19 posts tagged "Jean Touitou"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Following five collaborative capsules with Jean Touitou’s A.P.C., Vanessa Seward is taking things to the next level and launching her own brand with the financial support of A.P.C. She’s already begun working on her first collection, which is set to debut in Paris for the Fall ’15 season, and a series of stand-alone stores are already in the works. Here, Seward, an alum of Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and, most recently, Azzaro, talks to Style.com about her vision of sensible luxury, why low-waisted jeans are the worst, and what we can expect from her new line.
How did your collaboration with A.P.C. start? Was it kind of an experiment?
It was not even an experiment: Two and a half years ago, it was a one-shot, because [A.P.C. owner Jean Touitou and I] knew each other, we liked each other, and I missed working. So he said, “How about doing a collection with us?” And because I loved the brand, I was really happy to. It was a brand I bought and used and understood, so it was a nice challenge.
Did it come as a relief after doing so much high-fashion?
In a way, because when you’re doing high-end fashion, it becomes very difficult to do casual because it’s always a bit overpriced. And somehow it never looks as good. The couture houses have a wonderful hand for evening dresses, but casual is more complicated. What looks cool is when you combine the two. With the very first [A.P.C.] collection, I did things with couture fabrics combined with jeans and Irish sweaters. That was a relief for me. And I think a couture sensibility with jeans made for a really good fit. They sold out really quickly.
Your catchphrase is “sensible luxury.” Could you define it for us?
Even when a woman earns a good living in France today, luxury is still very inaccessible—and among the more accessible brands, there is a heavy connotation: You’re either boho or rock-chic, etc. It feels like a disguise. In previous generations we consumed less—you bought something a little more expensive that would last for years, and that really speaks to me. Even if they’re not as expensive, clothes are still an investment, and a nice sweater or skirt should last and make you look good without making you look like a fashionista.
What do you keep in mind when shopping? Is there anything you’ve bought lately that you love?
When you buy something, it’s important to be able to see yourself wearing it ten years into the future, and knowing you won’t feel stupid when you look at it in a photo. I don’t like over-designed clothes. I like clothes that are simple, that have a nice fit, that make you look good and don’t have too many details. Your personality is what counts. Then, luxury has to come in the finishings, in the cut, in the color, and material.
What have you bought lately?
I love my new Michel Vivien sandals because they fit with my notion of sensible luxury and they are also timeless. I get an “old Saint Laurent” feel from them. And at the same time, they will not look dated. I could give you a whole list of what I bought at A.P.C. For example, the Victoire jeans from the last collaboration are an homage to my friend Victoire de Castellane. I’ve known Victoire since I was her assistant at Chanel, and she has always been a big inspiration.
Are you doing the muse thing?
Yes and no. Victoire, her sister, and the friends around me are all big inspirations. For me, the danger lies in always designing [for oneself]. The collaboration with A.P.C. is a bit like working with a publisher. I try to design things that appeal to a wide range of women.
Are you—like many of us—relieved to be getting away from low-waisted jeans?
Oh, my God, so happy. There’s nothing more depressing, there’s nothing that makes me feel fatter than low-waisted jeans! There was a whole period when I would just not wear jeans anymore. At every house I worked with, and especially with Mr. Azzaro, I learned a lot about respecting the body. I like things that make you look good without crossing the thin line into overtly sexy.
What’s your take on Parisian style?
It’s about knowing how to balance an effect. Those who grow up in a family culture of sensible luxury will hold on to an Hermès bag they inherited, or an old jacket, and they are good at mixing couture with jeans. If they are going to be really dressed up, they won’t wear much makeup and their hair won’t be too done. That makes it cool.
What can we expect from your debut collection?
I’ve started working on the collection and it’s almost like psychoanalysis. I’m basically reviewing my whole life: I was brought up in London, and my family is Argentine, but they are a bit English, and there’s a lot of Paris, too. Then there’s all the time I spent working at Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Azzaro. When I was working with those brands, I was thinking about their codes. Now I am creating my own. Just thinking about what my staples are is really exciting. What we call “affordable luxury” is just about the price; what I am trying to do is broader than that. I want to do something seductive that plays on bon chic, bon genre with a little naughtiness, and I think I can do that in a way that is mine.
