January 27, 2007
For his first menswear collection, Bruno Pieters took inspiration from an old photo of the Duke of Windsor and Coco Chanel. The Duke was wearing knee breeches at the time, and sure enough, there they were in Pieters' debut. But the designer, Paris' latest import from Antwerp, was keen to sidestep any overt historicism, which is why he emphasized the architectural sharpness of his clothes (a quality they share with the womenswear he has been designing for five years). The belting and seaming details on a camel overcoat certainly underscored its construction, and Pieters also offered opportunities to "build" a look by adding layers. One sucha cummerbund belt with tailscould render almost any jacket ready for a night at the opera, especially when paired with Pieters' white piqué shirt. The belt had a dandy air that was also evident in a delicate shirt of bronzed silk and a poet's blouse. More to the point, it had a girdling effect, just perfect for maintaining at least an illusion of the extreme leanness the clothes demanded. The Duke of Windsor might be able to do them justice, but most real men would gravitate toward the big, chunky hand-knits, which in this skinny context looked slightly incongruousand all the better for it.