text and photos by PLUME
Eclectic is more than just a pretty word. It is a mindset that defines the line of exquisitely tailored jackets launched by Franck Malègue less than a year ago. He uses unexpected materials to create a classic look. Technical fibres combined with a conventional method produce a fusion of the past and present. “350g cotton combined with a micro-perforated, waterproof, windproof, breathable membrane,” and “170g ultra, breathable thermo-regulating lining” are some of the jackets offered at eclectic, where the secret is in the lining.
Like any genuinely good idea, the concept is simple to start with. The idea is to “revamp the jacket, the flagship piece of menswear.” What results is a line of jackets for men that are impeccably cut, conceived by a tailor, made with materials that are at once classic and technical, using some fabrics that are mainly used in the case of extreme sports. It is a marriage between savoir-faire and innovative materials. And in order to produce this result, the dedication of Franck Malègue is a crucial ingredient.
Defining travel. After having worked in China, Hong Kong and New York, it was in Japan that Franck had his definitive experience. He discovered the amazing chemistry between tradition and innovation that was present on a daily basis and in all creative processes. “I was fascinated by this capacity to integrate opposites, such as with a tea ceremony served by robots. Before I made the connection between tradition and modernity, I discovered fusion in Japan.”
Smart fibers. And one thread lead to another (!), after working in Italy with an architect designer, he discovered technical materials called smart fibers. “I realized that the outdoor market had stimulated the development of these new fabrics such as Kevlar ®, Cordura ®, Gore-Tex ® fabrics, with great features: strong, durable, tear-proof, indestructible”. Franck wanted to mix these new fibres – used in architecture, design and extreme sports – with a traditional method. In his view, tradition is the tailored suit whose centrepiece, the jacket, inspired the collection consisting exclusively of jackets, gilets, coats and puffer jackets. “Fashion has always steered technical clothing for sport in a stylistic direction. I wanted to rethink the same kind of engineering for the jacket.”
Authenticity. After meeting an Italian tailor willing to adapt traditional technique to these new materials. After breaking many needles on resistant fabrics refusing to take the right shape. After finally reinventing the traditional method and 18 months of development, Eclectic was born and Franck hung his jackets in the Haut Marais, in Paris. “We have developed an inimitable savoir-faire using an industrial process. It’s a way to liven up this craft industry.” And it is also a great achievement for Franck, who loves the meaning of the word ‘authenticity’.
Eclectic – 8, rue Charlot – 75003 Paris.