15 posts tagged "Jean Touitou"
In an age when so many brand collaborations are cooked up in marketing laboratories, few pairings are as organic as A.P.C. x Carhartt. A.P.C. creative director Jean Touitou and Carhartt’s Arnaud Faeh (who heads up the brand’s edgier, somewhat pricier sibling, Work in Progress) came up with it themselves, launching their first menswear capsule for Fall ’10. The unlikely marriage of heritage workwear and Parisian wit was a quietly cool hit.
Now the duo is back with their fourth and final collection. As Faeh tells it, “Nothing is worse than ‘expected’ things.” Fans will be glad to know that there’s nothing hackneyed about the collaboration’s swan song—just plenty of corduroy, denim, and cotton in a series of easy styles. Pieces range from flannel shirts to boxer briefs to classic workmen’s jackets.
Destined to be one of the line’s more coveted items, the If Six Was Nine watch (after the Jimi Hendrix song of the same name) reverses numbers so that, indeed, six is nine, five is seven, etc. On the back you’ll find a blueprint of Touitou’s boat, where he and Faeh often brainstormed—in fact, it’s a recurring design element in the collection. “[It's a] symbol of some really dope times with Jean,” Faeh said. Touitou explains the mind-bending $150 timepiece with his trademark irreverence: “I am tired of social markers, such as expensive watches. And life is absurd—unless some god is involved—so a watch could be absurd, too.”
The story of the capsule collection—emphasis on capsule: It consists of three T-shirts, three hoodies, and two pairs of jeans—that Kanye West designed for A.P.C. has quickly taken on the tinge of legend. “Over two years ago, a visitor to the A.P.C. studio was announced to me as ‘Kenny’…” begins A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou’s introductory note, which has been republished in full on every Web site from here to eternity. The collection hits A.P.C. stores worldwide this morning. For the occasion, the ever-oracular Touitou spoke with Style.com about his most famous collaborator, the “kingdom of dopeness,” and the only celebrities that truly interest him.
How does Kanye West compare as a collaborator to others you’ve worked with? He is famously particular. Did you have any trepidation about working together?
I just love the guy, so whatever. He could want a piece to be baggy and skinny at the same time… [but] oh well, you just find a way.
This collection has been in the works for two years. It sounds like with this process, the devil was in the details. What has the back and forth on design been like?
The devil was in theoretical discussion, not in details. When you deal with a guy who wants to redesign just about anything so it could fit [into the] kingdom of dopeness, it takes some time to just sit and say, “Okay, agreed, but let’s get start on something limited, and we’ll see.”
Were any pieces tried but ultimately cut from the collection? What was the impetus to keep it so small?
No, once the devil of endless possibility was taken care of, we knew exactly what to do. Even from that condensed structure, we edited some colors and even fabric finishes. You keep it small because you just hit and run. That’s what you do. Continue Reading “Exclusive: A.P.C.’s Jean Touitou On His New Collaboration With Kanye West” »
The menswear shows wrapped in Paris last weekend, and while Couture is already well under way, we’d like to briefly revisit the boys’ runways to highlight a noteworthy new trend: the gentleman’s jumpsuit. The unexpected, utilitarian outfits popped up left and right in Paris, providing a sharp contrast to the season’s explosive floral prints. At Hermès, Véronique Nichanian (who is celebrating her twenty-fifth year at the house) offered a collared steel-gray onesie—complete with a matching skinny belt and cargo pockets on the chest. A.P.C.‘s Jean Touitou also submitted a slate-dyed jumpsuit, though his option looked tougher—a more macho spin on the silhouette.
At his eponymous label, Raf Simons afforded his spin on the look: a male romper. In hues of plum, malachite, and black, the wares—some of which were complemented by barbershop-stripe belts—were quintessentially the designer’s own, and artfully challenging.
And finally, Olivier Rousteing turned out multiple hard-edged takes on the jumpsuit—in denim, leather, and jersey—for his naval-inspired Balmain collection. The style might take some getting used to, but some of these one-pieces have the potential to be pretty darn masculine (“Greased Lightning,” anyone?). And, given the industry clout of the above, the term “suiting” might have a whole new meaning by the time Spring rolls around.
A.P.C.’s raison d’être is denim; its new guiding spirit is Vanessa Seward. The former Azzaro designer focused on cocktail dresses for her capsule collection for the label, but now that the collaboration is continuing into the future, she’s applying herself to the house’s bread and butter, too. Her second capsule collection for A.P.C., for Spring ’13, includes her first takes on denim, in exclusively high-waisted styles. Given the cuts of her skirts and trousers, A.P.C.’s traditionally steely raw denim wasn’t an option. A suppler version keeps the goods wearable, and during a preview, founder Jean Touitou peered inside a waistband to reveal one of the collection’s secrets: expandable chain stitching to prevent any potential disagreements between fabric and the human form.
“It’s good for me because my life is changing,” Seward said last week at the New York leg of A.P.C.’s 25th anniversary party tour. “I was always in cocktail dresses and high heels. Now I’m a mother of a 2-year-old and I have a different life. I’m now obsessed with a type of casual chicness.” She’ll have more time to ply said obsession. “We started off to do one collection; then we said, OK, let’s do two.” She added, “Now I’m working on the third one.”
A.P.C. x Vanessa Seward denim arrives at A.P.C. stores early next year.
Over the past 25 years, A.P.C. chief Jean Touitou has built an empire on what he calls “boring” fashion: “It’s only clothes,” he says, “but that’s what it’s about.” Every Parisienne worth her A.P.C. trench would agree, starting with Vanessa Seward: In the designer’s first season at the company, she asked not for a paycheck but for clothes. “Working with Jean is like being at home; I always try on the whole collection. It’s totally utilitarian Rive Gauche,” said Seward as her husband, musician/composer/producer Bertrand Burgalat, took command of the turntables. “My dream is to be dressed in A.P.C. and Valentino, but as I can’t afford Valentino I buy their shoes and the rest is A.P.C. or vintage.” Her success in her current gig has been such that Touitou is considering expanding her purview from her capsule collection to the regular line in seasons ahead.
The crowd at the freshly redone, Laurent Deroo-designed label HQ in the sixth arrondissement to toast the anniversary was a cultural mash-up of photographers (von Unwerth), publishers, artists (Sophie Calle), fashion folk (two Le-Tans, André Saraiva, Victoire de Castellane, Inès de la Fressange, Caroline de Maigret, Lanvin’s Elie Top), and music-world tastemakers. A noted music lover, Touitou (pictured above, with revelers) got on board with rap early on; the A.P.C. site features 26 self-produced music compilations and the in-house recording studio is open to staff and friends. Hence the presence of Metronomy band members, Jarvis Cocker, and Kanye West. As he scanned the remarkably laid-back, hysteria-free crowd, Touitou remarked, “Nowhere else in Paris do you find this. This is A.P.C.”