We had a chat with the ever-inspiring Ainsley Hansen on her latest collection 'TOUCH' for Spring/Summer 2014 alongside some rad BTS polaroids from her lookbook.

Christie: Hi Ains! Let's start off by you telling us a little bit about your latest collection.

Ainsley: “Touch” S/S 14 studies the sensation of texture. Explored subtly through the use of fabrications & boldly through colour & print.

This season I was really inspired by my senses, drawn to the “touch” and feel of different fabrications. Hansen & Gretel bridges the gap between popular and punk culture and generally plays with bold colours and contrasting prints.

However, this collection was more about experimenting with grain, pulling back on pallet and refining the silhouettes whilst still keeping the brands signature, androgynous spirit.

Throughout the collection I used a range of different fabrications. Some had obvious textural qualities, like grey hazed linen while others, such as the herringbone wool suiting had a subtle texture.

From the study of texture I then developed a multi-layered print that provided a splash of brightness to the otherwise neutral colour pallet of powder blue, grey, nude, black & white.

Being inspired by the “touch” of fabric really allowed for the silhouette and styling of an outfit to be recognised, again staying true to our motivation, to reveal garment details where the wearer would least expect it.

It seems throughout a lot of your collections for Hansen & Gretel you’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from particular photographers & artists - could you tell me who they are? And do they specifically relate to your Spring Summer ’14 collection?

All forms of art inspire me. This season there wasn’t one particular artist that inspired the collection. Currently the below artists excite me. Along with my all time favourite, Callum Innes.

- London-based creative studio, Patternity.
- Artist, Mark Whalen
- Photographer, Nicolas Alan Cope
- Canadian Visual Artist, Robert Blonski

(I’m always thrilled to stumble upon creative talent, one of the many reasons I actually read PITCH...)

Do you think summer collections are important for Australian designers? And does our climate affect your decisions as a designer?

Absolutely, Summer collections are the most important due to it coinciding with the peak retail period. Our wholesalers have more budgets during this season, so it is important for us to have a strong collection. Our climate also affects all my design decisions, especially around fabric choices. When I design I really think about my customer. These days wholesalers are after longevity in a garment. With the onset of global warming, our collections are becoming very transeasonal as it is hard to predict what each season will bring.

And finally, what can we expect in the future from Hansen & Gretel?

Well right now we are about to open a concept store in Paddington called Shop A-Z, which will open at the start of August. This space will stock not only Hansen & Gretel but also other brands that we admire. For us, right now it’s about getting our product in front of more people, while continually stimulating our current loyal customer base.

We are also looking into more creative collaborations and intensifying our current No Signal collaboration that we have done with Jason Henley, Jana Bartolo and Renee Carey, which is aims to raise awareness for Life Line Australia.

Hansen & Gretel's Spring/Summer '14 collection TOUCH will be available online in August/September.

Words / Christie Morgan
Photography / Madeleine Burke
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