Maison Ullens Names Christian Wijnants as Artistic Director – WWD

Paris — Belgian luxury fashion house Maison Ullens has appointed Christian Wijnants as Artistic Director as it prepares for the next phase of its expansion.

Known for its expertise in knitwear, the Belgian designer will debut the label with its Fall 2023 collection, presented to buyers in Brussels from February 1-3 and pressed during the Paris Women’s Show, the brand said. STATEMENTS PROVIDED ONLY TO WWD.

Founded in 2009, the label has worked with designers such as Veronique Leroy, Kim Rosen and Haider Ackermann in the past, but has worked with an in-house team for the last two seasons.

Founder Miriam Ullens explains why she was drawn to Winants: his general work.

Last year, the Maison appointed Jeremy Autun as COO and Jonathan La Morte as Retail Director, aiming to expand its retail footprint and wanting to attract attention with new creative directions. I’m here.

“We would like to further develop the image of Maison Ullens. To create new dynamics, new energy while respecting our basic DNA, we want to create more versatile, more accessory and more colorful products. We want to be able to offer a flattering silhouette,” explained Ullens.

“We also wanted to work with a designer who could reinforce our Belgian roots and interpret them through future collections. We have also evolved in terms of the volume and attitude we want to offer to women.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Wynants won the Grand Prix at the Hyères International Fashion and Photography Festival in 2001 and founded his eponymous label in 2003. Then in 2006 he won the ANDAM Award and the Woolmark Award. in 2013.

The designer was introduced to Ullens online, and the two quickly bonded over their shared design ethos. Maison Ullens touts its clothes as “wearable luxury” for the globetrotter.

“I love brands that are timeless, brands that don’t necessarily follow trends, brands that make beautiful pieces that you just want to wear year after year, year after year,” said Wynants.

“What I want to bring to that story is maybe a little bit more depth. To bring each season, not just the essentials and the classics season by season, but a very understated and subtle color palette. A new story,” he added.

Miriam Ullens

David Atlan/Courtesy of Maison Wrens

Wynants also believes the brand does not fully reflect the personality of its founder.

Entrepreneur, philanthropist and collector Ullens and her husband Barong Gai Ullens founded the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing and the Ullens School in Nepal. She also started the Mimi Foundation, which is dedicated to helping cancer patients.

“She has a very strong personality, lots of ideas, a great sense of humor, and interests ranging from travel to art. All these ideas,” Wijnants said.

His first collection draws inspiration from Wyoming’s wildlife and open spaces, using materials such as shearling, leather, cashmere and wool denim, and a palette of pops of yellow, orange and green. I was.

“I live in a city and am always craving nature, so it’s almost a romantic idea. said.

Knitwear makes up about 75% of the offer, he said. In addition to the brand’s signature double face knit, select leather and shearling outerwear is reversible. Wynants is interested in rugged, rumpled textures, like the silk-polyamide blend he used for his tops, he said.

His passion for knitting dates back to his teenage years when he found an old knitting machine in his parents’ basement.

“Even after 20 years, I never get tired of it, always discovering new techniques and ideas that allow me to develop many things. It was very unique to find a brand that does. That’s why I think it’s a very good click between our two homes,” he said.

Wynants produces two collections a year for Maison Wren’s, which has stores in Paris, New York City and Aspen, Colorado. As reported, the brand has a growing presence in the US and Middle East, with Belgium also on the wish list.

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