Julien David street cool kicks off Paris menswear shows

PARIS - Tokyo-based French designer Julien David came home Wednesday to make his men's catwalk debut on day one of the Paris menswear shows with a casual but elegant streetwear-inspired collection.

The up-and-coming designer, 34, who has lived in Japan since 2006 and skateboards to relax, said the collection was all about subtle combinations.



Julien David returns to Paris for his debut men's show

"It's about mixing streetwear and high end with the placement of pockets, of a waist, these kinds of details," David told AFP fresh off the plane from Tokyo as he held castings.

"I find it interesting to make a suit with only a shirt and no jacket. It is kind of a street suit," he said.

His autumn-winter 2013/14 collection, shown to barely 80 people in the rooms of a labyrinthine apartment in the chic Marais quarter, teamed cropped flannel trousers with unstructured three-quarter length coats.

Wool jersey leggings also featured heavily with reversible bomber jackets and brightly coloured check shirts.

Underlining the wearability of the pieces, David had them modelled by "real people" who wandered in to castings straight from the Paris streets.

The trilingual designer made his name as a scarf designer with pop graphics printed on silk before moving on to women's coats and collections.

Born in Paris, he said it felt natural for him to head to the city for his first menswear show.

And although womenswear possibilities could bring him back to France in future, he said he found it easy to nurture his creativity in Japan.

"Young Japanese men are more adventurous with their clothing habits. Being an outsider (in Japan) I get the best out of it. I think it is easier when you are not in your own country to be creative.

"You are protected in your bubble. You take what you want and leave the rest," he said.

Around 40 percent of his market is in Japan, he said, with 20 percent respectively in Europe, America and other parts of Asia.

A graduate of Parsons The New School for Design in New York, David launched his label in 2008 and now has 600 retail outlets worldwide including Bon Marche in Paris, Browns in London, Blake in Chicago and Mameg in Los Angeles. He plans to open his own store in Japan later this year.

Around 80 menswear shows are scheduled in Paris over the next five days, rounding off on Sunday with the eagerly awaited first Saint Laurent collection by Hedi Slimane, famed for his super-tight, skinny tailoring.

Credited with revolutionising menswear during his seven years at Dior from 2000 to 2007, Slimane teamed jackets cut short with narrow trousers in an androgynous, pencil-thin look so popular even legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld shed 45 kilos (90 pounds) to squeeze into a Slimane suit.

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