Lu­cas ossendri­jver

The man be­hind Lan­vin’s SNEAKER-AND-SUIT pair­ings, Lu­cas Ossendri­jver CHATS FASH­ION, Lux­ury and The FU­TURE in TO­DAY’s HIGHLY wired WORLD, WRITES chris an­dre

DA MAN - Style - - Contents -

The cre­ative di­rec­tor of Lan­vin Homme

Look­ing non­cha­lant in a dark navy suit de­void of ac­ces­sories, Lu­cas Ossendri­jver’s unas­sum­ing ap­pear­ance doesn’t give much away. A man with for­mi­da­ble de­sign cre­den­tials, his quiet dis­po­si­tion is a stark con­trast to his dis­tinc­tive tai­lor­ing habits. In the global menswear arena, the Dutch de­signer has been in­stru­men­tal in trans­form­ing patent leather sneak­ers into the per­fect ac­com­pa­ni­ment for sleek suits. The gen­tri­fied kicks have since been donned by the likes of Kanye West, Robin Thicke and Robert Downey Jr. across a num­ber of Hol­ly­wood red car­pets. How­ever, th­ese ver­sa­tile sneak­ers are just one ex­am­ple of the nu­mer­ous ideas he has for the cre­ation of new must-have items for men’s wardrobes.

Ac­cord­ing to Ossendri­jver, Lan­vin Homme was founded on the ba­sic premise of cre­at­ing wardrobe es­sen­tials for men. While the brand has gained both ac­co­lades and recog­ni­tion for its finely tai­lored tuxe­dos and be­spoke suits over the years, the shrewd de­signer has cre­atively brought the fash­ion house into the present by cap­tur­ing the zeit­geist of the noughties. He also freely ad­mits that the In­ter­net, so­cial me­dia and the mil­len­ni­als are all el­e­ments that have in­spired his pro­gres­sion as a de­signer as well as his new col­lec­tions.

At the fall/win­ter 2014/15 run­way show at the École Na­tionale des Beaux-Arts in Paris last Jan­uary, the con­cept trick­les down to punk-look­ing youth sport­ing sump­tu­ously cut out­er­wear and bold- col­ored ac­ces­sories in­clud­ing a se­ries of ar­rest­ing sneak­ers. The whole out­fit se­lec­tion pro­gresses grad­u­ally from somber tones to bright shades with sev­eral tops em­bla­zoned with over­sized images of hands and face­less heads. “It’s about iden­tity,” re­sponded Ossendri­jver in an in­ter­view im­me­di­ately after the show. He went on to elu­ci­date how the dig­i­tal age has in­ter­con­nected the whole wide world, in­evitably un­der­min­ing in­di­vid­u­al­ity, hence the por­trayal of heads with­out faces and hands dis­con­nected from bod­ies on sev­eral tops in the lat­est col­lec­tion. Stu­dent of the '90s Speak­ing of in­di­vid­ual iden­tity, Lu­cas Ossendri­jver’s rise to be one of the most in­flu­en­tial menswear de­sign­ers ac­tu­ally be­gan in the early 1990s. After sharp­en­ing his skills at Arn­hem’s In­sti­tute of the Arts in the Nether­lands, he teamed up with two tal­ented class­mates namely Vik­tor Horsting and Rolf Sno­eren—who later founded Vik­tor & Rolf—and kick­started a de­sign col­lec­tive called Le Cri Néer­landais. Although the col­lab­o­ra­tion didn’t last long, it cat­a­pulted Ossendri­jver’s ca­reer to se­cur­ing a post at Paris-based Kenzo in 1997.

