“The kids are all right” was Jean Touitou’s summation of his latest A.P.C. show. Always partial to a rock-and-roll paraphrase (he had a recording studio installed at the label’s HQ in 1998), he meant this one quite literally. Paraded in front of a crowd of well-wishers, press, and buyers in typically low-key style at the brand’s Rue Madame base, fall was nevertheless a highly personal presentation, modeled by Touitou’s daughter Lily and her teenage classmates from Paris’s École Diagonale. Perhaps Touitou felt the need to emphasize the family-run spirit of the label he founded in 1987. After all, last week came the announcement that L Catterton, the LVMH-backed private-equity group, had taken a majority stake in the hitherto stoutly independent company.
Touitou introduced the show, stepping out into an atrium that had been clad in MDF boards and graffitied by the class with doodles and tags, oriented around DJ decks (the beat was provided by DJ Myd). “The young people who are going to walk this runway are like veterans. They experienced the raging of their hormones in a bunker with their parents during the COVID crisis,” he said. “That crisis could have wiped us out as a brand. We survived that war by getting stronger. Everybody you see here was born in 2006, and I think it’s a good metaphor for the sort of transmission process we started recently.”
What followed was a determinedly youthful take on A.P.C.’s well-honed vision of Gallic urbanity, each look a nod to what Touitou called “a tribe” in a backstage debrief postshow. There was a Take Ivy preppiness to Japanese selvedge denim miniskirts and high-waist jeans worn with stripy shirts and shiny penny loafers; a street-inflected attitude to gray marl sweatpants and nylon flight jackets; a grungy insolence to flannel shirts worn with slip skirts, fluoro T-shirts, and scuffed plimsolls. And what stunning teenagers! All with their own carefully considered quirks—a snazzy Bananarama hairstyle here, swooping black eyeliner there—and forming a touching antidote to the celebrity-packed catwalks to which we’ve become accustomed.
“I love this idea of no casting. You don’t say to people, ‘You’re too tall, too fat, too this, too that.’ Everybody was just cool about it,” said Touitou, who confirmed that, post-partnership deal, he will remain creative director of the brand alongside his art director wife, Judith. On this showing, the fashion formula won’t be changing either. The challenge now is to augment sales from around €100 million to €300 million in the next five years. Touitou didn’t seem phased by the task. “If you have roots that go really deep, like 36 years of roots, that tree you cannot move, and that tree is only demanding to grow. I know because I know,” he said. “And I think that was a good show. People might say it’s just basics. I don’t care what people say.”