There presumably exist few labels which can lay genuine claim to dressing a heavily pregnant M.I.A. – for a performance with Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Jay-Z no less – and collaborating with the renowned photographer Martin Parr, but House of Holland’s back catalogue speaks volumes.
Occurring in 2009 and 2015 respectively, the events are part and parcel of a brand that boasts multiple identities, speaks fluent celebrity, and invariably projects a sense of fun commonly absent from the fashion industry.
Now a decade in, this season Henry Holland has made a celebratory return to the slogans which launched his label with a new Fashion Groupie series: think contemporary guard vibes with Marques (Almeida), Simone (Rocha) and Molly (Goddard) all present and correct.
Last week he brought the buzz of a House of Holland catwalk to the V&A, the latest name to be tapped by the museum’s Fashion in Motion series. Clash caught up with the designer in-between shows and hugs with his niece for a five minute chat about the first ten years.
How does it feel to be showing at the V&A?
Ah amazing, like it’s so emotional – it’s a really weird day – but it’s so emotional to see all of my stuff in chronological order, like even just the line-up and the first look, it’s kind of brilliant.
What’s been the most exciting thing about putting the show together?
Seeing everything again, because you kind of, you know you spend so much of your time and energy and heart and soul into the pieces and then you do the show and then, obviously you go through the process of production and delivering them to shops, but then they go into boxes and, are kind of ‘archived’. So getting everything out again has just been so fun, to rifle through the boxes and see it all.
And it’s the same Misshapes soundtrack from your very first show right?
Do you remember that? Yeah, so we were talking about doing a new mix that kind of referenced all the mixes, but actually it was kind of that intro that I wanted to reference again, and actually, when you listen to all the mixes, they’re just, they’re very us. We have like tiny little nuances which are references to the collection itself, but actually they’re much more, like us. And for the finale music we flipped it, so the finale music this time is the latest show music, and the finale music last time was from the first show.
Obviously it was the slogan tees that kicked things off for House of Holland, do you have a top three?
They’re all so… I don’t know, like I love the Aggy one because we were so close, I love all the original four – the Gareth, the Giles, the Christopher and Hedi – and then Richard’s (Nicoll). I mean they’re all so personal, like weirdly personal, like obviously today way more so, but I mean, we’ve just done the new round and I just did pictures of Pixie in hers yesterday.
So HOH just turned ten. What’s the biggest industry change you’ve noticed in the last decade?
The amount of brands that are out there! Like the number of shows that are now going on. I just remember when we first started showing we’d have to go on to Catwalking to look at catwalk pictures and there’d be, maybe three brands under H, and now there’s like 500: that freaks me out. Also I think, the actual process, like we don’t get any, I’m sorry to say, any slicker or more organised, it’s still all about up to the wire and I think that’s part of the creative process anyway – you want to keep working on it up to the last minute. The business has changed, the business side of things has massively changed, but the creative process is very much, we work in the same way.
And finally, hopes and dreams for the next tens years of HOH?
Oh my god, the next ten years, well, hosting my own retrospective at the V&A…