Carven Pre-Fall 2012: Guillaume Henry Talks Celebs, Collabs, Copycats and Developing a Fragrance

Every time a new Carven collection debuts, we get so excited, and our love for the French label and its genius designer Guillaume Henry grows a little bit more. His lovely pre-fall offerings, which include an expanded selection of menswear, are no exception. His vision of designing clothes inspired by--and for--real stylish city girls is realized to perfection once again. As with many of Henry's designs, there's a '60s schoolgirl vibe with knee-length shift dresses and a-line skirts, little matching jackets with a blouson shape, shirts with high collars and cardigans--all made modern with new shapes, unexpected colors and crazy accessories.
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Every time a new Carven collection debuts, we get so excited, and our love for the French label and its genius designer Guillaume Henry grows a little bit more. His lovely pre-fall offerings, which include an expanded selection of menswear, are no exception. His vision of designing clothes inspired by--and for--real stylish city girls is realized to perfection once again. As with many of Henry's designs, there's a '60s schoolgirl vibe with knee-length shift dresses and a-line skirts, little matching jackets with a blouson shape, shirts with high collars and cardigans--all made modern with new shapes, unexpected colors and crazy accessories.
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Every time a new Carven collection debuts, we get so excited, and our love for the French label and its genius designer Guillaume Henry grows a little bit more. His lovely pre-fall offerings, which include an expanded selection of menswear, are no exception.

His vision of designing clothes inspired by--and for--real stylish city girls is realized to perfection once again. As with many of Henry's designs, there's a '60s schoolgirl vibe with knee-length shift dresses and a-line skirts, little matching jackets with a blouson shape, shirts with high collars and cardigans--all made modern with new shapes, unexpected colors and crazy accessories.

We also drooled over the chic round purses and the shoes, which ranged from simple burgundy suede pointy-toed pumps to almost-clear Robert Clergerie flatforms. There were also a few with little bows on the back--something he's done for a few seasons now. He won't call it a signature, but says they will "carry them from one season to the next."

Henry was inspired by the photographs of Diane Arbus, who shot "normal people" in the '60s: "I really wanted to get this feeling of the way they used to dress then in the '60s...there was no question of age or social position."

Clearly, Carven's transformation into a cool, modern brand has been a successful one. For one, celebs like Gwen Stefani and Alexa Chung are wearing it. "I’m really happy with any personality wearing our stuff because its good for recognition," Henry said. He counts Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Porman among girls he'd like to see wearing his stuff in the future. We could see it. He's also gotten copied by H&M. Is that when you know you've made it? "When you are copied, you first get furious, but then it's good; it means the mass industry recognized the work, which is good."

We're still not sure about that IPO thing, but Henry tells us Carven's expansion will continue with new stores and a new perfume. "We are looking worldwide where we could go. We opened our first store eight months ago in Paris and the idea is to maybe open one here in the U.S. because the country and the customers have been so supportive so far." And the fragrance? "We are working on it. It has to be fresh; it has to be spontaneous; it has to be something that you don’t even smell."

We can't wait to not smell it! All of this sounds like great news to us. Click through to see the full pre-fall collection.