BIRD BRAIN: Gideon Day, for his debut collection for Paris-based brand Vicomte A., is certainly keeping the label’s sense of humor. Dubbed “Parisian Blues,” the line carries a Paris pigeon theme. “It’s the idea that the only real Parisians are the pigeons, as Paris — like all the major cities — is made up of people coming from everywhere,” he said.
The preppy French-dandy collection features color and prints, from stripes to Liberty fabrics and polka dots, not forgetting said pigeons.
There’s also a double-V logo sneaker capsule, “to make it a little more fashionable and less elitist,” said the designer, who is steering the label away from the aristocratic nods instilled by founder Arthur de Soultrait, who is no longer in the picture.
(The company under de Soultrait entered receivership and was acquired by Allure Saint-Honoré, the finance group that had been put in charge of handling it.)
Day, when approached for the gig, was heading the men’s line of German label Closed. Prior to that he spent 10 years as creative director of Aigle, with among other CV notches roles as design director at Paul Smith and in the design studio at Chevignon.
Since arriving at Vicomte A. he’s been busy refining which elements of the label to focus on. “There was a lot to fix on all bases: in the back office, the supply base and in the collection,” said Day, who sees Vicomte A. as a classic wardrobe with a sense of humor and twists. “It’s a very positive brand associated with color, pattern, eccentric elegance,” said Day. “There is a time when you ask yourself if you are a smiling fashion brand or a non-smiling fashion brand, and we are definitely a smiling one,” added the designer, who is looking to “improve the perceived value of the brand” and put a stronger focus on tailoring.
He has also reinforced women’s —“in the past it was a tiny collection of just a few polos and a couple of shirts, just a couple of tag-on pieces” based on mirroring the men’s. (Think tailored jackets, jacquard knits and trenchcoats with attention to the interiors — like pigeon-print linings — and small details.)
The brand owns seven stores in total, including two in Paris, and is looking for a new flagship. It counts over 220 wholesale accounts worldwide, as well as three franchise stores through partnerships.