A tale of two cities: Études Studio fuses French artistry with Brooklyn's skate scene
Here are the ingredients for a very hip recipe: an exclusive track by British musician Kindness, skateboard legend Mark Gonzales in a spoken word piece, Place Daniel Buren in the Palais Royal in Paris as setting, and David Weiss’ 1975 book Up and Down Town as reference and inspiration.
For their eighth collection under the name Études Studio, founders Aurélien Arbet and Jeremie Egry visited the notion of the neo-flâneur, and what it means in a contemporary context. It was a tale of two cities, fuelled but the creative set-up of the brand, with one studio in Paris and a smaller satellite in Brooklyn.
From Paris they borrowed the life of the artists of the 1950s, people like Nicolas de Staël and Yves Klein, while New York’s contribution was more classic street culture: the skateboarders in the 1980s and 1990s, the people of Larry Clarke’s Kids. 'Maybe this is the first collection we do where the two cities really can meet,' Egry says.
The clothes followed the established tenets of Études Studio: a slightly oversize and graphic interpretation of contemporary menswear. Relaxed silhouettes, a mix of tailoring and casual pieces, a bold use of colour. And as usual there was a collaboration with an artist, this time the Swiss duo Linus Bill and Adrien Horni, their colour blocked, digital prints cut up and reapplied as patchwork on the clothes. 'We wanted to work with the notion of "atelier" and work with our hands, but there was also the idea of skateboarding: that you are going to scratch your pants. Or painting: you’re going to get dirty,' Arbet explains.
Études Studio is a collective, multi-disciplinary project – a place 'where art and fashion can meet' – art directing photo books, exhibitions and nurturing on-going collaborations with creative people all over the world. The brand, founded in 2012, evolved out of the pair's previous (and successful) brands Je Suis Une Bande de Jeunes and Hixsept, as they were looking for a way to be able to refresh and evolve their work. Hence 'Études', meaning study, a word that also denotes those short musical exercises that are used to improve the skill of the player of the instrument.
'Études Studio is about freedom and new things,' says Egry. 'To not be stuck in one thing. It’s been a motivation since the beginning.'