The sixth and final Vanessa Seward x A.P.C. collection will be unveiled this September, but come 2015, Seward will have a new project: her own ready-to-wear label. WWD reports that Seward will unveil her first namesake collection during Fall ’15 Paris fashion week. A.P.C. will provide logistical and financial support for the venture.
Best known for giving new life to Azzaro, Seward also held positions at Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. In an interview, Seward said she wanted to create a “chic, timeless wardrobe” for her new line. A.P.C.’s Jean Touitou referred to it as “sensible luxury.”
Seward’s collaborations with A.P.C. are a prime example of the abovementioned aesthetic—she often uses luxury materials in a modern way to create garments at contemporary prices. “I’m going to be able to go futher with my own design identity,” she said. The collection will include casual and formal pieces as well as shoes, bags, belts, and costume jewelry. Her first boutique is set to open in Paris in September 2015, and additional locations in L.A. and New York are a top priority down the road. With such strong support from Touitou, we can only expect great things.
The fashion biz has had quite a year. 2013 was jam-packed with major designer shake-ups, groundbreaking ad campaigns, celebrity collaborations, and pop-star performance wardrobes filled with custom-made designer duds. In the final days leading up to 2014, we’re counting down Style File’s most popular twenty stories of the past year. So sit back, relax, and relive 2013′s unforgettable moments. Read our top five stories, below. To see all of our most popular posts from 2013, click here.
5. Diamond Girl: Behind the Scenes of Rihanna’s World Tour Wardrobe
Rihanna had a banner year when it came to fashion, culminating in becoming the face of Balmain’s Spring ’14 campaign. Back in March, the star kicked off her Diamonds world tour, and thanks to her stylist, Mel Ottenberg, her onstage wardrobe, which was comprised of mega-watt looks by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Dior’s Raf Simons, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, and her River Island co-designer, Adam Selman, had just as much sparkle as the tour’s title would suggest. Style.com’s Katharine K. Zarrella spoke to Ottenberg about all seven of the singer’s custom costumes and what it takes to dress the pop-culture force that is RiRi.
4. Marc Jacobs Bids Adieu to Louis Vuitton
After sixteen years at the helm of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs stepped down from his post as creative director following his Spring ’14 show for the storied house. Following his epic Spring presentation, whose all-black set incorporated pieces from his most memorable shows (remember the escalator? that carousel? the baroque elevator? they were all there), LVMH announced that Nicolas Ghesquière will be filling his shoes come Fall ’14. Jacobs, in turn, will be taking his eponymous company public and further expanding the MJ empire. As the news of his departure broke, Style.com took a look back at Jacobs’ greatest hits for Vuitton.
3. A.P.C.’s Jean Touitou on His New Collaboration With Kanye West
What a year it has been for Kanye West—a new album, a baby, a fiancée, a cornucopia of Margiela masks…but his most notable contribution to the fashion biz in 2013 was no doubt his collaboration with cult favorite French label A.P.C. The range of sweatshirts, tees, and denim sold out in a matter of hours and caused a veritable frenzy of discussion on the Internet. Style.com’s Matthew Schneier broke the news of the team-up in July and interviewed A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou about working with Yeezy and the “Kingdom of Dopeness.”
2. Roller Girl
In May, L.A.-based jewelry designer Irene Neuwirth enlisted actress Alison Brie—of Mad Men and Community fame—to put on some roller skates and show off her bohemian-luxe wares in a short film. Shot in a roller rink in New Jersey, the flick features a cameo from the designer (who admitted that her skating skills are a little shaky) as well as an original song by electro-pop trio Au Revoir Simone. The video debuted exclusively on Style.com.
And the number-one story of 2013 is…
1. Erykah Badu Fronts Givenchy’s New Campaign
Riccardo Tisci surprised and pleased us all when he chose neo-soul singer Erykah Badu to front his Mert & Marcus-lensed Spring ’14 Givenchy campaign, which debuted exclusively on Style.com. Matthew Schneier spoke to Tisci about the new ads, why Badu is “an icon,” and the presence of women of color in fashion.
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.”