It’s claimed that when it comes down to fashion no one does it better than the French…I can’t wholly agree with that statement as there are incredible creatives producing masterpieces all over the world, but I will say that the French definitely win the title for elegance. London has it’s eclectic innovative, New York it’s modernism, Milan is known for it’s flamboyance and glamour, and then Paris has it’s chic elegance. They’ve been producing some of the most influential game changers in the industry since the early 1900s, with names like Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent and Jean Paul Gaultier all hailing from the City of Lights. Even before the days of fashions houses, the royal Palaces were the home of the most fashionable of nobility and a source of envy for many rivalling empires. The envy still exists, we all love that Parisian style and that elegance that oozes from even the most plain pieces. Looking at the street style of Paris you’ll see that even the most simple of outfits are so well put together, proving that their prestige for good taste is well deserved. Outfits aren’t built for occasions, you’ll see fine tailoring everyday of the week all day long, the hour doesn’t seem important here.
This Autumn JA welcomes a new label into the family, a name which has been around for some years but is making huge waves within the industry right now. Carven was founded in 1945 by a petite determined young woman by the name of Carmen de Tommaso, who with her democratic and Parisian view of fashion design wanted to become apart of the world of Haute Couture. Opening her first store on the most exclusive and famous avenue in Paris (or the world?) the Champs-Elysees, her reputation grew and so did her business to include fragrance, swimwear and accessories. Madame Carven only retired from the business in ’93, but in 2009 a huge event was held to celebrate the brand and it’s founder’s 100th birthday (she’s still going at the ripe old age of 104 – fashion must be good for your health…). Another big event that year was the arrival of Guillaume Henry (pictured below right), the current Artistic Director who since his induction has launched Carven’s first menswear line. Amongst many other changes, Henry advised for the relinquishment of their membership to the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, and relaunched as a ready-to-wear label. Carven for any fashion obsessed woman is old news, it’s been a prominent name for years but for men it’s become the newest must-have brand in only a few short years. Guillaume Henry launched the first menswear collection for SS12, making this still quite a young brand with only 5 collections under it’s belt, so for many it’s still unknown.
Carven‘s smooth style feels approachable and accessible, with it’s mix of tailoring and baggy basics creating a reliable style. Some of the big Parisian names can come across as rather pretentious, but Carven doesn’t feel like this with it’s highly approachable personality. This 5th collection that we’re launching with has been inspired by vintage mug shots provided by the American police, so expect a very subtle reduced palette of black, grey and white. A playful side comes out in the appliquéd drawings which feature a flying pony and baby chick…sounds like a 4 year old’s wallpaper? It actually works so well, especially on the catwalk with the slicked back hair and bad boy looks. The simplicity of the product is enticing, I completely understand why it’s created such a buzz in the past 2 years, and now it’s even been encouraged by GQ and us…. Enjoy it. Jump on the band wagon!
“I don’t design clothes for customers; I do the wardrobe of a character. I don’t see clothes as being only products – I see them as part of a story.” Guillaume Henry (Vogue.com)
Images sourced from style.com