Man's Best Friend

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Running Dogs spring/summer 2007 collection
A few weeks after his fall runway presentation, Christophe Mollet is in a Paris showroom, holding his eight-month-old daughter in one arm while flipping through a rack of clothing with the other. He pulls out some favorite pieces from the second collection by Running Dogs, a new menswear company based in Amsterdam. The name is a reference to the modern 40-year-old male. "It's an age when a man's right in the thick of it," says Mollet. "Trying to balance family, career, and scrambling in several directions."
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Running Dogs is a collective formed by Mollet, who previously worked with Yohji Yamamoto and Martin Margiela; Dutchman Alexander van Slobbe, who designed for Puma; Rafael Jimenez, who recently launched a MySpace-type fashion site (www.iqons.com), and painter Jean-Pierre Wati. Each season the group invites a few outside collaborators, such as American jeweler Josh Hickey, who made necklaces with beer bottle shards like talismans for next fall. "I love the creativity that comes from many talents," says Mollet.
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Running Dogs spring/summer 2007 collection
Their client is a man who cares how he looks yet never tries too hard, combining a discreet brand of chic with a dose of rock 'n' roll attitude. And the clothing naturally reflects this contrast with simple but strong pieces such as a casual T-shirt worn with a tailored jacket.
Yet, there's nothing effortless about the technical expertise that goes into each item. Details include hidden buttons on jacket cuffs, reinforced underarms, shirt collars that can be flipped over for a stand-up look. A gray wool sweater with off-center buttons has been hand-knit in Belgium in a heavy gauge, a density that Mollet says, "you can't get with a machine." The silk lining of a wool jacket is printed with an apparently abstract pattern, but look closely and you'll see a dog's eyes. Jeans are dyed in Japan with persimmon fruit and air-dried for two weeks for a subdued coppery shade. A khaki army coat based on a vintage model is crafted from a high-tech Swiss fabric that breathes when the weather's warm and retains heat in the cold. It's just the kind of piece that could quickly become a man's best friend.
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Running Dogs fall/winter 2007 collection
Running Dogs spring collection is available in Paris at Maria Luisa Homme, 4 rue Cambon, 011-33 1 42 60 95 48. The fall collection will be available in Seattle at Mario's, 1513 6th Avenue, 206-223-1461.
Getting into the thick of it with Dutch menswear collective Running Dogs.
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