Bernhard Willhelm and his partner Jutta Kraus have reached a milestone in their offbeat fashion careers where they have scored themselves a solo exhibition at the Groninger Museum and ten years of their work will be feted. Not that Willhelm would ever do something as conventional as a retrospective collection to celebrate this fact. For spring summer, he is forging ahead and playing with colour mixes in his trademark loose shapes, all decorated with flora and fauna that graced the models' heads. We spoke to Bernhard about reaching the milestone and the first signs of the Willhelm wearer growing up.
Dazed Digital: What were you playing around with this collection?
Bernhard Willhelm: I think it was more about colour and how you can have two colours next to each other. It was about how to place those two colours together and how they react. There's this guy in Kyoto who does all the kimono dyes and I've worked with him for three seasons and he always surprises me with what he comes up with and it was really about experimenting with the colours to see how they look on the cut. By accident.
DD: Is there anything in shape that you worked on?
Bernhard Willhelm: I think it was very baggy like always. There was also more evening things as it's happening in my life where people are married so you start thinking about pieces that are slightly more formal.
DD: What's the idea behind the leaves and vegetable headpieces?
Bernhard Willhelm: I always wanted to play around with this, like just go to the park and pick up some leaves. I've always hated the idea of hair and make-up that can be very strict so I wanted to have something less strict and more organic. I wanted to have something linking the head and the dress so I had vegetables hanging off the dresses, not things that you can buy in a florist.
DD: What's been the best part of the past ten years?
Bernhard Willhelm: The best is that we're still here. We can still work very freely and in our own spirit.
Photography by Judith Elias-Johnson