In the late Eighties and early Nineties, I spent much time in Southeast Asia, which, before my lifetime used to be known as Indochina.
Indochina was a French colony that consisted of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, each of which were added and liberated at different times, the entire colony lasting from about 1887 to 1954.
The region has changed drastically since the time of my wanderings and even more so from the time of the French colonizers, whose power began weakening in the 1930’s.
Dreams of an independent country were riding high back then, as clandestine groups fomented revolutionary fervor and strikes broke out on every level of society.
The first uprising, which was crushed in 1930, was led by the Vietnamese Nationalist Party whose activities were continued by Nguy?n Sinh Cung—otherwise known as Ho Chi Minh.
Colonial zeal in Paris remained strong throughout the Thirties as exemplified by the 6-month Exposition coloniale internationale, which attracted 33 million visitors in 1931.
The French influence was undeniable. Architecture, language, cuisine, culture—every aspect of life in Indochina was impacted, including menswear.
During the 1930’s, outdoor activities were growing in popularity, leading to sports attire called “sportswear” or “for sport” and laying the foundation for “ready-to-wear.”
Shoulders were widening (as with the drape cut), while the straight-leg was tapered at the bottom of the pant.
Summer seaside resorts became the inspiration of the casual evening suit. Ties were wide. The head was crowned with the fedora.
It is on this backdrop that Nikolaj d’Étoiles has created its 2011 spring/summer collection.
Nikolaj d’Étoiles is the brainchild of Swedish designers and cousins, Anders and Tobias Björkstedt, both of whom arose from H&M.
Photos Copyright Nikolaj d’Étoiles.