THE THREE SUITORS
Meet the men who bring the best clothes in the world to Simons
WE ARE, RIGHT NOW, in what we might finally acknowledge is a golden age of menswear. For savvy consumers, the options are many and vast, from indie shops to bespoke tailors to intriguing (and likely misguided) made-to-measure deals online. So what really sets a store apart? It’s not just the way they arrange window displays. It’s the store’s commitment to sourcing the best. It’s the editorial rigour behind the final choices you see on the floor. It’s the process that went into sourcing unique and high-quality products. It is, in short, the people behind the clothes.
By this measure, Simons is at the very top of the menswear game. There is some historical precedent for this. Founded in Quebec City in 1840, Simons has had a tradition of seeking out quality dry goods for more than 175 years. In the very early days, John Simons demanded the very best English and Scottish goods for his fledgling shop and made it his mission to find them and bring them to the New World. He made 72 crossings of the Atlantic over the course of his career — no small feat considering the journey could take several weeks each way.
That enterprising retail spirit remains today, but on a much larger scale. These days, it takes three men to oversee all the buying for the men’s tailored and sportswear departments. Angelo Panagiotou, Pierre Longchamps, and Pascal Cloutier regularly scour the world for the best and latest in fabrics and trends. The result is a collection that is remarkably varied. “Simons is all about our extensive product offer and on-trend merchandising mix,” says Panagiotou, VP of men’s buying, “from exclusive, in-house designed product ranges to edgy, street-inspired brands and international designer collections.” That means brands like HUGO alongside a meticulously sourced private label — proof of the original store concept, which was to have all the best things in life under one roof.
Want to know how you’re getting something good? Meet the men who found it for you.
“I’ve been travelling the world for Simons for the last 17 years and I’ve never seen a men’s retail environment quite like it.”
ANGELO PANAGIOTOU What’s your guiding principle when it comes to menswear? Less is more, particularly as a gentleman ages. Which in no way means it should be boring. I typically like to inject an unexpected element, like a printed top, cool sneakers, or an on-trend colour. What direction is menswear heading in? It’s undeniable that there is a shift happening in shapes and proportions, not only
on the runway but also in the streets of the most progressive cities. Even tailoring is shifting away from the skinny suit to a more relaxed jacket silhouette and pleated trousers. What will you be buying this season? I will definitely invest in a great double-breasted coat, probably in a check pattern. Also, I’ll be looking for pleated trousers. And sneakers, of course! How do you shop? Every season I’m looking for pieces that will elevate my wardrobe and insert newness and excitement through shape, fabric, and colour. I typically do not buy multiples of an item because I tend to get bored quickly. PIERRE LONGCHAMPS What’s your guiding principle when it comes to menswear? Have fun and try new ideas while staying comfortable. In my line of work I have to make sure I look professional, but I always try to stand out and not look too serious by adding a personal touch, like funky sneakers, collarless shirts, or patterned pants. What’s the best way to upgrade your wardrobe this season? Add track pants to your usual rotation, a mohair sweater in a trendy colour, and a long checked coat. And having a heather grey pullover hoodie (in a nice oversized shape) is a must — worn with a dress coat, it gives the outerwear piece a whole new twist! You look at a lot of fashion. How do you sort through the cacophony? Travelling is an important value for Simons: get the buyers out there to see, feel, and experience fashion. By doing so, you develop an eye for what’s new, current, strong. You start to see patterns, you connect the dots, and you develop a perspective on trend cycles. How do you shop? I now buy less but choose better, and I don’t hesitate to invest more in lasting items. I do not compromise: fabric, cut, and colour must be perfect or I’ll end up not wearing it. PASCAL CLOUTIER What’s your guiding principle when it comes to menswear? Every day is different. Since I oversee both the dress department and the streetwear department, I can wear both. Basically, my style reflects my lifestyle. What direction is menswear heading in? We’ve been going through a long period of slimmer silhouettes, and now it’s time for looser fits. We go in cycles. What should we look forward to seeing at Simons this fall? A unique product mix. I’ve been travelling the world for Simons for the last 17 years and I’ve never seen a men’s retail environment quite like it.