East of Herr Von Eden
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because naked is not a look.
By Eugene S. Robinson
Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, may have given birth to the meaty lunch treat (the hamburger), but it’s drawn OZY’s eye as of late because of a man. He’s a man with a plan to put the devil back in the details when designing. Specifically, designing clothing. Even more specifically, fashion designer Bent Angelo Jensen.
Wearing a good suit is, in Jensen’s mind, “like a hug,” and it’s this sensation he’s chasing when he designs. A self-taught tailor and a sporter of suits even when he was a kid (well beyond any Sunday school need to do so), Jensen is a self-described “secondhand freak” – a secondhand freak who’s expanded his obsessions into a burgeoning empire.
The 36-year-old Jensen is obsessed with suits that bring a certain formalism to casual fashion. Which is to say that his idea of the suit is not just something worn at funerals and weddings. It’s a pastiche of Euro cool with a debonair dash of punk rock, for a look that’s not London but distinctly Danish and a little Deutsch, and that works on the streets and in the salon.
Now Jensen is doing men’s and women’s clothing lines, ready made and custom, and views what he does in his design studio as what bands do in their rehearsal studios: improvise and innovate. He even calls his clothing company a “label.” The long line of celebs and art world heads who are making their way to Jensen’s Herr Von Eden stores – sometime Peaches collaborator Chilly Gonzales, photographic great Daniel Josefsohn – both understand and appreciate this. They appreciate it enough to shell out about $900 for top-end suits, $130 for shirts, and $460 for women’s two-piece business suits.
Jensen’s stores in Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg are serving as culture accelerators as well. They are pulling in all manner of other artists to window dress and photograph – anything and everything to create an experience as unique as the clothing. And if the proof of the pudding is in the tasting, when you look at Jensen’s collections, you both see the proof and taste it. See the electric blues, muted browns and grays and fluorescent green accents, and you start to see the genius.
Because while the idea of clothing as art is not new, Jensen’s feel and flair for color, cut and construction sometimes make you feel like you’re seeing stuff for the first time. If it’s true that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, then Jensen’s got very much the right idea.
Now about our suits…
Update: Herr von Eden has experienced dire financial troubles in 2013, but a German source reports that celebrity clients are coming to Jensen’s aid. In any case, Jensen promises to “make suits until I’m old and wrinkly.” –Ed.