Are Mom Jeans on Their Way Out? If This Balmain Vet Has His Way

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Photo: Courtesy of Faith Connexion

5 September 2015

Tags:fashion, fashion style, women clothing, fashion for men


It’s hard not to see the mom jean—the jolie laide jean, if you will—as a backlash to the long and mighty reign of the low-rise super skinny. But when will the painted-on, rock ’n’ roll pant make its return? If Thomas Monet has his druthers, it’s already on the way back in. Monet cut his teeth as a key player behind the scenes at Balmain during the Christophe Decarnin era (and a brief stint under Olivier Rousteing), where he worked on the washes that made items like the painted-on moto jean one of the It pieces of the era. Fans of the house at that time will no doubt recall those pale denim military getups and buttery leather trousers, slung dangerously low on the hip bones of Decarnin’s glam-rock Valkyries.

For more than a year now, Monet has been ensconced at Faith Connexion, where he and much of Decarnin’s Balmain team make up a creative tribe working in the same maximalist vocabulary that the designer honed at the famous house. Still focusing on washes and still, as word of mouth tells it, working closely with Christophe himself, Monet serves as a steward of the moto pant’s past. Even as the pendulum has swung in a more understated direction (call it the Fashion Nun effect), his love of maximalist, thrashed, rock ’n’ roll denim has never waned. Monet is an avowed fan of the fabric’s workwear origins—“not too clean!”—and seems disappointed by the current popularity of unsullied indigo. Still, he points to Hedi Slimane’s revival of more hedonistic styles as evidence that a sea change may soon come. At Faith Connexion, Monet and co. are hard at work, focusing their efforts on lived-in-feeling pieces.

Monet tells Vogue.com: “We love the denim that we’ve worn for ten years. This is the denim spirit.” Over the course of our conversation, Monet name-checks Slashbut seems more interested in ideas of the counterculture than specific figures—the Summer of Love, the birth of punk. The resulting styles are time-consuming, customized denim with a certain couture spirit. (“Italian fabrics are good, but Japanese are better,” he says.) Pieces are stonewashed and painstakingly hand-distressed by artisans using sandpaper and the like. Other one-of-a-kind pairs are customized by graffiti stars of the extended FC coterie. The results are the kind of creations that fairly beg for space in the wardrobes of eclectic stars like Rihanna. Despite the label’s Parisian soul, you’d be hard-pressed to imagine them on quintessentially gamine types—say, Audrey Tautou. Monet is frank when it comes to his feelings on the way French girls, so typically infallible, do denim: “I can’t defend the French look for denim. For me, we don’t have the denim spirit.” The designer is less candid when it comes to the city’s best spots for sourcing deliciously thrashed vintage pairs: “C’est un secret!”

Tags:fashion, fashion style, women clothing, fashion for men

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