HIVE OF ACTIVITY Before any fashion show can take place, multiple model fittings are needed. Hien Le (in white T-shirt, left, and in black, main picture) suggests adjustments while his team busily sew, cut and fix Far away from the glamour and runway applause, long nights and early mornings are spent in studios with pencil and paper, needle and thread For many, the spectacle of a catwalk stage flaunting the latest international collections represents what fashion is all about. But from a designer’s perspective, the final show is often considered a mere deadline, the first act of this creative process beginning long before. Behind the scenes, far away from the glamour and runway applause, long nights and early mornings are spent in studios with pencil and paper, needle and thread. Laos-born but Berlin-raised Hien Le’s eponymous fashion label is a great example of a new generation of designers pursuing an inspiring fashion story to global acclaim. His brand’s identity emphasises craftsmanship, simplicity and detail. Some in the media have lauded this uncluttered approach as a possible consequence of his Asian identity and roots, but Le actually perceives more influence from Europe. Either way, far from the extreme haute couture of some other fashion designers, Le conceives very wearable clothing characterised by minimalist tendencies, alongside colourful accents and unusual fabrics – sometimes chosen for unusual reasons too, as he explains: “I’ve been working with more layering and transparent materials in different weights, such as silk and high-tech materials like neoprene. I find them interesting because of their unique feeling and even the sounds they make.” The 34-year old’s career path was sealed at the age of 12 after being inspired by an interview with Karl Lagerfeld in a 1990s documentary. Rising through the ranks, Le’s professional journey saw him learn many aspects of the fashion business. He’s trained as a tailor – like his grandfather – studied fashion design at Berlin University, worked at Marie Claire magazine and a fashion PR agency as well as taking an internship with Belgian fashion designer Veronique Branquinho (who he cites as an influence). Establishing his own label in May 2010, his clothes now sell across the world, but between initial inspiration to Le’s pieces arriving on retail racks there’s a large amount of work that seldom gets seen. When J-Magazine meets the designer at his small basement studio in a converted old factory in Berlin’s hip Kreuzberg 36 district, the space is overflowing with fabric samples and sewing machines, boxes full of thread, rolls of fabric, ironing boards, sewing machines, measuring tapes and mannequins, as well as countless colour-coded racks of finished pieces. It’s an air of ordered chaos, as Le explains his choice: “The space is welllocated, not far from home and really affordable. It has two beautiful backyards, so I have a lot of light for a studio which is under the ground floor. All the furniture is white, as well as the walls, but it’s cosy. And it’s like my second home as I spend most of my time here.” Before any fashion show can take place, multiple fittings are needed, models auditioned and selected and music and mood decided upon, but despite his heavy workload and pressing deadlines, Le’s working atmosphere appears subdued and peaceful. The development of a collection is broken down into stages with differing crescendos of intensity: “I start with research and brainstorming”, begins Le, “developing colour schemes and primary sketches which then lead to fabric choices and patternmaking.” This is followed by the development of a sample collection and preparation for the show. Each phase is intuitive he suggests, with part of the process involving, THE PERFORMANCE ISSUE j 67
JAGUAR MAGAZINE celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.
The latest issue features a range of inspiring people: from Luke Jennings, creator of Villanelle, one of the most interesting television characters in recent times, to Marcus Du Sautoy, who ponders whether artificial intelligence is on the brink of becoming creative. Out on the road, we visit the US to explore the foodie heaven of Portland in a Jaguar I-PACE, take a Jaguar XE to the south of France to get a photographer’s viewpoint of the charming town of Arles, and much more.
David Gandy and his XK120 charm London’s creative quarter
| How charity In Place Of War channels creativity in conflict zones
| Interior designer Joyce Wang shares the latest trends in luxury
| Panasonic Jaguar Racing’s most successful year in Formula E
| Meet Jaguar’s new design director Julian Thomson
Often provocative, always creative: meet graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister
| The British woodcrafters bringing a new dimension to an age-old skill
| Sample Paul Pairet’s Michelin-starred culinary delights in Shanghai
| See how Iris van Herpen is redefining fashion technology
| Time-travel to the futuristic city of Seoul
Discover a different side to Eva Green
| Will your next taxi be a self-driven Jaguar I-PACE?
| What it takes to break a lap record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife
| The petrolheads racing in Jaguar’s new all-electric race series
| Up close with the latest special edition of the XE and XF: the 300 SPORT
A charged-up drive of the New All-Electric Jaguar I-PACE in Portugal’s Algarve
| The inside line on the creation of the revolutionary I-PACE
| Reinventing a classic: meet the E-type Concept Zero
| Fifty years of the iconic XJ saloon
| Exclusive interview with tennis star Johanna Konta
| Can supercomputers revolutionise art?
The latest issue introduces our new ‘cub’, the E-PACE compact practical sports car, which is already turning heads on the street. As we commit to electrifying every new Jaguar from 2020, we explore how pushing boundaries on track helps develop our sports cars, from writing motorsport history at Le Mans, to taking on the Nürburgring with the extreme XE SV Project 8 and being at the very cutting edge with the FIA Formula E Championship.
In this issue, we introduce a fresh new addition to the Jaguar family with the launch of the E-PACE. F1 racer Romain Grosjean reveals his passion for Jaguar while the Panasonic Jaguar Racing Team give an insight into their preparations. Plus, we get to grips with the fast-paced sport of drone racing and spend a unique day with the XF Sportbrake.
In this issue we return to top level motorsport but not in a conventional way, and by doing so accelerate the development of electric powertrains. In tandem, we introduce our Jaguar I-PACE Concept vehicle - a revolutionary new model available to reserve now for delivery in 2018.
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