Johannes Huebl has long been one of the best dressed men in the universe, so it makes total sense for the German-born Renaissance man to collaborate on his own collection. Braziilian brand Frescobal Carioca came knocking and this week the line is finally available and it’s good, really good. We recently got on the phone with Huebl while he was in Germany to get the scoop on the new line and find out if there’s more to come.
The collection is so beautiful and very you. How did this all come to you?
I’ve been a fan of Frescobal Carioca for awhile. When they first started, I received some of their beautiful wooden beach bat sets. Then they did the swim trunks, and at some point I was in London and I went by their shop. I felt everything from quality to style and design was very chic, timeless and elegant. I met [brand and marketing director] Shem Jacobs at some point, who told they were looking into extending their range a little bit into blazers and ready-to-wear pieces and asked if I was interested in starting that with them. The idea was to do a small capsule collection that introduces more tailored pieces to their range. For me it was an immediate fit. It didn’t take much time for me to think about doing it.
When did it all start?
I believe last summer. It took awhile. We had meetings and then we had the design process which took 2-3 months and then we went to Rio de Janeiro to shoot our campaign last December. Everything was ready before the world went into lockdown.
You are always so put together. How did you learn about style?
I was introduced to a tailor, Marc Anthony, in my late twenties. That was probably the biggest change in my style before to my style after. I started with his guidance wearing more suits and experiencing more with buttons, etc. All the things you do at a tailor’s house. When I started working with him I started taking notes of all the fashion houses and pieces that I like and appreciate and take as inspiration. Sometimes it’s a piece that I saw on a gentlemen in Florence or someone at an airport. Whenever I would come across people with great style.
What are your other style influences?
In my early twenties when I studied in Germany, I started modeling on my semester holidays and sometimes also unfortunately during the semester. When I worked as a model for certain fashion brands, I didn’t pay too much attention to it. When I started working with the designers for Hugo Boss, they used to have a premium section that was called Selections. It was similar to Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label in the price range, fabric, design. When I started working with the [former] designer Marcel Ostwald they were very specific about the length of the trousers, the fit of the arms, etc. I would say I picked up 50 percent as my work as a model and paying attention and appreciating the design process and everything that goes into it. The other 50 percent is for sure my tailor. He would show me the perfect proportions, which is one of the most important things. Not everyone has a sample size body so you really need to know how to hide certain aspects of your body or make sure the arms and the legs are tailored. Now I have a tailor in New York, Thom Sweeney, who is originally from London and it’s the same over there. They do bespoke where I have to go to them three or four times. That process is another process on another level. Working with Frescobal Carioca on the ready-to-wear pieces, they had a really good understanding of what I like and how it should look in the bigger production. The pieces came out really well. I was really happy after the first fitting that there was not much to correct on. They got the measurements right.
What was the concept for the campaign with Frescobal Carioca?
The whole ethos that Frescobal Carioca is basing their communication on and their whole aura is from the beauty of Brazil. The landscape is so fantastic. We wanted to incorporate that into the photographs. That’s what [photographer] Alex Bramall did perfectly. It really captures that escapism and the easiness of this collection. It was a fantastic trip.
Your style is so timeless. Are you a fan of old movies?
I didn’t pay attention to the fashion in old movies when I had film history in my studies in my early twenties. I was then looking for the director’s point of view or the lighting point of view. Now when I watch, I do pay attention to a few more things and fashion for sure. Through social media there are so many film stills of these fantastic characters and actors. To go back and watch those films is a real treat.
Have you caught a bug with design? Would you like to have your own namesake label?
That would be fantastic. It’s definitely something if it carries my name or another name. I’ve had this bug for awhile. I’ve designed shoes in the past. I put my name on two or things before but this is a 12 piece collection and a really nice beginning of me seeing that I love the process. I love everything about it. I wouldn’t have believed my background where I first studied business and then doing film and philosophy to then end up in the fashion industry and having such a fable for designing. I didn’t roadmap that! I grabbed every opportunity I had. This [partnership with] Frescobal is definitely a beautiful experience. I can only hope it’s always like that.
How have the past few months been for you personally?
Most of the time I spent in New York, which was very intense because of the mass amount of COVID-19 numbers. The learning curve took such a long time for everyone to understand what to do and what not to do. The fact that New York’s entire person-to-person opportunity was basically canceled for March and April. I didn’t see anyone. There was lots of Zooming, House Party [app], and phone calls. That was intense. I was very happy when I was first able to fly to Europe in early July to see how live and things were in Germany or Spain. They are over the hill in Germany. Shops are open, indoor restaurants, etc. But New York is my home and we had to adapt and we did. Business was very slow. It gave us all time to press the reset button and see what’s important and what we want to do and what didn’t work in the past. Work for us is so human interaction based with designers, editors, and models and photographers. We’re used to being in crowded spaces so to have this break for six to seven months has been surreal.
The collection is available: frescobolcarioca.com, Mr Porter, Zalando, Boutique 1, My Theresa, Bloomingdales and Le Bon Marche.