Most holidays, Antonin Tron can be found catching waves in places like Indonesia or Sri Lanka; on weekends, he escapes to clandestine destinations on the west coast of France (“Surfers like to keep their spots secret,” he notes), where the swell is best in the icy depths of winter. For the 32-year-old Parisian designer, surfing has become more than just a hobby: The allure of the open seas and the appeal of being one with the natural world are the driving forces behind Atlein, the brand he founded in 2016 and named for the Atlantic.
“There’s something about the moment, early in the morning, when there is a mist on the ocean, and I put my wet suit on in the parking lot, and I paddle out… That is what Atlein is,” he says.
Tron, who is clean-cut, handsome, and, on the day we meet, smartly dressed in a gray marled tee and tailored pants, doesn’t come across as your typical surfer. Still, the things he values—namely, an active lifestyle (he also sails and practices Ashtanga yoga) and a feeling of ease, no matter the occasion—come through in his clothes. Tron produces his collections with, among others, a family-run jersey manufacturer in the Vosges region that he discovered years ago while working at Givenchy; together, they developed a viscose jersey that resembles silk and allows him to create body-hugging, pleated, and ruched evening dresses that somehow manage to feel simultaneously elegant and sporty.
“Restrictive construction is something from another century,” he says, perhaps echoing one of his heroes, the British designer Jean Muir, who was also obsessed with jersey and the fluidity it afforded. “A woman should always feel free.”
When Tron was growing up in Paris, he and his two brothers were quick to escape the city to go to the seaside. “As a child, I always wanted to explore the world,” he says. “In fact, I wanted to be a person who studied volcanoes—I still kind of do.” When he wasn’t dreaming of faraway places, he was exploring subcultures, especially the world of goth.
“I was interested by the fact that it was an apolitical movement that rejected the norm,” says Tron, who reluctantly admits he himself was a “soft goth” who sported all black. “And I loved the music.” Even today, he plays post-punk and rock in his studio, as well as ’90s techno, experimental electro, and traditional Indian and Japanese music. “I drive people crazy with that,” he says with a laugh. “But even if it’s not evident, the music nourishes my work.”
Following high school, he enrolled in a modern-literature course in Paris, showing little interest in fashion until he visited a friend in Antwerp, Belgium, who was studying at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts—the alma mater of the famed Antwerp Six. That was it.
“I grew up during the heyday of Galliano—fashion was amazing, but it was not my thing,” he says. “Suddenly, I saw fashion talking about the youth; it was talking about music that I liked and things I could relate to.” He immediately enrolled and, to his surprise, was accepted.
The Best Looks of Paris Fashion Week Fall 2017
Nicolas Ghesquière showed his fall collection inside the Louvre among 17th and 18th century sculptures, and underneath the glass Pyramid, allowing guests to look up the night sky. Much like his first collection for Louis Vuitton, this one was a collection of chic pieces perfect for wearing in any metropolitan city in the world. This fur, worn over non-denim “denim,” captures that sentiment.
Miu Miu was fun. In the wake of all the political turbulence and the immigration crisis, fashion can be a glamour escape. With paillettes, fur, and plastic, she summed up that message in this look.
Karl Lagerfeld encourage his audience to leave earth behind and blast off into the Chanel universe. That led to many futuristic and metallic looks. However, even in the future galaxy Lagerfeld believes there will be occasions that warrant fancier dress, and for that he sent out a black sheer and feathered evening dress, embellished with black flowers.
Sarah Burton was inspired by a trip to Cornwall, where she stumbled upon the magical “Clootie” trees, or wishing trees, which are a part of the Celtic tradition in the area. All the loose threads on this look are representative of the ribbon tied to the trees, and all of the embroidery on the dress were inspired by church pew pillows discovered nearby, at St. Senara’s Church. A beyond beautiful dress, and a beautiful story.
Kym Ellery served up many silhouettes her fans will love – including her great crop flare, now in a patent, and a new fringed sleeve on this belted tunic.
Lingerie has never been so easy to show off. All one needs is one of Stella McCartney’s oversized, see-through knits.
Horse blanket as women’s coat? Very chic, especially when created by Hermès.
Chitose Abe offered up denim this season, and she also mixed tradition with sport in her tweed puffer coats. Her pants, with multiple zippers undone, created a new shape that girls will be sure to covet come fall.
A vision in white, with cherries on top! Valli did what he does best, and this evening dress is original and charming.
Much like his pre-fall collection, Pierpaolo Piccioli sent out a series of beautiful dresses. It was so nice to also see two pant looks in the mix, including this head-to-toe printed velvet suit.
At Céline, Phoebe Philo sent out strong coats, billowy dresses, and this standout number: a shirt dress printed with a beautiful map, will be one many girls will be after come fall.
Julie de Libran went in an arts-and-crafts direction this season, and this red pointelle knit and patchwork skirt were a favorite.
Denim at Dior! Maria Grazia Chiuri is working to reconnect the storied house with a younger generation, and denim is the way to do it.
While pastels were the dominant color theme, this chic well-cut camel coat was a favorite.
What’s a fall collection season without some truly standout outerwear? At Loewe, Jonathan Anderson knocked it out of the park with this mixed materials peacoat.
Vanessa Seward upped the glam factor on her casual-chic aesthetic for Fall 2017, evident in a slate gray patent leather coat with kick-flare hem.
Virgil Abloh’s Off-White girl grew up for Fall 2017, but didn’t lose her streetwear edge, evidenced here by pairing a prim skirt-suit with a hooded sweatshirt.
Marant showed a number of prints and silhouettes that she is know for, and her devoted following will rejoice. An embroidered, sequin-encrusted denim jacket felt new and certainly drew the attention of the young It-girls in the front row.
