As fashion label Jean-Paul Knott’s menswear collection for Spring/Summer 2013 (which was shown during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in June 2012) is about to become available in stores worldwide, I decided to look into the background of the brand and how it evolved to produce its latest range of men’s clothes.
Hailing from Belgium, Jean-Paul Knott studied at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Upon graduating in 1983, he began his sartorial career at Yves Saint-Laurent which went on to include designing for the YSL Rive Gauche luxury ready-to-wear line and assisting in the development of the label’s Haute Couture collections. In 1999 he parted with the celebrated fashion maison to return to Belgium and start his eponymous label. Since his inaugural collection in 2000, and in addition to continuing his exclusive and luxurious own lines, Knott has developed successful collaborations with brands as diverse as Dim, Tomorrowland and Les 3 Suisses.
In 2001, Knott became creative director at Krizia and in 2003 he took the same position at Louis Feraud Paris. In 2006, he opened his first ‘Galerie concept’ in Brussels dedicated to clothes and art, and in 2007, after designing a collection for Cerruti 1881, he became the creative director of all Cerruti lines. In 2008, he became a guest member of Paris’s Haute Couture official calendar and in 2009 he opened his first ‘Boutique Concept’ where he has been selling all his different lines alongside creations from other fashion designers and artists.
In 2011, Jean-Paul Knott gave free rein to his assistant Greg Van Rijck (who had studied fashion design in Brussel’s Haute Ecole Francisco Ferrer) to develop his first menswear collection, and in 2012 he launched a jewellery line during the Haute Couture fashion week in Paris.
For Spring/Summer 2013, Van Rijck has conceived a menswear collection that draws from minimalist shapes but is imbued with subtle and elegant details. The paired down palette of black and white is enriched with dashes of blue, yellow and red in the form of single wide stripes on shirts. Equally, the collection reveals slick silhouettes that rework traditional tailoring by incorporating details such as wide and high waist lines (exaggerated in the campaign by being styled with thin belts) and wide trousers tapered below the knee. Like the shirts, jackets and trousers occasionally incorporate fabric blocks of single contrasting strips.