It’s no secret—Barneys has a talent for recognizing talent. In the upcoming series we’re calling Bright Young Things, we will be spotlighting promising designers still in the early stages of their careers. First up: menswear designer Tim Coppens, but not without an introduction from Barneys VP of men’s designer collections Jay Bell.
How do we always seem to be at the forefront of discovering the yet-to-be-discovered bright, young things? Well, it pays to know people, especially the legendary Ms. Stella Ishii, a fashion visionary who has, over the past 20-plus years, collaborated with iconic talents like Rei Kawakubo, Stephen Sprouse, Martin Margiela and Alexander Wang (to name a few) early in their careers. Now add Tim Coppens to the roster.
Stella appeared at my office unannounced (she can do things like that) with the seemingly unassuming, but obviously gifted (his curriculum vitae boasts the Royal Academy of Antwerp as his training ground) Tim Coppens. Having lugged six garment bags uptown to the Barneys buying offices, Stella and Tim arrived bursting with determination and excitement, as if ready to divulge a well-kept secret.
Within those generic garment bags, Tim revealed a very detailed collection—one technical feat of artistry after another. Coats with sculpted geometric seams, innovative fabric juxtapositions and a fresh modern spirit unlike anything on the market.
That first Fall 2011 collection–the one stuffed into garment bags–sold to the piece. His sophomore effort created a customer clamor not unlike fellow Belgian Raf Simons’ collection ten years prior, “Woe Unto Those…” of Summer 2002.
Fall 2012 has arrived. Tim’s jackets are the first to blow out, destined to be covetable classics. Ten years from now, savvy fashion collectors will be happy to have met Tim Coppens early on. —J.B.