Hannah Marshall Interview

September 16, 2010

FashionInterviews | by James Joseph

It is no secret that Hannah Marshall has been one of our favourite designers for a long time now, her last three collections; Encryption, Army of Me and Strict Machine have quite frankly been outstanding. As part of this months mega feature “The Hannah Marshall Takeover” we catch up with Hannah on London Fashion Week, minimalist design and The Queen … Read On.


What inspires the dark aesthetic of your collections?
HM: My aesthetic is about strong minimalist silhouettes that empower women.


Do you have any obsessions or passions that fuel the malevolence of your creations?
HM: Power, contrasts, restraint….


If there was one person fictional or non-fictional you could create an outfit for who would it be and why?
HM: Grace Jones, as there is no one like her.


Do you feel the aesthetic of your designs relates to your personality and your everyday life?
HM: Clothing is about transformation, so for me my designs relate to something more than everyday life, it is more about clothing having the power to communicate who you are or who you want to be.


If there were no constraints at all, what would be the ultimate Hannah Marshall design?
HM: If there was no restraints at all I don’t know if the collection would still be Hannah Marshall, and actually if there would be many changes. I love to create small capsule collections that sum up my concept. I never compromise on materials and always choose the most opulent fabrics that sit within my minimalist sphere.


You have been running your label for three years now, have you found anything particularly challenging during that time?
HM: I think the biggest challenge is time vs finances. The cash flow of the fashion business is like no other, and if you don’t have money or investors from the beginning it is tough.


You were invited to meet the Queen as part of the British Fashion Industry celebrations this year, how was the experience? More importantly what did she think of your collections?
HM: I was fortunate to meet the Queen earlier this year which as a surreal yet unforgettable experience! I was standing with Sarah Mower, Zandra Rhodes and Erin O’Connor and we all introduced ourselves and explained what we do in the fashion industry. The Queen asked what happens at the catwalk shows and I explained. Unfortunately she didn’t appear to be sitting front row, maybe next season!


Is there a particular woman your collections are designed for? If so describe her to us ..where would she hang out? What type of person is she?
HM: The Hannah Marshall woman is confident, strong and unique. The Hannah Marshall woman isn’t only particular age or type of person, it is an attitude and aesthetic that is shared no matter what part of the globe she is in and what she does with her day.


One year on from your debut at London Fashion Week for Spring Summer 2011 your aesthetic appeared much lighter and purified. What was your reasoning for this?
HM: With this collection,’ Strict Machine’, I investigated privacy of the body and the mind and the way we control access and exposure of our most intimate inner lives. There is a serene confidence to this season’s collection also, incorporating the techniques of restraint achieved impeccably by minimalist masters of the 90’s; Helmut Lang and Jil Sander. The collection marks the introduction of discreet colour; looks this season are rendered in a monochrome palette of signature black, grey, chalk, mint, and white (white was not shown on the catwalk but is apart of the wider collection).


One of our favourite elements from the Spring Summer collection (apart from the organza backed blazer) was the corrugated panels of fabric. What was the inspiration behind these?
HM: The inspiration behind the panels was to create elongating of the body. Razor thin panels run vertically down the body like extended body architecture; their purpose is to re-shape, re-sculpt and re-figure the definition of the silhouette. These repetitive panels were are stacked together, covering the surface; from the exterior they appear as a sculpted field of layers – a reference to the transformative multi-media of visual artist Brian Dettmer, whose work is fascinating to me.


Over the next couple of months, what does the future hold for the Hannah Marshall label and yourself? In short, what do you have in the pipeline?
HM: I have a lot planned for the Hannah Marshall brand, a lot of which I cannot talk about! However, accessories are going to be a focus for us in the very near future, so keep a look out for these! I am looking to continue to collaborate with visually creative talents such as RANKIN – we just opened the recent SS/11 show with a collaborative film showcasing the mood of my collection, which was an amazing experience and honour to be working with him.


To find out more about Hannah Marshall make sure you visit the Hannah Marshall Website