Why break something that isn't broken is the thinking behind Guillaume Henry's latest collection for Carven. Taking the clothes as far away from the house's heritage has worked for Henry and his own house codes of flared out miniskirts, shirts with tightly buttoned up collars and an exposed décolletage and a band of demure midriff on display in dresses has proved to be winning formula for buyers and press alike. These traits were omnipresent in this S/S12 collection but whilst last season, he took his Carven girl (and there were more than a few of such devotees in the audience) away from the library and the slightly quasi-intellectual undertones and instead set her off on a journey around the world where she'd collect artefacts - Eastern European bells adorning a necklace and some jingly jangle shoes, Hungarian embroidery and folkloric patterns that incorporated neon tones for an altogether more upbeat vibe.
The girl would collect these sartorial souvenirs in a way that still fit into neat, fresh and slightly quirky styling that has made Carven such a winner. Away from all the worldly references, pieces like a mustard trench with a leather strap around the collar and billowing split sleeves and niggle multi-yarn knitted skirts and dresses brings the Carven femme back down to earth a bit. Without delving into origins and reasons, the final point is that Henry gets his girl and has her down to a tee or in Carven's case, a perfectly flared minidress.
Dazed Digital: What references were you looking at for this season?
Guillaume Henry: I don't want to break the Carven girl because I really want to allow the people to understand that she does exist. It's not about a fashion statement one season and another one this season. The most important thing is the girl. Last winter, she would spend a lot of time in the library - super chic but she's ignoring the world.
This season, I wanted a girl who doesn't stop walking - that's why we put bells on the shoes - she has to keep walking to.get the noise of the bells. She's going around the world with no passport from one country to another - she's picking up fabrics and things from everywhere - leather pieces from east of Bulgaria, prints from Romania mixed with jackets from Brittany.
DD: Where did the bells come from?
Guillaume Henry: When you look at pictures of East European folklore, they do wear bells as ornaments and I wanted to incorporate that into the jewellery but make it a bit subtle.
DD: You're injecting these new things with a signature construct?
Guillaume Henry: It's an old brand but we restarted only two years and a half ago and I really want people to recognise what the house is and not make a fashion statement each time. The girl has a beginning and she must continue.