The last time Patou, the over 100 year old French maison founded by Jean Patou, hit the runway was in July 1986 during the Haute Couture presentations. The maison’s designer at that time was Christian Lacroix and, the day after the show, he resigned and established his own label with the financial support of Bernard Arnault. From then on, the brand became dormant, barely surviving through its cosmetics and fragrance businesses. It’s 2019, and the label is resurrected by the man who brought life back at Carven (it didn’t survive without his creative direction, as the latest news prove) and Nina Ricci: the extremely talented Guillaume Henry. And looking at his joyful debut, I doubt this project will either be a blow (Vionnet comes to my mind) or another exhausting French brand revival (Courrèges). The spring-summer 2020 look-book is a line-up full of beautiful, wearable, quintessentially French clothing that doesn’t fall into cliches. “Personally, I want to go back to dressing my friends,” he told the press. ”Patou was a couture house back in the day, so I want to keep that philosophy, with an atelier—but with reality.” What to love? The lace blouses and very French short navy A-line skirts, the bubble dress, or the chic-modern pink wide-leg trouser suit with a silk shirt with an extra long, trailing scarf-tie. Or it might be the neat, sporty sweaters with the original JP logo from the ’20s and lovely denim.The black coat with white lace collar and mis-matched buttons is another favourite. “It’s a friendly brand; I’m dressing real girls,” said Henry. ”I want it to have a smile and enthusiasm.” One more thing: the label plans to sell its high quality clothes at prices that are much more affordable comparing to other Paris-based luxury labels.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.