January 27, 2023

Posted on September 16, 2022 at 6:01 am

Thierry Mugler’s over-length shoulder pads, Jean Paul Gaultier’s tapered bodice and Azzedine Alaïa’s sculptural dresses appeared 35 years ago at the Parisian fashion house Luxembourg, a few meters from the garden. With it, formal aesthetics for the different wardrobes of men and women. Sleek and simple, it’s designed with high-quality materials at a fair price. Introduced in the logo’s acronym is a sober commitment before the hour: three letters, meaning “workshop of production and creation”. APC has bucked the trend since its inception, and its key items have been updated every year.

Now established in more than 55 countries, the brand remains a happy anomaly in the busy fashion world. Its creator and founder, Jean Tuitou, was able to maintain this “slight shift”, incorporating it into his work, discipline and talented artists, moving from one world to another: from the 1993 music label The founding of an alternative school in 2008, the opening of a temporary café in 2019 or a patchwork portfolio with artist Jessica Odgen. Likewise, in his series, he developed the principles of interaction, inviting collaborations with him, including Kanye West (2013 and 2014), rapper Kid Cudi (2019), Catherine Deneuve (2020), collective Brain Dead ( 2019), GOOP Media (2020), Lacoste (2022) and even Jane Birkin today.Over time, a heterogeneous and unique collective has formed around the APC, like Jean Touitou, able to refer to his friends Kanye, Schopenhauer or Nice Brisbane. All of them are full of culinary metaphors.

As a radical Trotskyist in the past, studying history and geography, you read a lot of Nietzsche… How did you get into fashion?

I left the radical meeting with a smell of tobacco. Activists smoke gypsies. I’ve had enough, the working class doesn’t want a revolution. Disgusted by everything, I headed to Latin America. I boarded my 4L in Genoa on a freighter bound for Buenos Aires.as in Nice Brisbane, a movie that I thought was great, I imagined myself going surfing, but didn’t. When I came back, I no longer wanted to be a history teacher. I see the kids don’t care anymore. I have friends in Kenzo. They look good. I work there as a warehouse manager. Then there are two important steps. Met with Agnès b’s husband, Jean-René de Fleurieu, who asked me to develop a subsidiary in the US, and then I collaborated with Japanese designer Irié. I started APC in 1987 with a desire to make clothing for history teachers.

Jean Touitou founded the APC brand of Atelier de production et création in 1987.

Jean Touitou founded the APC brand of Atelier de production et création in 1987.© Brigitte Lacombe/APC

Is that your project? Imagine a history teacher’s clothes?

I hope to return to dignity through clothing. I found the clothes at the time too expressive. I’d rather not be able to read a person’s social class, sexual orientation or political orientation. In short, I’m looking for the unseen.

Then, your vision of clothing will be presented as refined, impeccable and minimalist…

I’d rather talk about minimalism when you know it takes 35 years to imagine the work it takes to imagine a seemingly simple garment.

You became popular in the late 1980s, when vibrant silhouettes dominated. Do you feel out of place?

I am not alone in the desert. There are geniuses wandering around, like the Japanese from Comme des Garçons, and Yohji Yamamoto with radical fashion, and even Romeo Gigli.

And today?

It’s a big bowling game today and we’re only talking about billions.

The brand has grown a lot since 1987 and will have 102 points of sale by 2022. How do you analyze this success?

We were very good when things were going very badly. The crisis started with Covid, unfortunately, this crisis will continue, the aftermath of the war and other viruses are coming, my impression is that people naturally turn to us. At APC, we do things more fundamental than brands that bet everything on quick lust and the celebrity of the moment.

Jane Birkin for APC Interaction #16

Jane Birkin for APC Interaction #16©DR

In 2010, APC emerged with a jeans recycling program, then in 2011 with a quilt made from scrap…

I don’t like the word “recycling”. Not wasting is part of my culture. Just like bread. If we had crusty bread, we would make meatballs with flat-leaf parsley and onions. We don’t throw. There is a lot of “greenwashing” on this topic today. I’d rather stay outside.

Is fashion a political act?

Yes. After all, it’s all about balance. You can’t tell people to always wear the same clothes, it’s so frustrating. Anything that can stave off depression is a great option.

In 2019, you formed a collaboration with a designer, actor or artist called an “interaction”. At that time, was it important to “feed” elsewhere?

Yes. I actually started before, for example with Martine Sitbon in the 1990s. Back then there was no word for collab. It appeared around 2015. It’s an overdose, a decade-long obsession, kind of like the salmon, dill, and creamy pasta of the 1990s. I prefer the word more just interaction.

What do you like about these exchanges?

I’ll give a musical example: The Beatles called Eric (Clapton) to play guitar solo in 1968, and my guitar wept softly because they knew only he could do it. The same is true when I interact with Jane Birkin. At this point, only she can do it.

A piece from the Interaction #16 capsule collection, the result of a collaboration between Jane Birkin and APC

A piece from the Interaction #16 capsule collection, the result of a collaboration between Jane Birkin and APC©DR

Why exactly choose it?

She’s on the mood board of every aspiring stylist looking for a job, but I found something she could barely see: a sense of proportion perfection. Thanks to her, I approached the concept of “too much” and “not enough” in clothing creation.

What unites you?

there is nothing. We’re not friends, but I’m impressed with her toughness.

Photographers, models…you trust young people. If you were 20 years old, what would you do today?

I will create a movement, and next to the punk movement will be the Congress of Nuns.

On the occasion of APC’s 30th anniversary, you borrowed from the parade. Then in 2020, at the beginning of the Covid epidemic, you announced in an open letter that you would abandon it. where are you today

Now I want to do what I love, my way. On September 29th, it will have a party at Boule Noire in Paris. I’ll reveal the 17th interaction.

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