When Dazed Digital first spoke to Guillaume Henry, the ex-Givenchy and Paule Ka designer, he had only just started getting stuck into all things Carven. Now, two seasons on, with some notable stockists and a universal thumbs up for his modern sensibility in dressing 'real' women, he is definitely on the money with his latest collection that will have most young women going "I want, I want, I want" (and at prices that are not too haute either...). For S/S 11, his pulled together but slightly quirky girl is lost in the Louvre, and finding images from Ancient Greece, volcanos exploding in reference to Pompeii which were printed onto flared out miniskirts, elegant printed trousers and shirts. Much of the collection is easily digestible in separates that hone in on details such as cowboy bolo ties marked with a C (the only bit of logoing you'll see from Carven), embroidered shirt collars and cut-outs in all the right places that keep things youthful.
Dazed Digital: When we first spoke, you were just starting out at Carven and now after a few more seasons, how do you feel about the progression of the brand?
Guillaume Henry: Before I started, nobody had any idea of what Carven was and so we had a blank slate to play with. We definitely want to establish Carven as a brand and give its own identity and I think that's getting stronger this season. We want to play with contrasts - evening and day, soft and hard, tough and feminine and bring that together in the collections and that for us is how the modern girl is dressing.
DD: Do you think it's this sensibility for the 'modern girl' that has contributed to Carven's rapid success?
Guillaume Henry: I don't really believe in this hyper luxury and I really wanted Carven to be approachable. I will never see a girl wearing a head to toe Carven look because it's better to mix and match and because in real life, people don't buy clothes like that.
DD: What did you explore for this season?
Guillaume Henry: It's about a French student who is lost in the Louvre and she stumbles upon images of Ancient Greek and other elements too. We really wanted to play with different things in the collection so for example with a short evening dress you'd wear it with a backpack. Everything is very elegant but accessible.