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Interview with Paul Fournier

“Learn the rules first, keep it nice and simple with colors and patterns, elegance isn’t a competition. Then bend the rules.”

– Paul Fournier

Who are you?
Paul Fournier, 31, contributing editor at The Rake and Parisian Gentleman.

How would you describe your own style?
I would call it Italian with a French attention to details. French tailors are, after all, well known for the perfection of their handmade buttonholes and stitching. I am very much in favor of countless shades of blues and greys but brown and green have recently been very present in my commissions. They are vastly underrated colors.

What is your earliest memory related to menswear and style?
My grandfather for whom I had tremendous respect was always elegantly dressed, even when staying at home. Despite wearing three-piece suits, he managed to keep his elegance subdued and discreet, never making too much of a statement. This, I found particularly inspiring. I have inherited most of his accessories and wear them proudly.

What inspires you / How do you find inspiration?
As contributing editor of two menswear blogs, I do find a lot of inspiration online amongst fellow
contributors or passionate gentlemen. I do find a lot of inspiration in art and history in general. As much as I’d like to believe in a timeless elegance, I think it is nonetheless evolving but the basic rules remain
the same. Alain Delon, Lino Ventura and Jean-Paul Belmondo represent an era of French actors who defined style with their extraordinary charisma and some of their outfits remain known by all to this day (e.g. Alain Delon’s trenchcoat in Le Samouraï).

How did you start your career in menswear and how did you first enter into the world of tailoring and bespoke?                                                             

After finding what I’d define as a gentleman’s heaven in Rome, Sartoria Ripense, I absolutely wanted to share my exciting experience with other bespoke aficionados and sent Hugo Jacomet, Parisian Gentleman’s owner, a draft article. A couple of years later, I joined the editorial team as a hobby and have since then written for a few other platforms including the formidable Rake. Wei Koh has a true vision of luxury lifestyle that has perfectly found its niche audience. The content of the magazine was nowhere to be found before The Rake was launched. The magazine represents everything I love, save for cigars.

If you had to name one person that influenced your style the most, who would that be?

It would have to be three as they all have had a great influence on my style at different times in my life:
my grand-father, the Duke of Windsor and Andrea Luparelli from Sartoria Ripense.

What was your first sartorial purchase, and could you tell us about your experience?
My first real sartorial purchase was a double-breasted jacket in blue Crispaire (an open-weave fabric from Holland & Sherry) that I commissioned with Andrea Luparelli at Sartoria Ripense. It was my first bespoke commission ever and I’ve never regretted it. The language barrier did not prevent us from understanding one another. Andrea’s style truly inspired and I felt very comfortable asking him for advice on the various possibilities. Having something created from scratch is very different from a made- to-measure commission. The first basted fitting is especially thrilling as one starts to realize how it will look like and that possibilities are infinite.

As an avid enthusiast of bespoke, what are your suggestions and advice for someone looking to commission his first bespoke pieces?
Think about the versatility of what you’re ordering and take the time to share with the tailor about your lifestyle and how you dress on the week-ends. This will allow him to advise you in the best way to have
items that could potentially be paired with each other. Aiming for a relatively heavy fabric, i.e. above 300 gr, provided you do not reside in the tropics, is the best way of ensuring the commission will last and age well.

If you had to decide on one style of tailoring, which style would you most prefer; Italian, American, German or British?
Italian clearly as I love their sense of style but I would strongly defend French tailoring as well. Even though it is not as well-known as English and Italian tailoring, the attention to details is second to none.

We are trying to sell a timeless & elegant style. What is elegance for you in a man? What are your influences that define your concept of elegance?
Elegance is not only defined by the clothing but very much by the attitude. Nice clothing will never offset bad manners. Keeping your overall outfit understated enough not to be described as a peacock seems essential. Always be mindful of your surroundings and don’t stand out too much. Be a gentleman and don’t be too verbose, remember to listen carefully, especially with women.

What is your number one suggestion to men that want to learn how to dress better?
Learn the rules first, keep it nice and simple with colors and patterns, elegance isn’t a competition. Then bend the rules.

Can you mention any essentials in your wardrobe for Autumn/Winter 2019?
Light grey flannel trousers, a navy flannel waistcoat, a wool & cashmere gun check sport coat and a heavy brown herringbone ulster coat. Some cashmere ties also represent a masterpiece for Autumn and
Winter.

What was it about Viola Milano that initially caught your attention?
The extraordinary silk fabric selection for ties.

Which Viola Milano product is your favourite?
Definitely this tie

What’s your preferences when it comes to construction of a tie?             

7-fold has a certain charm I must admit. Lined for silk and unlined for cashmere and wool ties.

Which 5 ties from our collection would you suggest as ”Must have” in each gentleman’s wardrobe?

Paul’s favorite items:

Watch: Patek Philippe Nautilus
Jacket: Sartoria Ripense double-breasted jacket in Crispaire
Shirt: blue poplin shirt from Finamore
Tie: The green tie with blue florals from Viola Milano
Bag: Hermès sac à dépêches
Shoes: Saint Crispin’s mod. 105

Fragrance: Neroli Portofino – Tom Ford Private Blend
Accessories: wool and linen pocket by Drake’s

Paul Fournier Favorites:
Most important item: Rolex Explorer I
Shops: The Armoury, kudos to Mark Cho for creating a gentleman’s utopia
Restaurant: Le Cinq at Four Seasons George V, Paris
Favorite Cities: Rome and Tokyo
Holiday Choice: Thailand and Italy
Car: None
Style Icon: HRH Duke of Windsor, Andrea Luparelli and Changwoo (Chad) Park

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