Suit Alors!

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Suit Alors!

Words by Mr Chris Elvidge

25 May 2016

Five men defining Parisian style right now, as nominated by our on-the-ground associates in the French capital .

As Mr Hugo Jacomet argues in the introduction to his fantastic book, The Parisian Gentleman, Paris has long benefitted from being “sandwiched between two heavyweights of men’s style – England to the north and Italy to the south”. This is plain from the fact that some of its most illustrious tailoring houses bear names such as Cifonelli, Camps de Luca and Smalto, while its finest bespoke shoemaker goes by the rather un-French name of John Lobb.

But while traditional Parisian menswear can at least partly be described as a blend of English and Italian influences, Parisian style remains unique, and as elusive as a puff of cigarette smoke in the wind. Not even the French can shed much light on the matter: ask them what makes a well-dressed man and they’re likely to offer nothing more than a nonchalant Gallic shrug. Rather than try to describe it in words, then, we thought we’d just introduce you to a few men who have it. Whatever “it” is.

A true c_itoyen du monde_ (citizen of the world), Mr Cassel splits his time between his native Paris and his adopted home of Rio de Janeiro, where he moved with his now ex-wife, the extravagantly beautiful Ms Monica Bellucci. While in Rio, he practises the Brazilian martial art of capoeira, converses in fluent Portuguese and – apparently – can be spotted twirling his hips with the locals at the favela samba clubs, lending weight to Black Swan director Mr Darren Aronofsky’s claim that “he has a dancer’s soul”. The dancing seems to be paying off: he turns 50 in November and has never looked better, if his limelight-stealing appearance at this year’s Cannes Film Festival is anything to go by.

Bof” – a French term used to express complete indifference – could have been coined for Mr Mike Lévy, a man as famous for his ennui-laden attitude and monosyllabic interview technique as he is for the dark, paranoia-inducing techno that he creates under his DJ moniker, Gesaffelstein. You’ll have heard his work on Mr Kanye West’s 2013 album, Yeezus, for which he produced two tracks, including the feral lead single, “Black Skinhead”. In public, you’re likely to see him dressed in his standard uniform of a black suit or overcoat, white dress shirt and tinted glasses, slowly working his way through a pack of Marlboros. A mystery wrapped up in an enigma obscured by a cloud of tobacco smoke, Mr Lévy is a walking metaphor for Parisian style. Oh, and he’s got great hair.

With major campaigns for Balmain, Gucci and Jil Sander under his belt, Mr Clément Chabernaud is one of the biggest names in fashion. And yet he seems to float above it all, seeming neither indifferent nor preoccupied. In a 2014 interview with the London Evening Standard, he named as one of his style icons his then-86-year-old grandmother, Bernadette. “She takes care of her way of dressing,” he explained, implying that style, to him, is just a matter of doing your own thing and not worrying too much about what other people think. We couldn’t agree more. He’s pictured here heading off to the shops, or to a fashion show. It’s never entirely clear which with Mr Chabernaud.

Say a big friendly bonjour to Mr Alexandre Mattiussi, the founder and creative director of Ami, AKA the unofficial wardrobe provider for the MR PORTER office. Honestly: it seems like you can’t walk to the kitchen and back these days without bumping into a colleague sporting one of the brand’s logo sweatshirts, suede bomber jackets or lemon-print tees. The Normandy-born, Paris-based Mr Mattiussi is the absolute embodiment of his brand: easy-going, friendly – as the name would suggest – and stylish without ever giving the impression of trying too hard. With a new store in London in addition to the three already open in Paris, this particular brand of Gallic chic now has a new international audience.

As editor-in-chief of Vogue Hommes and deputy editor of French Vogue, Mr Olivier Lalanne holds a strong claim to the title of the most influential editor in men’s fashion. And yet, in an industry that plays itself out in the public eye and whose senior figures regularly attain celebrity status, precious little is actually known about him. He described himself to 10 magazine as a “daring, obsessive, workaholic, good Swiss kisser and a bad cook”. As you can see, Mr Lalanne is a something of an anomaly: he doesn’t even have an Instagram profile. You can’t get chicer than that.

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