After Eight with HD Homme
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.