Structured silhouettes in inky tones and tawny shades dominated Guillaume Henry's Spring 2013 collection for Carven. Hourglass blazers — many with heart-shaped cutouts at the midriff — were a big story here; those topped everything from lushly flared skirts to jaunty ankle-length trousers. And while the color palette and fabric choices — leather, wool, tweed — may have been less whimsical than we've come to expect from a designer who's made Carven synonymous with kinder-chic, there was still plenty of playfulness on offer; a series of dresses and suits done in toile safari prints in navy and red were especially endearing.
Every season, Carven's Guillaume Henry gives the girls just what they want, and no doubt, his whimsical, ladylike Spring '13 collection is sure to have the same effect. The show was filled with chic suit sets highlighting expertly tailored blazers and full skirts, bright red cropped wide-leg trousers were paired with belly-baring knits, and of course, almost every look was completed with adorable collars. Dresses highlighted the designer's penchant for cool cutouts, and this time, they were cut in wing-like shapes highlighting the chest and midriff in an array of printed fit-and-flare shirt dresses, gorgeous lace tea-length dresses, and long-sleeved shifts. The most intricate look, however, came from a slate-blue, laser-cut leather embossed dress. More leather looks came from tan patent leather bomber jackets paired with silk pencil skirts, slim-fit blazers, and full skirts. And for his dressier, red-carpet crowd, Guillaume finished off the show with refined dresses showing intricate cutout detailing at the bodice, which are sure to make a show-stopping presence on the red carpet or wherever your day might take you.
- Trends: Cutouts, collars, leather, crop tops.
- Colors: Red, navy, eggshell, sage, moss, tan, burgundy.
- Key Piece: The embossed leather dress with the adorable matching collar.
- Accessories: Chunky, patent ankle-strap platforms, oversize sunglasses, leather and printed clutches.
- Who Should Wear It: The quirky ladylike set; Alexa Chung, Emma Stone, and Michelle Williams.
A motley crew of 1970s notables — Bianca Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Bryan Ferry, and Twiggy among them — as seen on the pages of Peter Schlesinger's photography book Checkered Past had Carven's Guillaume Henry feeling a bit bohemian for Resort 2013. But that doesn't mean the twee gamine suits and collared minidresses that are his hallmark have disappeared. No, they're still here and, with their contrast sleeves and cheery colorblocked hues, they're just as appealing as ever. It's just that this time around they've been loosened up and injected with a newfangled sense of gypsy appeal: flowing silhouettes, drawstring ruffles, and paisley prints.
>> Six seasons in and Guillaume Henry has etched out quite the niche at Carven. The quirky coquette charm continues for Fall 2012 with a whole new selection of pinafore dresses and Peter Pan blouses to covet. This time around, however, the signature pieces come covered in ecclesiastic references and Renaissance-inspired shapes. If all that sounds too serious, don't worry, it's not. The pinafore dresses are still short and swingy, it's just that now they come with fitted bodices, keyhole necklines, bell-shaped skirts, or hip-accentuating flares. Also worked into the offering: a gorgeous mix of color, pattern, and print. It came in the form of Hieronymus Bosch-inspired prints, stained-glass-inspired cutout motifs, fur colors, tapestry fabrics, and multihued blanket stripes. "It's playful, but not that strict. She has to be elegant and she can't be too girly. It's about contrasts," Henry explained.
There's a reason we all love Guillaume Henry's designs for Carven: they're wearable, chic, and have that perfect twist of whimsy we all crave. The designer delivered just that, plus a mix of colorful Alpines-inspired silhouettes and ikat patterns, for Spring in the way of Lederhosen-like leather shorts, cutout dresses, prim collars, and circle skirts. Leather was utilized to the fullest via swingy skirts, high-waist shorts, and buckle-embellished shift dresses while collar tops were revamped with cropped cuts and cutout details. Meanwhile, vibrant ikat patterned dresses and colorful lace-inset frocks provided perfect partywear options. Needless to say, we want everything from the collection. Read our breakdown below for more details.
- Trends: Crop tops, cutouts, collar details, ethnic prints.
- Colors: Red, blue, marigold, black, off-white.
- Key Look: The cutout leather dresses and prim collar tops.
- Accessories: Flatform loafers, ankle-wrap sandals, printed clutches.
- Who Would Wear It: Girls who love wearable, whimsical chic pieces.
We can't get enough of Guillaume Henry's whimsical creations for Carven, and we're sure you can see why. For Resort 2012, Guillaume drew inspiration from the Alpine landscapes of Bavaria and Switzerland. “I wanted to express the crispness quality of all the things coming from those mountains,” said the designer. The results are impossibly chic, with just the right amount of Parisian flair, via digital print landscape dresses, textured leather shorts, flippant skirts, and the cutest skirt suits. We'll take one of each, please. Check out the rest of his confections in the slideshow. Are you just as smitten?
