Everyone and everything has an image, a way in which a person or a brand is perceived by observers, be it society in general or customer, press and buyers in particular. Nowhere is that more important than in fashion. As such French brand Sandro and Sandro Homme, their menswear brand, can consider themselves lucky. Far from chasing recycled trends and fashionable whims, the Chétrite family have - since the brand's incarnation in the mid-eighties - been associated with a 'Parisian Chic' and 'Gallic Cool' attitude. This is not only an already established sartorial idea in France, but also a highly desirable one for the rest of us.
Sandro Homme, the men's line designed by Ilan Chétrite, only reinforces this notion. The classically elegant Parisian aesthetic, mixed in with a more rebellious rock attitude, perfectly straddles the idea of aspirational fashion and wearable clothes that men actually can and want to buy. All this was evident when Sandro Homme this month launched its Selfridges concession, and started selling Gallic Cool to the style-starved Brits...
Dazed Digital: Sandro Homme is a typically French brand, what's the reaction been in London so far?
Ilan Chétrite: Great! We are enjoying a period in fashion that is appreciating french design and lifestyle.
DD: How would you define Sandro Homme?
Ilan Chétrite: Sandro Homme is the alter ego of Sandro's womenswear. Moreover, I never mention 'homme' when I talk about Sandro's men collection. Sandro's menswear helps the brand to express a language and philosophy that for us is common to both men and women. More than only clothes, Sandro aims to create a lifestyle that represents non conformism and a kind of elegant rebel attitude...
DD: Is there a specific item from the A/W11 collection that you think sums up the brand?
Ilan Chétrite: It is difficult to sum up the collection with a specific item. It's the mixing of styles that sum up the brand. For example, we like to mix a shearling biker jacket with a three piece flannel suit or double breasted jacket. In a way it is the story of a young guy that stole his fathers suit. In the late 60s in France, there was those bands of "bourgeois rebels" that used to wear their fathers loafers with no socks and destroyed jeans. It was their way to tell their story, just like us...
DD: How did it all come together, what's the story of the brand?
Ilan Chétrite: My parents were working on Sandro womenswear’s collection. I was student and there was nothing for men in the range. So I decided to stop my studies and start working on the men’s collection. When Sandro began to have success we asked ourselves why don't men have the right to express themselves as well? Then we created what we thought would be a relevant menswear wardrobe. It launched successfully and Sandro's womenswear had its 'alter ego'. The brand was then not only talking to women but portrayed a lifestyle for both men and women...
DD: The Sandro Homme look has a strong 60s smooth tailoring angle - why do you think that aesthetic is still so popular today?
Ilan Chétrite: In the 60s men were still wearing suits everyday but beginning to push the boundaries of the clothes they wore. It was a kind of expression of freedom and modernism, and nowadays we tend to look back to these values.
DD: Is there an aesthetic co-relation between Sandro's menswear and womenswear?
Ilan Chétrite: Of course! Both collections share this spirit of rebel elegance and freedom. My mother is the creative director of Sandro's womenswear and as I grew up in a family where fashion is omnipresent we are likely to have similar influences...
DD: When looking at the menswear there', except for smart casualwear, a strong sense of rock 'n' roll - is music a big inspiration source for you?
Ilan Chétrite: Music has always been a huge source of inspiration for me and I like different kinds of music. Bob Dylan was an inspiration on our last collection and after that I couldn't stop listening to his songs for three months!
DD: What's next for you?
Ilan Chétrite: The A/W12 season... only God knows!