On twitter last week I was tweeting about my rather lovely Henri Lloyd surprise. A shoebox filled with popcorn and a ticket to watch this video created by Henri Lloyd and Dazed & Confused magazine. I think this video shows Henri Lloyd in a whole new look, really funks it up. Enjoy.
P.S. The glasses are FIT.
In Milan in the early 80s the coolest teens around were a set of wealthy young Italians who rode about on scooters, listened to new wave and cultivated a colourful, preppy American aesthetic.The scene, dubbed Paninaro after the Al Panino sandwich joint it was based around, ushered in a new era that rejected the tumultuous left-wing protests of the 60s and 70s; the Paninari just wanted to look good, with sartorial choices inspired by summer vacations in California and trips to New York.
The tribe became a fully fledged subculture, celebrated by the Pet Shop Boys in their 1986 ode “Paninaro” (with its refrain,Armani, Armani, ah-ah-Armani”), while the cult Italian fashion magazines Wild Boys, Preppy and Paninaro captured the spirit of the age. Then there were the clothes themselves: Armani jeans rolled to the ankle, Vans yacht shoes, backpacks, Ray-Bans and, to top it off, Henri Lloyd Consort RWR jackets. “I have a fond memory of a very colourful scene in Piazza. San Babila in Milan,” says designer Olmes Carretti. “A bunch of youngsters piled on mopeds wearing the Consort RWR.”
It was an unusual turn of events for the Manchester-based sailing-wear brand, which from its creation in 1963 had been suiting up the world’s leading sailors and explorers with its hardwearing waterproofs. Suddenly its staple jacket was a status symbol for hip young Italians, thanks to Carretti, the Italian designer-of-the-moment whose vibrant, iconographic sweatshirts for his own Best Company label were already a hit among knowing Paninari. He was hired by Henri Lloyd in 1984 to rework the Consort jacket by combining innovative materials with natural fabrics using vivid colours.“I think my goal was to get the jacket ‘off the boat’ and on to dry land. ”Carretti laughs.
This year, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, Henri Lloyd is revisiting its archives with the help of the cult designer who took its vision to the streets. The new Olmes Carretti jacket, an improved, updated close-weave nylon version of his 1984 jacket, is now available in UK stores.
“It’s a reinvention with highly technical content,” Carretti explains. “I designed a new fabric, a new heat-sealing technique and a new way to assemble and sew the garment, along with new colour infusions and buttons.”
That shared appreciation for function and form is Carretti’s signature. His predilection for colour and patterns is inspired by travels throughout southeast Asia and the USA in the 70s, but his technical knowhow has more humble origins. “I worked at textile companies, often on the nightshift, to pay for my studies,” he says. “That’s where I grasped the importance of fabrics and technology.”
That killer combination of fashion and practicality makes the Henri Lloyd Olmes Carretti jacket as relevant for today’s youth as it was for the Paninari, proving that fashion trends don’t die, they just come back stronger.