At this point, does Jean Touitou really need an introduction? Since founding A.P.C. in 1987, he has not only cultivated a devout following of customers, but a well-defined and polarizing worldview that is as much a part of his brand as his trademark minimal designs. On some level, he is his own brand's best marketing tool. His nonchalant, yet vocal proclamations of atheism and disdain of modern day street style combined with his uncanny ability to craft a truly amazing quote (see: "Kanye's kingdom of dopeness") all make the product he sells seem that much more authentic. In fact, that stuff justifies the $250 price tag for a basic cotton sweater better than any explanation of fabrics and manufacturing ever could. As customers, we know that when we buy A.P.C. we are buying a product that stands for something, whether we agree with it or not, in a world where so few labels stand for anything.
Tomorrow, A.P.C. will open a store on 49 Bond Street, its third NYC location. We talked to Jean about the new outpost as well as his thoughts on the Yeezus Tour, art and the worst trends in fashion today. As expected, his answers do not disappoint.
This is the third A.P.C. location in NYC. What did you find special about Bond Street? How is it a good fit for A.P.C.? Do you have a personal favorite A.P.C. store?
I don't have a personal favorite. I love the store that doesn't exist yet, like the new one to come in L.A. Seriously, I love suspense and the moment when it happens then I set energy on another project (which isn't a store necessarily).
How does the patented A.P.C. minimalist concept translate to the Bond Street store?
You'll see for yourself when it opens, I'm sorry I can't put words on it.
As someone who is anti-religion, what do you think of the practically religious experience that is the holiday shopping season?
Man, it just makes me sick. I'm not anti-religion. It just happens that my religion is beauty and the French language.
How do you remove excess from your designs? In other words, how do streamline your products and effectively get rid of the details?
I manage not to have them in the first place. I don't get rid of them, since they ain't here to start with.
What did you think about the Yeezus Tour? Worthy of "The Kingdom of Dopeness"?
I went to the first one in Seattle. I could tell a great show could come out of it. At that point, it needed some editing. It's the case with any creative process. I just love the fact that Vanessa Beecroft is so much part of it.
Is it still true that you only hire creative people at A.P.C., not people with business degrees? What do you not like about the business world?
I have people with business degrees. I just make sure they have another life in them.
What do you not like about the art world? Any thoughts on the love affair between Fashion and Art, particularly the explosion that's been Art Basel?
Well, you know, you got the answer. It's so trivial to write: Art has become a commodity for ignorant investors, and that sucks. To start with, people should know that there's a city called Basel. Then maybe people should be told the difference between pop culture and culture
The worst fashion trends today are...
-I can't see one more rolled up pant.
-Gays using the worst of the very boring straight looks. Like Pierre Bergé dressed up. His various shades of greens in the fall, I can't handle it.
-Straight men looking like gays 6 years ago. I mean, such a turn off.
-I can't stand anymore status bags, even a wonderfull Celine bag. Social signifiers are just impossible. Too sad for Celine's bag designer. They are the new Hermes for real. You won't see any elegant woman with a status bag anymore. Big big fashion NO NO.
I don't mind a sincere bad taste. As long as people are decent humans. I totally respect them. In that sense, never anymore would I "judge a book by its cover". But a poser is poser; the looks I just describe are just poses.
I will stop here for now...
You've said that people don't read enough. Is there anything you've read recently that you would recommend?
Yep! Proust by Samuel Beckett. Short and so powerful.
What's your handicap? Where's the most incredible place to golf in the world? Pebble Beach? St. Andrews? Your local club?
I don't do official competitions because it takes way too much time, and I'm too emotional. I just can tell you that on a good day, I can take guys who say they are 12. But it doesn't matter. With a good swing, one could go single figure. Main thing is that sexy swing, and good styling out there. My favorite place remains the Carthage golf course, near Tunis [Tunisia]. I sort of get high when it's so warm and dry.