Parisian label Sandro has been flying the flag for modern, refined menswear since its arrival in the Marais in 2008. A Family affair, the men’s and women’s collections are headed up by mother and son team, Evelyne and Ilan Chétrite. Now a standard on the French scene, Sandro has gradually extended its reach worldwide. Stopping off for a tour around the London store, Ilan took time to answer a few questions on the brand and offer his take on the current menswear scene.
SL-Apart from the family link, when and how did your involvement with Sandro begin?
IC-My involvement with Sandro began when the Women’s range started to have a great success. I immediately told myself this brand should not only talk to women but to people. Then I have started to imagine in which way our vision could be understood. This gave birth to Sandro Homme.
SL-How would you describe the Sandro Homme customer?
IC-The Sandro Homme customer is like the alter ego of the Sandro women’s customers. They are both looking for nice pieces. Then the Sandro Homme customer doesn’t like to be dictated to, he is free to have his own style and to create it within our collections. Also the brand now has a strong DNA and has its own style. Sandro menswear aims to create a lifestyle that represents the mixing of styles, non-conformism and a kind of elegant rebel attitude.
SL-Can we expect to see a runway presentation during menswear collections in the near future?
IC-Not for the moment but I do think of it.
SL-Is there a particular piece in the Spring/Summer 2013 collection you’re looking forward to revealing?
IC-It’s not a piece but more a symbol of the SS13 collection – the Skateboard!
SL-In terms of style, how would you describe the Parisian man versus the Londoner?
IC-Actually before my last visit in London two weeks ago, I haven’t noticed that the difference between the Parisian and the Londoner’s style was so big. I guess that the Parisians has this “chic nonchalance” that is kind of natural for them. I mean it doesn’t feel like too much of an effort. On the other side, the fashion history of English men is very rich. They’re told to be more elegant but they have to follow strict codes for that. That’s why sometimes they are tempted to break these rules in an outrageous way. This is also a reason for their eccentric style sometimes.
SL-Why do you think people have such a fascination with menswear lately?
IC-Times have changed! They now have the right to take care of their style. They are now uninhibited. Actually this is a new phenomenon and the rules have changed: the masculinity is trendy in the Women’s fashion and on the contrary you can now find a bit of femininity in the men’s collections.
SL-Even though Sandro and Sandro Homme are technically two different entities, is there one that influences the other?
IC-We naturally have the same influences. We do exchange ideas on trend and modernity for our silhouettes. We nourish ourselves with each other’s ideas. That might be because Evelyne, the creative director of Sandro, is my mother …
SL-Do you think there is an art to dressing?
IC-For me the art of dressing doesn’t make sense because the more you think of your style, the less you will have one.
SL-French labels seem to be really pushing through in London, why do you think that is?
IC-I think because the Londoners are now looking for some changes in their wardrobe : pieces that are easy and practical as well as casual chic. The classically elegant Parisian aesthetic, mixed with a more rebellious rock attitude, perfectly straddles the idea of aspirational fashion and wearable clothes that men actually want to buy. This might explain the success of French brands abroad.