A designer who you may have noticed has been quite prevalent in my recent styling work is, Orri Henrisson. Melbourne-based and menswear designer – Henry Ng is one of the few Australian stylemakers pushing the conservative envelope. His designs offer an authentic aesthetic interest and versatility that allows the Orri Henrisson man to be masculine without the ”huff & gruff” and blandness that is plaguing menswear as of late. Perhaps envelope-pusher does not suffice to describe Ng’s recent action. His A/W 11 campaign “challenges the gender divide in fashion without sacrificing the masculine nature of Ng’s designs”. I sat down with Henry over Skype to talk Orri Henrisson, life, mutual friends and this raved about campaign.
Dandy Sachs: I guess the question I want to ask is why? Why a female model in a menswear campaign?
Henry Ng (Orri Henrisson): “Fashion’s current zeigeist interests me…look at the hype surrounding Andrej Pejic who models for high fashion womenswear campaigns! It’s exciting! Such a thing was unheard of before but now it’s the defining look. I wanted my A/W 11 campaign to be in that zeitgeist. We were looking for someone who possessed those androgynous qualities when we were casting”.
DS: Genevieve is quite beautiful!
HN: “She is. Her strong features, especially her jaw stood out to us. We wanted someone who wasn’t too feminine but could also pass as almost masculine. I also love a blonde model”.
DS: Yes I’ve noticed that. Your previous campaigns also featured blonde models. Can you explain?
HN: “The blonde thing…why blonde…I don’t know but to me there is an aesthetic element to a blonde model. They look better. I feel as if they bring out the youthfulness of what Orri Henrisson has been about and what it is about. I know I’ll change though. I’m warming to the idea of beauty that is defined as not other but different. I’ve been looking at brunette models and even some ethnic models. (He hears my delight at this mention and smirks – Henry and I recently had two blogposts that discussed the issue)
DS: Oh okay. Is it related to anything else…perhaps why your label is called Orri Henrisson. When I first encountered your label I thought it was something out of marvellous Scandinavia. The “sson” is a dead ringer.
HN: He laughs, a cute laugh. We share a similarity I don’t reveal to him. “It was actually the name of my pet dog a few years ago. I was obssessed.”
DS: Obssessed with what?
HN: “Everything Scandinavian!!!! Scandinavian fashion, art, design, music and perhaps people. I guess that’s where the blonde comes into play. I’m interested in really clean lines and minimalism and how Scandinavians do this has really influenced my label”.
DS: I was about to ask where the campaign was shot…it reminds me of a Scandinavian beach.
HN: “We actually shot in Clovelly in Sydney. A lot of people asked me as to whether we had shot it somewhere in the wintry northern hemisphere and they’re quite shocked when I tell them a Sydney beach”.
DS: But the colours?
HN: “Just post-production”.
DS: I see. Something I also want to bring your attention. This is your…what umpteenth collaboration with a blogger? Why did you choose to shoot your campaign with a “blogger” instead of an “industry photographer”.
HN: “Again the zeitgeist. Bloggers they have a different perspective to what they see. Especially fashion. A fresher perspective. Something I haven’t seen. He stresses. I have worked with Xiaohan before. I love the way she sees things. She comes from a similar graphic design background as me and so I knew the collaboration was going to work”. The press coming off this campaign is also largely due to the blogging community”.
DS: Indeed it has. So what’s next season all about?
HN: Well I’m currently working on A/W12 …
DS: WOW! What is S/S 12 like then?
HN: Same vain…structured shirts, mixed fabrics, preppy and also quite sporty.
DS: And the next season?
HN: “A/W 12 is going to focus on colour in fine details rather than in blocks. It’s influenced by Futuristic wear – think Tron Legacy – and the sharpness of line. Again I’m re-working classic pieces such as shirting, overcoats and trousers”.
DS: Finally, between Sydney and Melbourne which city is ‘more’ Orri Henrisson?
HN: I would have to say Sydney. Sydney has an appreciation of luxury. Sydneysiders are more willing to spend and indulge in clothes they know come from hard workmanship. They also appreciate colour.
When our conversation concluded there was something that had left a lasting impression on me. Henry’s love for his label. A love that pushes him to this day to be a one man show behind almost all facets of his label. Fervent and vested in wanting to change the menswear landscape of this country. One couldn’t help but smile.
The campaign was shot by Xiaohan Shen of Xssat – someone who I have also worked with. It was styled by Henry and another blogger/PR maestro Matt Jordan (of Imelda fame). It’s an indicator that something is changing and change is always good.