PARIS — From the debut collection of design-led sustainable men’s brand, Phipps, to Nïuku’s modern-day tribute to men’s tailoring of yore, here are some of the new talents to look out for at Paris Men’s Fashion Week, which kicks into high gear today.
“It’s about acknowledging that we’re all people, we’re in this together,” said Spencer Phipps, founder of Phipps, a new men’s wear line mixing sustainability and style that is due to launch on Jan. 20 during Paris Men’s Week. (The venue is still to be confirmed.)
The Paris-based designer, who is from San Francisco, cut his teeth in the men’s studio of Marc Jacobs in New York before working for Dries Van Noten in Antwerp for three years. After leaving Van Noten, he spent eight months researching manufacturers and materials. “I did my graduate collection in sustainability in 2008 at Parsons and it was like a joke. I ended up finding one manufacturer in New England that was basically some hippy commune that made hemp and linen and one cotton flannel,” he said.
So Phipps opted to work with manufacturers in Portugal, “a country that is basically certified [for sustainability].”
“After their economy crashed, at the same time as everyone else’s, their big thing was they sat down and said, ‘OK, we as a country are going to become a hub of sustainability,’” Phipps said. “It was a bit like the Paris agreement but specific to Portugal. Every apparel manufacturer there is responsibly recycling and reusing their waste water.
“In Porto, which is a huge manufacturing hub, they had this huge power plant and the beach was a mess. It was a gross place to go,” he continued. “And then they cleaned up, they spent almost two billion euros, and it looks amazing.”
The casual, mix-and-match wardrobe is based on outdoor- and workwear-inspired pieces in updated shapes, “a bit more special, with a lot of short, boxy proportions” and a palette of “odd neutrals,” such as mud, stone and moss.
Positioned as a “unisex-men’s” line, with extra small sizes for women, the offer includes a puffer jacket in recycled nylon, a trekking jacket with articulated seams that curve to the body, supersoft sweaters in Mongolian yak, cargo pants with paneling, a jacket with a corduroy collar, as well as sweatshirts and T-shirts in a sturdy organic cotton splashed in educational graphics, like the map of the “Out of Africa” theory of human origin.
“We started looking at explorers, and the real foundations of the origins of humanity and where we came from. A part of our brand is education and using science and research and global awareness as almost the aesthetic, the way that you dress yourself in the same way that Patagonia is a real model company for us,” Phipps said.
“We’re trying to elevate that to an aesthetic level — sustainability with style. As much as I love Patagonia, it’s hiking clothes, it’s not the fashion customer who is looking for something special and a bit unique and cool. I’m trying to create the same desirability that a lot of other brands have with sustainability,” he said.
The brand’s debut collection also includes wool blankets, hats and shell necklaces inspired by one of the most ancient pieces of jewelry, found in a cave in Israel. “The oldest jewelry discovered featured eagle’s talons, which I thought would be a little harder to find,” quipped the designer.
Afterhomework for ADD
Afterhomework founder Pierre Kaczmarek in his Paris showroom from Jan. 19 to 22 will present a preview of a 25-piece collection dubbed 1999, made for urban Italian down jacket specialist ADD and set to launch officially in March.
Yossi Cohen, ADD’s creative director who recently returned to the brand to help relaunch it, after having worked there from around 2005 to 2010, said he sees Afterhomework as the most interesting talent among Paris’ young designers in terms of perspective.
When ADD started out in 1999, it was Italy’s leading down jacket brand, he said. “I thought it fitted with the philosophy of the brand to partner with new talents to express part of the brand vision in a fresh way,” Cohen explained.
The full collection will feature in Afterhomework’s show in March.
“We focused on reinterpreting the DNA of the house, which was founded in 1999, the year of my birth,” Kaczmarek said. Having worked with Converse for his spring 2018 collection, he sees it as his first real collaboration. The palette, Kaczmarek said, includes shades of black, including asphalt, Ferrari-red and different tones of pale gray, “like concrete.” There’s also a sheer style showing the feathers.
Kaczmarek founded his label at age 15 in 2014, while still in high school, and over the past three seasons has partnered with Elena Mottola. His own label is distributed in 12 stores.
