5 Minutes with Damien Paul
No newcomer to online shopping? Then you will no doubt be a die-hard fan of matchesfashion.com. Housing some of our favourite luxury menswear labels such as: Saint Laurent, Paul Smith and Balmain, each season, Damien Paul hand selects these pieces all of us will be rocking come next season. We chat to Mr Paul about what trends to expect in the approaching months.
What key trends did you see at the spring summer 16 mens collections?
The big message this season was a move towards a more relaxed, undone approach to getting dressed. A looser, slouchier silhouette just feels so much more modern than anything too buttoned-up.
At the runway shows this came across in the pyjama-like shapes we saw at Dolce and Haider Ackermann; the elevated tracksuits at Valentino and Ami, and the roomier trouser shapes we saw almost everywhere – I liked Marni’s swingy cropped styles the best.
Which particular designers stood out? Why?
In terms of showmanship, Raf Simons was pretty hard to beat – his grungey, industrial collection was shown on a raised runway in an abandoned warehouse in the outskirts of Paris. And the collection was quintessentially Raf – the grommet-punched jackets, frayed-edged trousers, and patchworker knits look set to be next season’s cult pieces. I also loved John Galliano’s menswear debut at Maison Margiela – it had a quiet power and I loved the way he approached tailoring with a light hand. In London, we continue to be excited by Craig Green and JW Anderson – their aesthetics couldn’t be more different but both have an incredibly well-defined sense of who their man is, and both have attracted an impressively loyal following.
What is that sets Matchesfashion.com apart from other men’s online stores?
For us it’s all about the mix. We try not to be too pigeonholing. I love the idea that our man could buy a really classic jacket from Bottega Veneta or Brioni, but he’s looking to wear it with a pair of sneakers from Eytys, or a slouchy t-shirt from Lemaire. We’re always trying to introduce our customer to newness – alongside the big international labels we offer emerging designers, cult brands, and sportswear labels. It feels like the way men are dressing now.
It’s never been a more exciting time to work in menswear – the fact that men are getting bolder in their fashion choices allows us to be braver and continue to introduce them to products they might not otherwise have seen.
What new brands can we expect to see online at Matchesfashion.com this season?
The new brands we have coming in this season pretty much encapsulate our aesthetic – we have beautifully classic pieces from Dunhill, alongside Jonathan Anderson’s boundary-pushing aesthetic at Loewe, and two new exciting sneaker collaborations from Adidas – one with the Japanese brand Kolor, and the other with Kanye West, which is sure to be an instant sellout.
Is there a particular staple that you believe men should purchase to last throughout all seasons?
I’m a big believer in buying well – a slim bomber jacket, a well-cut pair of tailored trousers, a good pair of white sneakers, and a supply of decent white t-shirts will pretty much cover you.
My current favourites are a navy gabardine bomber from Lemaire and a pair of tapered trousers from Haider Ackermann, which will carry me through the summer.
Do you find the male consumer to be loyal to specific brands?
It’s certainly the way I shop. If I find a trouser shape that works for me, I’ll come back to it again and again.
Where in the world are the savviest male shoppers?
I think men in general are becoming more and more savvy about clothes. They are coming to us with a strong awareness of the designers, brands and pieces that they want to see. It’s never been a more exciting time to work in menswear – the fact that men are getting bolder in their fashion choices allows us to be braver and continue to introduce them to products they might not otherwise have seen.