PARIS — Martin Grant, whose razor-sharp tailoring has earned him fans including Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Connelly, is launching a capsule collection for men as part of a broader plan to switch the focus away from his main women’s collection and toward the pre-collection seasons.
Grant is set to unveil the men’s line, featuring between 15 and 20 designs, during presentations at his Paris showroom between Jan. 17 and 24.
Starting in July, the Australian designer, whose last catwalk show was held in October 2015, will resume runway presentations during Paris Couture Week showcasing his men’s designs alongside his women’s pre-fall collections and a smattering of couture.
He will present a few additions to the pre-collection to coincide with the main women’s ready-to-wear shows in March and October, but will no longer produce separate collections. Grant said the decision made sense, as pre-collections now account for 80 percent of his business.
“Logistically it’s much better for us, because it’s what the buyers want anyhow,” he told WWD during an exclusive preview of the men’s collection. “They’re putting all of their budget into the pre-collections, because they need the time to sell. For us, concentrating on that season gives us a longer lead time to develop the next season, because for the last five years, it’s really been chasing your tail.
“I’m just going to make the pre-collection into a much more complete collection, like I used to do when there were only two collections a year,” he added. “I much prefer working in that way, otherwise you just feel you’re churning things out.”
The decision to launch a men’s collection came naturally. Grant, whose background in tailoring includes early experience working for Koji Tatsuno in London, got a taste of designing for men in recent years while creating uniforms for the pilots, cabin crew and ground staff at Australian airline Qantas.
More recently, the designer — who has made tuxedos for French actress Nathalie Baye and director Nicole Garcia — was asked to come up with a men’s version for French humorist Vincent Dedienne, who wore it to collect his Molière award for best comedy show at the prestigious French theatrical awards in May.
“That got me started, and then also this winter I needed a coat and I haven’t made anything for myself for years, and so I started working on a couple of coats for myself, and then just kept developing it into a collection,” he explained.
The first collection establishes a base of key pieces, including a peacoat, a duffle coat, a trenchcoat, a suit jacket and pants. Some of the designs, such as a cropped pea jacket, are crossovers from the women’s side and will exist in men’s and women’s versions — even if the distinction is sometimes minimal.
“There are very subtle differences, but that’s what interests me with the men’s wear: It’s often a question of millimeters that kind of pushes it over the edge,” Grant remarked.
Designing for men has allowed him to play with heavier fabrics, like a gray chalk-striped wool that he used for a tailored coat, and — in a slighter lighter variation — for a form-fitting suit.
A bomber jacket in navy shearling was understatedly luxurious, while ample trenchcoats came in a lightweight navy wool or two-tone jumbo cord, including a cotton-and-cashmere version in camel and cream. Casual styles included a figure-hugging gray belted duffle coat with cream shearling lining the hood.
“It’s kind of my wardrobe, in a way. Also, for years, I’ve had friends asking me to make things for them. Men have been hassling because I think that it’s obvious when you see the women’s coats — men look at those coats and they say, ‘Well, do it for me,’” he said with a laugh. “That also inspired me to do it finally.”
He hopes the collection will be picked up by stores that sell both men’s and women’s collections. His women’s rtw line is carried by around 50 retailers worldwide, including Moda Operandi, Barneys New York, Takashimaya, Isetan, Lotte and Maria Luisa Middle East.