Af­ter Eight with HD Homme

SHE Canada - - HERPRENEUR - By Aly Zorn Photos by Em­manuel Capili

All eyes are cap­ti­vated by the frenzy of pho­tog­ra­phers and flash­ing lights, as HD Homme de­signer, Hus­sein Dhalla, stands amidst three mod­els straight off the run­way. I’m given the cue to ap­proach and as I con­grat­u­late Dhalla on his ex­quis­ite pre­sen­ta­tion at TOM Fash­ion Week, I can see he re­mains as ex­cited as all the show-go­ers. A gleam of pas­sion passes through his face as we be­gan to dis­cuss the col­lec­tion, his de­sign jour­ney and how HD Homme came to be.

The Toronto based de­signer has an ob­vi­ous eye for so­phis­ti­ca­tion and im­pec­ca­ble crafts­man­ship, his de­signs em­body that of the mod­ern gen­tle­man, but Dhalla wasn’t al­ways in the de­sign field. He tells me, “I was a banker, then I met a friend who wanted me to go into fash­ion with him and open a men’s re­tail store.” Dhalla al­ways had a pas­sion for fash­ion so mov­ing into re­tail felt like a nat­u­ral move.

While work­ing in re­tail Dhalla of­ten found him­self dab­bling in de­sign, which did not go un­no­ticed by his peers. “I used to be a stylist, but I would cus­tom­ize cloth­ing for the artists and celebri­ties I worked with… I was do­ing that un­til I met my part­ner.” Dhalla praises his part­ner for be­liev­ing in his pas­sion, and con­tin­ues to say, “It was her that pur­sued me to ac­tu­ally go into fash­ion and open my own la­bel un­der my ini­tials… It was al­ways a pas­sion of mine, but def­i­nitely the spark came from her.”

Fur­ther­more, grow­ing up in such a mul­ti­cul­tural city also gave the de­signer a unique per­spec­tive, re­spect for the va­ri­ety of rich cul­tures that are trans­lated into his de­signs. “The great thing about Toronto and not just fash­ion, about meet­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tures, eat­ing dif­fer­ent food is that you can get in­flu­ence from ev­ery­body around you,” Dhalla says. The de­signer con­tin­ues, “I’ve also been very for­tu­nate to travel around the world and pick up dif­fer­ent in­flu­ences from cul­tures and styles— from ev­ery­where, which I bring to­gether when I de­sign.” The dis­cus­sion leads us to his cur­rent col­lec­tion and the cre­ative process be­hind it. While the beauty of dif­fer­ent cul­tures is a long stand­ing in­flu­ence I in­quire about the unique process be­hind each in­di­vid­ual line. “There’s al­ways a theme be­hind a col­lec­tion,” Dhalla tells me. “This theme was called Af­ter Eight…it’s made for a man who wants em­pow­er­ment—who en­ters a room and owns the room while be­ing con­fi­dent and sexy.”

The run­way pre­sen­ta­tion at TOM Fash­ion Week por­trayed edgy de­tail­ing and sleek sil­hou­ettes. Vel­vet and leather were strong play­ers, cre­at­ing a mod­ern twist on clas­sic shapes, while black and white, the de­sign­ers favourite colours for the col­lec­tion, are dom­i­nant. Dhalla pro­claims, “I wanted to show what I would have in my wardrobe—in my own closet—on the run­way.” En­ter the world of “Af­ter Eight,” the latest Fall/win­ter 2015 col­lec­tion, one of re­fined el­e­gance and con­fi­dent sex ap­peal—the mod­ern gen­tle­men.

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