Etudes: an arty street ballad from Paris’s rooftops
French label Etudes couldn’t have chosen a better venue to present its Spring/Summer 2020 men's and women's collections on Wednesday than this building site in the heart of Paris, amidst white dust and unfinished walls. Indeed, the swathes of black paint suggesting a striped pattern on a white outfit, or the daubs of white colour smearing the hem of a pair of black trousers, a blue jacket or a beige suit, seemed to have been produced inadvertently on the site.
The designer trio behind Etudes, Aurélien Arbet, Jérémie Egry and José Lamali, worked painstakingly on textile treatment this season, creating a collection of suits, shirts, overcoats and knitwear with something of an unfinished look, the items seemingly blemished or eroded by time, the colour palette at once intense and muted. A pair of orange trousers splotched with dark smears looks like a camouflage outfit. Elsewhere, orange hues fade into yellow abstract shapes, creating an irregular tie-dye effect.
“All of these treatments, partly made using bleach and a succession of washes, as well as the spray-paint details, are handmade. The idea was to blur boundaries, playing with themes like illusion and diffusion,” said Arbet backstage. A creative approach that is closely associated with Etudes’s brand identity, rooted in visual art, graffiti and graphic design.
Etudes has often collaborated with artists, and for this collection it borrowed the large portraits by Canadian artist Chloé Wise to create printed motifs on shirts, gowns and long dresses in silk and viscose. Several necklaces with large pearls come from Mexico. Also worth mentioning is the rainbow-coloured tulle drapery created by Justin Morin to split the runway in two lengthwise, adding to the catwalk show’s ethereal ambience, with a view of the Parisian rooftops.
With its contemporary street style, Etudes - which recently shortened its name from Etudes Studio - combines a series of classic items with workwear and sportswear looks, featuring nylon trousers tapered at the ankle, loose parachute-style dresses, washed denim shirt-and-trousers sets sprinkled with large capital letters forming the label’s name. Another design theme features Wikipedia texts printed on white tunic shirts: “A collaboration stemming from a universal idea of shared knowledge,” said Arbet.
Etudes’s show, the 11th for menswear and the fifth for womenswear, also gave the label the opportunity to unveil its first, four-model eyewear line, which was developed internally.
Etudes was launched in 2012 by five co-founders (three in charge of creativity and two of operations) and generates a revenue of over €3 million. The label is distributed via its e-shop and 120 multibrand stores worldwide, and is growing by leaps and bounds notably in China. In Paris, Etudes operates a monobrand store and a concession at the Galeries Lafayette department store.
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