Meet the men who bring the best clothes in the world to Si­mons

Sharp - - STYLE -

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.

An­gelo Pana­giotou

Pas­cal Cloutier

Pierre Longchamps

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