A Clean Slate

A year into launching his eponymous men’s label, Miami designer Fabrice Tardieu is seeing the fruits of his labor on his own terms.

Fabrice Tardieu, the creator of the men’s line that bears his name, may well be the most populist tastemaker you’ll ever meet. “Years of working in sales for Giorgio Armani in France taught me that you have to be open to buyers’ input if you want to gain their loyalty,” says the Haiti native. Judging by the solid support of buyers like Neiman Marcus, Tardieu has mastered that formula rather well.

Take his fall 2015 collection for instance, which grew out of a concerted effort to deliver a line that would appeal to men who seek to look good without seeming overly fussy. “My ideal customer is probably someone in a creative field who wants to stand out for all the right reasons,” Tardieu muses. To that end, the line offers this measured attribution by way of unique details, like deconstructed collars, clever asymmetry, unique stitching patterns and tricked-out lining. And then there are the zippers: “I’ve been working on getting the right proportions of the puller to balance out the look,” Tardieu declares. “Those little things make all the difference.” Fittingly, the overall vibe of the label (which consists of shirts from $225 to $425 and blazers from $550 to $895) is fresh, casually luxurious and modern, with expert tailoring executed at renowned factories in Italy and Turkey. A recently added footwear collection ($325 to $950) is big on making statements: The chic slip-on sneakers are made from supple python in bold colors, and the Dessalines (brown military boots) are named after Jean-Jaques Dessalines, leader of the Haitian Revolution. “There is no doubt that I’m influenced by Miami and Haiti,” admits Tardieu. “It’s in my color palettes and patterns, but it’s always restrained, never over the top.”

It’s no accident that the seasoned sartorialist is setting his sights on expansion. “Consider it a reaction to my last project,” reveals Tardieu, whose previous dabble in the fashion business was the thriving shirt label Bogosse (whose holdings he sold to his brother, Patrick—with whom he started the line—in 2013). “After I sold my shares, I decided to just go for it and I created my full line within a few months.” As Fabrice Tardieu nears its first anniversary this fall, its creator’s future plans include a women’s shoe line and expansion into style-driven cities all around the world—as well as one place that’s not on anyone’s fashion radar but certainly close to his heart: Haiti. “I look at how Oscar de la Renta changed the perception about the Dominican Republic with his brand,” he says. “Maybe I’ll get lucky enough to do that for my island someday.”

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