Dazed Digital


La Comédie Humaine

June 20, 2012

Introducing an emerging Parisian menswear label with a fresh take on a French literary classic

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Guest Feature by Richard Bridgman

Francophiles across the globe will more than likely already be familiar with La Comédie Humaine, an epic masterpiece by 19th Century French novelist Honoré de Balzac. For those of you less au fait, here’s what you missed: not far from 100 short stories, novels and essays relating the toils of life in post-revolutionary France. Add in healthy dose of social satire and various guest appearances from talking animals and you start to get the picture.

A lesser known fact is that Balzac was a keen aesthete and fashion journalist avant la lettre. When he wasn’t dashing all over Paris in search of the next big thing in tailoring, he was dictating just how one should wear a tie. So enigmatic a creature was later to become a rich source of inspiration for four talented young Parisians in search of an innovative menswear design concept.

Launched less than a month ago, La Comédie Humaine is a small yet coherent collection of menswear staples with a twist. The heart of the collection is the Rastignac shirt, named after one of Balzac’s ambitious young nobles. Entirely manufactured in one of France’s finest ateliers, it is perfectly cut (slim but not stifling) and boasts no less than seven stitches per cm and real pearl buttons.

The Rastignac comes with a mao collar as standard, but the magic begins to operate when you discover the impressive variety of removable collars available. With no less than 15 models to choose from, you can flip from a Peter Pan to widespread Italian at the drop of a hat, proving than men too can accessorise with ease as and when they please.

In a less formal register, La Comédie Humaine offers a series of top-notch tees emblazoned with bold animal sketches from period illustrator J.J. Grandville. A splash of colour is all that is required to inject a contemporary feel into these pieces. Cheeky and cheerful, they remain functional and are the perfect fit.

The team at La Comédie Humaine have a number of other tricks up their sleeve, including minimalist leatherwear goods, printed silk scarves, toiletries and even stationery: everything the elegant man could possibly need to brave the urban jungle. Balzac knew a good shirt collar when he saw one and he would most certainly approve of this fitting sartorial homage.

Shop the collection online.

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