Paul Galvin: The perfect koople
Paul Galvin rejoices as the stylish Parisian brand finally hits Irish shores
Okay, they've finally arrived. The Kooples are here. Everyone just try to act cool. It was with major excitement that I learned a few months back that this fresh young Parisian label was headed for Ireland. And now it's stocked in BTs. Just in time for The Rose of Tralee, too.
This is hipster style at its best. Having just opened three standalone stores in London (I hope they're still standing after the riots) and more on the way, the three brothers Elicha are going northwest in search of cool kids.
They won't have to look too far. Ireland is very ready for a slice of Paris chic coupled with London cool. Alexander, Raphael and Laurent Elicha are a breath of fresh air in design terms, though not without fashion pedigree.
Their folks are the brains and beauty behind the very successful women's label Comptoirs des Cotonniers. Always a help. What really helps, however, is their brilliant aesthetic that's so modern and relevant yet anchored to classic Savile Row tailoring.
You really do have to be snake-hipped to wear the clothes. The family has been embroiled in controversy lately amid accusations of promoting anorexia by using too-skinny models on their advertising campaigns.
I've written about the campaigns here before. Real-life couples are used and they must fit the brand image. Which they do. They're young and good looking. And yes, skinny. Not overly so from what I can see, but then they are models.
The online advertising push came in whispers, months in advance of any clothes being stocked. The couples speak to camera in a romantic, simple way, telling of how they met and how long they've been together and generally looking loved up, stylish and too cool.
The strategy is simple but very memorable. Advertising squared. How very clever to target couples. Inspirations lie mainly in the brothers' love for all things rock 'n' roll. They say Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull are the ultimate Koople, and they're disappointed Kate Moss and Pete Doherty didn't last the course. Jamie Hince is obviously not a suitable Koople.
Speaking of Doherty, The Kooples x Pete Doherty collaboration has been shelved due to his drug conviction. Originally due this October, the new release date is unknown. It's a pity as I was looking forward to seeing it. The tees were based on Doherty's own sketches and drawings.
Inspiration for the collaboration came from Doherty's own dandyism and also the wardrobe of the 19th-century character Octavian, who he plays in a new film 'Confession of a Child of the Century' alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg. There's a new Koople, perhaps?
They have also launched a record label recently and are looking for couples who record music together to feature on a debut compilation. In fact, the three of them look as if they could form a pretty cool band themselves.
So what's in the collection? Well, as it's unisex, it's hard to tell what's for boys and what's for girls. Which is good and bad. Good that you can borrow clothes from your girl, if they'll fit you and you're so inclined. Bad if you're a man bungling around the store wondering which is which and too scared to ask.
For men, the three-piece suit is the central look. It embodies the brand aesthetic; traditional and smart. The tailoring gives it those classic lines. The design detail and colour schemes give it a modern funky twist. Denim shirts, zip-up jackets, pea coats, blazers and skinny jeans are all there.
The detail on the shirts gives a real unique sense of style to the look. Neat collars, some without turndowns, with slim-sleeve cuffs give a real compact feel.
What I really like about the BT collection is the colour palette. Lots of beige, burgundy, burnt orange, navy and shades of grey. And I love the texture of the ties also.
By the way, David and Sophie are my favourite Koople. David is from Croatia and Sophie is from Berlin. They have been a Koople for three years.