The sound of clocks going haywire heralded the arrival of the first model in the heart of the Port Royal cloister, an old fashioned enclosure in the heart of one of Paris' busiest hospitals. Mathieu de Ménonville and Rémi de Laquintane clearly drew on vintage inspirations to send out a collection in which streamlined layering was the key to a contemporary silhouette with a vintage flair that would attract even the stuffiest dresser. Telegraphing retro silhouettes, as seen through the filter of contemporary design, the designing duo created body conforming, but not constricting, clothes. In terms of adjustments, that meant having fitted proportions for the top half, while adding smart details such as the pulls to adjust the waistline to the bottom one. What is that if not a canny way to industrialize production while answering the needs of your end customer?
Following in the footsteps of successes like Kitsune or AMI, Melinda Gloss, now nearly five years old, offers a range of garments that tap into what "basics" truly means: pieces you come back to, again and again. On paper, this may sound like a strange way to address the need for freshness in today's dresser, but in fact, the palette of strong neutrals and straightforward, easy-to-digest pieces captures the elegance of the Parisian man. What sets them apart is their time-insensitive approach to designing clothes. Ménonville and Laquintane created the brand right out of school, aiming to create a creative milieu rather than a commercial endeavor.
So seeing high-waisted leather trousers paired with a navy sweater, printed scarves slipped under collars to create a streamlined, a bulk-free version of layering, or adding a pair of thick-framed, oh-so-now pair of sunglasses, seems like images that have existed in our collective glossary forever. Even those vaguely Asian fans that came up as prints had a feel of déjà-vu. With slippers or canvas sneakers, it was easy for either the sartorial starter or the everyday explorer to imagine themselves in these, cherry-picked from whatever fantastic memory they conjured. And perhaps because it looks like the best memory of yesterday's fashions, does Melinda Gloss' latest offering carry the marks of a timeless classic, reinvented? Even that whiff of oiled cloth - coming off a well-cut charming coat - had something reassuringly familiar to it.