Smack a designer with the prestigious ANDAM prize of EUR230,000 and you might think that they could bend to the pressure of "growing up" or joining the designer "big leagues". Thankfully Julien David did no such thing. In fact he was ballsy enough to show a collection that centred around "Les Enfants Gates" - the spoiled child, exploring all those moments growing up when you either want to desperately fit in witht he crowd or show your individuality with a moment of rebellion. These transitional phases turned out to be the best ones to express in a collection for David as they perfecly summed up the interplay between high end fashion and streetstyle. It's this powerful juxtaposition that has worked for David as he begins to establish his brand.
What transpired was a collection that felt pleasingly out of place at Paris Fashion Week - a breath of fresh air that isn't trapped by widely perceived notions of "chic" and "elegant". With the first ensemble of an organdy basketball vest embroidered with "Dinosaur" layered over a jacquard round-shouldered top over another type of jacquard dress, complete with stroppy bangs poking stubbornly in the eyes, all the ingredients for a shake-up to old guard of PFW were there in spades - clever layering invoking sportswear and streetwear, youth culture and at the same time, an appreciation for quality and craftsmenship that manifests itself in the careful choice of fabrics owing to David being partially based in Japan. Few designers could get away with this sort of "childsplay" styling but David's eye for detailing and quality speaks for itself when you get up close witht he clothes. On a selfish note, David hits my own particular style sweet spot with genre juxtapositions that feel new and fresh - you can't box these clothes into one neatly specific category and thank god for that.
With so many fabric stories running through the collection that managed to come together through simple boyish silhouettes, school uniform-esque pleats and slouchy proportions of streetwear, it's impossible not to go through it grouping by grouping which is why I spent an awful amount of time in David's showroom in Paris.
It's impossible not to have your childhood heartstrings' tugged with this familiar blue graph paper, scribbled and scratched with David's own hand...
The blue lines of excercise books were then picked up by a specially woven jacquard where the texture of the delicate floral is emphasised through a tufted texture in the jacquard.
David has long been interested in the pixelated image, as evidenced by his Tumblr of GIF's, glitch art and other digital creations and so a navy and red rose turns up in another jacqard in pixelated form, which goes hand in hand with David's use of a curtain-esque cream brocade. David saw it as a challenge to spin this soft furnishings fabric into something contemporary and he did so with his well-cut pleated coat, recalling his earlier collection when he concentrated on a core collection of black coats.
That pixelated idea also permeates another central motif of the collection - the silver spoon - as in the one that goes inside the mouths of children of privilege. References to spoilt brats never looked so good though as the silver spoon is enlarged onto one of David's signature silk scarfs and scarf dresses. Or they're dropped into a random pattern of spoons that grace sweet dresses and blouses.
My favourite fabric in the collection has to be this cotton eyelet printed with little toys from David's past - a Buckingham Palace red guard, a dinosaur, a rubber duck and a Mickey Mouse glove. I love that the drawings of the toys look a little rough as though they've been marked in with chunky felt tip pens.
Humble cotton is made interesting with David's choice of washed cotton flecked with multicoloured dots in both white and indigo that work well in sweet school girl ensembles.
The showstoppers are undoubtedly these pattern-blocked "Mondrian" dresses which David daringly re-interprets with his own mixture of toy-covered eyelet, schoolish scribble print and graph-paper printed cotton.
Mistakes like the ink stains of spilt fountain pens are splotched all over these cotton shirts and hooped skirts and dresses. Injecting girlish volume has been David's way of making his boyish streetwear vibes converge with something more overtly feminine and these skirts are an evolution of the puffy crino-lined skirts of David's previous seasons.
The ink stain blotches also turn up as cut-outs in precise tailoring, another weapon in David's arsenal that he uses to emphasise his credentials as a supreme pattern-cutter, having worked at the likes of Ralph Lauren and Narcisco Rodriguez.
Cheeky knitwear remains a staple for David as next season a pixellated comb and cap makes it onto these sweet jumpers.
The childsplay continues with some ribbon doodles and a dinosaur eating away at the side of two simple peter pan collared shirt dresses.
Appropriately, scribble loafers and brogues are the footwear accompaniments to this collection as well as a pair of high and lo-tops printed with toys and made with French company Twins for Peace.
The jewellery ranges from the subtle with little strands and hoops for the ears to the literal with big uniform crest badge rings.
Whilst I was in Tokyo, Julien was kind enough to take me to the newly launched pop-up shop featuring his current A/W 12-3 collection (also available on FarFetch and colette if you want to have a gander) at the wonderful Biotop Adam et Ropé shop in Ebisu. The designer has created a "Mirror City Garden" where silver balloons featured in his A/W 12-3 show float around the brilliantly surreal space of this Biotop store. His collection of padded wool jackets and skirts, Alpine prints and metallic textures are well represented here alongside his staple collection of printed scarf dresses. I'd never been to Biotop before but have now discovered the joys of a store that a) has really decent coffee and food, b) lovely outdoor space with a proper garden and c) a treehouse. To be specific, it's a treehouse built by Japan's finest treehouse maker Takashi Kobayashi and you can actually climb into it if you so wish. I also have to thank Julien for taking me around some of his secret vintage spots in Daikanyama and Harajuku. Tokyo seems to be ingrained in the way this designer works but you get the feeling that he's a curious soul who would get the best out of any city he's based in. ANDAM requires his business to be based in Paris and he'll be exploring French artisanal embroidery, which is something of a dying art - that's an exciting prospect to look forward to from this young start-up.