The last time Antonin Tron showed his label Atlein was during the fall 2020 collections in Paris. One year on, Tron has had a chance to step back, take stock, spend time off to quietly sketch and drape (and surf; he’s a serious and committed surfer) in his beloved Île de Ré, the seaside community on France’s Atlantic coast. “Since then, it has felt like the whole universe has changed five times,” Tron says. “It was good to have that break, to get rid of things I didn’t want to have anymore.”
Now he’s back with a new collection which takes his impeccable way of manipulating jersey into a whole new direction, reenergized and recharged, with a clear and direct sense of purpose, showcased in a short movie made by his brothers, Benjamin and Virgile, who work in film and 3D design, and with a soundtrack from Brooklyn band Boy Harsher, whom Tron is friends with. On a new schedule too, of sorts, presenting during the haute couture, even if it’s really more couture adjacent—Tron’s not on the official calendar, just pragmatically aligning himself to it to improve the time lapse between the sales and production of the collection.
That’s the thing with Tron; as much as he knows his way around a killer drape on a dress, he’s as emotionally and culturally attuned to practical considerations, which really manifests itself with this fall collection. Some of the changes he’s made are immediately evident, some not. The latter first. Tron’s finally been able to use as many sustainably sound fabrications as he’d like (well, almost). Much of what’s here is made from Seaqual, a postconsumer-waste yarn which he has magicked up (after about a year’s development) into a crepe jersey. Recycled polyester also features heavily, some with a technical quality to it, other times as a plissé material which laps the silhouette like the calmest of seas.
“Finally, I can make the Atlein draped dresses in 100% recycled fabrics,” Tron says. And there are quite a few in this collection, imbued with that slither and slide effect he does so well, sometimes asymmetric, sometimes edged with a guipure-type lace. (He’s hoping to find a sustainable tulle to mimic the effect for the dresses which go into production.) Others are constructed from gleaming planes of fabric, carefully cut so they look like they just effortlessly fall across the body.
Some of those dresses, more unexpectedly, have been layered up with what at first glance look like surfy pieces: rash guard shirts, leggings, the fleece robe which Tron wears when he gets out of the water post riding the waves, here thrown over a slip of a dress. These are pieces from the collection within a collection called Off Shore. They’re easier, sportier, more everyday, and the ripples they’ve made can be seen elsewhere, the vividly colored oversized shirts worn with lean-cut, ultra-long pants, sporty tees, and silky camisoles. (FYI: The camisole is back.) “Atlein was always quite sharp and quite sleek,” says Tron. “And I wanted to bring some ease, that I like, from surfing or from menswear.”
Tron has always excelled at evening, and now he’s using sequins for the first time, cut into yet more of those shapes which eschew effort and embrace ease, the standout being the look with a bonded crepe hoodie which is sporty at the front, drop-dead dramatic as it drapes back. It captures the promise of a time to dress up again, while acknowledging we’re living in a whole new reality. “With the world changing, Atlein had to find its voice, the idea of being simpler, exploring the essence of the clothes,” says Tron. Consider that voice to be speaking very loudly and very clearly.