Officine Générale RTW Spring 2021

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Officine Générale is a men’s wear label that also does clothing for women, Pierre Mahéo will tell you. His focus is tailoring, which he adjusts handsomely for women, and the offer this season included a classic beige trenchcoat, revisited, in technical fabric; pin-striped suit jackets; pleated pencil trousers, and a rich selection of skirts and dresses. Elegant, in a relaxed way — a satin skirt had an elastic waistband and was paired with a men’s shirt of the same material — but not too breezy. 

“A woman has a lot more responsibilities than a man, because she always has to do more to gain equality with men,” he said, referring to daily life — domestic and professional. 

“I use very nice fabric for the men’s wear, so why would I do differently for women?” he added, surveying the collection. He began ticking off materials he considers staples — silk, linen, cotton, Japanese twill — before settling on a pale blue button-up shirt. Its sharp collar anchored the ultra-lightweight top — cotton with a touch of linen. Further down the rack, past a suit made of an original-looking shadow plaid Prince of Wales fabric, and past the stretchy suede miniskirt, he fished out a cotton T-shirt made with just a touch of silk. The coronavirus crisis has prompted a surge in bicycle traffic in the French capital and here Mahéo solved one of the city’s most vexing challenges — how to remain stylish while cycling in a downpour. He offered a long, waterproof poncho that unsnapped on each side. He’s tired of seeing friends turn up to dinners soaked to the skin.

Officine Générale RTW Spring 2021

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“It’s incredible, come on guys, get yourself some technical clothing,” he insisted.

Working on prints, the idea is to give them some meaning, and the label drew up a floral motif drawn up from artwork by Georgia O’Keefe.

With much of the world on pause, overcome with crisis, the fashion industry needs to find the right register — and that doesn’t mean forcing things with catwalk shows, in his view.

“Fashion is not disconnected from the world — it needs to be in phase with the world,” Mahéo insisted. What do consumers want? Value and decency, was his suggestion. 

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