How I Wear It: The French Fashion Editor

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How I Wear It: The French Fashion Editor

Words by Ms Fedora Abu | Photography by Mr Noel Quintela | Styling by Mr Dan Sablon

30 November 2021

“I never throw anything away,” says Mr Dan Sablon. “I’ve kept all my clothes from when I was, like, 14 years old.” It’s the sort of admission that, from anyone else, might prompt a visit from the Hoarder SOS TV crew or an urgent intervention by Japanese decluttering guru Ms Marie Kondo. In the case of Sablon, however, a man who used to save up his pocket money to buy Dior Homme, it’s safe to assume that his bursting-at-the-seams wardrobe – his “archive”, as he describes it – is a priceless panoply of treasures.

Reminiscing on his childhood in Saint-Mandé, a leafy suburb on the outskirts of Paris, the newly appointed senior fashion editor at i-D France notes how his day job was perhaps inevitable. As a schoolboy, he’d make the most of his Wednesday afternoons off (as is customary in France) by hopping on the Métro to the luxury flagship stores on the Right Bank, where he’d scour the racks. At the same time, on frequent family trips to Los Angeles, he became immersed in 1990s and 2000s hip-hop and glued to MTV Base and BET, decoding the music videos of Kelis and The Neptunes. Those formative years fostered an aesthetic sensibility that can be summed up rather neatly by his two go-to publications. “I subscribed to French Vogue and I was a huge fan of Vibe magazine,” he says. “Those two things were like my bibles.”

That transatlantic “high-low” fashion education – an exhaustive, self-acquired knowledge of French haute couture plus a finger firmly on the pulse of contemporary American culture – proved invaluable to Mr Marc Jacobs, for whom Sablon worked for six years while he ran both his own label and Louis Vuitton. “This is why Marc Jacobs and I had this huge connection,” says Sablon. “He could reference anything and I knew exactly where that image was coming from.” Starting out as an intern, Sablon quickly rose through the ranks to become Jacobs’ creative right hand, flitting between offices in New York and Paris and travelling around Europe to gather creative inspiration for the design studio.

“I was working with the best ateliers, the best fabrics, so I was like, maybe it could be fun to give that expertise to smaller brands,” says Sablon of his eventual decision to branch out. “The first person I worked with was Shayne [Oliver] from Hood by Air.” Not long afterwards, luxury brands and celebrities came knocking, requesting his skills as a stylist and consultant. In 2017, he was hired by French men’s magazine Lui, where he spent four years as fashion director before being snapped up in September this year by i-D.

No longer the wide-eyed adolescent window-shopping on Avenue Montaigne, Sablon is now a card-carrying member of the international fashion crowd and a recognisable figure at the shows, loved by street-style photographers for his singular look that reflects time spent between Paris, New York and LA. “I read everything at the same level,” he says of his confidence in juxtaposing ultra-luxe tailoring with limited-edition Palace and Supreme. “A white T-shirt, to me, has the same importance as a heavily embroidered coat.”

For this shoot with MR PORTER, Sablon (accompanied by his one-year-old puppy Ca$h) styled himself in the sort of garments that mirror his everyday staples: crisp, elegant shirts from famous Paris institution Charvet and cashmere knits from The Row sit comfortably alongside Balenciaga streetwear, Nike sneakers and vintage Levi’s from his enviable archive. As for his obvious penchant for hoodies – he chose seven – he says it’s a marker of grown-up practicality. “I’m 35 now and I get very cold if my neck isn’t covered. It’s as simple as that!”

“I love wearing shorts – in summer, obviously, but also in winter. I like my silhouette with shorts. It just fits me. It can be wide shorts like these Balenciaga ones, but then I also have jersey ones. I must have about 50 pairs. The way I like to style them is with a crisp, large shirt. It’s my way of mixing high and low. I feel like a shirt, historically, is a very respectable piece of clothing, but then I like to fuck it up with the shorts.”

“I wear a lot of black, but sometimes I want to wear something colourful and the way that I bring colour into my outfit is through flannel. I have a lot of flannel overshirts. With a plaid shirt, it makes me think of that grungey LA vibe, which is something I love for myself. Usually when I start putting on some pattern, I think it’s kind of nice to mix it with another pattern. This is probably why I liked the vintage printed T-shirt and then the mohair striped knit from Marni as well. It’s a more colourful, joyous mix.”

“I’m a huge fan of military and surplus clothing, and these Supreme trousers in collaboration with Junya Watanabe from my archive are perfectly patchworked. I just had to have them – I didn’t even think twice. It’s the type of piece that I know will be essential in my wardrobe for the long run. For graphic T-shirts, Aries is one of my go-tos. The shape is always just right. And I love puffer jackets, as I hate being cold in winter and it feels like it’s an extension of my blanket.”

“I love shirting a lot. Charvet is very chic. It’s a staple in Paris. I love suiting, too. Nowadays, I only really wear a suit to weddings or sometimes to a party, although at one point I was obsessed with wearing a suit on the daily, usually with a T-shirt. Wearing a suit has the same value to me as wearing a tracksuit. It has the same utility, but it’s more elegant. When I’m buying a suit, I look for this sort of sharpness, but also I never take them too tight. I like for the suit jacket and the trousers to be really comfortable.”

“From the back, this is what I usually look like. I have a few pairs of leather trousers, but I’m super into these CELINE HOMME ones. I love CELINE. Love, love, love. It’s funny because I’ve realised in my archive of clothes, I have stuff from Dior Homme by Hedi Slimane, and then from when he went to SAINT LAURENT and now he’s at CELINE. He has that language with clothes and he really does those archetypes – you have the flannel, you have the denim. I feel like everyone can find something for themselves and then mix it with their own style.”

“This is my go-to outfit. I usually wear all-black everything. With what I do, you have so much information – I get to see every piece of clothing, every collection from every designer – that leaving my house just wearing all black, it’s like a no-brainer. However, when I wear full black, I love mixing different shades and different fabrics, so there’s some vibrancy to it. So here, you have the wool coat, then you have the Bottega Veneta nylon overshirt and then the full cashmere set from The Row. I’m a huge fan of The Row, too. It’s made in Italy, it feels very luxurious and the fabrics look great. I think very few brands manage to get to that point of excellence.”

“Sometimes it’s nice to break up all black and so I wore my vintage Levi’s jacket over the nanamica hoodie. When I wear my Levi’s jacket, I always like to do up the top button, just for the shape, I guess. My friend Gauthier Borsarello is a vintage expert in Paris and I buy all my vintage from him. I’m obsessed with vintage, but this very particular colour of denim that I’m wearing in this picture, it’s kind of the only colour that I wear. Although I do also love the Japanese denim – that very dark, very crisp and hard style. I have a few pieces like that, too.”