Invariably, Pierre Mahéo starts his day with a coffee in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, the neighborhood where he lives and works. Seated on the terrace, he observes. Passers-by, life, the spirit of the times… “Every day, at 8:30 a.m., I am outside, even when it is -3°C. I look at everything, a shoulder height, a trouser cuff, a way of walking and especially what people wear in everyday life. Sometimes I take pictures of a silhouette, of a movement, but above all I write. My iPhone is full of notes; my collections, I like to start them with words. »
The founder of Officine générale, this men’s and women’s brand of fine cut classics, in hand-picked materials, never seems to have lost the course he set for himself in 2012, when launching his label. “My point of view has not changed: to work with the best fabrics, opting for the fairest selling prices possible. I like regularity, consistency, defending a certain idea of style without deviating. You know, I’ve had the same tastes since I was 20. »
We don’t redo each other. Pierre Mahéo, 47, always refers to the very New Wave French aesthetic, half-Truffaut, half-Godard. He sometimes cites actor-directors Roger Vadim and Maurice Ronet as models, but also Michel Piccoli, Serge Gainsbourg, Jacques Dutronc. “I’ve always appreciated very tight locker rooms. That of Gainsbourg had barely ten pieces. This way of wearing clothes until they run out of steam, hammering home an identity that spans the years and trends, that’s all I like. »
Stylist and businessman
The Covid-19 crisis only reinforced the course of action he had set himself: local sourcing, little or no marketing expenditure, European production, assumed discretion. Already in good financial shape before the pandemic, Officine Générale multiplied record results in 2020 and 2021 until it caught the eye of an American investment fund which bought out a minority share of the company.
Since then, Pierre Mahéo has multiplied the openings of stores: from New York to Los Angeles (two points of sale opened in the space of three months), via San Francisco and French cities such as Aix-en-Provence or Lyon. The United States, where french touch seduced, remain its first market (it achieves more than 50% of its turnover there). In November 2021, when he opened his first store in New York, in the Soho district, there was a crowd.
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