Lutz Huelle Is AZ Factory’s Next Designer

·3 min read

AZ Factory has selected a seasoned fashion talent — Lutz Huelle — for its next product story, and is giving it a runway showcase on Oct. 3 during Paris Fashion Week.

That means Huelle will have a double-header in the French capital: His eponymous label Lutz is on the calendar for a digital unveiling on Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m., and by appointment.

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Disclosing its next guest “amigo” exclusively to WWD, AZ Factory said Huelle’s collection would be titled “F for Friendship” as a riff on the brand name — founder Alber Elbaz’s name starts and ends with the letters that bookend the alphabet — and an ode to one of the brand’s core values.

“Though he had met our founder only once and wishes he’d got to know him better, Lutz recognizes in their shared DNA a common wish to make people feel comfortable, at ease,” the house said in a statement, keeping other details under wraps.

His collection for AZ Factory is expected to go on sale in February 2023.

A joint venture between Compagnie Financière Richemont and Albaz, AZ Factory recently indicated it would widen the profile of its guest creatives to include well-known and established talents.

Huelle and partner David Ballu founded the Lutz brand in Paris in 2000 and it has been a mainstay of the Paris calendar. Over the years Huelle has also consulted for brands including S’Max Mara, Brioni and Delpozo.

AZ’s first collaborators in the wake of the founder’s passing in April 2021 were Thebe Magugu and Esther Manas, young designers in need of support and help at a critical juncture in their development.

A Central Saint Martins graduate, Huelle cut his teeth at Maison Martin Margiela, which he joined in 1995 and where he became responsible for the development of its knitwear and Artisanal lines. He won France’s prestigious ANDAM fashion awards in 2000 and 2002.

Lutz Huelle Spring 2022
A look from Lutz Huelle’s spring 2022 collection.

His approach to fashion is often described as “decontextualization” — reworking a classic wardrobe, via structure, volume and identity. For example, a trenchcoat might be draped and transformed into a dress, a sweatshirt into a coat, or a towel into an evening dress.

According to AZ Factory, Huelle was a pioneer in mixing and matching genres and types of garments and Lutz “has become an integral part of the fashion landscape.”

Richemont has been fine-tuning and elaborating the strategy and business model at AZ Factory, which retains Elbaz’s central idea of “smart fashions that care” launched via product “stories” rather than collections.

It recently said guest creators would also include recent graduates and high-potential students, plus left-field creatives not directly related to fashion, such as DJs.

All will find benefits analogous in some ways to fashion prizes, only offering an entire ecosystem — a design studio, atelier, marketing muscle and communications channels — and all the team members Elbaz recruited before his passing in April 2021.

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