Who could have imagined pocket protectors were in the air, or mittens on a string? Guillaume Henry, that’s who. Henry, the Creative Director of Carven, France’s youngest born-again label, has wasted no time. The brand’s new men’s collection comes just two years after its women’s renaissance in 2010, and it will be the major attraction at this season’s Pitti Uomo in June in Florence, where Henry has been invited to stage the first Carven Homme show for Spring 2013, the label’s third season.
As if that weren’t enough, Henry is just back from Hong Kong, where two Carven stores opened simultaneously, and Taiwan and Singapore are soon to follow. And for the first time this June Carven will show its women’s pre-collection to New York.
Most of French menswear looks like it’s been co-directed by François Truffaut, circa Nouvelle Vague 1960, and Carven Homme is no exception. The collection’s iconically Euro-boy look would have suited Jules & Jim or Jean-Pierre Léaud in The 400 Blows just fine.
Henry is tight-lipped on the location for Carven’s Pitti show. “That would be like revealing the end of a thriller. It spoils the mood, ” he says. So it could be anywhere in Florence, a city filled with dusty palazzos, time-honored museums and luxurious gardens.
Describing his personal style, Henry maintains he’s pretty basic. “I hope I’m not too boring, but for me it’s always been lots of shirts, blazers and really sporty coats which go from work into weekends.” Where the fun comes in is how he plays with it. “There’s a way to mix a man’s wardrobe today so that dressing like a man doesn’t necessarily mean mature. I’ve never been into a suit and tie.”
Carven’s proportions are slightly askew. Pants are larger, but they’re also shorter and worn with high-top boots. Shoulders are tighter for a coltish look, but then they’re also voluminous. “I’ve always been sensitive to the way children dress and also the way older people dress,” says Henry. “For the past 30 or 40 years, menswear has been a uniform. There’s so much spontaneity in boys’ style. And I love seniors as much as juniors.”