Three years at Kenzo gave him in­valu­able in­sights into the fash­ion business that soon led him to a ma­jor break in 2001: as­sist­ing Hedi Sli­mane at Dior Homme. It was quite a learn­ing curve, Ossendri­jver said in an in­ter­view, work­ing along­side Sli­mane’s in­sa­tiable ap­petite for sar­to­rial per­fec­tion. And the hard work he put in at Dior Homme didn’t go un­no­ticed, as in 2005 Lan­vin re­cruited Ossendri­jver to rein­vig­o­rate the men’s col­lec­tion. The rest, as they say, is his­tory. At­ti­tude and lat­i­tude What has made Lu­cas Ossendri­jver such a rec­og­niz­able force in the high- end menswear sphere are not only his cre­ation of new fash­ion sta­ples—such as the iconic patent leather sneak­ers first launched in Lan­vin Homme’s 2006 col­lec­tion—but also his will­ing ex­change of ideas with the brand’s cre­ative di­rec­tor and wom­enswear de­signer Al­ber El­baz. The fruits of this col­lab­o­ra­tion be­came man­i­fest in the emer­gence of Lan­vin sneak­ers for women in the wake of the con­sid­er­able suc­cess ex­pe­ri­enced in the men’s arena.

Un­der Ossendri­jver’s guid­ance, Lan­vin Homme also stays up to date with cur­rent trends de­spite the brand hav­ing its 125th an­niver­sary this year. His at­ten­tion to de­tail al­ways en­sures tech­ni­cal pre­ci­sion on the cuts and sil­hou­ettes, yet Ossendri­jver’s most es­sen­tial

as­set is his clear vi­sion. This is the qual­ity ar­guably most re­spon­si­ble for the unique and ex­pres­sive at­ti­tude felt at his run­way shows and the way Lan­vin Homme is able to rein­vent its line sea­son after sea­son. With this 44-year- old de­signer at the helm, the fu­ture looks very bright in­deed.

Chris An­dre: Hi Lu­cas, let’s talk about the fall/ win­ter ’14 show. What kind of emo­tion did you want to con­vey on the run­way? Lu­cas Ossendri­jver:

When con­cep­tu­al­iz­ing a new col­lec­tion, it’s al­ways like a black hole, a blank sheet of pa­per. You don’t have the so­lu­tion straight away. What we try to do is find a guide­line for the sea­son. While work­ing to­wards this sea­son, we came to dig­i­tal, be­cause to­day every­body is “liv­ing” on the In­ter­net, Face­book, and other so­cial me­dia. We read on the In­ter­net and we also buy on the In­ter­net.

By do­ing that, you in­evitably cre­ate a com­mu­nity but by join­ing such a com­mu­nity, do you erase or em­pha­size your per­son­al­ity? And that is the theme of this sea­son. We want to re­ally look to­ward the fu­ture and much less at the past. So it’s about em­pha­siz­ing per­son­al­ity and adding a new def­i­ni­tion of lux­ury.

When you think of lux­ury, a lot of peo­ple think about cash­mere sweaters, for in­stance. And I think lux­ury can some­times be wild; lux­ury can also be cre­ative; lux­ury can be geeky; lux­ury can be a lot of things ac­tu­ally, and that is what this fall/win­ter col­lec­tion is about. So, what we try to do is give op­tions to men. It’s not lin­ear; it’s not uni­formed, but there are a lot of dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties. One day you want to wear a suit; the next day you want to wear a bold jacket when you go out. It is about cre­ativ­ity and free­dom.

CA: How did you trans­late the dig­i­tal idea dur­ing the cre­ation process?

LO: For one ex­am­ple, there’s a group of suits, with almost clash­ing sil­hou­ettes, nar­row or drop shoul­ders. All those suits are worn with sneak­ers in very strong col­ors—like the col­ors of pop-up screens: pink, green,

“i Think Lux­ury can sOme­Times be wiLd; Lux­ury can aLsO be cre­aTive; Lux­ury

can be geeky”

blue. Dig­i­tal col­ors! Those sneak­ers almost look like they are deep- dyed, to the ex­tent where at first glance you don’t no­tice that they are com­prised of dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als. For the shirts, they come in the same block col­ors too. So, it’s re­ally about cre­at­ing a sort of elec­tric­ity through a look. You have a clas­sic, tai­lored jacket in new proportions, and you have re­ally strong­col­ored sneak­ers and shirts. That’s just one way of do­ing it.

