Menswear Is Changing, and for Tim Coppens, Change Is Good-------
When Tim Coppens walked on stage last night at the CFDA Awards to collect his Swarovski Award for Menswear, he was wearing a Tim Coppens suit and Adidas Stan Smith sneakers. “When I put on my suit yesterday, I had a couple options,” Coppens told me this morning over the phone. “And one of the options was the Stan Smiths, and I was thinking, Should I do it? I don’t know. But I said, ‘I’m just going to do it. Fuck it.’” For Coppens, the decision to wear sneakers was about more than just a stylistic choice, it was an expression of the ease he feels as a designer. “As the seasons go on, I feel more comfortable with expressing what the brand is about and following what I think is right for my vision.”
As far as visions go, Coppens and the other two nominees in his category—Todd Snyder and Shayne Oliver for Hood by Air—couldn’t be more different. Snyder’s conventional menswear elevates familiar designs, while Oliver is rattling the industry with collections that are unlike anything worn before, on the runway or the street. For Coppens, in this dichotomy there is a sweet spot—not between the two, necessarily, but alongside them. His collections are innovative mash-ups of sportswear and luxury. “[Tim Coppens] is not the typical menswear brand,” he says. “It’s not the suit and the tie. [This is] a time when menswear is changing, when there are a lot more influences. Menswear is a lot more open. It’s a lot broader than it used to be, and I think that’s super-positive.”
With an LVMH Prize nomination and the Swarovski Award win under his belt, Coppens will continue to develop his womenswear efforts, as well. “We’re not showing it yet,” he says, “but I’m definitely developing it. And I’m doing it at the same rate as the men’s—gradually I’m building a collection and seeing what works, what doesn’t work. I’m very focused and not going in it too soon. It’s got to be the right time and it’s got to be the right thing that I want to show.”
On that note, his thoughts on Rihanna’s showstopping CFDA gown? “She can pull it off, you know? I think somebody like that, determined, you’ve got to respect that. She got that award for a reason.” And—for different reasons—so did he.