Monday 12th July

| BY Paul Toner

10 Picks Of Paris: Casablanca’s Charaf Tajer is our Next Designer to Meet

After the global Covid-19 outbreak forced all menswear shows to be cancelled early last summer, a rescheduled and fully digitalised Paris Fashion Week Men’s, July 2020, was to be the guinea pig of what is now considered the new normal in our industry. Five days of solely URL fashions – where the kitchen table became the new front row and ticket-less shows democratised the catwalk – showcased the city’s menswear talent to an entirely new audience. Digital fashion week meant these designers were now operating on a global stage. The possibilities were limitless.

We’ve picked the Paris menswear designers who have taken virtual fashion in their stride, who have defied convention and used this state of flux to tear out pages from the rulebook and completely rewrite it. Each has made navigating this strange, on-screen fashion world we now reside in all that more exciting. Long live these digital shapeshifters.

Along with the entire creative team of his label, Casablanca, Charaf Tajer spent the first international quarantine in Hawaii (it’s all right for some, eh?). “We just happened to be there and then lockdown happened, so we decided to stay longer,” says the designer, whose temporary home served as both a luscious backdrop and profound inspiration for his SS21 collection.

The LVMH Prize-winning label – which was a finalist for this year’s International Woolmark Prize – is built on neoclassicism. The French-Moroccan designer behind it grew up fixated on the likes of Cartier and Chanel, and the opulence such traditional French maisons are known for is the pillar of all his men’s fashions. 

He called this season’s offering After the Rain Comes the Rainbow, using Miami Vice suiting, tropical silk shirts and pastel-hued everything to offer a daydream of a brighter tomorrow – toes firmly planted in the sand. 

What does home mean to you? 

“Home is the world we live in. It depends on everyone, but for me there are no barriers. It’s all one place.” 

What does your home country do better than anywhere else? 

“The way that France puts culture at the centre of everything – painters, art movements, architecture – and how money is a big secondary in France. Culture is the most important thing – that’s what France does best. I think the French export their fashions around the world because the story is there and so is the respect for art.” 

What’s your take on digital fashion weeks? 

“I think every restriction comes with the opportunity of bringing new ideas, so I have no preference. Of course, I love when there is a crowd, and what I miss the most with fashion week is the audience and the afterparties!” 

What’s your favourite thing about showing in Paris? 

“For me, it’s super-important. What I love is that we’re showing with the best brands in the world. If I can extend your question a bit, I would say what we do with Casablanca is the continuation of a certain French tradition of fashion. It’s important to keep creating this heritage we have in a very modern way, without looking vintage or futuristic. We have to be in the conversation that we are already in. I think Paris is a fantastic place to do it.” 

Portrait by Yannis Meynadier. Taken from Issue 53 of 10 Men – NO PLACE, LIKE, HOME – order your copy here.