The Cypriot designer turns his hand to menswear for S/S 10 inspired by deconstruction of men's active sportswear.

Text by Steve Salter

Nicolas Petrou is an MA graduate from CSM who has been occupying his time in NYC working for a number of design companies including his own (PETROU). The launch of
PETROU\MAN sees the Cypriot designer turn his hand to menswear for SS10. Inspired by men's active sportswear, the debut offering is a deconstructed mix of patterns, mesh and a reinterpretation of the classic jacket. Here, the designer talks to Steve about Geoffrey Beene, loving New York, wanting to dress Olivier Theyskiens and being an excellent host.

Having graduated from CSM in 1993, you have spent time in NYC by offering your talents to an array of other design companies, what made you turn your attentions to PETROU/MAN?
Nicolas Petrou: Since I was a little kid I had an immense interest in clothes so my first experience with menswear was with my own clothes and the changes I used to make on them. I would change the lengths on them, the fit… my mother would go insane… I always had a pair of scissors handy. I just loved clothes and what they did to create your own identity…

Describe your collection in your own words
Nicolas Petrou: The inspiration for this collection started from an illustration by Sirichai done for Geoffrey Beene in 2001. Then I looked into men’s active sportswear and what they achieve with the cut, the fabric and the design. And of course all those creatures of the night that always strive to present something new and different.
I combined all these elements into the classics that men wear today and developed a collection that is focused and complete. There are mesh inserts in the sleeves of jackets for better movement, the fit is closer to the body but yet relaxed, the lengths are shorter than those of classic jackets and shirts… It’s a younger look in general for all the guys that do not want to look like their fathers when wearing a suit.

What inspires you at the moment?
Nicolas Petrou: So many things… I get inspiration from everywhere, politics, science, film, music, photography, the streets, the night people... I am a visual person and had been called nosy for staring at people; but that is what my work involves… observing and revisiting existing elements to create something new.

Talk us through the illustrations accompanying the look book...
Nicolas Petrou: The illustrations are based on our everyday life situations and are created from events that are happening around the world at the moment. I wanted to create an environment for the PETROU\MAN that exists today but is more abstract and creative. The destruction of the world, science, genetics, war, politics and what is generally on our mind in these times we live in. Everything was done with no budget; I shot the collection on a friend and created all the images on photoshop with my genius assistant Soteris Kallis. It was fun and exciting to see the result and the amazing reviews from different people.

Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
Nicolas Petrou: Probably here in New York, as I am so in love with this City, still working on what I love most, menswear!

Who is your fashion idol/hero?
Nicolas Petrou: They are anonymous! They are all those kids that make a huge effort every night to dress, to create their own identity through their clothing, to influence our senses and inspire us! They are my true idols and heroes.

Who are your favorite designers and why?
Nicolas Petrou: Comme des Garcons and Junya Watanabe have always been my favorite duo in design. That’s all I had in my closet and now that I am designing my own line is so hard for me to depart from some pieces! So I still wear it and support what they stand for! I have been admiring and respecting their craft for ever. I still remember Junya’s first collection in 1992 when I was at CSM. We went to Paris to see the collections and managed to visit the showroom and see it!!! It was genius! He took all these shirts and sweatshirts and created asymmetrical tops, skirts, gowns!! I fell in love!

If you could get anyone to model/wear your designs who would it be?
Nicolas Petrou: So many people… But, I would love to dress Olivier Theyskiens in PETROU/MAN. Also Nicolas Ghesquiére would look great in PETROUMAN.

If you weren't a fashion designer what would you be?
Nicolas Petrou: A chef probably, I love good, clean food and I would probably cater to all the fashion world. I have also been called the “best host”by my friends, so I probably would have done well in a restaurant!

Can we buy your collection?
Nicolas Petrou: Of course! The collection is only 2 weeks old and already getting great reviews from editors, stylists, buyers and showrooms. I have some great prepositions already from Paris, London and New York, so I am hoping to be able to expose the PETROU\MAN collection to different markets and audiences. I am always confident and optimistic!

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