Officine Générale Collection
Oftentimes, fashion becomes so elaborate that a lot of people, especially ones outside the industry, forget it’s real purpose. At the very core of it, fashion is about clothes upon which people use to look ready and refined, as well as express themselves through their personal style. Nowadays, it has become more of a fantasy – a world that reflects the deepest parts of a designer’s imagination. This is especially true in haute couture, and yet today, pieces from that category are barely even sold. Such frivolity is why a lot of upcoming designers and brands choose to go back to the very core of fashion when it comes to their business, very much like Officine Générale.
The brand offers classic pieces made with some of the finest materials known in the industry, imported from the likes of Italy, England, and Japan. Their clothes are effortless and chic, barely any print or embellishments to distract the eye from their sleek silhouettes. Simplicity is a key factor for the label, giving customers free reign to wear and style them however they choose to. Comfort is another selling point to keep their clients coming back for more. With such fine fabrics and textiles, the label’s clothing hugs the wearer in ways not a lot of other brands can do. Finally, with an affordable selling point, the company was able to grow in just a few years, becoming a key player in the luxury business.
The label was founded by Pierre Mahéo, a French fashion designer, who grew tired of not finding a brand that sold what he wanted. Prior to starting his own company, he worked as an apprentice for Parisian tailor Michael Barnes. From his time there, Mahéo was able to further perfect his craft of bespoke tailoring, as well as giving clients a better price-point than those of his competitors. After working with Barnes, he worked under a series of French and Italian fashion brands, learning more about how to navigate the industry as well as improving his skills in both the craft and the trade.
He eventually opened his first line of menswear in 2012, debuting with a simple presentation for the potential clients and the fashion press. Both audiences became instant fans of the high-quality clothing from the label, paired with the affordable price points of which they were offered. At that time, contemporary labels were just emerging, and the idea of selling well-made garments at a lower price range than those of the luxury labels was revolutionary, and a great stepping stone for up and coming brands. Soon, the company was one everyone’s lips and shopping lists, become one of the fastest-growing contemporary labels in recent years. In 2017, the brand debuted their womenswear line, which was also met with commercial and critical acclaim.
Style and Principles
The Officine Générale style is characterized by two things: classic and comfort. Mahéo usually takes inspiration from American sportswear, peppers it with the effortless chicness of the French, and cuts it with using traditional Italian techniques. The company’s clothes are mixtures of various disciplines learned from the world’s fashion capitals, where generations of artisans perfected the craft of making high-quality clothing. The label’s signatures have included wool coats, well-cut trousers, tailored trench coats, and comfy sweaters. His approach to design is very personal – making clothes that he himself would want to wear for menswear and that his wife will want to wear for womenswear.
Although he opts to remain on the classic side of things, he does, however, venture into more fashion-forward looks from time to time. His Spring 2018 collection, for example, featured a more relaxed look compared to his usual refined silhouettes. There were logo t-shirts, deconstructed white shirts, and a few frills for the women to create a bit more excitement. Such deviance from the brand’s design principles is rare, but undoubtedly helps give the company a new and fresh look from time to time. However, whether he goes for trendy or classic for any season, the quality does not change.
Although the company remains to be independent, it has expanded quite well throughout the years. From merely showing presentations, the label has become a key show during Pitti Uomo, Florence’s famous series of fashion shows for menswear. Items of the brand are also being sold at prominent retailers around the world, from New York’s Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman to the UK’s End Clothing. The label is also sold at MR. PORTER, one of the largest and most famous e-commerce sites for menswear. In 2017, the company opened their first store outside Paris, in London’s Beak street in the famous Soho area.
Fashion may have become extravagant over the years, but it’s still an industry built on selling clothes, of which Officine Générale has become successful at. Even when the label dips its toes into more fashion-forward areas from time to time, designer Pierre Mahéo sticks to his guns in creating wearable and chic pieces for the everyday consumer. Luxury isn’t about exclusivity, but quality and timelessness, both of which Officine Générale have mastered so brilliantly.