Meet Stella Jean’s Exotic Fall Dandy
“If I told you I was mixing wax prints, Prince of Wales checks, and astrakhan, you’d say, ‘Oh, how horrible!’” said emerging designer Stella Jean. “But looking at it, you can see that all cultures can work together.” Jean proved her point brilliantly yesterday at Pitti Uomo 85 in Florence, where she was invited for the second season to show her fledgling menswear collection for Fall ’14. Continuing her exploration of multiculturalism, Jean translated her signature bright wax prints into the gentlemen’s club style of Victorian London. She began by reducing the size of the prints, which took the form of tight, geometric patterns inspired by tie designs. These appeared on sharply tailored trousers and double-breasted vests with matching shirts and ties topped by thick tweed coats. “When you want Africa to enter the British concept of tailoring, you have to be very subtle,” offered Jean, who turned out a wax trenchcoat with an astrakhan yoke, and gave the traditional men’s derby shoe a wax upper.
Bright tweed coats looked winter dandy when combined with leather trousers and sweaters in stripes and animal patterns. And the wax smoking jacket with velvet lapels managed to look both exotic and clubby. The best part of this collection, however, were the details: tablet covers in wax, smart scarves, Jean’s Phileas Fogg bag, and wax pattern socks held up by proper gentleman’s garters.