Au Jour Le Jour Goes Back to School-------
Yesterday afternoon, emerging Milan-based brand Au Jour Le Jour transformed Florence’s old customs office on Via Valfonda into a club-age iteration of a primary school classroom. Showgoers sat at red, yellow, blue, or green desks instead of perching on benches (which made it incredibly easy to take notes, for the record) and the back staircase was lined with glowing neon lights. It was the perfect backdrop for designers Mirko Fontana and Diego Marquez’s debut menswear collection, dubbed #backtoschool. The duo, who last season won the support of Armani and presented their womenswear lineup at Milan’s Armani Teatro, turned out a Spring ’15 range imbued with playful, kooky kitsch.
“I found my old notebook from primary school, and we decided to give this mood to the collection with embroidery and prints,” explained Marquez backstage. “But we also tried to show strong tailoring. It was really important for us to make something fun but sophisticated.” Prints comprising rhinoceroses, red apples, yellow school buses, pencils, glue bottles, and lions were scattered across cotton shorts, short-sleeve button-downs, skirts, and dresses. (The designers showed a smattering of womenswear, too.) These motifs, along with pink unicorns and orange lions, were repeated elsewhere in sequins. Also on offer were preppy pastel knits paired with the shortest of short shorts for him and high-waisted boy shorts for her, as well as leather handbags that took the form of the abovementioned animals. Striped soccer socks and bright-hued sandals completed each irreverent look. The clothes were a good bit of fun—and well-made fun, at that, incorporating double cotton, paillette, quilted nylon, and a selection of couture fabrics for suits. That being said, those cheeky short shorts, or the women’s cropped sweaters, would surely be a recipe for detention.