As everyone knows, A.P.C. is the place to go for sharp, seasonless basics with a touch of French Je ne sais quoi. Now the label is offering a little more luxe with its new Louis W. line. Fresh for fall, the capsule collection consists of three timeless leather jackets—motorcycle, aviator, police—tricked out in a soft deerskin usually reserved for gloves and infused with old-school French crime-thriller cred.
Hint talked to designer Louis Wong—a seven-year veteran of the brand who cut his teeth at Louis Vuitton—about his modern tweak on a French classic...
Tell us how the Louis W. line got started.
Basically, [A.P.C. founder] Jean Touitou offered me a chance to do a small capsule collection. The idea was to do something different from A.P.C., something a bit more luxury and with a specific concept, which refers to ‘70s French movies. It's really about bad boys, with the cop and the bad guy both wearing a leather jacket. All the detailing, all the references are related to movies. Like this type of quilt lining, the color of quilt, even the zipper—it’s all really specific to proper leather gear.
Any French films or actors in particular?
Like Gérard Depardieu in the ‘70s. He used to do a lot of movies where it’s all about Paris, actually a Paris that’s grittier and more dangerous than now. Usually it’s really beautiful, and all these young French actors were starting out and they all look really rough. That’s the look I bring to the collection. The next collection will be more related to American movies and the leatherwear in them.
Where did the idea come from?
I think I got the idea because in my neighborhood in Paris, the Marais, there are these young kids who dress like their dads. They wear, like, tight jeans but with a big leather jacket, like a really retro leather jacket. They are really young, and it’s a really funny look, you know?
This collection is under your name, but it’s part of A.P.C. What does it take from A.P.C.?
I developed a concept that’s more related to a specific man, whereas A.P.C. is more this abstract concept of clothing that can fit many people. That’s why I do the pictures. I work on specific images separately from A.P.C.
Yes, the fashion film looks great...
The movie was to push the idea of French cinema, so we worked with my friends on a concept about typical French movies. I find that brands that do short movies, sometimes it’s just visual. I think it’s really interesting to say something too. Not in a pretentious way, but I just think it’s good to have a proper story to tell, not just visual effects. That was the idea anyway. It’s about two guys of different ages wearing the same jacket. It’s a bit ambiguous.
Where do you want to take Louis W.?
It really depends on how people respond to it. So far it’s been really good, considering that they're expensive pieces. I want to keep it really tight. I just finished the third collection [fall 2013], which is only seven pieces.
Do you have specific influences in mind for future collections?
It’s always a bit thematic, but it’s mostly the story of leatherwear. Maybe it will change at some point, if I get bored, but it’s only the third collection. Already the second one is more about clichés than this one. Everybody does leather, but it’s always inside a fashion show and it’s just a piece or two. I think it deserves a proper story. Also, I think it’s really hard to find a good leather jacket. I mean, except if you go to Hermès. [Laughs]
Or now at A.P.C.
Visit Louis W. on A.P.C.