His and Hers

Baron Baronne's gender-bending new designs capture the hazy space in between. By Ryan Haase
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For the two designers of the new clothing line Baron Baronne, choosing whether to dress women or men seems to have been no easy task—at times, it looks like they couldn't decide at all. The label, which means Baron Baroness in French, presses itself against the edge of womenswear, taking up the hazy space between the two nouns in its name. "I've always admired a man's cloakroom, a man's suit," says Sibylle Genin, one half of the twosome. "The masculine forms of the suit can really enrich the look of a lady."
Genin and her co-conspirator Lambert Perera Cortès met while studying at the École de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne. "I came from Barcelona," explains Cortès, "which is a city with such inspiring architecture. There is so much innovation, while at the same time, respect for tradition." Genin, meanwhile, grew up in Grasse, surrounded by "that French chic that has a touch of sobriety." After her stint at Felipe Oliveira Baptista and his at Lanvin, they combined their sensibilities, launching Baron Baronne last year.
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For this season, the duo crafted a collection that mischievously pulls at the shapes of men's suiting. Straight-cut blazers disguise the curves of a woman's chest, but stop halfway down the sleeve, revealing her shapely forearms. Slouchy trousers seem almost like they were stolen from a boyfriend's bedpost, save for their soft, satiny sheen. An asymmetric waistcoat creates a slight hourglass, in a white-and-purple-striped fabric that looks like it was hacked from the panels of a zoot suit.
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When Genin and Cortès do supply outright femininity, they do so in tempered doses. Tulip-shaped skirts are delivered amid a rack of schoolboy-uniform-like walk shorts. A dress rendered in lush blue silk fastens in the back like a double-breasted blazer. With all this, as Cortès calls it, distortion and destruction of classical dress codes, will Baron Baronne ever make men's clothing for men? "Men can wear our designs," he says. "We don't want to divide into two collections at this point, but maybe someday we will." For now, though, we'll tag this article "womenswear."
For more information, go to www.baronbaronne.com.
Baron Baronne's gender bending new designs capture the hazy space in between.
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