Trigère, as in Pauline Trigère, is back.
“Who?” asks anyone under the age of 40 in this industry.
Maybe that’s not fair. Millennials can be fashion historians, too. But for those who aren’t: Pauline Trigère was a French-American designer, known for elegant tailoring, reversible capes and coats and being an early champion of the jumpsuit. She founded her house in 1942, was the first American designer to celebrate a 50th anniversary and received the CFDA Lifetime Achievement awards the year after. She closed her ready-to-wear business in 1994 and passed away in 2002 at the age of 93. Her brand, full of heritage though it is, has been silent for decades.
And now it’s being revived in a most curious way at the hands of a Canadian businessman named Peter Lewis, who bought the trademark from Trigère’s now-deceased sons. Lewis prefers to remain behind the scenes — he declined to be interviewed — but tapped a fellow Canadian designer, Franklin Benjamin Elman, to helm the revival. He presented the first collection by appointment on Sunday.
The audience Elman appeared to want to target is young ladies, those who likely aren’t familiar with the name Trigère. So it was interesting that Elman chose to use the logo as a key motif, printing it with duty-free abandon all in graphic black-and-white all over a long, elegant jacket, a flippy skirt and dressy Bermuda shorts.
The rest of the collection, marked by lean devoré dresses in gold or green tiger patterns, a mauve moire jacket and a black-and-white tiger-print silk Mikado dress with sculpted ruffles — was more sophisticated. Where Trigère’s second life goes, we will see.