St-Henri SS19

  • Photography  Jules Moskovtchenko
  • Styling  Taylor Thoroski
  • Clothing and Art Direction  St-Henri
  • Words  Bryony Holdsworth

Established in London, Jean-Loup Leblanc Roy’s menswear brand is a reflection of the North-American fantasies inherent to French-Canadian culture. Graduating from the University of Quebec in Montreal with a BA in advertising, the designer moved to London in 2015 and in 2017, establish his indulgent collection, St-Henri. The brand explores the underlying notions of masculinity, reinvigorating traditional Western cuts and wardrobe essentials to deliver a timeless collection driven by music, literature and the arts.

The SS19 Collection, Jean-Loup’s latest range of menswear, is a minimalist vision of the designer’s youthful summer memories of Boy Scout camps. Infusing the collection with a new-age spirituality, Jean-Loup wanted to create a uniform for a group of iconoclasts, estranged from mainstream society to establish their own community in the wilderness. Simple ringer tees and linen shirts are embellished with pendants, combining functionality with minimalistic beauty.

Sacrificing neither quality nor comfort, Jean-Loup’s collection opposes the rigidity of a typical military uniform, instead creating a body of work celebrating youth and adolescent bliss.

BH: Your work is a rich collection of juxtapositions. Why did you choose to take this particular visual direction for the SS19 Collection?

JLR: I think there are two reasons for this. I believe juxtaposition is a good way to get your message across. Contrasts attract attention. Maybe this way of thinking comes from my background in advertising.

Ultimately, this collection was based on the outcast ‘new age’ boy scout narrative I imagined. I wanted to create a wardrobe for these complex men and explore masculinity through various elements.

BH: You’ve lived in London for over three years now. Has the city changed your approach to design at all?

JLR: Absolutely. The level and concentration of talent here is incredibly high and it constantly pushes you to do better. Living abroad also helps you to understand where you came from, and my diverse background has had a huge influence on my work.

BH: What is it in particular about the North American countryside that continues to inspire your artistic collections?

JLR: The North American countryside is kind of frozen in time, and this romanticism heavily influenced my work. I conjured up images of pickup trucks and milkshakes by the lake on a warm summer evening, and these vibrant themes inspired the collection.

BH: A lot of your previous designs combine functional wardrobe essentials with splashes of vibrant pop culture. Why did you choose to combine these seemingly disparate themes together?

JLR: I think it’s about expressing a fun, simple and playful aspect of masculinity through classic wardrobe staples.

BH: Do you have a favourite item from the collection? If so, why do you think it’s so significant to you?

JLR: My favourite item is the most simple one and one of the first pieces to be developed: the Discipline T-Shirt. The simplicity of it is striking and it acted as a kind of mantra while I was creating the collection.

BH: You’ve said that your inclusion of ringer tees and pendants give the images a certain boyish charm. Why did you want to encapsulate the blissful ignorance of youth with these particular pieces?

JLR: I believe that the blissful ignorance of youth goes hand in hand with the rationality of adulthood. I tried to adhere to this balance in the collection.

BH: Where do you think your next collection will take you?

JLR: It’s going to be a different process for AW19 as we are going to do our first presentation during LFWM so the collection will be bigger and I will have more channels to communicate my vision. I’m going to explore a mood rather than a narrative, something a bit more psychological. You can expect some ranchers and New England references from an ‘acid’ angle.