Rob Garçia began the presentation of his inaugural collection with a quick speech. He talked about "breaking things back down to the foundation" and delving into the key ingredients of a man's wardrobe, infusing them with the quality fabrics and materials he was known for previously at En Noir, but now executing at a different level.
This self-titled collection drew inspiration from the mix of motocross and military, a point driven home by the two murdered-out Harley-Davidson motorcycles on the stage. It was an opportunity for Garçia to transcend the leather jogging pants and exotic fabric tank tops that pushed En Noir to the forefront, and garnered him a nod as one of GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America.
Ditching Los Angeles for Paris, where his new collection is manufactured, Garçia's Fall/Winter 2015 offerings mixed shimmery pants and jackets with extravagant furs and dark leopard-print motorcycle jackets. It still embodies the gothic luxury that propelled Garçia to the spotlight, but it feels more like himself, rather than a man looming in the shadow of a brand that became an overnight behemoth.
That isn't to say En Noir is over and done with. Jason Wolter, its creative director, was there to lend support to Garçia's debut collection. Wolter says the brand is in the midst of restructuring, admitting that En Noir's rapid rise meant growing at a pace they couldn't quite keep up with. And yet, there are talks of an upcoming denim line and smaller, more controlled releases.
As for Garçia, the new collection marks a new direction for him as a designer. It was presented in an intimate setting, with only select friends, buyers, and editors in attendance. We slipped backstage after viewing the collection and talked about his new line, working in Paris, and what else is next for him.
How does it feel post-En Noir? Do you feel more like yourself without the constraints of another label?
Yeah, I think that was the biggest part of my progression. En Noir was a certain time, and as I matured as a designer—and as a person—I wanted to get back to my personal aesthetic and my personal taste. I needed to hone in on the right resources to really put that together, to really curate what I really wanted. That’s what I wanted to do with this line. It bears my name, but it bears my aesthetic—everything I wanted to put into pieces that maybe I saw voids in. I’m a fan of fashion so I buy a lot. And I always see voids, so it’s like: “Oh I would have done that, I would have done that.” So this line depicts those voids that I wanted to see filled.
There’s definitely a lot of glam in the collection, especially in the metallic materials and razor-sharp suiting. Where do you think tailoring can live in today's menswear climate where dudes prefer bomber jackets and sneakers?
That’s the biggest part of the line, and I think that’s a key ingredient of the line is me going to Paris and learning another level of pattern work where we’re implementing fine tailoring and refining classic pieces like the Perfecto, MA-1 type bombers, things that you would think usually have a boxy structure. It gives it somewhat of a refined attitude, but you still have that edginess from it just being that classic piece. So it’s really those two worlds coming together: refined, razor-sharp tailoring with that edge you get with the materials and the attitude.
How does it feel to be making stuff in Paris versus in America?
I am really proud to be an American designer. What I’ve been able to execute over there in Paris has forced me to rise to the occasion and really progress my skills, learn, and listen. It’s been a cool process, and I’m really thankful to be able to execute everything that I wanted to. Usually as a designer or creative, you have an idea or a concept and sometimes due to resources or to whatever, you’re only able to execute 80 or 90 percent of it, but when you can hit all cylinders and do 100 percent, it’s an amazing feeling.
See the full Rob Garçia Fall/Winter 2015 collection below.