Set up by two French philosophy students, this luxury menswear brand majors in studied cool.
Insouciant. It’s the French for casual, carefree. And maybe a little bit cheeky. Stylish too. It comes in very handy whenever one encounters the sort of designs that Paris menswear brand Melinda Gloss, an expert in effortless chic, creates.
Spring 12 sees it play with colour and texture as waffle knits and lightweight canvas cagoules are added to the striped tops, tailored linens and Fair Isle knits. And while lines remain clean and truncated, they are never severe. Fabrics are washed down. What looks effortless takes real consideration.
For several seasons the duo behind it, former philosophy students Rémi de Laquintane and Mathieu de Ménonville, have set up camp in the Touch! Hall at Pitti Uomo. It was only a matter of time until the Parisians’ roster of tactile knits, cleverly detailed wovens and updated essentials was picked up by such conduits of cool as New York indie Opening Ceremony. It’s now sold in 25 territories, but is yet to breach UK shores.
That will change in December, when it debuts at London designer indie Browns as part of Thomas Erber’s Cabinet de Curiosités, a touring exhibition of covetable designs across different disciplines curated by journalist Erber, which is currently showing in Colette in Paris.
De Ménonville says: “Next season we’d like to start working with Liberty, a place that fits the brand’s identity very well. [For spring 12] we used extra light and flowing fabrics; we wanted something light and fresh, something that flies. So we went in the air: the inspiration is ‘Chute Libre’ [free fall]. Although we designed a few aviator parkas and a real fly suit, the inspiration was more about the lightness and feeling of flying.”
De Ménonville is cheeky in the extreme, displaying the carefree ease that characterises his designs. When asked how the pair financed the start-up, he says: “Tax fraud and human traffic.” The most challenging aspect of embarking in fashion? “Answering questions for interviews.” And what keeps him awake at night? “I have a good sleep, due to the amount of cognac I drink every day.”
But when asked why they started the label, he’s more serious: “It was impulsive. We wanted something new and something we’d have fun doing. It’s more a story of friendship than anything else.”
Certainly the pair dovetail neatly. Every decision is made together but de Laquintane handles the collections (from sample making to production) and de Ménonville handles clients, communication and visual identity.
And the name, Melinda Gloss, where does that come from? “An old hooker Remi and I met in the old days,” says de Ménonville. How very insouciant.
£50 - Starting wholesale price for shirts
£180 - Wholesale price for a tailored jacket
2.8 to 2.9 - Margin on the brand’s collection
120 - Number of pieces in the collection
Contact - Melinda Gloss 00 33 1 73 70 31 76 www.melindagloss.com