Along with Preen, Molly Goddard and the Fashion East stable of designers, Henry Holland is showing his AW16 collection in the Topshop showspace at Tate Britain. We caught up with the man famous for his cheeky slogans, wicked sense of humour and celeb-filled front row at his studio in London Fields with just over a week to go until the show…
Are you looking forward to showing at Tate Britain?
Yes, it’s amazing space. It’s just so chic and a huge cavernous space. We played with the idea of doing something set wise but decided to leave as is in the end because it’s so special.
And sharing the same space as Topshop?
I love Topshop! I think we have the best high street in the world in the UK and Topshop is very much a part of that. Plus it’s fun, like House of Holland.
How are you feeling with a week to go?
I was feeling okay until you just said a week. It’s actually a week and two days. Show day – Saturday – counts as a sewing day right up until showtime at 7pm!
What kind of weird behaviour goes on in the final stages?
It can get to the point where everyone got a bit of a tensy on. Someone will storm out and then came back. Usually it just gets really silly and what you need to do is counteract that by being an absolute d*ckhead around the office – that helps.
Do you start early in the morning? What’s your routine?
I sit on a bench and write poetry. No I don’t. If I’m at the gym I start at 6.15am and then I eat porridge and then I walk the dog before heading to the studio.
Can you reveal any details about the collection?
It’s glam rock flappers. So it’s 1920s meets 1970s. Two of the greatest party decades – both of which I missed.
Which era do you identify with the most?
Glam rock for sure. We were toying with doing something a bit glam rocky with the set but then decided it would look a bit naff.
Do you find the show production side of things daunting? It seems like every season they become more lavish…
It is dangerous because you get wrapped up in it especially if you have a creative brain and not necessarily a financial one! Last time we put in 50 tonnes of sand, we were like, “we’re going to have a desert!” Then we were like, “Oh but the sandals are opened backed and we’re putting them with socks and the models will all lose a shoe”. Cut to us making a mould in the sand with an hour to go!
What do you love about fashion?
What I love about fashion and the way we approach it is creating these different characters and narratives. So this season it’s Louise Brooks meets Marc Bolan…these glam rock flappers. Two eras mixed together to create something quite bonkers and hopefully quite original. Approaching each season with a new character has always been the way that I’ve worked – having these themes. Our USP as a brand is more about the tone and the identity behind it rather than a particular aesthetic, like embellishment or lace, for example. Each season I like to explore something new.
What would you say you’re most proud of?
Still being here!
You mean, in the business rather than in life?!
Yes, obviously I’m grateful for still being alive but still being here and having a business that employs people I’ve worked with from the beginning is a real achievement. It’s a hard business to maintain and it’s our 10th anniversary this year.
Will you do something for the anniversary?
What are your views on social media?
I always say with twitter if you want to tell them about a jumper you have to tell them what you had for lunch first. And I’m furious you can’t use Kimojis on Instagram. Haha. The other thing about our obsession with smart phones is that every morning when I wake up my boyfriend is on Instagram or Business of Fashion and I don’t even get any acknowledgement.
What does a typical weekend look like for you?
Usually by Friday I’m ready for a drink. I was interviewed recently by Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou from 10 magazine and she asked me if I’ve ever refused a drink. We both then laughed hysterically for literally ten minutes and then I said, “I think that’s your answer”. So yeah, I Usually let off my steam on a Friday and then spend the rest of the weekend hanging out with my boyfriend and my dog to recharge the batteries.
You being a friend to the celebs, what are your top tips for befriending a celebrity?
Get them young before they’re a celebrity. [Laughs]
Do you feel like you have to defend the fact that your friends happen to be celebrities?
It sounds like a complete lie but I knew Aggy and Alexa and Grimmy when we were all teenagers. I grew up with all of those people- they just happen to be celebrities now. I’d like to think people can see that we’re obviously good friends not ‘fashion friends’.
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