2015 marks a milestone year for designer Pierre Hardy, who is celebrating his namesake accessory brand's 15th anniversary. We saw this as the perfect opportunity to take a look back at the cube motif that has become something of a signature emblem of that journey.
'Usually I don't like prints or pattern - I never wear it,' says the Parisian. 'Even stripes - sailor stripes or shirts with stripes - I don't wear them! For me it's busy, and too much.' He pauses, 'But in the women's collection you need to have some fantasy, something to play with because colour blocking is fine, but in the end, I was trying to find something to animate the surface, without disturbing it, like a skin.'
That cubic motif (repeated in perspective), can be found as far back as the tiled ruins of Pompeii to the mosaic floors of Saint Mark's Basilica in Venice. 'What interested me is that it is very linked with art history,' he continues, sighting Sol LeWitt's minimal art as a particular inspiration. 'I decided to take this archetype because it's like a pixel in a way - it's a motif and a pattern but it's like a zoom on a picture. It's like getting into a picture with a microscope and you discover the structure. Like the cells of skin.'
The geometric effect first entered the Hardy universe in 2006. 'The only thing I've changed is the perspective,' he qualifies. 'I've tried to make it simpler. I tried to find a new way to express this iconic pattern.' Since then, the motif has been set in precious metals for his 'lace grid' cuffs, printed onto sneakers and clutch bags, before the square motif took on a 3D form with his block-heeled 'Monolith' pumps and sandals featured in this summer's and next winter's collections.
'It wasn't mean to become a gimmick,' he adds, 'but I discovered that I could dress it in many any different colours or moods - feminine, masculine, winter, summer. It's flexible because it's like a textural structure, which can become embossed, or a jewel when you make it big in metal.'
You could say the design world has caught on - from rugs to tea cups it has saturated all areas of the market: 'I knew that using such an iconic thing could be a risk,' he adds, 'but I've never seen as many uses of the cube since. It has become a trend.' He laughs, confiding that he has a cupboard full of adaptions, 'People keep offering me a cup or a book and it's not the same!'