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FLANNELS Five: French Designers To Know Now

FLANNELS Five: French Designers To Know Now

“Excusez-moi monsieur, I like your shoes” goes the familiar compliment paid to any man wearing a pair of French designer sneakers. Often cited as the home of fashion, the French capital, Paris, houses the HQs of Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Lanvin, Dior and Balmain, among countless others. The biggest names in the industry have been making and showing their collections here since the dawn of the fashion show. While Parisian men have a reputation for understated, sophisticated style, the country’s designers are known for a more directional approach to fashion. Many have pioneered the luxury streetwear that we take for granted today, reimagining their signature pieces for the modern man. In case you haven’t already, get to know the icons of French style with our top five designers to know now.

SAINT LAURENT

The Parisian powerhouse blurs the lines between men’s and womenswear with rebellious collections of slim-fit denim and rock ‘n’ roll-inspired pieces with an androgynous edge. The eponymous designer Yves Saint Laurent launched menswear in the ‘70s when he pioneered a new mode of high-fashion dressing for men. Following Hedi Slimane’s tenure at the house, Anthony Vacarello is now at the helm, putting a modern but seductive spin on the maison’s codes.

A white Givenchy leather trainer with a white sole and trainers and a black band across the mid section with a white Givenchy logo

GIVENCHY

Founded in 1952 by Hubert de Givenchy, AKA the “enfant terrible of Haute Couture” the designer launched his first menswear line in 1969. Known as the “Givenchy Gentleman” it laid the groundwork for the refined, urban aesthetic of the house today. Successive designers, from Alexander McQueen to Riccardo Tisci and now Clare Waight Keller have all contributed to the evolution of the house. Expect streetwear staples with graphic prints and a sense of refinement.

A white Lanvin sweatshirt with a black LANVIN logo on the chest partially hidden by a metallic silver stripe

LANVIN

One of Paris’ oldest fashion houses, Lanvin was established as a milliner in the city in 1889 by Jeanne Lanvin, a visionary designer and shrewd businesswoman. A pioneer who left behind an empire, she launched the first made-to-measure menswear service in Paris in 1926 from her shop on the illustrious Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré. Albert Elbaz was creative director for a decade, and Lucas Ossendrijver is now pioneering a new form of streetwear-infused elegance at the label.

 A pair of Dior men's sunglasses

DIOR

Last season saw the changing of the guard at Dior, one of fashion’s great titans. Kim Jones showed his first collection for the house after seven years at Louis Vuitton (now under the creative directorship of Off-White’s Virgil Abloh). Borrowing from the haute couture design codes of the women’s collections, it had all the hallmarks of a classic luxury menswear show – suits and streetwear – with ‘00s archive references, clever collaborative additions and utility finishes.

A blue denim men's Balmain denim jacket

BALMAIN

One of the OG Parisian couture houses, Balmain has been fronted by Creative Director Olivier Rousteing for nearly a decade. The young, savvy designer has built the #BalmainArmy – an elite group of the world’s wealthiest and most glamorous party girls and boys who champion his rebellious but polished aesthetic. If you want to turn the volume up on your wardrobe, the label’s signature distressed denim and leather pieces come with a stylish decibel warning.