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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

PETROU\MAN: An Officer, Gentleman & Punk

New York is first and foremost the home of classic sportswear, but its runways and showrooms offer plenty of surprises in the realm of "forward" fashion. Last season, we came across an aggressive collection by Nicolas Petrou, who's toiled at other companies more than 15 years but recently launched his own line, PETROU\MAN, for which he's designing clothes refreshingly in and out of sync with current trends.

Diana Vreeland loved to say that Coco Chanel had very little taste, but all of it was good, whereas Elsa Schiaparelli (Chanel's rival, and a spectacularly inventive designer) had loads of taste, most of it bad. In other words, too much "good taste" can sometimes get in the way of good fashion. We happen to like Petrou's clothes because they're beautifully made but slightly outré: there's an odd, raffish quality to these pieces that suggests layers of traditional British tailoring, early-80s punk rebellion (all those safety pins!) plus a dollop of cool minimalism from the mid-90s. That's a lot to juggle, which is undoubtedly why the collection is only being sold at directional stores like Bellhaus, New York, and Joyce, in Hong Kong. (Of course, you can also check with the New York showroom–just call, or write, and ask very, very nicely.) Meanwhile, the safety pin jacket alone is a thing of beauty–worth, perhaps, even a ticket to China.

From top: 1) Wool tweed anorak and stretch pullover by PETROU\MAN. Velvet scarf by Maison Martin Margiela. 2) Wool topcoat, pants and cotton shirt by PETROU\MAN. Cotton scarf by Dior Homme. Boots by Christian Lacroix Homme. 3 & 4) Tie-dyed cotton jacket with safety pin shoulder details and wool drawstring pants by PETROU\MAN. Cotton shirt by Dior Homme. Stainless steel watch by Baume & Mercier. 5) Leather jacket by PETROU\MAN. Cotton shirt by Costume National Homme.

Photographs by Noël Sutherland. Hair by Davide Marinelli at De Berardinis. Model: Parker at dna models. Fashion assistant: Evie Cutshaw.