September 3 2014

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On Our Radar: M. de Phocas



Twenty-six-year-old Alexis Zambrano and 25-year-old Jesus Torres might have only launched their whimsical men’s accessory range, M. de Phocas, two years ago, but the collaboration was a long time coming. As teenagers, they both left Monterrey, Mexico, for boarding school in New Hampshire. And while they parted ways after graduation—Zambrano jetted east to study the culinary arts in Paris, while Torres drove south to pursue architecture in Brooklyn—the pair reunited in 2011. It was then that they formed their kitschy but elegant brand, whose name is derived from Monsieur de Phocas—the 1901 novel by Jean Lorrain, who was considered by many to be one of the modern era’s original dandies.

“Historical figures, nature, and pop culture,” said Zambrano of what informs Manhattan-based M. de Phocas’ vision. Think: tiny violin cuff links, vivid orchid tie bars, and cheekily splayed banana-peel pins, all painted in bright enamels, and often dotted with diamonds. Their work is eye-catching and playful—a tiny little library that’s as dandyish as it is dainty.

Following two-plus years of successful growth, M. de Phocas released its first women’s capsule last week on luxury e-tailer Moda Operandi. Here, Zambrano and Torres produced adaptations of house classics—”the gummy bears and pansies (above), they always cause a frenzy with our clients,” offered Zambrano. There were new accoutrements, too, such as the Three Little Pigs & Big Bad Wolf ring, a tiny band garnished with a trio of neon-pink porcine figures and a hollow-eyed coyote. Expect to see more expansion as their label continues to garner buzz—as Zambrano noted, “It’s very exciting, this venture into the women’s market.”

Photo: Courtesy of M. de PHOCAS

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