Études Fall 2023 Menswear

A padlock scratched with a heart encircling an ‘E’ comprised the Études show invitation, hanging from a key ring that jangled from the weight of multiple keys. It was instantly evocative of Paris, and the lovers’ locks that adorn the city’s bridges (and enrage the mayor’s office, which issued a statement of condemnation in September: “Already, philosophically, we do not agree with needing to chain ourselves to love each other. But it also degrades the infrastructure and public space.” So far, so French).

Founders Aurélien Arbet, Jérémie Egry, and José Lamali set an intention last season to ground their collections in a specific locale. For spring, they chose the Petite Ceinture, the railway track that once ferried commuters around the periphery of Paris; for fall, they homed in on the “centre-ville,” and L’île de la Cité, the island at the city’s core which has been occupied since the fourth century. Walks along the Seine reminded them of the lovers’ locks, and they were equally taken with the romantic nature of names carved in trees lining the river. “We really like this idea about the meeting of the old and historic part of Paris, and the new and modern, and what’s born from that meeting,” said Egry, in a preview at the brand’s Marais studio before the show.

Emphasis on “new and modern”: this collection wasn’t a cosplay, rather a gathering of formalwear, workwear, and streetwear references remixed to create the contemporary mash-ups Études has made its own. Look 24, in shades of electric blue, summed up the mélange: a slouchy wool suit worn with a half-zip sweater, an oversized satin parka, rubber outdoor boots, and a baseball cap pulled low over the eyes. As a proposition for business-casual, it was natty.

Other looks made use of mythological-looking symbols adapted from the archive of the Swiss artist Batia Suter, with whom the label collaborated this season. “Her work is about archiving, assembling images, so she’s really an anthropologist of the image,” explained Arbet. Images from Suter’s vast archive were used as patches on coat sleeves, embroidery on sweaters, and laser-cut into denim, the effect esoteric enough to appeal to Gen-Z’s love of one-off clothing. Indeed the strongest looks were those that literally bore the designers’ hands, including double-breasted woolen trench and pea coats hand-painted with energetic splashes of black, and a faded canvas bomber jacket embroidered with a skeleton.

Puffers with sweats, hoodies with blazers—these are combinations you see in almost every arrondissement, as Parisian dress codes finally start to shed their conservative bent. The designers agree they’re designing for a freshly rejuvenated capital. Said Arbet: “A few years ago it felt more like an old city, and suddenly it has become more of a point of attraction. We embrace that, because the way we work is about multi-disciplinary references. To feel that we’re in a city where it’s all happening—it’s great.”

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