Somehow, Paris Hilton is having a moment again. Her famed silver chainmail dress, recently reinterpreted by Kendall Jenner, has perhaps influenced this chainmail off-on-shoulder blouse and drape-y skirt. The look is nostalgic, futuristic, and modern all at the same time.
Newcomer Antonin Tron caught the attention of press and select buyers last season. This season, the young designer decided to do a full blown runway show, showing the jersey dresses he’s known for, and strong outerwear, like this cropped jacket in black.
Clare Waight Keller’s swan song, according to the show notes, was a story of the Chloé girl “escaping down a rabbit hole of decades.” She used a palate that she is known for – creams, peach, lilac, and tobacco and ochre, and this shearling is precisely what Chloé”s bohemian girl needs for the cooler months. That, and the new Pixie bag, a bracelet-handled mini bag.
It’s rare to see Lily Donaldson on the runway. it’s even more rare to see a well cut coat over a perfect white slip. Well done, Bouchra Jarrar.
At Dries Van Noten, show-goers found themselves flipping through a book of prints from seasons past. The book was printed on the occasion of Van Noten’s 100th show, and Carolyn Murphy, Amber Valletta, Alek Wek, Caroline de Maigret and many others took a turn on the runway. It was a beautiful collection, filled with plenty of Dries-isms–the sequins on this look demanded your attention, while a streak of pink on a fur stole reminded the audience of Van Noten’s mastery of color. It was no surprise, then, that as he came out for his bow the entire room gave him a standing ovation on such a special occasion.
With this look’s embroideries, fur trim, heavy fabric, plethora of colors, cut-away skirt, sequin boots, scarf, braids, and one eye doused in colored eye shadow under anyone else’s guidance, this look would have been a farce. Under John Galliano, this closing look was one of the most covetable looks of a very beautiful collection.
Anthony Vaccarello’s sophomore collection for Saint Laurent, much like his debut, referenced an early 80s moment in the house’s history. However, by incorporating in Hedi Slimane’s love for leather, Vaccarello offered a collection that was at once referential of the past yet offered numerous options for today’s girl, including a slew of sexy, sparkly, going-out looks for the finale. A favorite from the collection was a black mini featuring an embroidered and sequined flower which spanned the fabric between a deep v-neck, and a high, high slit.
There is a lot to love about Glenn Martens’ Y/Project, including the scrunched up oversized jeans, the scrunched down, oversized boots, and a re-purposed football (as in, the European kind) scarf. This look is the epitome of Martens’ skills in proportion as well as his keen sense for what the kids want.
Simon Porte Jacquemus expanded his keen sense of tailoring for his fall collection. There were dozens of excellent suit jackets, interesting necklines, and matador hats to boot. Among all the suiting looks there was an elegant blouse with strong shoulders and a deep v neck. The proportion play was on point, and one could easily see a young French girl pairing it with a pair of jeans for a fun night out, or the full runway pairing: a great pair of kick-flares.
Olivier Theyskens presented the second collection for his eponymous collection in Le Train Bleu, a gilded space in the Gare de Lyon. This look’s corset nods to an elegant evening that may have occurred in that old-fashioned space, however his grey denim jeans firmly routed the look in modern times.
After graduating in 2008, Tron interned for Raf Simons, whose men’s wear label is based in Antwerp, and then went on to work in the men’s wear studio at Louis Vuitton, under Paul Helbers. He eventually made the leap to women’s wear—“I wanted to do something that was not so myself,” he says—at Givenchy and then at Balenciaga, where he started under Nicolas Ghesquière, continued with Alexander Wang, and now works part time, as a senior designer, with Demna Gvasalia.
“Demna has a very modern approach, and it’s refreshing,” Tron says. “However, I learned from each of the designers; they all gave me something.” The job has also allowed him to pay the rent.
For as much as Tron is gaining attention and accolades—last year, Atlein won the First Collections Prize at the 2016 ANDAM Fashion Award, and he was approached by stockists like the Apartment by the Line, Net-a-Porter, and the Webster—he is inclined to grow his label slowly. He recently debuted jewelry, in the form of sculptural enamel earrings and cuffs reminiscent of the ’60s Le Vaucour lava-glazed ceramics he avidly collects. “I discovered them years ago at a flea market,” he says.
“They remind me of volcanic stone.” There will also be knitwear this fall, but jersey remains Tron’s main focus. “It’s such an incredible and versatile material,” he says. “I have yet to exhaust its possibilities.”
The Best Young Designers to Watch in 2017
Joan Smalls, in a Brandon Maxwell gown; Van Cleef & Arpels brooch and watch; Roger Vivier shoes.
Brandon Maxwell, with the model Joan Smalls, who wears a jumpsuit from his spring collection; Van Cleef & Arpels earrings, necklace, and bracelet.
Models wearing pieces from Molly Goddard’s spring collection; Mansur Gavriel shoes.
Molly Goddard (far right), with a model wearing pieces from her spring collection.
Model Aymeline Valade in pieces from Antonin Tron’s spring collection; Jimmy Choo shoes.
Antonin Tron, with the model Aymeline Valade in pieces from his spring collection; Jimmy Choo shoes.
A model sporting a look from Heron Preston’s fall 2017 collection. Nike sneakers; Preston’s own jewelry.
The designer Heron Preston (left) and models in looks from his fall 2017 collection. Nike sneakers; Preston’s own jewelry.
Heron Preston and a model sporting looks from his fall 2017 collection. Manolo Blahnik sandals; Preston’s own jewelry.
Fashion Week’s Best Street Style Gets a Technicolor, Electrified, Animated Treatment
Fashion Week’s Best Street Style Gets a Technicolor, Electrified, Animated Treatment