>> Guillaume Henry debuted his first pre-collection for Carven — for Resort 2012 — during couture in Paris last week. Inspired by the Alpine landscapes of Bavaria and Switzerland — “I wanted to express the crispness quality of all the things coming from those mountains,” Henry explained — the designer worked digital prints of vintage maps and postcards into his signature offering of cropped jackets, high-waister shorts, collared shirts, and cocktail dresses. He also introduced his first swimsuit — a white cutout maillot — and brightly-colored, flat versions of the classic Carven heel with bows on the back.
For Fall 2011, Carven designer Guillaume Henry turned out signature Parisian chic looks with a touch of intrigue in the form of red tartan, fur-sleeved coats, and a surprising Victorian neck ruff. To see all the covetable ensembles, watch our full runway coverage now, and if you missed our one-on-one interview with the designer, click here to check it out.
Already a favorite among celebrities like Leighton Meester, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Demi Moore, new French designer Guillaume Henry of Carven is making waves in the fashion world with his sophisticated and chic designs. We went one on one with the designer at his Spring shopping event at Barneys in New York City, where he tells us about the Carven woman and why he wants to dress Kristen Stewart. Watch here to see the full interview!
>> In the course of four days, Guillaume Henry has made a whirlwind tour of personal appearances at Barneys in three different cities — San Francisco, Chicago, and then finally, New York yesterday — marking his first personal appearances in the United States since joining Carven as creative director in 2009. A former assistant to Riccardo Tisci, Henry is heading into his fourth collection for the brand — which for the first time, he will show during Paris Fashion Week in March. In between toasts from trunk show host Alexa Chung and chats with supporters like Sally Singer and new Barneys fashion director Amanda Brooks, we caught up with Henry to pick his brain.
Heard you just made your first trip to California! How was it?
I loved it there. It was super quick, so I definitely have to come back. The weather was amazing, the people were super friendly and supportive. San Francisco is a city with the good vibrations of a village. It’s fresh.
How long are you here in New York?
I arrived about three hours ago, and I’m leaving tomorrow morning. Quickest trip ever.
What's the first thing you plan to do when you get back home to Paris?
I have to go to the fabric fair. It started yesterday, and I’m going to be there for only one day, so I have one day to choose fabrics for next Summer’s collection. That’s something I’m going to have to do quick.
Any hints on the Fall 2011 collection?
I’m kind of superstitious, so I don’t talk about the Fall collection until it’s finished. I’m still working on it, and we’re going to show it in Paris in the beginning of March. We’re going to do a show — it’s the first time we’re going to put on a show. It’s not a proper show — you won’t expect girls on the catwalk, walking fast, but we’re definitely going do to it during fashion week. [It will be] a presentation — intimate, it’s all about intimacy. For me, we have to be close to the people, definitely.
What do you think is the next step for the brand, aside from a show?
We’re going to up our shoe line and our bag line — slowly, because it’s a real business. And I hope we’re going to relaunch perfumes, because Carven in the ‘50s was super famous for the perfumes. That’s something I would love to do, because it’s the smell of a collection, the smell of a house. I hope maybe in one year [we will relaunch perfumes]. And for next winter [Fall 2011] we will have lots of new shoes and bags — it’s going to be a proper line. And we’re going to be doing some of the shoes in collaboration with Robert Clergerie, the French shoemaker — it’s going to be a nice marriage.
Do you ever speak with Carven’s founder, Carmen de Tommaso?
Yeah! She’s 102 years old today, but I met her twice. The first time it was eight years ago. I did a contest, and actually the funny thing is I got the first prize. At the end of the day, when she offered me the prize, she said to me, ‘You have to understand now that I am your grandmother in the business.’ I couldn’t expect at that time that a few years later I would design [her] collection. And I met her two years ago at her 100th birthday, and she was super nice — an old lady, but super nice.
Does she like the collection?
I have no idea. I hope that if she looks at it, she would find the DNA of the brand, because I really respect what she did with it.
What other shows are you looking forward to this season?
I’m looking at everything; I’m super interested in the job that I do, so I do have to look at everybody’s work and consider what’s happening. Commercially, I do have to consider what’s the reality in the streets, so I’m a real observer.
Who embodies the Carven woman for you?
I guess I hope Carven is a super democratic brand, so anybody would feel herself in our clothes. We’ve got girls like Rihanna wearing our clothes, girls like Emma Watson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore . . . older actresses, as well. I really believe that there’s no real small market about Carven. I would love to dress Natalie Portman, and I would love to dress older actresses as well — like Susan Sarandon — so it’s not a question of age.