Fashion Fit For The Bike Lane
French designer Julien David fell for Japan during a 24-hour stopover in Tokyo on his way to China. “I liked everything about it,” he says. “I visited several neighborhoods and I was blown away. The people there are so different, they’re so polite, civilized and creative in so many ways.” That first visit was several years ago, when he was working as a design assistant for Narciso Rodriguez in New York. Then, four years ago, after a stint at Ralph Lauren, he left New York for Tokyo, where he produces his namesake brand, now in its third season.
David began with scarves in oversized prints on silk twill, woven and printed on two-meter wide screens at a small, specialized factory in Fukoshima, north of Tokyo. They were quickly picked up in their first season by Colette, and are now carried by Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York. For Spring, he’s expanded to a full collection of sportif chic. The inspiration is an elegant biking girl (hey, apparently cyclemania is ramping up in Japan, too)—the sort of girls who might like a bright pink ostrich-leather purse with matching kneepads and sneakers. “I’ve always been into streetwear,” David explains. “It’s really my first love, so when I thought about producing my own collection I wanted to combine causal style with what I’d learned about high fashion in New York.” Accordingly, David’s curvy tailored jackets are waterproof and lined in sport mesh, his bike-print shirts shaped like ponchos to wear on loose over a pair of boxy, extra-wide shorts. And as for scarves, they’re still here too, though they’re now doing double duty. They appeared here as dresses and tops made from up to eight matching ones artfully tied together, like traditional Japanese furoshiki.