When it comes to womenswear, Madam Virtue have you sorted. Stocking a unique range of designer, archival and vintage pieces, as well as their own eponymous in-house label, they have dressed some of the biggest names in the business. Now, men have no reason not to also look their best with one half of Madam Virtue, Dean Hewitt, launching his own exclusive curation of designer menswear pieces. We caught up with Dean to find out about this exciting adventure, and why ladies can jump on board the menswear trend with his new range.
Congratulations on the launch of your new project Mister Hewitt. Can you tell us more about the concept?
It was a natural progression from my work with Madam Virtue & Co. and seeing the need to feature unique standalone pieces. The focus was on bringing hand-picked vintage, archival and contemporary (with maybe a few seasons old) pieces like jackets, suits, coats and accessories which would provide a new alternative to men’s fashion and style in Melbourne.
In a world of fast fashion, why do you think vintage designs are still stylish today?
Mister Hewitt decided from the start not to differentiate between vintage, archival or contemporary and modern (new) collections, the emphasis is more on the uniqueness of a piece and the label and history behind the garment. A stylish man does not look good because he is wearing a particular brand or a straight off the runway garment, rather he stands out for the way he puts the entire look together. Style is timeless; trends have a use by date. An amazing tuxedo jacket or suit for example can look chic when going to a party, the opera or Coles. It’s about mixing items to create a unique ensemble and identity.
Why do you think it is worth spending money on investment pieces rather than trend pieces?
When you look at certain designers and what they have produced over the years, for example Junya Watanabe and Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garcons, whether it was 10 years ago or current season, their design is about uniqueness, about architecture, about art and they may be considered investment pieces because they will look just as good and special today as in years to come. Same with Yojhi Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Yves Saint-Laurent, Christian Dior and Alber Elbaz, amongst others. Trends on the other hand, do not add to style, they come and go in the blink of an eye and some may be forgiven but never forgotten…
Where do you go to source your beautiful pieces?
I don’t like to kiss and tell but for Couturing, let’s just say that I have been collecting for years now and I have travelled the world to stock the best but still keeping it real in terms of timeless aesthetics and price.
How would you describe your personal style and how do you incorporate vintage into your wardrobe?
I’d like to think I have my own style, as for descriptions of it, others can describe it, yet I try to maintain an effortless look, let the pieces I wear speak for themselves and for me, vanity can be such a dreadful sin! Again it’s not about incorporating vintage but, rather, style should not be seen as a mathematical equation, adding this or that, it is the overall execution of your own that will ultimately define your very own look and that’s what matters in the end! Who wants to blend in and be mundane? Even wearing a beautiful scarf around your neck is all it takes! It’s exciting times for men’s fashion after many years of being very dull and bland. Finally we are seeing vibrant colours, amazing accessories and standout pieces. Thank god for designers like Thom Browne who are pushing the envelope.
Who are your style icons?
Many of my icons are known to me but are not necessarily famous, fame and iconography are not exactly synonyms. I will say I have forever admired the androgyny of Grace Jones, now that’s real style, even when she’s donning a gown one can see masculinity at its finest and most refined, and when she wears a suit or a tuxedo, I just die… This is what brings me back to Mister Hewitt not being defined by gender.
What plans do you have for Mister Hewitt over the coming months?
We have a number of interesting projects coming up, from collaborations with stylists, photographers and magazines here in Australia and overseas, to having our first ever Mister Hewitt Pop-Up Store, to developing an online presence, to great window installations at Madam Virtue & Co. and elsewhere, it’s all happening but for now, Mister Hewitt is running in conjunction with MV and is already open at this stage being a pop-up rack which I think I’ve just invented, so please visit, follow my FB page or email me to make an appointment.
MISTER HEWITT is available at Madam Virtue, 5 Crossley Street, Melbourne. Call 9663 8669 to make an appointment. Visit the Madam Virtue website or Facebook page to find out more.
Images courtesy of Dean Hewitt, Robyn Lea, Greg Dennis and Meagan Harding
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