How a lost suitcase helped launch A.P.C.
Jean Touitou’s new capsule collection recalls the label’s beginnings, with a return to its seminal HIVER 87 line
What do you remember of the winter of 1987? The stock market crash? Belinda Carlisle’s single, Heaven Is a Place on Earth? Georg Baselitz at the Mary Boone Gallery? NY Art Now at the Saatchi Gallery? Or – if you’re young enough – perhaps you remember nothing at all?
For the designer and founder of the French minimalist clothing label A.P.C., Jean Touitou, the winter of 1987 was a frustratingly difficult time to buy good clothes.
“In the late 80s, because I could not find decent clothes for myself, and since I had some experience from my jobs at KENZO, at Agnès b. and at Joseph, I decided to launch A.P.C. in 1987,” explains Touitou in our new A.P.C. book, Transmission.
Touitou began the label as a professional concern, yet much of his drive to make simple, well-cut clothing came from a personal impulse. “I realised how hard it was to get dressed in those days when I lost my suitcase during a trip to Barcelona,” he writes. “It was such a drama for me to get a normal pair of jeans and a nicely proportioned sweater that I decided I had to do it myself.”
Though Touitou was a well-respected figure within fashion circles, he resisted the urge to put his own name to his new clothes. “At first, my collections were not branded, I just named them according to their season,” he writes. “So at the beginning there was no A.P.C. label, just a label saying ‘HIVER 87’. At the time, I would have considered it too vulgar to have made a brand name.”
Thirty years on, Touitou has returned to the winter of ’87, those early pieces and that initial label. To mark A.P.C’s thirtieth anniversary, the firm has created HIVER 87, a capsule collection that incorporates “a special edit of re-issued archive pieces from different times as well as newly designed items that incorporate archive logos and imagery,” explains A.P.C.
Much has changed in the intervening decades, yet many of us still share Touitou’s dilemma when it comes to buying a decent pair of trousers. Thank goodness, three decades on, A.P.C. is still making that task a little simpler.
For more on that early collection, as well as lots more from the archive, order our A.P.C. book Transmission, here.