You may not know it, but Paris is in the midst of a menswear revolution (albeit an understated one). Though brands like A.P.C and Sandro are fairly well known in sartorially savvy circles, there are myriad exciting young labels currently making waves in the French capital.
What’s changed? This nouvelle vague of French designers are focused on getting to know their customers gradually, season to season, refining key ideas and focusing on basic essentials – creating clothes which are neither trend-led, nor hampered by the stuffiness of the traditional Parisian menswear scene.
The young bucks vying for success this spring? From the subtle chic of AMI, which aims to provide a total wardrobe of formal and casual looks, to more street wear-orientated pieces from BWGH, here are four French brands rethinking ‘Gallic chic’ for a new generation of men on both sides of the channel.
1 | AMI
Alexandre Matiussi is a growing force in French fashion, and recent collaborations with Mr Porter, alongside his ANDAM prize win last July, have helped raise his brand AMI’s profile in the UK. Matiussi’s Spring Summer ‘14 collection was inspired by “the cool guy in the boarding area”, and pieces range from sharp travel suiting to double-faced Japanese camo print shirts and bold on-trend sneakers. Watch out for his forthcoming collections with Swiss label Bally, too.
Key piece – Multicolored suede and mesh sneakers
2 | 13 Bonaparte
David Sarfati’s menswear brand 13 Bonaparte (named after his old address, not the famous, actually-average-sized-for-his-era, Corsican dictateur) focuses on simple, functional-yet-fun casual dressing. He finesses his best-selling pieces season by season, tweaking shapes and fabrics to keep his customers coming back for more. Sarfati’s covered placket shirting is second to few. Interestingly, Sarfati doesn’t go in for the standard Fall / Winter and Spring / Summer distinction, instead choosing to design overlapping, numbered collections.
Key piece – The flannel shirts
3 | Coltesse
Young designer Florent Coltesse is all about fabrics, especially Japanese cottons and Italian yarns. This is one brand where the devil is really in the detail, whether it’s the softly rounded collars on shirts, the ¾ length button-up sleeves (trust us on this one), or the clever button-down collar tabs. In addition, the brand is in the process of branching out into affordable yet desirable leather accessories. And to top it all off – everything is made in France.
Key piece – The ¾ length sleeve shirt
4 | BWGH
BWGH (Brooklyn We Go Hard) is the brainchild of David Obadia and Nelson Hassan. Departing from their photo t-shirt and streetwear roots (including collaborations with the legendary sneaker designer Ronnie Fieg), BWGH are now creating surprisingly elegant menswear pieces. Tailored cropped trousers, sumptuous suede bomber jackets, and slim-fit wool-cotton blend jogging bottoms are the ‘suggestion du jour’. A recent collaboration with Puma on a footwear and accessories capsule collection is set to expand into a fuller line for autumn.
Key piece – ‘Brooklyn Parle Francais’ sweatshirt