Insouciant, though more precisely the air of it, is often the best description of the way the French dress, as though they just roll out of bed, throw on a scarf before declaring in front of a mirror “Ça marche.” Seeing what Daniel Hechter Paris had in store for its continued resurgence in the US market seems to support this notion. Its Spring Summer 2018 Collection, from creative director Christophe Blondin-Péchabrier, offers sophisticated options that can only be attributed to the French and the sort of carefree pieces that may exactly appeal to the millennial generation.
Witness the ubiquitous Spring bomber jackets paired with shorts or joggers. Now switch that around with one of the windbreakers or lightweight jackets and it would still look parfait without even trying. Mais bien sur, easy doesn’t mean boring as these pieces possess subtle yet nonetheless clever details: outerwear with removable lining, touches of seersucker, perforations on suede, and hidden bold color patterns in the backs of collars. Then, there are these sweet bursts of cherry red, blue, and hunter green that spark against the neutral base.
Daniel Hechter, who stepped down from the brand twenty years ago, began his career in sales before designing independently. A seminal moment arrived in 1957 when Brigitte Bardot wore one of his frocks in the Michel Boisrond comedy “Une Parisienne”. Together with Armand Orustein, M. Hechter founded his women’s wear label in 1962, elegantly sporty and accessibly priced separates for the rising segment of liberated women. With uncanny foresight, he was among the first designers to focus on ready-to-wear and market his name as a lifestyle, gradually introducing children’s, men’s, sportswear, home, fragrance, and merchandise licensing divisions.
Through the years, the brand has never been associated with extravagant gestures, relying instead on timeless designs with sufficient consideration to modernity. Nevertheless, M. Hechter was equally invested in bringing onboard emerging talents who could inject fresh ideas to the brand and inspire him to stay apace of the current needs of his customers. When Miltenberger Otto Aulbach GmbH acquired the brand, management was relocated to Germany, while the creative studio remained in Paris. Under M. Blondin-Péchabrier, the brand is once more dedicating itself to capturing the ethos of a new generation.
Images courtesy of Daniel Hechter by Leandro Justen