It was the unseasonably cold weather that led my husband and I to éclectic, a minimalist-chic men’s store in Paris. With “spring” temperatures hovering near freezing, we headed to the Haut Marais in search of the cool basics that have garnered a discerning, design-loving following from London to LA.
A trip to this part of the French capital is always a delight – even for my retail-phobic husband – and éclectic (first picture) is a study in calm stress-free shopping: streamlined racks, soothing white walls and a tightly edited selection of clothes and bags. Swiftly upon entering, the store’s stylish and jovial owner/designer, Franck Malègue, gave us a brief overview of his own-brand clothing, which he describes as “on the fringe of traditional fashion”: slim-cut blazers in sensible black, navy and charcoal hues (€650-€750) and overcoats (€880-€1,040) that incorporate elements of the traditional trench, with added warmth and versatility.
At éclectic, form really does follow function; the utilitarian-chic garments are simply, precisely cut by a maître tailleur in Treviso, Italy, in a range of techno-textiles. Fabrics traditionally used in sportswear are all employed in creative new ways that are not only elegant – Neapolitan shoulders, felt collars, and open buttonholes – but also water-repellent and wind-resistant, insulating in winter and breathable in summer. Best of all, these fabrics don’t wrinkle, which makes them ideal for the traveller who needs to transition from a plane to the boardroom.
There are over 30 different fitted cuts to choose from – hooded pea coats (€850, second picture), double-breasted versions, summer jackets – but in the end we bought a simple yet sharp grey techno-wool duffle bag (€620, third picture, also available in navy), ideal for business trips and weekends away. The éclectic bag line, which includes travel sizes (€720) and is made by a maître maroquinier in Florence, was launched last year, fusing durable materials with exquisite, handstitched leather detailing and galvanised titanium hardware. I’m sincerely hoping that Monsieur Malègue will create a women’s tote sometime soon.