Sidestepping fashion’s current obsession with all things street and Nineties, Nïuku for its first presentation on the Chambre Syndicale’s men’s calendar will unveil a tailoring-focused collection that tips its hat to the elegance of men’s clothing of the late Forties.
Behind the label are vintage collector Lenny Guerrier, who cofounded the now-shuttered Parisian concept store Coïncidence, and Kadiata Diallo, who goes by the name of Kadjahdjah. Nïuku is her middle name.
Kadjahdjah, who grew up in Nouakchott, Mauritania, and studied fashion at Paris’ Studio Berçot, worked as the buying assistant at Coïncidence. The pair started developing a wardrobe for the store’s staff, and when they began getting requests for the pieces decided to launch a label.
The brand has a unisex stance. “It was logical for us because we are inspired by our friends and the Parisian youth who live and wear clothes regardless of the gender they were destined for,” Guerrier said.
Founded in 2014, the unisex brand was a finalist for ANDAM’s Creative Label prize in 2017 and counts denim and military-inspired basics among signatures.
For the new collection, dubbed “Retro-Future,” Guerrier cited British series “Peaky Blinders” among influences. Items will include revisited classic suits and macs, mixing the attitude of the Thirties and Forties with references from the Nineties and beyond.
“We’re in the mood for a return to elegance, but with the codes of today,” Guerrier said.
The show will be held Thursday in a Haussmannian apartment opposite the Arc de Triomphe.
Before introducing Uniforme in 2016, Hugues Fauchard and Rémi Bats met while studying at Studio Berçot in Paris. After graduating, they went on to work for fashion houses — Bats held stints at Balenciaga and Hermès and Fauchard learned the ropes at Carven and Lanvin — but had always wanted to start a collection of their own.
“We both had great experiences working for others and we needed to learn more about the business, but at some point we really wanted to tell our own story,” Bats said. “Eventually we felt we were strong enough to start.”
Fauchard said Uniforme, which is influenced by military outfits, is a bridge between the luxury and streetwear categories. The garments align with how Fauchard believes men shop today.
“The concept is to offer edgy silhouettes, but it has to be sophisticated and wearable,” Fauchard said. “We believe that men are more daring when it comes to fashion or colors, but they still want easy, simple pieces.”
Each collection has a name and is built around a fictional character and a specific aspect of his life. For fall, the designers culled references from teenage actors in Hollywood during the Nineties and the time they spent on sets and in hotels — Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kurt Cobain were top of mind.
Despite their ages — Bats is 32 and Fauchard is 25 — the two still abide by the traditional tenets of fashion: two collections a year, brick-and-mortar retail accounts and a focus on craftsmanship. The collections are made in France and each piece is numbered.
“I learned at Hermès that if a piece isn’t ready yet, you just don’t show it. You wait until next season and sell it when it’s perfect,” Bats said. “At some point we will have collaborations, but we won’t be doing more than two collections a year. We don’t believe in that. There is no notion of desire anymore and having to wait for something. If you keep giving people what they want, they want more and more and more and at a certain point you can’t manage things.”
They will show the collection in Le Marais at 48 Rue des Francs Bourgeois by appointment from Jan. 22 to Jan. 28.
Myar, the solo project of Andrea Rosso – son of entrepreneur Renzo Rosso and the creative director of Diesel licenses – will be staging a presentation in Paris for the first time.
The brand’s name is an anagram of army, with the designer specializing in original military service-used and deadstock items customized with a more modern touch. Rosso usually sources from Europe, but for his third season traveled to the United States to scout camo treasures.
What he loves about military uniforms, is that everything has been studied for a purpose. “Not that I love purpose, I love the construction of things, their durabilty, and also the graphic aspect,” said Rosso.
“The study of the army – from a scientific point of view to a more functional point of view – it’s all being used today, from tables and chairs to our smartphones.”
Expect M65 cargo pants and field jackets from the Vietnam war period in reworked camouflages. The most commercial one is the woodland, used on the sides of garments, but there’s also the coffee stain, used as a graphic applied at the back and on the sleeves of jackets, with a desert feel, and the tiger motif with black accents, which has been reinterpreted also on the reverse side of jackets and pants. “Every color reflects the place where it has been used,” explained Rosso.
The designer also transformed quilted wool blankets into coats and peacoats, mixing form and function.