In AZ Factory parlance, Lutz Huelle has moved beyond an “amigo” and become a bestie.
In a new twist on its evolving model of rotating guest creatives or amigos, AZ Factory has handed its time slot on the official Paris Fashion Week calendar to Huelle, and will sponsor a runway show for his signature brand.
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A German designer who founded his eponymous label in Paris more than 20 years ago, Huelle has not staged a catwalk display since the fall 2020 fashion season.
As backer of the Lutz Huelle show on March 4, AZ Factory will offer financial and human resources for the production itself.
The development marks a further tightening of ties between Huelle and AZ Factory, which first tapped him as a guest designer for its spring 2023 collection, subsequently conscripting him to design AZ Factory’s pre-collections.
Huelle’s first effort, which perfectly captured the offhand couture glamour pioneered by AZ Factory‘s late founder Alber Elbaz during his heady Lanvin years, riffed on Parisian style for his recent pre-fall 2024 effort.
AZ Factory is a joint venture between Compagnie Financière Richemont and Elbaz, billed as a creative hub for smart, solutions-driven fashions that care.
“Collaborating with the fabulous people at AZ Factory and designing these three collections has been a huge joy from the very first moment, and we are incredibly happy and grateful about this great opportunity,” Huelle told WWD.
“Since the pandemic in March 2020, we have shown our collection in private presentations, all the time being eager to return to the runway,” he added.
“We thought it was time for him to come back to a runaway-show format,” said Richemont executive Mauro Grimaldi, explaining that AZ Factory “is not just a collaborative brand — it’s really an incubator of independent designers.
“We thought it was important for Lutz to succeed as well with his own brand,” added Grimaldi, a strategic adviser to Philippe Fortunato, chief executive officer of fashion and accessories maisons at Richemont. “We think that his brand has tremendous potential — it just needs an appropriate level of support from the industry in this very competitive market.
“For independent designers, it is still very important to have the possibility to do a fashion show, because in terms of visibility, it has a tremendous impact,” he added. “We love this idea to contribute to generating a new generation of designers.”
So far, AZ Factory has clocked about 10 collaborations with guest “amigos,” most of them young designers in need of support and help at a critical juncture in their development.
These have included Thebe Magugu, Ester Manas, Cyril Bourez, ShelterSuit, Tennessy Thoreson and Jenny Hytönen. Molly Molloy and Lucinda Chambers, the duo behind the Colville label, created an AZ Factory range for fall 2023 retailing, while Norman René Devera and Peter Movrin, key in-house AZ Factory talents, signed the spring 2024 effort.
Huelle and partner David Ballu founded the Lutz brand in Paris in 2000 and it has been a mainstay of the Paris calendar. Over the years, Huelle has also consulted for brands including S’Max Mara, Brioni and Delpozo.
A Central Saint Martins graduate, Huelle cut his teeth at Maison Martin Margiela, which he joined in 1995 and where he became responsible for the development of its knitwear and Artisanal lines. He won France’s prestigious ANDAM fashion awards in 2000 and 2002.
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