23 May 2011
To some, serendipity means a lot. We’re guessing that it bears a lot of weight at the house of Duchamp. Celebrating its 22nd birthday this year, the brand began its days in France, and took shape very much by chance, when the founder Mitchell Jacobs stumbled upon a cache of 10,000 vintage cufflinks in a Paris flea market in 1987. Developing a love for cufflinks and utilising his discovery to the full, Mitchell went about launching a men’s accessory label two years later.
Fast forward to the present day, the label has become an all-encompassing affair, and has just launched a range of ready to wear suits for men. Designed in keeping with the company signature, which centres on an inhibited use of colour, the suits are anything but bland and even monochrome pieces have been infused with a shot of colour, often in shades of purple. The general expression of Duchamp might be a bit too vivid for some, but the label certainly has a distinctive direction. “The DNA of the brand is colour. Menswear can be so boring, but we’re having fun with beautiful shirts and ties. It’s what our customers want from us,” says Marc Psarolis, CEO of Duchamp.
Colour may be a current men’s wear trend, but rainbow hues haven’t always been the order of the day. Filling a gap in the market with its vibrant wares, Duchamp’s early collections were bought by key retailers such as Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, and the label has ramped up its stockist list further by nestling its way into international stores including Barneys and Bloomingdales in the US; Holt Renfrew in Canada; and Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. In terms of standalone stores, Duchamp’s first shop opened in 1998, followed by further stores on London’s Regent Street and Jermyn Street.
Despite its French name, that does indeed pay homage to the French surrealist Marcel Duchamp, the label is very much a British business. To prove it, the same Birmingham based craftsman that produced the label’s first batch of cufflinks still works for the company, over two decades on.