Pierre Mahéo is no stranger to the fashion industry. The Paris-based designer followed in his grandfather’s tailoring footsteps and worked with acclaimed tailor Michel Barnes in 1998 before moving on to work as artistic director, design director and design consultant for French menswear heavyweights.
That was, until, 2011 when after a decade of working in the business, Mahéo left to set up on his own, telling the Business of Fashion that it was a disgust towards the system and the use of factories in China where workers were “overworked, underpaid, treated like animals” that pushed him to create something on his own terms.
In 2012, Officine Générale was born; Mahéo creating a collection of menswear that was inspired by exactly the kind of clothes he liked to wear, exactly the way he liked to make them. This meant wearable, everyday items inspired by his childhood in Brittany, spending his days with that aforementioned grandfather and his oysterman father, surrounded by a harmonious contradiction in styles of sharp tailoring and classic French utility wear.
It also meant using the best fabrics that he was unpermitted to use in previous positions – cashmere from Loro Piana, English tweed, Japanese oxford cloth – and being able to deliver pieces at a reasonable price point without ever compromising on quality or ethics.
The result is seasonal collections of clothing fit for men who are interested in fashion but aren’t slaves to it, who value quality, longevity and impeccably-cut pieces in an even better silhouette. Classic, yet contemporary.
In other words, Officine Générale creates that typically French look we all covet: that effortless style that’s never overdone or try-hard but manages to make simple navy trousers and a white T-shirt look like the best thing to ever happen to fashion. It’s not a new approach to menswear yet in a world of fast fashion and flash-in-the-pan trends it feels completely contemporary. A reinvention, almost.
Officine Générale makes its debut on Coggles with the men’s AW17 collection (after a quiet yet forceful successful five years, Mahéo is branching into womenswear for the first time for SS18). It’s a collection composed of the brand’s greats – dark grey merino jumpers, navy roll necks, casual yet tailored trousers and Japanese selvedge shirts – and is guaranteed to last season after season.