Hugo Goes Back to Its German Roots

Hugo Goes Back to Its German Roots

The legacy brand embraced raving in Berlin for their SS19 show last night.

The legacy brand embraced raving in Berlin for their SS19 show last night.

Text: MATHIAS ROSENZWEIG

As more and more creatives flock to Berlin to become a part of its bustling artistic community, German brands are aptly looking at their own roots for inspiration. People describe it similarly to Paris in the 1920s and '30s, when prominent painters and writers saw the city as a home base and new artistic frontier. So last night, Hugo Boss showed the HUGO Spring/Summer 2019 men's and women's collections at Motorwerk, a warehouse outside of Berlin that once housed some of the city's iconic raves.

"We are a German brand and we want to link ourselves more to Berlin. It's also a part of our heritage," said Bart De Backer, the Senior Head of Design for Menswear. "In Berlin, we have...people who kind of create their own look and have a very individual approach of how they wear things." He noted how it's one of the few cities that still seems to have a unique fashion of its very own. "I never lived [there during this time], but it reminds me of how it [was] in New York in the '80s. It has its vibe of creative people coming together, trying things out, but not having the feeling that they have to survive. They really experiment. This is the feeling we still have in Berlin, and this is something we wanted to express in the collection."

Both the men's and women's clothes did indeed experiment while still paying homage to Hugo Boss's iconic aesthetic and tailoring, but also staying true to the styles seen on the city's youth. The clothes celebrated bright neon, which appeared in varying forms and glowed on the catwalk. Graffiti patterns, bucket hats, crossbody bags, and the like reminded us that HUGO is indeed the company's younger, streetwise brand. A floral dress stood out as a nice feminine touch.

"For me, it's really important to have that balance of super feminine with hyper-masculine, because it is a menswear brand and that is what they're known for," said Jenny Swank Krasteva, Head of HUGO Womenswear. "For me, it's important to find that element of surprise. The feminine pieces just kind of worked."

When searching for inspiration, De Backer in particular didn't have to go very far. "My nephew is 18, and he was starting to wear jackets from his father, who's like 30 years older. It was a piece from the '90s. He was completely into the '90s, and he kind of started to wear the '90s how he interpreted it," he said. He is touching on the fine art of moving a heritage brand like Hugo Boss forward while still respecting where it came from. "I've worked now 10 years for the brand, but [for] three or four years, I started to really dive into our catalogs, our old material from the '90s. Because all of a sudden, it's again very relevant. But at the same time, it brings the brand forward again because it's like a new way of thinking."

It seems as if Hugo Boss is not only looking for inspiration from its mother country, but also its own legacy. As kids begin embracing clothes from previous decades, repurposing them or embellishing pieces with some sort of modern flair, there's a certain call for brands like HUGO to look back at its own history and bring some of it into the present. That's exactly what they did last night, and we can only hope to see more of their past in their future.

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