Paris Invasion

Any religious followers of FashionBeans may have recently noticed a French theme coming through in some of the site’s articles and the inspiration of Paris on the fashion world was recently reasserted by Grant Bradley Ford’s article, ‘Paris – Style and the City’. Although Paris has been, and remains, a pivotal centre of the fashion world, it does appear that all things Gallic seem to be making a successful comeback in current fashion trends. The current Urban Bohemia trend has its roots in the Parisian Rive Gauche trend of the early 1900s, and the recent collaboration of French label Lanvin with H&M resulted in a hugely successful collection which sold out almost immediately.

On the high street, there currently seems to be a trend for smaller French labels such as Sandro, A.P.C. and The Kooples to make the journey across the Channel and mirror the success they have experienced in Europe here in the UK. These types of labels have almost created a niche for themselves, filling the gap between high street stores and premium designers with collections which concentrate on core staple items to create a sense of ‘cool’ in a more classic, effortless and subtle way. The focus of this article is the label Sandro who have just introduced their first menswear collection to a new London-based store.

Sandro Menswear

The Sandro label was initially founded in 1984 by husband and wife designer team, Didier and Evelyne Chétrite, and in their native country of France the label really took off – leading to a series of stores opening throughout the country. In their homeland, the label is synonymous with affordable and sophisticated design and over time this has led to expansion beyond the French borders with stores now established the World over – from Europe, to Canada, to Korea. The womenswear collection has actually had a visible presence here in the UK for several years now but not until a couple of weeks ago did the menswear collection make the journey across the English Channel to broach British shores!

On 25th November, Sandro opened a new flagship store at swanky Westbourne Grove in London, and for the first time, the menswear collection is available here in the UK. The opening event was by no means a small affair, with fashionista Alexa Chung performing a DJ set, and celebrity guests such as Razorlight’s Jonny Borrell, model Edie Campbell and stylist Grace Woodward all making an appearance – several of whom were decked out in the finest items from the Sandro collection, paying homage to the Parisian label and bringing attention to the classic collection.

Some Sandro Menswear Example Looks

The menswear collection itself perfectly marries the fundamental concepts of the Urban Bohemian trend with classical French flair which is typical to the streets of Paris. The calibre of the pieces is very good; a much higher quality than standard high street stores and the beauty of Sandro menswear is its versatility – it has been described as perfect for ‘day-to-night’ – ideal for making the transition from the office to the bar for a night out.

The Collection

The collection includes 3 piece suits, classic knitwear pieces such as cashmere wool mix polo neck jumpers, and merino wool cardigans, as well as a chunky, belted merino cardigan, and a range of outerwear; from a khaki parka with oversized hood and leather trim, to a brown aviator sheepskin jacket with shearling collar, to a brown leather biker bomber – not forgetting the traditional trench coat. There are also graphic print tees in muted greys, distressed slim-fit jeans and tailored trousers with pleat fronts and cuff detailing and an interesting matching double-layered waistcoat. The accessories available include plain oversized cashmere scarves along with patterned scarves and handkerchiefs including polka dot in refined burgundy and pale pink, and a reptilian print scarf in silvery grey. There is also a leather wallet with chain and a selection of high-quality leather footwear including Chelsea-style boots and lace-up shoes.

The collection on the website (www.sandro-paris.com) features a series of look books to show the outfits in action whilst demonstrating their versatility and the interchangeability of the items. Although the collection is generally in fairly muted colours such as grey, black and khaki, the outfits are not dull or boring in the least, and they brilliantly display how classic French styling works.

In my opinion the lookbook which is featured on the Sandro website works well because it clearly demonstrates the idea of possessing a capsule wardrobe consisting of a few key items which can be interchanged with each other to create a variety of different looks. In total, the lookbook displays 17 different looks but these are achieved by mixing and matching different items from the collection. For example, the khaki, military-style shirt which when used as an overshirt in Look 8 portrays a quirky, casual, laid back look – but when teamed with a double-breasted blazer, silk pocket square and black slim jeans like in Look 14 – the overall effect is instantly effortlessly smart. Similarly, the double-layered waistcoat featured in Look 2 with the matching pinstriped jacket and trousers creates a pretty formal look which wouldn’t look out of place in the office – but when teamed with the flannel puffa jacket and black jeans in Look 17 – the effect is again, casually chic.

As a self-confessed Francophile who was lucky enough to live in Paris for a year the invasion of French styling and labels in Britain and the fashion world globally is only a positive thing. Sandro’s new menswear collection effectively demonstrates through the notion of the capsule wardrobe that quality is much more important than quantity, and I would highly recommend a trip to Westbourne Grove in London to browse the beautiful yet affordable collection for yourselves.