Step aside Burberry, there’s a new trench in town. Parisian based brand Lahssan’s new range of trench coats offers a chic yet novel twist on the wardrobe staple. Known for his playful use of fabrics, designer Dryce mixes more traditional cottons with silks and fur, pushing the boundaries yet always remaining faithful to the true spirit of the trench. We caught up with him to discuss Baroque, Bauhaus and fashion royalty.
CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW?
Right now I’m in Paris sending out my FW12 collection and working on a forthcoming collaboration for SS13.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO DESIGN?
I’ve always loved to draw. As a student I’d always let my pen run freely on paper, tracing different lines and shapes. At some point I realised I should turn it into something more serious!
YOU STUDIED PSYCHOLOGY BEFORE. DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR DESIGNS IN ANY WAY?
When I start designing my collections I do it very organically. Almost without thinking. But I start to see sense in them very quickly. Every piece takes on its own personality and I can easily picture the type of girl who could relate to it. I often end up referring to pieces with the name of certain girls around me.
WERE YOU ALWAYS INTERESTED IN FASHION AS A CHILD?
No, not at all. I was more into literature and human science. I thought of studying architecture but the whole technical part of it was a real turn off.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR AESTHETIC?
I often say “I am a Baroque who wishes he was Bauhaus” whatever that might mean…
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE ON A TRENCH ONLY COLLECTION?
It really was a whim or some kind of creative epiphany. The framework and limitations of a collection made up of a single product happens to work very well for me and my “10-things-at-a-time” personality.
YOUR DESIGNS HAVE CAUGHT THE EYE OF REI KAWAKUBO. HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT? DID SHE APPROACH YOU?
It came as quiet a surprise! I was approached in Paris by a Japanese agent. I liked him so I let him take my first ever collection without even signing a contract! A week later he emailed me to say that Rei had visited the showroom, loved the collection and wanted to retail it! It was a massive shock and an incredible compliment coming from a designer I have always looked up to.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FW 12/13 COLLECTION. WHAT WERE THE INSPIRATIONS BEHIND IT?
This collection is almost like a wordplay. It plays with the idea of the trench and the coat. The pieces are made up of a trench in the front and a coat in the back. It’s almost like the lovechild of two essentials! I also designed the evening piece called the “trench-dress” with pleated silk in the back. I finished this collection with the help of Saga Furs by creating two “trench-fur-coats”.
DO YOU DESIGN WITH SOMEONE IN MIND?
As I explained before, I very quickly associate every single trench coat with a specific girl or woman around me. In the studio, we would say things like “this trench coat is very her or her”. It’s a funny and pragmatic way to connect the design to the actual woman who might wear Lahssan.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CONSIDER COMMERCE WHEN DESIGNING?
At this point, I haven’t really considered it. My brand is very niche and doesn’t yet have to satisfy to any commercial limitations. I’m able to freely offer my own take on the trench coat and let people who recognize something of themselves in the design buy it. It’s more of an emotional approach rather than a marketing one.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE EVOLUTION OF YOUR BRAND?
I’m hoping I can keep on playing and experimenting with this classic piece of clothing and keep putting it out there. Hopefully more and more people will understand and like it.
WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?
Right now I am fasting for Ramadan so I’d say a nice cup of coffee on the terrasse!
See more of Lahssan’s AW12 collection on his website.