Holz by Frank Leder F/W 2010-11

Sometimes designers can get lost in their inspiration. It can happen in any creative field. A writer could – for example – deconstruct their mother’s meatloaf, down to its most minute properties. An artist might only paint flowers that resemble the female anatomy. My point is, an inspiration can become far too literal and thus border on costume. I worried about design inspiration when I began looking at Frank Leder’s Holz collection for Fall/Winter 2010 – could the history of working class Germans prove to be anything but a hokey representation of chimney sweeps and loggers? Would it translate to a ready to wear market? Leder proves it can.

Holz is a very masculine collection, complete with suspenders for stability and high boots with wool trim for practicality – I believe the idea behind this collection is that work wear should be worked in, despite how modern it might be. This idea is reflected in the durable fabrics chosen for the collection.

The entire collection breathes the working class, with wool coats for warmth and textured layering – historically speaking, gentleman would DRESS UP for work in a manner that suited their means. Leder shows us this in the way tailoring is utilized in a ready-to-work (not a desk job) ensemble.

Given the dandier movements of late, era-inspired work wear seems timely, but I fear the reference will be lost on many who do not see the appeal in past decade referencing. In most eyes, looking back is not moving forward, which is why Leder may face some active (and passive) resistance. But for those nay sayers, I ask you this: Why do you think designers look to the past to gain inspiration? Why are there cultural icons from days gone by that are still referenced today? And why did we dress up in our father’s work clothes when we were wee lads. The answer is quite simple: curiousity. As human beings we seek out information, whether past or present. But within the past are an assortment of details that our minds connect with and Leder is banking on this affection for heritage.

Frankly, even if you don’t like the styling for Leder’s F/W collection, there are options for everyone. A navy waist coast increases the formality of a day-to-night look, while toggled Duffle-ish coats are cozy and warm, but oversized to compliment a modern tapered bottom. From separates to full suiting, Leder covers the working man’s needs, but brings those needs to today’s man with more learned fashion agendas.

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