain-des-Prés, sexy, excessive, very sophisticated…impertinent.” H&M already has a solid lingerie business, especially round Christmas, and, creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch was quick to point out, the company is no stranger to racy underwear advertising. But the Sonia connection added a spicy little something extra. “When I think about something feminine and a little bit luxurious, it’s nice that there’s a French feeling,” said van den Bosch. With the product in 1,500 H&M stores around the world, the whole planet’s going to be feeling a little bit French this holiday season. “But it doesn’t just have to be something that a man buys for a woman,” van den Bosch sagely added. “It’s something you buy for yourself, or for a friend. Or for your mother.” Now, I’d like to meet the boy who’s bold enough to buy a bra set for his ma after he’s eyeballed a brunette Lara Stone in the H&M ad campaign.