Dear iDEALS, I met German Thomas Behrens about a month ago during my visit to Villa Noailes for the 28th Edition of the Hyeres Festival. Though Thomas was not one of the contestants, he opened his heart to me and shared his plans and personal goals, his new collection and dreams. A multitasker by nature, he started his career as a stylist before he moved to design, in 2005.
FilepMotwary: So Thomas, which experiences helped you form your own aesthetics?
ThomasBehrens: It developed by making fashion. Before doing this collection I did a collection free from any boundaries. In a way, I wanted to test me. How far can I go creatively and technically... At the end it looked like an army of future amazons. But by trying this and organizing a guerilla presentation in front of the fashion tent during the fashion week, I learned a lot about myself, and what I want to say. It has become a process that thankfully keeps going.
TB: Oh, my new collection started with an experience I had. For a job I had seen a building of Richard Neutra in which an old, really nice lady lives in. He only built a few houses in Germany only because his construction method is corresponding more to a warmer climate. I was impressed about the symbiosis of the interior and the surrounding nature, just separated by a glass wall. Outside you had water basins and when the sun comes up you see all the reflection on the walls and the wooden ceiling inside. The idea of stepping out of bed, feel the carpet pile under your naked feet, open the panorama window, walk over the grass and jumping in the pool was fascinating.
FM: Why did you choose menswear and not womenswear?
TB: During my studies I made both. But now I decided for menswear. I like the technical part of it and also that menswear has boundaries, you can respect or slightly move a bit further. Menswear also is pays a lot of attention to the details.
FM: In your opinion what are the differences between men and women?
TB: This is a complicated question. In clothes there are differences and I like these differences. For example there are just a few men which are looking good in skirts. But there is a lot of changing in the understanding of mens and womenswear. Recently Andrej Pejic could be seen as a physical expression of this new idea. The dream about androgyny, to break with established roles is reemerging. In my vision man and women come very close to one another, but not that they adopting the fashion of the opposite sexes, it is more an expansion of boundaries. This could be the choice of the fabric quality, the fit of a shoulder etc..
FM: What makes a designer important in your opinion in order to last? How does really longevity mean in this business?
TB: Longevity means a lot but it is getting rare in this business. But there are houses where the designers are coming back and I appreciate this and this keeps me up, because it shows that there are costumers following the designer. And I think sometimes to separate the company from the designer of different reasons isn't the right solution, because it dilutes the message. And what makes fashion interesting is for me the diversity.
FM: How did you form the hero/the man you dress?
TB: Maybe he is a character from a novel of Thomas Mann. At the moment he is on holiday, on a road-trip threw America. He is someone who loves the ritual of dressing. He is not loud or aggressive, maybe his provocation is about showing his vulnerability without any precautions.
FM: Is there any tension between the idea and the execution, in terms of the time that separates them?
TB: Yes, because in this collection I wanted to do something really natural, a relaxed look. But to create a soft fit blazer, is something not so stress relieving. There is a lot to think, which construction you use underneath, always with the fear to loose the spontaneity you had in your mind at the beginning.
FM: You are now preparing for Pitti. How do you imagine Pitti Uomo?
TB: I have never been to the Pitti before, but I heard that the atmosphere should be nice and not like a typical fair with little boxes where people siting separated like birds in cages.
FM: What are your expectations?
TB: I hope to meet interesting people and maybe selling some pieces.
model Marc Schulze/ Viva
grooming Laura Sauer/ Bigoudi
photographer's assistant Anna Gold