We were happy to get an invite for the Sandro presentation this time in Paris as it is one of those ubiquitous brands in France in the high-end ready-to-wear menswear market that you really do not want to miss for their latest collection as there are so many other brands are trying to compete for men style haute gamme. Thus it is interesting and useful to be able to compare seeing and analyzing the items first hand. Kooples, Zadig & Voltaire, Façonnable come to mind amongst others as brands in France all in relentless competition for what is an ever more difficult upmarket in the times of global economic policies of ‘austerity’.

However whatever is so quintessentially French with Sandro’s style – sometimes called ‘contemporary French chic’ in America -, is probably the style which the French call BCBG (not to be confused with former NYC underground club CBGB), which literally stands for Bon Chic Bon Genre, a term of which a proper cultural understanding would probably defy many a sartorial fashion expert – or even logic, or Vogue, or Vice magazine for that matter.

For this you must understand that French society is rather stratified in its social hierarchies and that ‘bon chic’ is traditionally not something which is considered to apply to the popular masses – like street wear, but rather something super stylish and swag to which only the haute bourgeoisie – the upper class – could pertain. Now add to this the words ‘bon genre’ which could easily mean ‘a good social standing’, and one would end up with something like ‘good style, good standing (GSGS), which may in American English translate as ‘preppy’, but to make things confusing it is often true in France that ambiguities in language are rather the norm than the exception, so that in the end you are really never sure what something means after all. And so it stands with BCBG.

So to solve the ambiguity of what Sandro actually is – or should be, as far as style is concerned in English, BDMOTP has developed a fashion test for you here below.  Because going to a fashion presentation as was the case here (the models stand or walk and come back rather than run up and down) rather than a runway show allows for more time than normal to admire in detail design and signature in a collection, we were able to draw for you one specific item from the Sandro AW 16/17 collection. Voilà!

Sandro 1

Sandro by Sandro for BDMOTP

And thus this being Paris – the cradle of artistic experience and the home of Picasso and Toulouse-Lautrec, we would like to know from you if you have a fashion-trained eye, and if you can identify and distinguish CHIC when you see it.  Here is your test.

  • identify which item from the Sandro AW16/17 collection in the slideshow below (from the five pictures, chose one) is represented by the two drawings above (3 points)
  • think of a good and proper name for the style you have just identified in English (3 points)
  • give three reasons as to why the style you chose is or is not BCBG (3 points)
  • and finally, – is this CHIC? (bonus)

What is chic?

Please leave your comments below.

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Post and Art by Sandro for BDMOTP and photos by Monika Majewska

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