Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

As I wrote a few weeks ago, women really love menswear right now. Specifically, menswear which feels simple, long-lasting and beauifully made. In fact, when one girl I met the other day was asked "What would you buy if you had £1,000 to spend on whatever you want", she replied, unhesitant, "A load of Cos menswear". While the idea of a crisp white shirt, perfectly pleated trousers and a pleasingly heavy overcoat is appealing, the reality is that men do not have breasts and bottoms and they mostly prefer their clothes to be quite loose fitting. What we want is that crisp shirt, but with appropriate darts so we're not drowning/ busting out in it. If you totally relate to that kind of boy/girl fashion balance, then you need to know about these three menswear labels now doing womenswear which exhibited at Paris and London fashion weeks.


1205 AW13 (via vogue.co.uk)
"It's called 1205 because I like the purity of four numbers" Paula Gerbase told me when I met her at her NEWGEN debut at LFW back in February. That introduction sets the scene nicely for Paula's collection of precise and simple blazers, sweaters, shirts and trousers. There are details though, like shots of red on right-hand cuffs, which trip up any kind of straightforward minimalism. Paula has great credentials having worked at Savile Row tailors Kilgour and Hardy Amies for several years before going it alone to set up 1205.

Annemarie Schwarzenbach, the writer who inspired 1205 AW13 (twirlmart.tumblr.com)
 For her first womenswear collection, Paula read the collected articles of Swiss journalist Annemarie Schwarzenbach and then went on to create a wardrobe which would feasibly have been quite perfect as Annemarie travelled the world in the 30s reporting on wars and financial crises. It was also characters in the book,entitled De Monde en Monde but sadly not translated into English yet, whose lives play out in Paula's clothes, like the denim overalls of American factory workers which she has reimagined in cashmere. A quick glance at images of Schwarzenbach shows that she is probably exactly the kind of woman who would have loved to be able to buy from a label like 1205. "My philosophy is to make things people will buy and keep and add to, so nothing will ever jar" Gerbase explains, which pins down the way we want to dress now quite perfectly. 

Buy 1205 menswear at Harvey Nichols. Women's coming soon. 

A flash of red among the grey and navy at 1205 AW13

A 1205 blazer


Antonio Azzuolo SS13

Antonio Azzuolo SS13
Antonio Azzuolo likes to describe what he does as "non-gender" though in a way what he really does is make clothes for boys which girls also want. Antonio has an impressive menswear background, with stints at Hermes and Kenzo among his achievements. "My Dad was a tailor so really I've been learning forever" he says of his ingrained interest in creating clothes. In 2008, Antonio began to offer a custom-made service which has opened up his half-slick, half-street aesthetic to women. He was nominated for a CFDA award for his menswear last year but has now started to mix up his shows hiring both male and female models. Sadly, womenswear is still only available on a custom-made basis, contact sales@antonioazzuolo.com. Browse the menswear at The Corner, the bib shirt is pretty fabulous. 

Antonio Azzuolo AW13 at Paris Fashion Week


E Tautz shirt dress, £280, at Matches 
You'll probably know E. Tautz. Either because you've seen their modern take on Savile Row dressing or because you've watched their head designer, Patrick Grant, be a harsh but fair judge on The Great British Sewing Bee. As a girl, an E.Tautz show is always a little bit annoying, on a very personal and selfish level, because you really just want to see a women's version of the eye-popping colour combinations and twisted traditional looks for yourself. Thankfully, it seems that lots of people must have told them this, most likely including Patrick's girlfriend, the accessories designer Katie Hillier. The first range of E.Tautz women's shirts is in Matches now and there's more to come for Autumn, including shirts with fabulous paisley cuffs which mirror the main print in the menswear collection. If they don't convert you to androgynous fashion, who knows what will?

E. Tautz AW13 shirts

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