La Maison Simons has been purposefully making its way across Canada over the past year, with new-format stores popping up well beyond its native Quebec to cities like Calgary and Toronto. No wonder its Fall suiting collection was curated and designed with the quintessential traveller in mind.
In a preview hosted at Le Germain Hotel in Toronto this week, the company showed off a series of suits, separates and overcoats intended to raise the profile of its tailoring expertise. The clothes, which included items from major brands such as Hugo Boss to its own Turkish-made 31 label, reflect the fact that men need to move seamlessly from business meetings to fancy dinners and more leisurely activities. Suit jackets contained separate pockets for cell phones and even passports, for example. A deconstructed camel-coloured jacket, meanwhile, could be balled up in a duffle bag without risk of losing its shape.
Although there were many traditional colors on the racks and models, the company wasn’t interested in simply providing another fifty shades of grey — or blue, for that matter. Some alternatives include overcoats and entire suits in shades of plum and burgundy that can provide a strong but subtle way to stand out with confidence, said Angelo Panagiotou, vice-president of men’s buying at Simons.
“We take what’s on the runway and commercialize it so that it’s accessible but not too over-the-top,” he said.
Other innovations include bold florals or other designs in the lining of a jacket. In one case, Simons commissioned an artist in Holland to make a specific print for a Donegal tweed jacket.
“I think it says something about you when you take off your jacket and put it on the back of your chair in a meeting and you see a print like this,” Panagiotou said. “It elevates your look.”
While Simons’ collection would work well in the most formal business settings, the company is also nodding to more modern trends in menswear with dress sneakers and mandarin collar shirts for more creative types who wouldn’t wear a tie. Check patterns were also emphasized across the lineup. One bomber jacket could serve as a suit jacket for younger men, Panagiotou suggested.
Of course, you travel better when you’re feeling comfortable. Panagiotou said Simons conducted extensive research on the most common male body types in Canada, which it has used to influence three different fits for all its Fall suiting. These include the “Stockholm” for those who prefer a slimmer look, the “Berlin” for those with more of a muscled physique or who want more of a comfort fit, and the “London,” for the not-too-skinny, not-too-loose crowd that falls in between.
Panagiotou said many of the suits are available as separates because men might want a looser-fitting jacket but have a smaller waist size for their pants. That flexibility is important as they come to know what works best for them, he said.
“We’ll have customers who come back for a fit and have all these new fabrics,” he said. “They’ll structure their wardrobe around the fit, play with it or tailor it further.”