Reebok and Armani, Evian and Paul Smith, Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey; you might say that opposites attract, but some collaborations just feel so unnatural that their compromise can’t help but bring both creators down. Perhaps that’s why both Jean Touitou, founder of the French label A.P.C. and Carhartt’s Arnaud Faeh detest collaborations. Yet the reason behind the uplifting DJ set, the red American high school party cups filled with booze, and the bunch of hipsters crowding in and around the Carhartt store at Shoreditch High Street, was actually the launch of A.P.C.’s and Carhartt’s third collection together.
Even though I’m the kind of person that looses interested as soon as clothes look too wearable, I was surprisingly impressed by this collaboration by two brands that both have functionality, durability and timelessness as core values. Obviously these are not from the school of the absurdist ‘photograph me for your streetstyle blog’ statement pieces, but that doesn’t make this capsule collection look plain. In fact, these designs are much more about secret indulgence. No one but you notices that the two different coloured threads woven into the waist of your chinos give an invisible visual accent to the colour and no one but you would guess that the triple stitch that trails over the sleeves of your shirt is an iconic symbol for work wear. The lightness and the breathability of the jersey on your bare skin is a sensual pleasure you can keep all to yourself.
My favorite item is the Gabrielle Coat. While, at first sight, the outside doesn’t appear to be that much different from the type of jacket my dad would wear on a rainy cycling trip, the quilted lining in a very sexy red colour adds a decadent surprise. And if you still need to be reminded that timelessness and fashion can go hand in hand, an homage to Coco Chanel is attached to the inside of the hemline in the shape of a graceful silver chain.
It’s almost degrading to refer to this collection as ‘collaboration’, since the word might evoke misplaced connotations to commercially driven strategies and press buzzes. The two brands seem to perfectly complement each other, as Jean Touitou’s eye for detail adds a hint of refinement to Arnoud Faeh’s durable workwear. It only seems natural that these two friends (or ‘Boatmates’ as they named their third collection), who share the same passions, beliefs and statements of intent, decide to combine their talents as a natural symbiosis. One that’s as seamless as changing the ‘C’ in A.P.C into the Carhartt font as seen on the labels and the very desirable wooden hangers.
191 Shoreditch High Street
London E1 6HU
TagsA.P.C, Carhartt, Juliette Sijnja,