Men’s fashion aficionados have gathered this week at Florence’s Pitti Uomo 91 fair for a first look at Fall 2017 and the big event on the calendar is Tim Coppens, who succeeds Raf Simons as guest designer. The Belgian trained at Antwerp’s Royal Academy, the same school attended by Demna Gvasalia of Vetements and Balenciaga and a long list of greats, but it was New York, not Paris, that attracted him.
Coppens, 41 is a skater at heart, but he’s been designing ever since he made his first tracksuit, “When I was like 11 or 12 on my mother’s sewing machine because I needed something to go BMXing.” The eponymous line he launched in 2011 reflects everything in his life up until now: an appreciation of beautifully cut tailoring and sportswear, a fascination for technical sport construction, late ’90s skate culture and a love of the streets of New York where he’s lived for the past ten years. On Wednesday, just before his show, Coppens opened up about European versus American fashion, working for Ralph Lauren and why he’s over gender ambiguity on the runway. “That’s my style. Fashion runs in cycles and people forget even faster than they used to,” he said.