Pitti Uomo Report: Olivier Borde’s Hand Me Downs



When ever anyone asks me what’s new in French menswear these days I always say Olivier Borde, although his collection is still so under the radar you’d be hard pressed to know the name if your vantage point is the average big label mens’ department in Manhattan. Borde made his first appearance this season at Pitti Uomo, a few days before the major men’s shows in Milan that mark the debut of the fall 2010 Fashion season.

Sourcing vintage fabrics and buttons from the flea market for a mix of relaxed tailoring and sportswear was Borde’s starting point when he jumped into menswear at home (Montpelier, France) in 2008 after leaving Charles Anastase, the successful women’s brand he co-founded. For this spring’s “Brutality in Pale Colors,” Borde works a dishevelled sportswear mix inspired by the documentary photography of Pieter Hugo in The Hyena & Other Men (Prestel, 2007). That book features, among other indelible images, a group of itinerant minstrels who travel Nigeria with three tamed hyenas to entertain crowds and sell traditional medicine. In his collection for next Fall (shown here), Borde begins to shape a real brand, but the hand-me-down sensibility remains.  Japanese stores, always the first to try new things, picked up on Borde’s Fall combination of rude boys and sharp English classics  in wools and fleece, corduroy and denim. As Borde puts it: “imagine a scaly boy returning to the highlands of his youth and the home of his refined grandfather—a man that would easily be at home in an August Sander photograph.  There he mixes his sportswear with his grandfather’s Savile Row wardrobe.”