Jason Halsey has not been able to hide his excitement about the very positive reactions he has had to PiECE, his latest venture into the world of luxury accessories. After years of honing his skills for other brands, Halsey is finally making his dream come true with an inaugural range of exquisite and successful leather bags with bold designs and colours, and outstanding finishing details. The PiECE collection for Autumn/Winter 2012 caught the attention of The Style Examiner and we met Halsey in his central London showroom to find out more.
Halsey started by telling us that he wanted the collection to show the dual qualities that accessories design can contribute to fashion: masculine and feminine, couture and ready to wear, craftsmanship and artistry, and even eccentricity and minimalism. The range of bags is instantly recognisable for its recurring features of ergonomic and organic lines contrasted with geometric panelling and pleating detailing. When asked what drove him to come up with such forms, Halsey told us that the initial inspiration for PiECE’s inaugural collection came from observing the work of French architect Manuelle Gautrand. He first became aware of Gautrand’s work at the time of the opening of the showroom that she designed for Citroën on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in 2008. Subsequently, the work that the architect conducted at the Gaîté-Lyrique theatre in Paris and at the Le Palace Theatre extension in Bethune resonated a fusion of ultra modern and classic, an aesthetic that Halsey also wanted to convey in the collection.
The colour palette for the collection has been inspired by the golden age of motor racing and includes colours such as British Racing Green, Racing Yellow, Pewter inspired by Aston Martin, a Red inspired by Ferrari, and dark rich Tan and Ivory White that signify the quality of fine leather car interiors. Black acts both as a statement and an accent colour throughout the collection.
The design of the Gladstone bags, which are the collections signature pieces, essentially divides each bag into two by means of contrasting colours or leathers, highlighting the contemporary application to what is recognisably a classic shape in a playful and yet elegant manner. And this is what makes PiECE‘s designs so alluring. When asked if he would compromise on changing this design motif, Halsey was clear that this would not be an option. Although PiECE offers a bespoke service for the production of individual bags, we agree with Halsey that what makes them unique is the duality of colours and textures that created by the designer.
The pieces are all designed by Halsey but produced in Florence, Italy, by expert traditional leather makers that have been manufacturing similar accessories for top-end fashion brands such as Versace, Moschino and Zac Posen for many years. The details that Halsey has incorporated into the design of each bag make an examination of these pieces a worthwhile and enjoyable process. Pockets are lined with high-quality fabrics, and zippers and metal locks have been carefully developed.
Born in London, Jason Halsey studied Fashion at undergraduate and postgraduate levels at Central St Martins College of Art and Design. His graduation collections caught the attention of the fashion press and were widely covered by a number of publications, including The Guardian and The Times newspapers, and magazines such as The Face and Dazed and Confused. During his postgraduate studies, Halsey began his professional career by working on high-profile initiatives with extensive media coverage for companies such as MTV and Alexander McQueen.
After completing his MA, Halsey spent a year in New York as design consultant for fashion forecasting company Here and There, working with brands such as Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. He then returned to London to design for Vivienne Westwood, where he gained experience designing accessories for international markets. This was followed by a stint at Marks & Spencer as a menswear consultant. During this period, Halsey started designing his own menswear pieces and showed a capsule collection in Paris selling pieces to Maria Luisa boutique.
After several years gaining experience designing accessories, apparel and consulting for companies such as Arcadia, Fake London, John Richmond, and Kangol, Halsey became Head of Accessories at British brand Firetrap. His last project was to successfully launch a retail start-up as creative director and buyer for a men’s fashion concept store in London’s Soho. Realising that retail was not his calling and designing his own brand was still what he wanted to do, he left retail and embarked on developing PiECE.
When we met Halsey, we was clearly inspired by, and grateful for, the attention that PiECE had started garnering amongst buyers and the press, which has led him to start planning taking part in select trade shows. At The Style Examiner we certainly look forward to following Jason Halsey’s much deserved success at the helm of what we hope will become one of the most promising lines of luxury leather accessories currently coming out of London.