Lutz Huelle’s studio is down a cobbled Marais alley lush with greenery that feels like magic to a New Yorker. It’s a Paris Fashion Week hideaway where you can find a sweet going-out top (it will often involve sequins) and see what he’s gotten up to with upcycled denim.
After years of running his independent business out of the space, Huelle has to vacate—his operation has gotten too big. Though he doesn’t make the kind of noise that his Parisian compatriots are prone to—there hasn’t been a Lutz runway show since the start of the pandemic and he doesn’t talk about going back—he’s got a growing business, and a repeat customer on his online store.
For the last few seasons they’ve been loving the way he puts taffeta sleeves on a cotton jersey t-shirt, or pairs a voluminous taffeta trapeze top with pleat-front chinos. (The odd combination is something he picked up from his former boss Martin Margiela.) But he felt he’d come to an end of a cycle, so he shelved the taffeta for the moment, and started off the new season by iterating on the tuxedo shirt, adding silver foil to the front, extending the hem below the hip so it can double as a dress, twisting the bib pleats on their side.
The idea was to make a formal garment feel fresh and new. He did the same kind of iterative experimentation with the boxy tweed jacket—a most classic French garment—by splicing in upcycled denim at the front placket, shoulder seams, hem, and cuffs. It’s a high-low mash-up and a guaranteed best-seller on his e-commerce site, not just in tweed, but also in black sequins or black duchesse. In one corner of the studio there are stacks and stacks of used jeans, sourced at Paris’s vintage markets. This season he’s adding gold foil to the waistbands—disco jeans!
“I’ve been around the block once or twice,” he said, nodding to his about-to-be-former space. “It’s taken a bit longer for me, but I’ve always just done what I like.”