Exclusive: Five Minutes With Deborah Henning

BY Harper's Bazaar Arabia / Mar 17 2016 / 19:30 PM

The Dubai-based designer talks to Bazaar about growth and Gwen Stefani

Exclusive: Five Minutes With Deborah Henning
A spring/summer 2016 look

Harper's Bazaar Arabia: How would describe your Spring/Summer '16 collection in five words?

Deborah Henning: Effortless, layering, tomboy, monochrome, statement.

HBA: Tell us five things that inspired the moodboard for this collection?

DH: S/S16 was inspired by the essence of the brand; back to the roots, the woman, the attitude, the way she lives. I looked back at the inspiration for starting the brand and went from there. It really is about creating pieces that women feel comfortable in, but look amazing in also. It’s a balance of clothing your can wear in the day time and transition into night, and feel beautiful and confident in both.

Deborah Henning

HBA: If you could invite five people to a dinner party, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

DH: One: Patti Smith. She is quintessentially effortless, an inspiration to my brand and a true rock'n'roll icon. Two: Charlotte Gainsbourg. I’m sure her and Patti Smith would have much in common. She's another inspiration for the brand and is the epitome of the ‘come as you are’ styling of my brand. Three: Iris Apfel. She’s such a character and a true creative, I’m sure she would be fascinating to meet. Four: Andy Warhol, because he’s Andy Warhol! Five: David Bowie. The ultimate in rock'n'roll and androgyny. 

HBA: Who was your style icon in 2006? How has your personal style developed in the last decade? 

DH: In 2006, I was in London and had just finished working at Sass & Bide, and I was on the brink of launching my own brand. Back then, my collection had a lot of colour and print, so it was literally the extreme opposite of the brand I run today. I’m sure my style icon was someone like Gwen Stefani. It's interesting to see how my career has developed and my style and aesthetic has become an extension of my personality and lifestyle.

HBA: What has been your career highlight so far? 

DH: Being stocked in Harvey Nichols Dubai was a great moment. It was something I dreamed about as a young designer, and when the day came it felt like the right place at the right time. It's such a great platform for the brand.

An image from Deborah's S/S16 look book

HBA: Who do you follow on social media?         

DH:  I use Instagram every day. I love @happilygrey (the ultimate in minimalist, effortless cool), @noveminterior (my newest follow for interior inspiration), @thesandandsmoke (great local website with up-to-date and on-point info), @audreylombard (great styling and daily outfit inspiration) and @mydubio (for style and travel inspiration). 

HBA: Where do you see your business in five years from now?

DH: Five years from now I want to be in respected stores and boutiques across the world. My goal is 10 new stockists a year, so 50 globally would be a great achievement. I want to have expanded into menswear and have developed my small accessory pieces into a bigger line. This is just the beginning for the brand. The more I grow, the more you will see the collections deepen and develop into a lifestyle brand. In the coming 7-10 years, I’d like to have my first standalone store.

Deborah Henning's eponymous label is available in Harvey Nichols Dubai. See Deborahhenning.com for more.