A couple of months ago, Paris-based designer Silas Adler packed up his closet of fall 2010 samples and headed north to the snowy landscapes of his Danish homeland. Working alongside photographer Nikolaj Holm Moller, they shot the new Soulland collection over three days and three countries, a Scandinavian odyssey they've christened "The Walk." The designer has been living in France since last summer, and his newest offering incorporates all the majestic natural beauty of Northern Europe—a touching homage and comforting anecdote to any lingering homesickness. Soulland showed at the Capsule tradeshow in New York earlier this week and will be presenting a short film of their journey at Copenhagen Fashion Week next month. Check out the new lookbook and read our interview with Adler about the collection after the jump.
Where did this idea of "The Walk" came from?
When I moved to Paris, it felt right for me to do my first collection about where I’m from. I’ve lived in Denmark and Sweden so I know them both quite well. My inspiration was Scandinavian nature, since even though Denmark, Sweden and Norway are in the same part of the world, the nature and the wildlife is very different.
How are they different?
Denmark is flat, and the temperature is a couple degrees warmer than the other countries, so the land isn’t as rugged. You don’t have the pine tree woods that you do have in Norway for instance. In Sweden it’s very rocky, and there are these small rocky islands along the coastline. In the picture where he’s wearing the poncho, that’s Norway. It was between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees Celsius. Because the sun is only up for such a short time, from around 10am to about 3pm, we had a very short time to shoot everyday. We didn’t even have time to eat, it was just like go go go go go!
You also use traditional Norwegian knits.
Yes, they have this tradition in Norway, they do it with these petals patterns that are really pretty. Instead of using ornaments from Norwegian tradition, we sourced ancient Chinese and Arabic ones. All the clothing, the colors and fabrics were inspired by the colors that are in the nature in Scandinavia in the autumn and winter. You have red earth tones from fallen leaves in autumn, greys and whites from the snow and rocks, and the green from the pine trees.
There are a lot of really great unexpected details and unusual pieces in the collection, like that knitted poncho. Tell as about the direction Soulland is going in these days?
I guess you could say that it’s more grown-up. We’re not doing a show this season, so it’s more important for us to do styles that go beyond what people expect, to push contemporary menswear a little bit. The oil-skin pants, was definitely something that’s not been seen before. I really like it when you have a balance between something very classical and something crazy.
The varsity jacket with the mink fur arms and matching bag are pretty crazy.
We were actually contacted by the world’s biggest fur auction house, Kopenhagen Fur—they don’t produce any clothing themselves, they do fur production—they asked if we were interested in doing a collaboration with them. I had some doubts, because, I don’t have a problem with fur but if you work with it you have to be ready for people’s reactions. The fur is produced in Denmark, and the way they do it is the most ethical possible way to do fur because the laws here are strict. They have a massive warehouse outside Copenhagen and a fur auction so people come from all over the world—it’s like being at a stock exchange. We went to their design studio in Copenhagen, and I just fell off the chair because it’s amazing to see what you can do with the material, it’s so strong. It was interesting working with it in the context of contemporary menswear—not conservative, but not so flamboyant either. And fur is usually extremely flamboyant.
Having made this collection as an homage to Scandinavia, how does it feel looking at Parisian fashion? Do you think it’s going to influence your next collection?
Here you have all the classical houses like Chanel, that still use these old couture ladies, and when they pass away no one else will be able to do it. Going into detail with this heritage that’s something that will inspire me. I think for me it’s really good to be here and still have my roots in Scandinavia. It’s a good mix because being in Paris I can be a bit more daring. This next collection is about coming into our own really, and figuring out what we stand for. It feels goods.