Thomas Trautwein at Hyères International Fashion Festival
This past weekend, I was in the south of France for Hyères International Fashion Festival. In the middle of impossible storms and sipping Champagne in true fashion-festival-style, I was in the first row admiring some of the most promising new designers’ collections. The fashion shows were taking place on the beach and I don’t know if it is the sea wind that had such a strong effect on me, but something very unusual happened.
I fell in love with … a menswear collection. And I mean, really completely, entirely and utterly, fell in love with this collection. . Although it did not win the final prize – offered to Latvian Marite Mastina & Rolands Peterkops – the collection, appropriately named Bandit Couture, was by far my coup de coeur of the festival.
A graduate from the Chardon Savard Atelier in Paris, Thomas Trautwein has been working with his family on this collection, with his mother and cousin assisting him in the studio and his brother as a model.
I went to see – and most importantly touch! – the pieces after the show, and I was lucky enough to have a nice chat and a short interview with Thomas and his cousin who are both absolutely lovely, as well as a passionate and talented team.
Indeed very dandy, Thomas’ elegant collection is all about impeccable cut and subtle details such as drapes, shoulder and thigh yokes and superpositions. Architectured suits. But not only.
When asked about his inspiration, Thomas explains: ‘I’ve been into gangster films since I’m a child and I draw inspiration from the emotion these mysterious bad boys convey.’ For this collection, Once upon a time in the West and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly were the main references, hence the tassels, poncho jacket and perforated hats.
But the understated palette of black, grey and navy balances the Mexican bad boy effect. Actually, it could be Savile Row meets urban cowboy. ‘I think fashion is about balance, I love the constraints of menswear, it pushes my creativity and my work on details.’
And the ultimate detail: a fragrance inspired from the classic Cologne of the designer’s father, a reminiscence from childhood, as a madeleine de Proust, that evokes the dryness of the desert vegetation. I can almost see Clint Eastwood.