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July 31 2014

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Here’s the New A.P.C. Kanye Collection in Full, and a Chat With Jean Touitou

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For the second and last season of the A.P.C. Kanye collection, the brand’s proprietor, Jean Touitou, and Mr. West went deep into military archives. What they came up with is an arsenal of cool, comfortable-looking, luxurious casual clothes that are as unique and appealing as they are smart and simple. This will be your last opportunity to own a piece of this collection, as West is moving on to build his sportswear empire with Adidas. So put July 17 on your calendar—that’s the day it goes on sale (and will likely be your only chance, as it will surely sell through fast).

We caught up with Touitou last week as he was preparing to show his Spring/Summer 2015 collection in Paris to chat about this partnership, his outlook on future collaborations, and A.P.C.’s American expansion.

See the entire A.P.C. Kanye collection here.

How did the process of working with Kanye evolve over time?

The process was easier the second time because we have learned more from each other, and then also we stopped by the military archive. It was surprisingly easier the second time, except at the end.

What happened at the end?

What happened at the end is exactly what he does to his own records, so I didn’t take it personally—like when it’s something he makes, and ten days before it drops, and then he wants to start from scratch. In music things are so possible, especially with today’s technology, good engineer, good computer, you could stretch time, but in fashion there are so many people involved, from weaving, knitting, choosing the yarn, choosing the color, making the pattern, making the first samples. It’s so much more material, but again, I don’t feel badly about him pushing the limits. So that was the difficulty. But apart from that, it was perfectly easy.

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So he wanted to change things—

That happens until, like, sixteen minutes before the presentation, I was changing things.

But at some point you were able to settle on some final decisions?

Oh, of course, of course, because it’s going to be in the stores and online on July 17, and we don’t have a reputation of being late. You have to manufacture all the clothes, and it’s not just virtual, it’s real things. At some point you have to say, “This is what it’s going to be.”

What led you to the military archives? Was that Kanye’s idea?

For a very simple reason: I do have archives where we live in Paris, and one day I wanted to show him what I did for almost twenty-seven years, and you know, there was a lot of my old stuff, a lot of A.P.C., and we started the process of designing from there.

You know, when you design something, you have to start with something, so that’s where we were, at my big archives to start with something. It’s not the process for designing a conceptual collection, but that’s why when we said we want a parka, its nice to see a parka from this army, and this army and that army and make your own design of it.

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What was Kanye’s part in the design? For instance, would he have input on every aspect of how the parka was going to be made?

Of course he would decide with me on every part of it. We would choose the fabrics and the color and the proportions, sleeves, shoulders, and there were a lot of fittings. It’s not like we want to do a parka, send the pattern to China, and OK we have the parka and I OK it. It’s not like that at all. We produce a first and second sample, a mock sample, a third sample, and finally the last one is good. It’s like a couture piece for every item.

Was it a more involved process than what you typically do for A.P.C.?

No, it was the same, with being involved and making the patterns. It was exactly the same.

A.P.C. has done a lot of collaborations—Nike, Supreme, Carhartt, and others. What’s your perspective on collaborating with other brands?

I have no perspective. I’m tired of collaborating. I’m tired of it. And there’s not so many people that I want to do anything with.

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So you’re feeling like this is the last one?

Kanye has his own line with Adidas now. And we do Nike because we don’t know how to do running shoes and they know how to do it right. I don’t have a major collaborating project. But I’m creating a new brand, and we’re launching Vanessa Seward in March, launching the brand with a new company and everything.

So you’re no longer focusing on collaborations?

Well, if it’s something very interesting to me, I’ll go for it. But I don’t look for collaborations, I just wait until it knocks at my door. I’m not pushing it all, doing something as humongous as creating a brand. Days are only twenty-four hours. And also we opened new stores. We’re not a huge corporation, we’re a small independent company.

The expansion of A.P.C. has really been impressive. Are you planning on continuing to expand?

No, we’re just focusing on America, and France is like the Titanic—still dancing, but it’s going to be at the bottom of [the ocean] soon. So I’m really happy to bring the brand to America.

Photo: Courtesy A.P.C.

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