Tim Coppens' High-Concept Excellence.

Martin Marks

When it comes to menswear, I usually tend to pass hasty judgment on anything that might be considered high concept, and am generally wary of collections that include either voluminous pants or tunic shirts. And yet, it was the work of high concept Belgian designer Tim Coppens, whose collection included both of the aforementioned garments, that I found to be the most compelling at yesterday's shows. In fact, even though the week is still young, I'm ready to call his collection a favorite.

 A graduate of the Fashion Academy at Antwerp, Coppens has a technical background in high performance gear, having designed for both Adidas and Ralph Lauren's RLX. Though technical excellence might be a pitfall for a lesser designer, Coppens' work came together in its masterful use of proportion, color, and symmetry. Take, for instance, the hybrid nylon-cotton knit-leather track jacket, with bands of khaki and tan and grey and white. The description alone might seem to be a study in sartorial busyness, but, thanks to Coppens' masterful design, the garment itself proved to be refined, and excellent.

His spring 2012 collection was inspired by the French film Un Prophète, and featured elements of the desert, in its historical and modern context. There were multiple takes on desert field coats, with nods to the working class banlieue aesthetic in the sweatshirts and jogging pants, while Persian Farahan rugs were the inspiration for the arabesques on the cotton print turtlenecks.

This is a designer to be watched.

PAPERMAG's Complete Spring 2012 Fashion Coverage

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