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Olivier Borde and Heath Callender's Garde Robe

A new duo wants to freshen up what exists in menswear as opposed to reinventing it.

Whilst winners of the annual Hyeres fashion competition can go on to great things, that's not to say the so-called 'losers' will suffer. Hyeres has become an exposure platform not least because the jury is consistently stellar in quality with this year's rollcall including Givenchy's Ricardo Tisci, Haider Ackermann, Patti Wilson and Maria Luisa. So when Olivier Borde and his partner Heath Callender presented their debut menswear collection and came away prizeless but with a verdict from the aforementioned jury that declared the collection to be  “reinventing the classics of male fashion”. That was enough encouragement for Borde and Callender to proceed to design the second Olivier Borde [Garde-Robe] collection which they presented during menswear fashion week in Paris in July.

Borde, after schooling in Montpellier spent time in Paris and London and ended up co-designing with Charles Anastase on his ready to wear label, winning ANDAM an a legion of fans. Parting ways with Anastase in 2007 gave Borde and Callender the freedom to create the label they had always dreamed of.

Dazed Digital: Where did the inspiration come from for the S/S09 collection?

Olivier Borde and Heath Callender: This collection was inspired by the link between the photographs of Mike Disfarmer and Richard Avedon’s The American West project  We also drew upon the world of the “working class” and contemporary traveller culture. As with each season we try and take men’s “basic” or “iconic” pieces and filter them through the season’s inspiration and then focus on construction, volumes and details.

DD: What was the Hyeres competition experience like?
OB & HC: The Festival was an unbelievable experience. It was a very warm and family type atmosphere among all the designers. It was also an honor to take place in a competition that had discovered and nurtured so many designers before and just the fact that we could show our work in this wonderful environment.

DD: Why menswear, seeing as Olivier designed with quite a feminine and girly aesthetic for Charles Anastase?
OB & HC: It was a dream since I had graduated from school to do menswear. As it happened thought I fell into working in high-end women’s wear in Paris first. However, I had always been doing personal pieces for friends and myself. After splitting ways with Charles, Heath and I began discussing the menswear label we wanted to create and what type of things we would love to see in the marketplace. We did the first collection, which was selected for Hyeres and after the Festival did another collection that we showed in Paris last June. It’s also amazing how many of our women friends love the collection as well. As far as our aesthetic it’s very handcrafted which translates into things such as hand stiching and special details inside each piece along with mixing various “opposing” fabrics.

DD: Where do you see the direction of menswear going as more and more progressive menswear labels are starting up?
OB& HC: It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where menswear is going at the moment since there are so many different niches so to speak. However, It’s exciting there is a renewed excitement in the menswear market that makes it feel like the perfect time for us to be doing what we are doing. The more progressive labels that are appearing is a wonderful sign that men are becoming a bit more curious and maybe a bit more adventurous in what they are looking for, which I think can only be a good thing. For us it’s very important to find our own place that fits what we love and what we design.