Behind The Scenes At Hunter Original AW15

In part one of our exclusive coverage of British brand Hunter Original’s autumn/winter 2015 show, we broke down the collection’s key reference points and outstanding pieces.

Today, we go behind the scenes at the label’s third runway show and one of the hottest tickets at London Fashion Week, bringing you access all areas footage and an exclusive interview with the brand’s Creative Director, Alasdhair Willis.

Building A Breathtaking Set

Inspired by a conceptual journey from the frenetic buzz of the city to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, Hunter Original’s AW15 show at London’s Albert Embankment was a feast for the senses.

Though already known for its knack to stage a spectacular show (remember spring/summer 2015 on the site of an original swimming pool in central London?), the brand broke new ground this season with a sprawling, elaborate set complete with a lengthy walkway surrounded by man-made cascades – all of which shuttled water into a pool at the set’s centre.

The structure was conceived in partnership with legendary production company Gainsbury & Whiting (the brains behind some of Alexander McQueen’s most impressive show sets) and took several days to erect, with numerous rounds of pre-show testing required to monitor temperature, manage the flow of water and also ensure the lengthy waterside runway didn’t suddenly become treacherous mid-show.

Sound and smell were also key, with show crew working tirelessly to perfect the fine sound system (that would later blare a punchy soundtrack that included Die Antwoord’s Ugly Boy, PJ Harvey’s Down By The Water and Danish wave pop duo Darkness Falls’ Dance and Cry) and spritzing seating areas with a fresh fragrance seconds before guests arrived.

A lot of work for something that lasts about fifteen minutes. But worth it, reminding us that although almost 160 years old, Hunter is a brand that’s got its finger firmly on the pulse.

Pre-Show Access

As part of our exclusive collaboration with the brand, we went backstage at the Hunter Original show to discover what it takes to create one of the season’s stand-out showcases, from perfecting hair and make-up to hitting the runway for a practice run.

Our in-house production team captured the whole experience live on film (below), so you can see exactly what goes into an event like this.

FashionBeans x Hunter Original AW15 Video

Elite Attendees

Having garnered more than a few headlines since staging its first show for autumn/winter 2014, the iconic boot brand played host to several homegrown and international celebrities this season.

Actress Salma Hayek sat front row with her husband François Henri-Pinault, while musicians Mary Charteris and Aluna Francis rubbed shoulders with Alexa Chung, actor Luke Evans and model Jack Guinness nearby.

Digital Pioneers

Since first showing just a year ago, Hunter Original has proved itself a pioneer in the digital space, collaborating with the likes of Instagram for a second screen experience at its autumn/winter 2014 debut and partnering with start-up Grabyo to deliver geo-targeted snippets during its spring/summer 2015 show.

This season, in a UK first, the brand teamed with outdoor advertising specialist Ocean to live stream the show to nine large scale digital screens in cities dotted through Great Britain, from London to Manchester, Birmingham to Leeds, and Liverpool to Glasgow.

An Audience With Alasdhair Willis

Fresh from his post-show bow, we caught up with Alasdhair Willis to talk brand innovation and embracing adventure.

FashionBeans: What inspired this season’s collection?
Alasdhair Willis: This season, we wanted to take the brand back to its homeland, the Scottish Highlands, where it started almost 160 years ago. We also wanted to play on the fact that the brand has in recent years become more urbanised – Hunter’s now worn a lot in cities, as well as in the outdoors.

So, we wanted to take the Hunter boy and girl back to the bedrock of the brand – which is why geology is a key theme in this season’s collection.

Hunter has up until recently been known primarily for its iconic Wellington boot. How do you take that as a starting point and develop a fully-fledged lifestyle brand?
Hunter has always had a lot to say. Despite historically being based around just one product, people have really engaged on an emotional level with Hunter.

Now that we’re developing our outerwear and accessories collections, we’ve got much more of an opportunity to tell Hunter’s 160 years’ worth of stories. The narratives have always been there but there hasn’t been the platform to talk about them until now.

Can you tell us a bit about your partnership with Ocean outdoor advertising this season?
Innovation is key for us at Hunter, both in terms of our product and the way we communicate with our customers.

This season, we wanted to evolve the live stream, taking it above and beyond what other brands have done thus far in taking the show to key retail destinations throughout the UK.

What would you say is the collection’s key piece for men?
Probably one of our ‘hybrid’ pieces – i.e. pieces that were made up of two different fabrics or two different prints.

For example, one of coats was a trench that fused quilting with fake fur.

You’ve opened a flagship store, launched a multi-platform transactional website and continue to show at London Fashion Week. What’s next for Hunter?
We’re continuing to expand our retail network, so we’ll be opening stores in key cities throughout the world, as well as continuing to develop our online presence.

My single biggest focus though, is reducing the time it takes for a customer to find the right product for them. There are so many facets to Hunter (Hunter Original, Hunter Field etc.) so it’s important for us to ensure customers engage, and engage quickly and easily, with the part of the brand that’s relevant to them.

What does it mean to #BeAHunterOriginal?
It means you have a great sense of adventure. And that doesn’t necessarily mean climbing the highest mountain or diving to the depths of the ocean.

It’s about seeking adventure in the everyday.

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