6 posts tagged "Aitor Throup"
It’s been seven years since he graduated from the Royal College of Art—seven years of mind-bending manifestos, endless obsessive sampling, teasers, feints, and false starts, and God knows there were times when it seemed like the day would never come. But at last it’s here. On Thursday, Aitor Throup, the philosopher king of London menswear, released his first complete collection to a handful of stores around the world: Dover Street Market in London and Tokyo, Atelier in New York, H. Lorenzo in Los Angeles, I.T. in Hong Kong and Beijing, and Rail in Brescia, Italy. In typical Throup style, leaving nothing to chance, the launch is supported by a full platform of explanatory visuals, exclusively revealed here on Style.com.
It’s probably fairer to call New Object Research a project rather than a collection, although it does in fact collate items from the four concepts Throup has been evolving over the years—like the Skanda jacket from When Football Hooligans Become Hindu Gods, or the riding jacket from Mongolia, or the Saxophone shirt from The Funeral of New Orleans—into one seamless group. “Evolution” is an appropriate catchall. “Even since we showed in January, we’ve taken it to another level with production,” the designer enthused the other day in an East End studio teeming with assistants packing up clothes for shipment.
But nestled inside his evolution is a revolution in construction and fabrication, all of it produced right downstairs in that teeming studio (which is remarkable enough itself, given that some of the fabrics sound like purest science). To see it all, he’s worked with a design firm to create rotating, 360-degree views of the pieces on his Web site, like the one below. And what to see? There’s a new zipper system, new buttonhole technology, the signature trousers that don’t finish where the ankles finish, seams like you’ve never seen before, and, my personal favorites, Throup’s ergonomic sleeves, which have an internal elastic articulation that anticipates movement. However it works, it feels better than any sleeve I’ve ever had on my arm. Cristobal Balenciaga, fashion’s most famous sleeve-obsessive, would be green with envy. Continue Reading “Aitor Throup’s “Deeply Charged Art” Is Coming to a Store Near You” »
Natalie Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter, and the new chairman of the British Fashion Council, was in a justifiably good mood after three days of men’s shows in London. We were talking about the factors that contributed to shows’ success, and one thing that was instantly obvious was how the established and the edge have come together under one umbrella: Savile Row and…well, whatever Aitor Throup is.
Throup’s presentation in a gallery in King’s Cross (above) was titled New Object Research, but the parentheses were more significant: (The full reveal of the first complete ready-to-wear collection). Twenty pieces arranged in four looks is scarcely complete in any traditional sense, but it was the culmination of six years of work, and six years of intense optimism on the part of industry insiders who’ve patiently clung to the conviction that Throup brings something unique to fashion. It was certainly on display here in the extraordinary construction of the clothes and the stark beauty of their presentation. Throup is a man obsessed. All he wants is a new way to do things, and once he has mastered that way, he would love it to become an industry standard. You haven’t appreciated a buttonhole until you’ve heard him detail the process with which he closes his garments. And to hear him talk about the perfect shoulder is surely a glimpse of what Cristobal Balenciaga’s acquaintances must have endured as Cris nattered on about sleeves.
But a similar fixation on detail has been the fundament of British menswear since Beau Brummell first went to his military tailor in 1790-something and said, “I want you to make me this.” Richard James’ presentation on Tuesday (left) made it quite clear that he is Throup’s diametric opposite, but maybe they’d recognize the subversion in each other. James is dressing men of power and industry (David Cameron, the prime minister, wore a James suit at his Downing Street reception for the men’s collections) but the press notes for his Fall presentation quoted lyrics from the Small Faces’ acid fantasy “Itchycoo Park.” Yes, the collection was inspired by London’s parks, but Itchycoo was a very special one. It’s always been part of James’ charm that he insinuates left-field references into his work. Here, there was tailoring in the blue of sky, the green of grass, the maroon of a Kray’s night out—not quite psychedelic, but bright nonetheless. And he had the best front row of the week: Magic Mike‘s Alex Pettyfer, The Hobbit‘s Martin Freeman, Duran Duran’s Nick Rhodes, and everyone’s Tinie Tempah. Now there’s a dinner party. And that’s London now.
Among the 1,000-plus exhibitors at the 79th edition of Pitti, which opened in Florence on Tuesday, were Adam Kimmel and Aitor Throup, two longtime Style.com favorites, both launching new collaborations with iconic heritage brands and both coming up trumps by creating gotta-have-it hybrids between past and future that will make next fall a better place to be.
Kimmel worked with Carhartt. (A first look from that collection is above.) In his case, that was a whole lotta history. The family-owned company has been dressing America’s working stiffs since 1889, which is the kind of durable blue-collar kudos that has ensured Carhartt’s coolness with skaters and snowboarders. In other words, Kimmel’s heroes when he was a kid. He himself got his first piece of Carhartt outerwear—synthetic duck, quilt lining, corduroy collar (they still make it)—when he was 10. His own take on the brand is, in fact, less a collaboration than a 29-piece Kimmel collection manufactured by Carhartt, so he is able, as he says, “to offer a product at an incredible price point” to an audience that may have craved his Italy-produced signature line without having the readies to buy it. That said, the Kimmel-Carhartt connection is umbilical. The designer has always been acutely sensitive to function in his clothes, and his silhouette has always been forgiving—he used to call it “an American cut,” as opposed to Euro skinny-minnie. Still, he’s trimmed some of the Carhartt bulk. The stiffness is gone, too. In fact, to wear these clothes is to love them. A worker’s jacket in an almost luminous indigo moleskin was softer than velvet. A substantial parka/jean jacket hybrid (2-in-1 pieces are a Kimmel signature) was much lighter on the body than on the hanger. Such user-friendliness will win hearts, minds, and dollars when Kimmel/Carhartt shows up at Barneys later in the year. (Barneys’ Jay Bell brokered the relationship, so the store has an exclusive.)
Barneys is also where you’ll find Aitor Throup’s latest collaboration with sportswear giant Umbro (above). Last year, he remodeled the English football team’s uniform for its ill-fated World Cup appearance in South Africa. Now, he’s revisiting ten iconic pieces from Umbro’s archives (for example, the jacket worn by manager Alf Ramsay in 1966, the year England won the Cup). Throup is obsessive in his research. There’s at least two years’ worth in this new venture (it’s actually called Archive Research Project), and there aren’t many designers who could match Throup’s understanding of the way an athlete’s body moves in clothing. He refers to it as “data informing design,” which, techspeak aside, produces garments that follow and flatter the human form as elegantly and effectively as the finest bespoke tailoring. Throup is quick to point out that when Umbro launched in 1924, footballers’ uniforms were tailor-made. In restoring the essence of that tradition, he’s guaranteeing that sportswear will never be the same.