He has put AllSaints back on the map, so it was time to have a chat with the label’s Creative Director Wil Beedle when he dropped by the recently opened Amsterdam store.
I remember my impression when first walking in an AllSaints shop in London about a decade ago; nice leather pieces, but what is it with all this Galliano-ish layering of cloth? Plus it was quite expensive for items I wouldn’t dare to wear frequently.
A lot has changed since then. AllSaints had trouble surviving because it didn’t really stand out in the fashion landscape anymore, but a big investment firm believed that the right person could put it back on the map, and the savior was Wil Beedle.
Beedle was already the menswear designer for 10 years, and it was clear that his aesthetics turned out well on these collections. Within the past three years under his complete direction the label now has a contemporary and strong signature. The main change wasn’t so much in the AllSaints DNA which remained in the numerous leather designs and the raw decoration of the shops, but in bringing the mens- and womenswear collections closer together.
To have an understanding of Wil’s vision on the label we’ve subjected him to our little ‘questionnaire’:
Could you describe the AllSaints style in three words?
‘Unstudied, metropolitan, cool. I could say ‘attitude, confidence and individuality’ but I’ve used that one before so I have to think of new ones…Or ‘global, iconic, disruptive’…?
AllSaints is known for the use of mute colors, which is also an aspect of the ‘French style’. You have lived in Paris (Wil lived in the French capital for 3 years-TD). How did that influence you?
It is more than 10 years ago before I started working at AllSaints, and at that time the different aspects of the French culture were overlapping within themselves. The fashion was very vibrant, the art was very vibrant, their emergence of new talents…the city had a real moment. Of course spending many days walking around watching the world in front of me influenced me profoundly.
Which piece of the collection defines the last 20 years? (AllSaints celebrates it’s 20 years in 2014 -TD)
The collection is more than the sum of it parts, and I don’t think that if you look at the overall of the brand -the appetite, the ambition and the scale of AllSaints – you could sum things up in the biker jacket. Of course we have iconic pieces and of course the biker jacket represents the spirit of individuality, independence and counter cultural residence to us, but the point is that we view every piece in the collection with the same kind of ‘frisson’, energy and attitude as if it was an iconic piece.
Name 5 indispensable basics one should have in its wardrobe?
(a long silence)…..Buy one piece that makes your heart beat and wear it to death. Of course everyone needs a white T-shirt, a pair of skinny jeans, a biker jacket, a denim jacket and a killer pair of shoes (…) I prefer to subvert wardrobe staples and honor them and I like to create new things that become indispensable. New icons, new vehicles that can be a catalyst by which people can express themselves. I like to create collections that allow people -tools- to build their new wardrobes. The world is full of people who want to do a definitive this, that or the other…what I want to do is create things that people didn’t expect and let that become their definitive piece.
What are the key materials of this and next season?
We are heavily focussed on texture and a clash of textures, creating a sensoral journey. For Autumn winter there is angora, cashmere and pony skin.
Spring/Summer is all about bonding nappa’s and yoaking leathers together for a fluid structure. These are such fine leathers you can sculpt with them.
That brings us to…the key accessory?
May I introduce you to our new footwear collection! You tell me!
(then a conversation followed with Wil trying to find out to which model of shoe my preference goes out to…and the conclusion is….the killer heel ankle boot.)
AllSaints as a brand is very much intertwined with music & film. You now also have your own production department. How did that come about?
I don’t believe nowadays that if you want to do something you need to ask the permission to do it. I like it that as a brand, everything we do, we independently do ourselves…(from furniture, to photography -TD) we want to be independent and not rely on anyone else.
Film is an irresistible way to communicate with our global audience. It’s as simple as that. It’s the most immediate coverage format of this generation. We have a digital focus as a brand, there’s no question, and film is a natural means to communicate with that digital audience in a way that they can engage, use and share.
The digital focus mentioned above makes that All Saints chose to launch their new shoe collection ‘below the knee’ with a short film shot in New York, and through Instagram. AllSaints’ global social community will be invited to capture their own perspective below the knee using Instagram. Images will be curated on AllSaints.com adding to those alreadyposted by the brand and top fashioninfluencers using the tags@allsaintslive #BelowtheKnee.
Some more inside info about the shoe collection: the shoe designer worked at Louboutin before and they are made in the same atelier as the shoes for Alaïa…need we say more?
AllSaints Footwear is available at 18 in store ‘shoe salons’, including Amsterdam.