Ainsley Hansen, creative director and head designer at Hansen & Gretel has many inspirations behind her foray into menswear but Arnold Palmer, golf's original stylish man, is definitely the coolest.
"My husband is a golf professional so it's hard for the world to have not rubbed off on me! I can't say I look toward one particular persona for inspiration but if I had to choose I've got to hand it to Arnold Palmer. He just envelops a somewhat 'elegant masculinity' which is something I independently design into each season," says Hansen.
Hansen debuted her first menswear collection on Tuesday at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia at lush furniture store Jardan in Paddington. And the move to menswear makes sense. The Sydney-based label has long played with a masculine silhouettes in its womenswear, sharp tuxedo jackets say, and cool puffas.
"Hansen & Gretel's brand signature has always been its co-ed spirit where masculine inspired shapes drape the feminine form. This year marks our third runway for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia and the right time to encompass the yin to our yang; our manhood," she says.
"You can expect to see a shared ethos across the mens and womens collections, with easy to wear pieces and relaxed styling.
"There are definite touch points in terms of fabrication and a luxurious, uncomplicated aesthetic," says Hansen, who will show both collections together.
"Hansen & Gretel is associated with the idea of womanhood and our journey as females, of which men naturally comprise a significant part of. The men's element of our resort collection honours these junctions whereby they walk the runway with their female counterpart and the synergy between design and gender is experienced."
The pieces, which will range between $169 and $299, will include Hansen's jag into a "vintage vibe." Her pick? A zigzag pointelle knit shirt.
Hansen says the men drawn to her collection are ones who lead a "fashionable life."
"[He has] an appreciation for fabrication, quality, longevity and attention to detail. He is confident, at ease, adventurous," she says.
Hansen believes the brand's launch into menswear feels right in a time when men are experimenting more than ever with how they dress.
Something she says is particularly apparent in younger generations.
"[T]eens are now much more familiar with international fashion houses and through following such brand's via social mediums they are subject to exploring (and thus experimenting with) more imaginative style. I think this is a blueprint for men in general nowadays which is great," she says.
Hansen & Gretel's menswear collection will be stocked online and in the brand's flagship Paddington store.