The Collected Wit and Wisdom of Jean Touitou deserves a hardcover printing, if not its own reality show. The A.P.C. founder took the stage to give a viva voce exposition on his new collection—reluctantly, he gruffly claimed. "I have to, because no one is in a bikini," he said. "It's not very spectacular. We need to make it exciting." He had no bones about airing his grievances about the state of contemporary menswear, nor about naming names of the gravest offenders. (Names redacted to protect the innocent.) "Straight guys look like gay guys from five years ago," he opined. Gay men of 2008, this is not a compliment.
The overall aesthetic of A.P.C. doesn't change much. It's rooted in jeans and a Gallic spin on preppy, though Touitou was parsing the difference between American prep and English prep, favoring the latter because the Americans aren't reverent or classical enough. In fact, it was hard to see anything but an American smirk in a sweatshirt emblazoned VARSITY, worn by a kid who might just be a welterweight soaking wet, or a leather and canvas golf bag that converts into a backpack. ("Golf should return to chicness," Touitou pronounced.) The show cycled through a section that drew on military garb, like a camouflage field jacket, and one that he said was for bankers—or the way he'd like bankers to dress. "Sometimes, you meet bankers in the morning and you think what planet am I living on?" One banker wore a casual double-breasted jacket and tie, but the even richer one (as he imagined him) wore a check shirt and leather jacket. Ka-ching!
A.P.C.'s ambitions skew more wardrobe than fashion, but that's the source—rather than the undermining—of its appeal. And it is tiptoeing toward more refined fare, in the form of a capsule collection, Louis W, by the co-designer of A.P.C.'s mainline, which for the moment comprises only leather, suede, and sheepskin jackets. In the future, who knows. For his part, Touitou is more interested in applying himself to the Big Issues as sweating his status. "I'm not comfortable with the knot," he said of shoelaces. "I recommend we find a solution."