by Kasey Caminiti | August 1, 2012 12:00 am
Like many style-conscious men their age, Jean-Victor Meyers and Louis Leboiteux aren’t interested in flashy sartorial declarations of personal wealth, even if the two, both 26, have plenty of cash to spare. instead, the president and CEO, respectively, of upstart French knitwear brand Exemplaire specialize in discreet indulgences: understated sweaters in dark, neutral colors made of ultra-luxe materials sourced from the kinds of places where the guides are called sherpas and the closest boutique is half a universe away. cut into slim, louche fits, exemplaire’s debut collection features cashmere and chinchilla worked into pieces like a shawl-collar cardigan ($1,900) and a biker-style blouson jacket with lambskin patches ($3,200). “We target quite a small range of customers,” Meyers says. “Young, demanding people with a high purchasing power.” Meyers could, of course, be describing himself—and, indeed, he admits that exemplaire’s sensibilities reflect his own. He is the grandson of Liliane Bettencourt, heir to the L’Oréal cosmetics fortune and one of the richest women in the world. He was named to the board of that company earlier this year following her departure. Meyers met Leboiteux through mutual friends at a dinner party years ago, but the two decided to collaborate only last year. “I was always making alterations on the clothes I bought,” Meyers recalls. “One day Louis suggested that it would be easier for me to create my own line.” Obsessive about details, he points out the collection’s subtle nods to branding—for instance, an inconspicuous “X” logo is sewn into some sweaters. “Our generation’s idea of luxury is much more quality-oriented,” he says, discussing the collec- tion’s finer points. “customers are increasingly sensitive to the manufacturing process, the traditional techniques and the know-how that is involved. rightfully so, as high prices are not always synonymous with quality.”
Besides himself and his business partner, party-page favorites like Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron and Jay-Z are among those he envisions wearing the line. But if the celebrities want the clothes, they’ll have to act quickly. Exemplaire is only producing 50 editions of each garment, and the collection is exclusively available at four retailers worldwide: the Barneys New York flagships in NYC and L.A., Montaigne Market in Paris and Dover Street Market in London. Hova, you’re on notice.
All Photos Courtesy of Exemplaire
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