Every season the shows come to New York Fashion Week, revealing the latest collections effortlessly, beautifully and without a hitch. Have you ever wondered what goes into bringing a fashion show to life? You may have seen images taken backstage, but we rewind the clock a little further to see where it all begins, and chart the journey from collection inspiration to runway. The man behind the BOSS Menswear show, Chief Brand Officer Ingo Wilts, reveals his unique inside perspective on leading the brand to fashion week.
Runway collections are a true spectacle. Elevating dressing to an artform, an entire story is played out on the catwalk. But where does the inspiration come from? Ingo Wilts sheds light on where a designer might start before their pencil hits the sketch pad. “Inspiration comes from everywhere – from a book, a movie, from people in the street, a collection in a museum, a song, the attitude of somebody, echoing how people dress themselves.”
But, of course, the collosal effort of putting together a runway collection is not the work of one single person, much less so when leading a global menswear brand into New York Fashion Week season after season. This is the work of a number of creative minds, as Ingo elaborates, “I would describe myself as the 'Creative Chef d’Orchestre' who conducts a team, and, I have to say, this is real teamwork. My team and I work closely together; we exchange ideas, feelings and observations at the starting point of each collection, outlining the inspiration and direction. I follow the work that they create as a vision for the season. It is a real creative process, during which I review the collection’s development, always having in mind the strategic aspect of the brand’s positioning.”
"Inspiration comes from everywhere – from a book, a movie, from people in the street, a collection in a museum, a song, the attitude of somebody."
Chief Brand Officer
With silhouettes, colours, fabrics and details chosen, the garments are produced. Now all the physical pieces are together, the collection takes form. "Everything comes to life during the fitting sessions with the models," explains Ingo. "There we see how a fabric falls, how a garment moves. We experiment and play a lot with different pieces – mixing different combinations to create the right silhouette or simply modify the cut of a garment. Again, we work all together to find the right result – sometimes this means there are small tweaks, sometimes it can be a major transformation." Who wears the new pieces for the debut on the runway is also of utmost importance – as they are effectively becoming the face of the brand for the show. "We always look for models who bring the right attitude, and who reflect the mood of the collection," says Ingo.
While the unveiling of the new collection is the focus of the show and, indeed, the purpose, the set plays an all-important role. This fashion theatre filled with bright lights and music is as inextricably linked with fashion week as the collections. Immersing the guests in the mood of the collection, the location creates a seamless link to the surrounding environment. As final touches are made to the looks, the show set is completed, lighting rigs are assembled and cameras are positioned to capture the action from every angle.
The day has come for months of work to be revealed. In just a few hours global fashion press, buyers and celebrities will take their places by the runway, ready to judge the new collection – not to mention those online waiting to view the show live. If ever there were a time for emotions to run high, it would be now. We asked Ingo Wilts if, even after years in the industry, he still feels the heat just before the big event. "I feel confident and nervous at the same time; it is a paradox of feelings," says Ingo. "Of course we are all excited and exhausted, we hope that everything will be perfect on the runway, our guests will enjoy the show, will agree with our creative statement for our collection and will like it. We never know until the last second. But at that point there is no way to step back; when the show starts, the die is cast."
Everyone has taken their seats and the music starts as the models take to the runway. Drenched in light, the vision for the season comes to life with the unique surroundings in the heart of Manhattan, New York City as the backdrop. This Fall/Winter 2018, the menswear collection, entitled "Sports Tailoring", sees the brand's signature tailoring fused with sportswear in a dynamic new expression of BOSS style. Everything comes together for its moment at New York Fashion Week.
After the final model leaves the runway and the designer bows, press and buyers leave their seats at lightning speed to catch the next show on the schedule, while celebrities pose for photos and begin interviews. What does Ingo Wilts do once the curtain falls? "It might be hard to believe, but I already start thinking about the next one,” he remarks. ”Everything goes quickly. My design team move forward and begin thinking about the next steps." And on to Spring/Summer 2019.