French designer Romain Kremer has an approach to menswear that follows as path all of its own. In Kremer’s vision for men’s fashion, the traditional indicators of sartorial elegance are no reason to deny the rich sources of inspiration that can be found in street sportswear subcultures or the legacy of bright technopunk kids. This, in itself, is daring. To gain recognition within the mainstream of the high-end fashion industry, one either has to be brave or horribly naïve to ignore the unspoken hierarchies of taste. In Romain Kremer’s case, there is scant evidence of naiveté.
Kremer’s unique vision was given a sudden boost when he was given a special award for creativity in 2005 at the prestigious Festival International de Mode et de Photographie à Hyères and, quite expectedly, the fashion world sat up and paid special attention. Since then, he has evolved his personal design signature in collections and, apart from infrequent forays into designing womenswear, has specialised in a particular approach to making clothes for men. In more recent years, his own collections have been complemented by special collaborations with brands such as Camper and Mykita.
Kremer’s approach is one in which precise cutting and tailoring skills are brought into play to create a Brave New World for male fashion. Tight, clinging or draped fabrics in unexpected palettes accentuate the male body and create looks that simultaneously evoke traditional male dress combined with jarring references to sportswear, underwear or cyberpunk futurism. Men’s basic casuals – such as the tracksuit with its complex connotations for arbiters of style- are a frequent point of reference. Kremer reasserts their practicality and comfort whilst insisting that they are reconsidered without the ready-to-wear opinions that we have been taught to attach to such garments by popular fashion wisdom.
In the current collection, for example, we see him reworking tracksuit-like garments in unexpected colours with cut out sections exposing flesh. The bold target shapes and colour combinations simultaneously evoke 1960’s Mods and Courrèges style visions of the future. Games with juxtaposing daring exposure of parts of the male body with the complete covering up of other parts usually left naked to the elements have often been a feature of Romain Kremer’s work and these remain evident in the current collection too. This time they take on an air of the Invisible Man, strange scientific experiments or kinky surgeons through the colour choices. But, whilst such daring gestures might be the thing that usually raises an eyebrow or gets camera attention, the collection also includes cleverly draped pieces that mix tight-fitting sportswear elements with almost preppy cuts that are both directional and practical.