I’m always excited when I come across a fellow Mainer, especially when that Mainer is a style mover and shaker. I was particularly excited when I met with Gregory Hugill, a recent Lassell College graduate who in the last few months has showed a senior collection, had a five piece showing at Boston Fashion Week’s Emerging Trends Show and most recently, showed a 15-piece collection at The Liberty Hotel’s Fashionably Late series on November 4th.
At an early age, Hugill knew he wanted to be a fashion designer. Despite growing up in a rural and fairly non-creative environment, he latched on to what he felt was his calling and never let go. After graduating high school, he headed straight for Boston and began an intensive fashion program at Lassell.
Hugill’s Fashionably Late collection was a conglomeration and evolution of his previous two shows, with each new piece riffing off less recent ones. The skirts were short, some shorter in the front and longer in the back, and others were cut straight across but poofed out in a playful flounce. His skirts and short dresses replete with daring back cut-outs and exposed zippers are perfect for cocktail parties, and his gowns (especially the floor-length, hand tea-dyed lace dress that screams “Oscar Dress” circa the 1970s) are still ideal for today’s modern woman who wants to stand out.
A key dynamic that worked incredibly well in this show was the modern details that contrasted beautifully with the more classic pieces: big messy hair played off of vintage pompadours and beehives, and the messy smoky eyes played off of the classic cat eye makeup. Other modern touches included poncho-like sweater wraps and infinity scarves made of stretch cotton worn around the head or neck, and thigh high stockings stitched by the designer himself.
It’s no surprise to find out Hugill looks to Old Hollywood for inspiration; he calls his design aesthetic “sexy and timeless” and cites Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and old Hitchcock movies as jumping-off places for his designs. This is evidenced by his choice of rich jewel tones like purple and claret, and clean tailored lines juxtaposed with ladylike touches.
Hugill hopes his clothes “enhance and elevate a woman’s feeling of power.” Hugill’s customers are the kind of women people will desire to know and to know more about. He wants his clothes to be the sexy and beautiful layer that covers the mystery and allure that “is simmering underneath,” clothes that would befit today’s reincarnation of Grace Kelly.
Currently, with the help of mentor Joseph Gordon Cleveland of Style Boston, Hugill is hard at work on making a name for himself and his designs, including building a website where potential clients can see his pieces.