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Fall Winter 2021 campaign by Valentin Hennequin

Taming simplicity in the wild.

Around the loop, and back again… Except, not quite. Taking beautiful pictures of a man in his underwear, in a location that is both beautiful and wild, but not necessarily picture-perfect.

In theory, nothing too complicated, but then again… Simplicity remains the wildest aesthetic. Charming to the naked eye, it vanishes as soon as one tries to take a picture of it. Few photographers are able to tame it with a single picture. 

But Valentin Hennequin is.

Valentin Hennequin, photographer of discreet charms.

A French fashion photographer based in Milan, working for the likes of M le Monde and Vogue Paris or even Apartamento or The Greatest, Valentin Hennequin is among those talented people who are no strangers to the most exceptional French and international magazine editorials.

We met Valentin after seeing one of his pictures on Instagram. Actually, that’s not true, he’s the one who met us, thanks to his friend Andrea Faccio. On that day, Valentin took a black and white picture of Andrea in his home, dressed only in a pair of white boxer shorts, a white tank top and a pair of white socks. A mundane picture at first sight, which actually happens to be a difficult exercise. Truth be told, if the picture is good, it will then deserve to sit among other powerful images, without being tied to a particular time or place, and will remain inspiring through the ages. This photograph won’t just be beautiful, but spectacular. 

Luckily, in this picture, Andrea (with whom we had previously worked with) is wearing our Gari tank top. Valentin mentioned it when he revealed his photograph on the social network. We looked at it, and the magic of social media, which first and foremost is to allow us to discover new talents, did its thing. A few emails and phone calls later, our next photoshoot was scheduled for high summer, with Valentin behind the camera. 

For our model, we chose Alberto Perrazzolo, a man with a subtly imperfect charisma.

Deciding whom will be behind the camera is never easy. Valentin introduced Alberto Perrazzolo to us, and just like that, the casting ended before it even started. Not only is Alberto handsome and photogenic, he’s also incredibly charismatic. A doctor in kinesiology and an accomplished athlete, his fluid movements and his physical ease are just the thing to elevate men’s underwear. 

A day out in the Milanese countryside.

The crew, complete with Chiara Spennato for styling and Erisson Musella for make-up, ventured out in the Milanese countryside in the early days of August, in one of those places where nature expresses itself through various textures and colors, such as through dry weeds, vivid greenery, clear waters, wet rocks and raw wood. Thanks to Valentin’s film camera, these contrasts paired subtly with the colors of our collection and mirrored the philosophy of our brand and its sustainable DNA by offering quality, organic cotton underwear without having to choose between comfort, aesthetic and ethics.

The detail-oriented poetry that is so dear to the photographer gave minimalistic, elegant rhythm to Alberto’s poses.

We switched from color to black and white without skipping a beat. We layered Harri henley tops, we mixed and matched colors, we had fun with the Breton stripe that runs on our Albar boxer shorts and our Etor briefs, we grabbed our Ikar longjohns for a few pictures by the water, we went bold with a crochet hat and our Gari tank top.

At the end of the day, we counted the films. The best was yet to come – seeing the pictures for the first time. Chances are we wouldn’t be disappointed. The whole team did a fabulous job. Soft shadows were revealed by the light. The photographer felt content.

Photography:  Valentin Hennequin

Model:  Alberto Perazzolo

Styling: Chiara Spennato

Hair and make-up: Erisson Musella

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Launching Hemen for Her

Hemen for Her, the not-so-obvious choice to make women’s underwear.

We’ve often been asked if we would consider making a women’s collection, and we always said no.

Given that men are very loyal when it comes to clothing and brands, we had been very comfortable with only having a men’s collection ever since we launched Hemen in 2014.

Ever the creative type, we nevertheless wanted to bring something new and broaden our range with everyday pieces. 

In 2016 and 2017, we made sweatshirts. They were gorgeous, made from thick organic cotton and inspired by vintage styles. 

Two seasons later, they were not selling, most likely because they were too expensive, and our workshop was a little upset, given that we were not producing enough of them. So we bitterly decided to close that chapter.

At the same time, we gave caps a go. We got excited at the idea of making beautiful velvet caps with intricate embroidery. We found a French manufacturer. Bummer. Although based in France, they actually their products were actually made in Vietnam… It turned out no one makes caps in France or in Europe.

We were not so psyched anymore, but they convinced us to get on board: the Vietnamese workshop is GOTS and Oeko-Tex certified, they pay a lot of attention to quality, and so on and so forth. Still a bit unsure, we launched prototypes. They were amazing, so we went for it. We only produced very small quantities, which means it was expensive, even though they were being made in Vietnam. They didn’t sell like crazy, but it wasn’t bad either. But we were doubtful as we weren’t that comfortable with the idea of sourcing products outside the EU.

How could we be consistent and promote local sourcing practices if we started producing in Asia? After much consideration, we decided to leave it at that. We bade farewell to our caps, and gifted the last ones to our friends for Christmas.

Disappointed but still motivated, we refocused and revaluated our desires and our goals.

In 2018, the topic of a women’s collection was brought up again, but we stood by our decision. We were scared to enter the women’s market, which seemed complicated and extremely competitive. It would be an entirely different beast.

We weren’t completely wrong, nor completely right.

We took it easy by launching a range of French-made organic cotton socks in 2019. And this time, it worked! We were still dealing with intimate, comfortable products, true to our values and even incredibly proud to be able to label them as ‘made in France’. Unsurprisingly, our clients loved them, which comforted us regarding our decision.

‘A blessing in disguise,’ our new mantra to overcome moments of doubt, took a whole new meaning.

In the meantime, we were all thrown into uncertainty by the pandemic and the lockdowns. Times are changing, and so is our vision.

2020, we’re ready for you.

Let’s make a range of women’s underwear using all our expertise. Let’s deepen our know-how effortlessly by using the same materials as for our men’s collection. Let’s place our women’s collection at the very top of our values: beauty, certified organic cotton, comfort, ethics, durability and sustainability.

Instinctively, we choose to create 5 products especially for this women’s collection:

The Nille bra, the Luki high wasted briefs, the classic Ema briefs, the high leg Toni briefs and our absolute favorite, the Jone boxer shorts. 

Jone, the oh-so-feminine boxer shorts.

We’ve found a way to feel relevant, we’ve finally noticed what was staring us right in the face but that we couldn’t see: gender equality as it’s always existed in nature, as it’s showing itself to us as a living being. We were going to create underwear that were made specifically for its body type.

We knew that women were wearing Hemen products. Looking for a different kind of comfort (perhaps a more authentic one?), some girls were already buying our men’s longjohns, our tank tops and our boxer shorts. It only took a few tweaks to create the Jone boxer shorts, our brand new boxer shorts dedicated to the female body.

Without compromising aesthetics nor our commitment to the planet, our entire range of women’s underwear is made from ribbed cotton jersey 220g/m2, including 96% ‘GOTS’ certified organic cotton and 4% elastane, and we donate 1% of our revenues to ASPAS , the French association for the protection of biodiversity, through a network called ‘1% for the Planet France’.

View the collection