If Melinda Gloss cofounders Mathieu de Ménonville and Rémi de Laquintaine seemed slightly jittery before presenting their Spring menswear collection, they sure didn’t look it. Both disarmingly attractive, the guys are their own model customers, applying their confident mien to a contemporary-classic range that has steadily built a following among young, discerning fashion types.
For their Friday show, models walked through the cloisters of a 17th-century abbey, the Cloître de Port-Royal, in the far south of Paris. The designers, who met while studying philosophy at the Sorbonne, said they chose this obscure venue for the color of its stone and the natural light—but of course, it also speaks to their pursuit of a distinctive identity. They proposed a collection loosely based on a nostalgic view of travel, refreshing fifties-era tailoring by offering double-breasted blazers in softened neoprene. Roomy, pleated trousers sat higher on the waist—and puddled perfectly around white canvas Spring Court kicks. Their exploration of print, which they described as loosely African, included a large pair of abstracted shells as a knitwear intarsia and a geometric micro motif in repetition across a silk blouson and masculine foulards. The main showpieces, however, were the leather goods: a vivid blue in lambskin, suede pants the color of wet sand, and a shirt in dusty stucco. Square-framed duffel bags in sturdy calfskin were well-constructed and sized for daily city needs or overnight trips.
Melinda Gloss manufactures its suiting in France, said De Ménonville. Stitched inside one of the brand’s jackets, a label proudly read, “Confectionné en Limoges.” Confectionné conveys a savoir faire that its English equivalent, made, is unable to capture. And as the four-year-old brand pushes further into international markets (apparently Japanese customers have already proved widely receptive), craft will matter as much as Parisian cool.
In September, the duo expects to open their third Paris location—a flagship on the Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, steps from Acne Studios, A.P.C., and Ami. In positioning Melinda Gloss as entry-level Hermès, the designers are convinced that the brand is a key player in a coveted niche—call it low-key luxe—now brimming with options. Certainly, they’re ones to watch.
Photos: Courtesy Photos