A Word With HUGO's Creative Director, Bart de Becker

At the first show in Pitti Uomo, Hugo Boss' contemporary line leaves a lasting impression with HUGO SS18.

BY Eugene Lim | Jun 15, 2017 | Fashion

Image by Hugo Boss

When you think of Hugo Boss, the first thought that comes to mind is a well-dressed man in an impeccably tailored suit, wide spread collar shirt, pocket square, and a well-polished pair of oxford leather shoes. The works. 

The philosophy of Hugo Boss, that is commonly associated with the brand, belongs to their BOSS line--one that focuses on providing everything a man would need. 

But today in Florence, housed in an old factory building, BOSS lesser know counterpart, HUGO, has their sights on changing that notion. The former's SS18 collection hit the runway. 

With the clothes as his canvas, HUGO's Creative Director, Bart de Becker, paints a new chapter for the brand. The collection starts with a series of white looks, featuring a mix texture canvas and linens. As the collection progresses, de Becker added in layers of artistic prints--made in collaboration with fellow designer Charles Jeffery--that often appears on translucent mesh T-shirts before ending with the primary palette of blue, yellow and HUGO's signature red.

The collection took staples of menswear--such as suits, shirts sweaters, jackets--and exaggerated the proportions. Case in point: the suits and shirts are designed to fall forward and drape off the body, while the usually soft-knitted wear featured metal rings embellishment. The pieces are juxtaposition with fitted mesh T-shirts to showcase both contrasts of silhouette and--in the eyes of de Becker--how both sensitivity and masculinity can co-exist as one.

We went backstage to speak to Bart de Becker, to delve into his thoughts behind the collection.

Esquire: What was the inspiration behind the collection?

Bart de Becker: The whole idea of the show is to start with a blank canvas, that's why you see a lot of textured coats and white linens. Then as the show evolves, you see scribbles and sketches. You can almost see the thoughts of the artist appearing. Then we went into more structured cuts and vintage looking pieces. You see scribbles underneath something more precious, like translucent mesh. Then the collection evolves and becomes more and more colorful. So that was the whole idea.

Esquire: So you started with a blank canvas and you paint the story on it. You mentioned that the idea of wearing something precious. What triggered this thought?

Bart de Becker: I like clothes that can move in a natural way. Not something too preppy. And that is the reason why we have precious clothes, worn in a non-precious way. You take something good and wear it in a relax and easy way. That's the idea behind it.

Esquire: Why feature the translucent mesh in this collection? It's not a material that is inherently masculine, but Hugo Boss is known for being a very masculine brand. 

Bart de Becker: I wanted to bring in a sense of sensitivity to the collection. Something almost intimate. To bring it in contrast with strong heavy volumes. [For example] a super fragile translucent piece, with a heavy jumpsuit. So there is a sense of sensitivity, but also very masculine. Just to showcase that contrast.

Esquire: Did you have a man in mind while you design this collection?

Bart de Becker:  For me, the HUGO guy is someone who is searching for the possibility in life. A sensitive guy, who is constantly discovering things. A man who is open to different aspects of life. A man who has a precious mindset, but still stand for the things he believes in.