When cult French name APC announced a collaboration with designer Vanessa Seward, aficionados were slightly perplexed.
The label's USP has until now been subtly preppy basics and modishly folksy separates in a French exchange sort of vein, with a bit a of Gallic rock'*'roll thrown in for good measure. Think shirtdresses, plaid and pinafores; APC is, in its own words, "a little frigid".
So when Seward came on board, known for her high-end and high-octane aesthetic during her time as creative director of the French house Azzaro, more than one eyebrow was raised.
But Seward's capsule for APC promises "clean sexiness", which might sound a little clinical but marries both the understated romance of the brand with her own rather more feminine touch.
APC's classic and best-selling shirtdresses are updated in ditsy prints and primary colours, given lower necklines so they feel more grown-up and less girlish. Knitted separates in shaggy mohair and jewel colours also up the glitz stakes, and a gold lurex tunic-style top sets the tone for this unashamedly luxe partnership.
Seward's outlook opens up APC's utilitarian sensibility to eveningwear – a realm that the label doesn't usually cater for. Many of the fabrics and prints have been sourced from the archives of what used to be Les Soieries Abraham, a venerated Swiss silk house that once supplied textiles to the ateliers of Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, among many others.
It's an exciting new direction for a brand which deals in old reliables.
The collection is available from apc.fr