Hugo Boss’s creative and brand director for womenswear tells Ana Santi why he isn’t afraid to experiment with its designs.
Hugo Boss UK managing director Bernd Hake said one of his priorities is to increase womenswear’s contribution to turnover from 15% to 30% in three years. How have you translated that potential into the collection?
I may go into Saks Fifth Avenue and spend three hours on the womenswear floor watching how women shop. You want to take that formula and turn it into something fresh.
We need to be unafraid of doing things that are a bit surprising.
Like the beautiful wool coat with raccoon sleeves [from the autumn 12 collection]. We would never have done this in the past for Boss Black. It’s luxurious, but it’s not over the top.
How have buyers reacted to this direction?
It’s been surprising as they’ve bought all the fashion-led pieces. They haven’t been afraid to buy the raccoon coat. The Boss Black tweed suit is my favourite suit in the collection and it’s been nice to see [stockists buying into it].
Is the potential in the UK equal for all three womenswear brands – Boss Black, Hugo and Boss Orange?
Boss Black is our biggest womenswear brand globally – it’s a substantial business and also in the UK. I think Boss Black is the mother brand for Hugo Boss’s womenswear.
Hugo Boss’s heritage is very menswear-oriented. Do you think this could hinder the potential of the womenswear business?
The brand is so stable that now is a perfect time to say, ‘let’s put a real focus on our womenswear’. If you look at what’s happening now, the solid brands have so much opportunity that they can do something fresh, something new. We’ve invested in the brand, and womenswear and accessories are the next growth areas. It shows that the company means it and we have to use the success of menswear to our advantage. But you have to be very clear on your vision.
Can you give Drapers a sneak preview of what we can expect for spring 13?
For each brand I’m really focusing on a modern femininity, while not being afraid to be romantic. It’s a theme that runs throughout the collections, and we’re focusing on dresses.
I’m working very closely with the accessories team to make sure the shoes and the bags have a clear, coherent look. I’m concentrating on [the concept of] affordable luxury, which gives you the opportunity to use wonderful fabrications, beautifully cut and offered at premium prices, but not the most expensive price, while still looking like designer fashion.
I think we have a wonderful price structure right now and it’s a good sweet spot to be in, so prices won’t be changing much.
So, where are heading off to next?
I’m having lunch with Sienna Miller. She’s so sweet.