For his sophomore menswear collection Nicholas Petrou was inspired by the lives of nomads and applied their travels to his signature mix of sportswear with relaxed tailoring to great effect. The presentation at Drive In Studios showcased the designer's skill in creating a rich, unusual texture achieved through his combination of fabrics and prints. It also allowed opportunity to marvel at the intricate, hand finish detailing including hand dyed tartan suits and embroidered shirts and jackets celebrating the nomads much used tool; the humble safety pin. The effects of hand finish detailing is something that might have been forgotten in so much menswear design but this collection by Petrou/MAN is a welcome reminder of its beauty.
Dazed Digital: What was the starting point for the collection?
Nicholas Petrou: Nomads. Their travels and the moments when they are not moving. We can be nomads sometimes or at least it feels like we are when we are travelling.
Dazed Digital: As with your debut collection, this is a wonderful mix of sportswear and tailoring. This is no more apparent than in the combinations of fabrics used...
Nicholas Petrou: Exactly. We took a lot of fabrics from sportswear and integrated them with more classic suiting.
Dazed Digital: The presentation allows greater inspection of the finish. There is such intricacy and a great deal of hand finishing...is this important to you?
Nicholas Petrou: We do a lot of hand finish detailing which I feel is something that no longer really exists in menswear design. We did so much by hand, for example those are in fact hundreds of safety pins (pointing to a shirt), safety pins are something which nomads would always carry with them because they are so useful. We did it in such a way that you can't really tell that it isn't wire and this is continued in to the shoes which have embellishment of wire and mesh and similarly the hats. The hats are important because for me they represent their houses but we did it in a modern way. I was talking about them with Robbie and he said 'Don't worry, they make sense' and they really do.
Dazed Digital: There is a terrific sense of texture which is achieved by the layering of different fabrics and prints.
Nicholas Petrou: Yes, there is suede mixed with leather, wool jersey and shearling, microfibre and nylon. I love mixing fabric. The prints are mostly hand dyed, for example the tartan jackets and trousers, there is a silver jacket which was in fact black but we hand painted it silver. Have you seen Cole (Mohr)? He is wearing a jacket is covered in pins, something like seven thousand pins and it took over two weeks to make. It is one special piece so it is worth it.