Henry Holland burst onto London’s fashion scene in 2006 with his tongue-in-cheek Frankie Goes To Hollywood-inspired T-shirts referencing the industry’s key players at the time. From 'Get Yer Freak On Giles Deacon' to 'Uhu Gareth Pugh', his emblazoned tees set the tone for his personal brand: witty, playful and bold. His collaborative work with childhood friend and model Agyness Deyn was well documented during London’s mid '00s scene, all Boombox club nights and nu-rave aesthetics.
Since then, he’s founded his own label, House of Holland. A mainstay of London Fashion Week, his shows bring some much-needed fun to the schedule, drawing the coolest kids both on and off the catwalk (last season, the cast of Netflix’s Sex Education huddled front row). Each season, Holland conjures up a muse who feels, well, just like us: often using '80s-inspired statement graphics, signature club kid pieces and bold-as-brass colours, the House of Holland woman always looks like us and our friends, the kind of woman who does her makeup on the Tube and goes straight from work to the rave.
This season, he’s been looking to the uptown/downtown divide of New York City, the period in which disco became passé and punk became cool. "Studio 54 was going under but the mod clubbers were emerging – I love that exact moment, full of juxtaposition, a clash of two worlds in one scene," he tells me of his upcoming SS20 collection. This hodgepodge of eclectic references mirrors his interior world: his home is full of kitsch 1950s figurines, rare copies of Interview magazine (featuring Divine, Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Harry, of course) and church candles given to him by his antique dealer mum.
From collecting work by his collaborators to meeting the queen, Henry Holland invited us into his home to talk all things interiors.
"My mum was an antique dealer so I’ve been lucky in that I can pick and choose for our space, like these trunks, which she has hundreds of. Her taste is quite OTT: these are church candles. She’s got about 15 of them, but she’s moving so she’s desperate to give us them, but we don’t exactly have the space... She’s got this incredible ice blue and red 1920s dentistry cabinet that revolves and has hundreds of drawers. They have replicas in Kiehl's stores. I’m just waiting until we move to a bigger place – I’ve wanted that table since I was 12.
"This incredible Ettore Sottsass Shiva vase was a wedding present. I’d like to point out that it wasn’t the only penis-shaped gift for our wedding. These design books are always on rotation between home and the office, as both myself and my husband David are designers, so we reference them all the time – they’re not just decorative. I love 1950s pieces, so I get first dibs on anything my mum gets through from that period, like these Marilyn figurines, which were a silly Christmas gift from her – they came in a necklace case and she staged them so they were lying on this black silk. The upside-down head vase is by a cool Brooklyn-based potter called Group Partner. He does naked body pots too. Generally, our home is eclectic, with a mishmash of styles that have been gifted from family or specifically sourced."
"I’ve had this chair for years. I had it in my room at university and it’s come with me to every flat in London. It was originally a ‘50s vinyl covered chair that my mum bought at an antique fair, but it had a split down the middle of the seat, so I needed to recover it. I had the idea of collecting tapestries to make a patchwork, and to include some made by the women in both mine and my husband’s families. Some offcuts are from charity shops and antique markets, one on the back is by David’s grandma, there’s one with a frog that my sister did...it’s a real mixture.
"I really like collecting things from collaborators, friends and family, as well as exhibitions. The wooden panel, 'Tip to Tip: a Love Story' is from Katie Hillier’s husband, Geoff, which we were given on our wedding day. He works with an artist, making all of his installations, so he’s a real master with wood! The John Booth was another wedding present. My dad has collected Royal Doulton all my life, but he’s got so many he’s started to give it away. The Dash Snow piece is special because he really sadly passed away after that. Scott Ramsay Kyle is a sourced ‘90s Hacienda image that he hand-embroidered, and I had them in my SS17 collection. The giant egg cup is by my friend Tina Vaia – she makes these amazing indoor-outdoor pots. These pieces are all attached to stories for us."
"Then there’s me meeting the queen. My friend Caroline had this framed for me and every time I look at it I well up, because it was one of the most exciting moments in my life. It was the Jubilee year at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and it was really informal. Designers were told to bring their muse as guests, and I brought Agyness because she’s a huge fan of the queen. She was just wandering around and someone came up to us and said, 'Names? Would you like to meet the queen?' and within seconds she was there! She was really funny, it was amazing.
"Another career highlight was working with Martin Parr. I did a shoot with him when I launched menswear in 2016 – it was a bucket list moment. I’ve been a huge fan of his since I moved to London and went to my first Tate Modern exhibition. I just love the tone of his work, it feels so northern. It very much plays into my experience of growing up in the north, with that self-effacing humour that I try and incorporate into everything I do. I bought a print of his at a charity event a few years before I met him, and when he shot a portrait of me for a National Portrait Gallery exhibition, I was fangirling so much. He said, 'I don’t really do fashion' and I listed his entire back catalogue that proved he did in fact do fashion – so we shot my menswear lookbook together.
"We went to my hometown, Ramsbottom, and shot the lookbook in the laundrette and antique shop and chippy – it was a very personal project, one of my career standouts for sure. Afterwards, in the studio, he said, 'It’s a shame you don’t have anything I can sign,' and I pulled out the framed print I’d bought years before. He was like, 'Wow, that’s never happened before. Sorry about it!'"
"Both my husband and I had two suits made for our wedding with Casely-Hayford on Mount Street. It was such a fun process doing it with Charlie [Casely-Hayford] because he’s such a stylish guy that we were just like, 'Whatever you think, I’ll do it.' My husband and I both have very differing styles but we were hanging on Charlie’s every word because he has such great taste. I wanted one traditional suit for the day and one 'silly' suit for the evening. We had the dinner in a venue that was all pastel pink and peach colours, so I kind of wanted to dress for the walls. I found this moire fabric, which has this wood effect created by the weave and the weft, in both mint and black, so the suits are the same fabric and cut, just in different shades. I’ve never felt better.
"Everyone goes on about your wedding being the best day of your life, but you don’t understand until you do it – it’s not about what happens in the day, it’s about the feeling in the room. Clothes and fashion are so important to me, so I wanted to feel the best I’d ever felt, and that combined with the feeling of love and support was just insane."
"My father-in-law carves these wooden figurines and in the time that I’ve known him he’s gradually gotten better. He now adds colour with felt tips and gave us a pair of wooden spoons with our initials and some love hearts carved into them, which is very sweet. He likes to hide them in the garden whenever he comes over. Sometimes it takes weeks or months to find where they’re hidden. The priest is from a friend, they found it at a car boot sale in Sweden recently. You lift its head and its penis pops out, so when my father-in-law comes over we’ll give it to him and he’ll eventually pick it up by its head and freak out. We’re going to set him the challenge of mastering mechanics in the figurines next…"