Lucas of Lanvin.

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Lucas Ossendrijver is the mastermind behind one of the most coveted labels in menswear today. A graduate from The Fashion Institute Arnhem, Ossendrijver lended his talents at Kenzo and even Dior Homme( in the Slimane era) before landing the job as creative director of the (back then) obscure label in 2006. Ossendrijver has succeeded in creating one of the most directional collections in today’s menswear. 

Ossendrijver works alongside Alber Elbaz creative director of the womenswear branch, to whom hes very close. Of their relationship he says: “Were like brothers, or father and son. We’re very close. He’s generous and he gives me a lot of space, which is rare in fashion. I know he’s always there.” Ossendrijver who says he doesn’t design for one specific customer, or with a particular muse says his quest into menswear began as an experiment.  “The way I started was an experiment, really. It wasn’t about a strategy. My team and I did what we liked and we still do. In that sense, I feel very free. At the same time, now that it’s becoming bigger, it’s a bit scary. But what I hope to do is to continue the freedom. I think there’s still lots to do.”

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Of the relation between womenswear at Lanvin and menswear, he says; ” We use different manufacturers and a different industrial system, but we treat fabric and construction in a similar way- a lot of the clothes we do are washed and have a certain lived-in quality. it’s always a bit dressed up but not too clean or new, and there’s a sense of fragility. I develop our colors separately from what Alber does for the women’s, but when we lay them side to side, we often realize they’re almost the same.”

He says the Lanvin man and woman are more like brother and sister for they have similar mentalities. ” It’s just the applications of it that may be different. In menswear there are so many boundaries and it’s about finding the right balance. You can start quite abstract and get experimental with an idea, but when the prototypes of the clothes arrive and I try all of them on to see if they feel believable or not, that is the real proposition and final judgement.

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When I start a collection It’s all very abstract. It’s much more about technique and intuition. This season, with the elastic I was very into sportswear but trying to redefine it and not make it just “sport” but a hybrid between tailoring and sportswear. I need some kind of newness in what I do so I can try to bring in different elements that meld together.”

Ossendrijver begins his collections with the fabric. “To be honest, I hardly ever draw a collection. I always work directly on the clothes.” 

and then I want to make the fabric speak. You have to find the right colours. Every fabric has it’s own colour and they’re all different. There’s never the same navy for every fabric. There are always tonal differences, which I think makes colour much richer in the end.”

Ossendrijver who grew up near Amsterdam says he attended art school where his interest in menswear did not arise until he bought a hand-tailored jacket at a flea market and opened it up to find the construction inside. He then became fascinated with menswear because ” it’s all about something hidden inside and the construction.”

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About his feelings before a show and thoughts of whether he’s made the right decisions he says; “I’m somebody who doubts quite a lot. In the beginning of a season, I follow a certain intuition. For me, that’s the only thing I really trust. I start with a feeling, I start with an emotion; I have this dream in my head that I start to visualize and it’s all about communication. Whether it’s the team who works with me or whether it’s a fabric manufacturer, I try to explain what I want. With fabrics, for me, I really have to see them and I know whether they’re right or not.”

It’s a bit like cooking; you have all of these ingredients and you sort of intuitively find the right way to make them work.”

Of Paris he says; ” I‘m always a stranger here, an outsider, but I like the feeling. Things don’t have to touch you. Social life in Paris is hard to get into, too. But once you’re in with the french, you’re in, They’re loyal.”

Quotes excerpted from “Meet Lucas Ossendrijver” and Holt Renfrew Magazine. Image Souce; Image,Image, Image, Image.



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