"This is not the house of normcore," Jean Touitou announced to the captive audience at his A.P.C. presentation. "I'm done with minimalism. And here's the hard-core styling to prove it to you."
Hard-core? Touitou is an orator, spinning words for effect. There was nothing in his selection of Spring looks to unsettle or provoke, but his words were something else. "I wanted to restyle the mid-eighties to mid-nineties, the Armani years which I hated so much." Touitou's antipathy to Armani was founded in his own love of English tailoring. "Armani was the inverse of that. But when I look at it now, I like the intention of the styling. And I can look on the Armani years with some kind of tenderness."
So, honoring Touitou's own intentions, we could then look at the clothes through his eyes, with his entertaining commentary to clarify. The looks he described as "the rich kid from Portofino or the Paninari pretty boy," for instance, with sweaters knotted round their necks. "I love it when young men eroticize themselves and are trapped by their own reflection," Touitou elaborated. "I now appreciate what I previously perceived as the arrogance of spoiled brats."
Same thing with the new A.P.C. denim. Invoking Charles Hix, eighties arbiter of male style and major Armani booster, on how to wear denim as a WASP. "WASP jean styling is not casual," Touitou claimed. "We want to free jeans from the normcore hipster generation." The denim looked smart but not particularly revolutionary.
Still, you could listen to Touitou all day. Zinger after zinger, combined with a ravening curiosity that couched the ordinary in unusual terms. Protégé Louis Wong closed the show with five bomber jackets that told, he said, "a story about escape." Nice enough, but more meaningful as a reflection of Touitou playing catch-up with techno music, club culture, gay culture. The music for his presentation was taken from a mix-tape made by a distant cousin, Guillaume Dustan, a gay writer and journalist who overdosed in 2005. His portrait hung on the studio wall. This was not the house of normcore.