A grey wool overcoat from HIM/SHE AW11.
Iconic menswear designer Tim Soar has just launched his debut womenswear collection. Closet Charms catches up with him to discuss why AW11 was the right season to move into womenswear…
Why was AW11 the right time to launch your first womenswear collection?
It was very clear that there was something in the air about womenswear referencing menswear. Plus I had a number of senior fashion insiders encouraging me to do it.
How do you want the woman, who purchases this collection to feel in your clothes?
Although the pieces within the collection have strong menswear references, that does not mean I necessarily see the pieces being worn in a masculine way. They are beautiful individual pieces, so I would hope that any woman wearing them would feel great. Of course, if she wishes to go down the full Helmut Newton androgynous route, then she can certainly do so with the HIM/SHE collection. No doubt that would feel great in a slightly different way.
Why is the collection called HIM/SHE? And how did you come up with the name?
Many of the looks in the collection are completely mirrored in the men’s and the women’s pieces. So, naming the collection HIM/SHE was a good way of signalling this.
What was the inspiration behind these masculine/ androgynous inspired designs for women?
The idea was simply to make some great clothes.
What are you hoping to achieve from the collection?
To produce a collection of interesting, desirable clothes.
Do you think there is a space for masculine inspired tailoring for women, and could it be growing trend?
I certainly think it will be around for a few seasons, and I am sure, to some degree, it will spread to the high street. To a greater or lesser extent, masculine inspired tailoring has always been present in women’s fashion – Yves Saint Laurent, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Margiela for example. However, one really important thing for me was to keep an element of the men’s fit to the garments. Woman’s tailoring is cut close to the hourglass figure and can feel old fashioned. It’s fresher and feels modern to have them off the body.
A silk blouse and some tailored trousers from the HIM/SHE collection.
Do you think masculine tailoring for women could be a new form of power dressing?
That is an interesting question. I think that the sexual politics of the higher echelons of industry mean that business women might now be a little cautious of appearing as if they are trying copy the dress of their male colleagues. But then again, perhaps we are past that stage, and a woman can ‘play’ with her working dress; to look like the boys one day and then look like a womanly woman the next. I certainly did not design the collection thinking that my womenswear was some sort of new orthodoxy. It is intended to be merely one of many possibilities in a woman’s wardrobe.
Why might masculine inspired tailoring appeal to women?
Good menswear has an amazing structure and density – that was a really important thing for me to bring to womenswear. To put on a really well made jacket or coat feels great, and if that garment, on a woman, also has in interesting subtext, then so much the better.