In January 2020, Phil Oh spotted a particularly eye-catching octogenarian couple at the Paris men’s shows. They were each dressed in head-to-toe leather—his spiked, hers painted with pink roses. Needless to say, they stood out in the crowd of editors and models, and Oh’s photo became one of @voguerunway’s most-liked Instagram posts of the year. Everyone wanted to know: Who were those stylish 80-somethings? And what were they wearing?
I got the answers unexpectedly in an Instagram DM: Kévin Nompeix and Florentin Glémarec, the designers behind Egon Lab, reached out to ask if Vogue Runway could kindly tag the brand in our Instagram post. As it turned out, the man and woman were Glémarec’s grandparents; he proudly called them “brand ambassadors.”
That’s just one of the ways he and Nompeix are challenging conventions at Egon Lab. They’re committed to “defending all points of view” and hope too see their clothes on people of all ages, all bodies, and all genders. For spring 2022, they cited the “early activist” Lady Godiva as an inspiration and pointed out touches of medieval decoration: scalloped “breastplate” collars, heavy charm-laden chain belts, and tapestry coats woven with Byzantine figures. The chains and lace collars represented a new project, Heritage, wherein Nompeix and Glémarec collaborate with French artisans; that lace was handmade guipure, and the chains were fashioned by a local blacksmith. As the duo put it, Egon Lab is “creating a bridge between past and future, craftsmanship and innovation.” *—*Emily Farra
Jan Jan Van Essche
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