Frank Miller's Sin City is a place where beauty and horror are two sides of the same coin. It's where human depravity is as common as cars on the street, but the motivations of the characters are uniquely human. With so many different plots happening at once, Sin City becomes a way to translate many ideas into one cohesive piece. Louis-Gabriel Nouchi, a French menswear designer was inspired by Miller's masterpiece for his newest collection, which follows a similar theme of multiple worlds.
"I try to design clothes that can be translated in different universes, [but] have their own personality at the same time," Nouchi told PAPER. He studied fashion design under Raf Simons and at French Vogue during Carine Roitfeld's tenure, giving him a love of practicality and form — but through his own grunge influence. "I love when people can adapt [and] transform a jacket into several things. This modular way of thinking is key in the brand."
Looking at the lookbook images, it's easy to see how he designs for worlds both bizarre and real. A jacket with a a wide lapel recalls historical men's tailoring, but detachable sleeves can turn into a grungy waistcoat, or launch in firmly into avant-garde with one sleeve removed (beautifully modeled by disabled model Luc Bruyere) — all while showing off a bit of naughty underarm. Even the timeless white t-shirt can be cinched up like a straightjacket, a cheeky statement on the more serious consequences of toxic masculinity. It's as though Peter Murphy was cast in an 80s slasher flick, and we can dream.
But amidst Nouchi's horror fantasy, there is very real knitwear. A preppy sweater silhouette is subject to the jacket's deconstruction, its sleeves becoming scarves. Nouchi is keen to expand his business with knits and jersey garments, explaining that he's "working hard with [the] factories to develop new things, [like] fabrics and yarns." He understands that scaling his two-person business is a slow, deliberate process. "It takes time to develop those things, and I want to do it step by step," he says.
Still, the lookbook is just a one way to translate his work. Nouchi is foremost focused on seeing real people wear his clothing. He may designs traditional menswear, but is not limited by notions of gender. "My style isn't only for men, [it's] also for women. I tried to erased the classic gender separation, and for me, a woman is more sexy with men's clothes on her," explains Nouchi. Indeed, people of all genders can appreciated a well-tailored coat, regardless if they are violent comic book characters or your neighbor. "A true vision with a true wearability is the key."
Photography & art direction: Thibault-Theodore Babin
Styling: Phil Gomez
Model: Luc Bruyere
Hair & makeup: Jennifer Lecorre
Harness: Bond Hardware, Boots: Chanel