CA: What do the over­sized hand and head images used on sev­eral pieces in the last part of the show ac­tu­ally rep­re­sent? LO: Well, it’s about iden­tity in the dig­i­tal world, and noth­ing to do with tribal im­ageries. [ Laughs] We’re in

this space (École Na­tionale des Beaux-Arts), and it’s like a gar­den of stat­ues, but they don’t have faces. The faces are erased, that’s what it’s about—it’s almost like they are shad­ows or dig­i­tal foot­prints.

CA: You have another se­ries of splen­did sneak­ers for the sea­son. Out of all footwear, why sneak­ers?

LO: Yeah, I love sneak­ers be­cause they have a dif­fer­ent flair, a dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude. It’s less se­ri­ous. For me, sneak­ers are also lux­ury. If you look closely, we also add lots of bead­ing on the laces along with met­als and col­ors—very tiny de­tails. But from a dis­tance, they look very sim­ple—not like there are 10 ma­te­ri­als put to­gether.

CA: Con­sid­er­ing Lan­vin’s il­lus­tri­ous his­tory as a brand, does this ac­tu­ally ben­e­fit or con­strain your de­sign free­dom?

LO: This year we cel­e­brate the 125th an­niver­sary of Lan­vin, the old­est cou­ture house that’s still run­ning. It’s not a weight on my shoul­ders, as it gives me con­fi­dence to cre­ate. Lan­vin has been here for a long, long time, and will con­tinue to be for a long, long time. And I’m very happy and proud to be a part of that.

CA: With a new col­lec­tion, how do you be­gin the phys­i­cal de­sign process?

LO: I al­ways start with fab­ric re­search. For me, fab­rics al­ways give an­swers and di­rec­tions. When

I see the tex­tures, the way a piece of fab­ric falls, the way it feels, that’s what sort of gets me go­ing. From fab­rics, I then move to shape. You can’t dic­tate fab­rics. Each fab­ric falls in a cer­tain way, so you have to find a so­lu­tion to cre­ate the right gar­ment.

CA: Which fab­ric do you cham­pion out of the cur­rent col­lec­tion then?

LO: This sea­son … it’s a very dif­fi­cult ques­tion to an­swer be­cause we’re us­ing very op­pos­ing fab­rics, I must say. We have flan­nel—a clas­sic op­tion that I love—and we have more tech­ni­cal fab­rics: polyester, cot­ton and wool mixes. But for me, it’s mostly about fu­tur­is­tic fab­rics that are also in­nately tech­ni­cal.

CA: Could you tell me what the color of the sea­son is for Lan­vin Homme?

LO: We have lots of dif­fer­ent col­ors—very sub­dued dark va­ri­eties, almost like fake black. But there’s bur­gundy, lots of green and re­ally dark greys, blacks, navies—which are the clas­sic col­ors for us (Lan­vin)— and, next to that, almost the chem­i­cal color like that used on the green or pink knitwear, or the sneak­ers I was talk­ing about.

CA: What is your fa­vorite color?

LO: I love navy—I’m the most clas­sic in my class. [ Laughs] The jacket that I’m wear­ing is ac­tu­ally us­ing a mod­ern fab­ric. It’s a cot­ton and polyester mix, and we worked on the sil­hou­ette, so its nar­row shoul­ders and the vol­ume is a bit boxy. But it’s dark- col­ored and easy to wear.

CA: Last but not least, what is your own def­i­ni­tion of lux­ury?

LO: Lux­ury should be about cre­ativ­ity and free­dom— free­dom to cre­ate and free­dom to choose.

The fall/win­ter 2014/15 run­way sends out punk-look­ing mod­els

The con­strast­ing head im­age is one of the sea­son's sig­na­ture de­signs; the hand im­age

pro­vides another strik­ing ac­cent

The in-trend sneak­ers of the sea­son; the clash of

pat­terns in bold col­ors cap­tures the dig­i­tal idea Op­po­site page The en­sem­ble shows metic­u­lous lay­er­ing

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