As reflected in its namesake, ESSIUS (a palindrome for SUISSE) continuously strives to celebrate the country’s philosophy, themes and craftsmanship. Since its conception in 2015, ESSIUS has pushed the envelope when it comes to contemporary menswear infused with classical elegance, producing high quality pieces made with the finest Swiss sourced materials.
This is made perfectly clear in their latest “Home Sweet Home” collection for SS18. All pieces in the collection are crisp and wrinkle-free, allowing today’s modern man the luxury of light and effortless immaculate style.
Precision is another Swiss value that is held in high regard, marking their second collaboration with OMEGA luxury timepieces. An intimate collection with less pieces but a stronger, streamlined presence bringing us home to Switzerland. We had the opportunity to chat with artistic director Youn Chong Bak to learn more about the world of ESSIUS as well as their latest collection for SS18.
Could you firstly tell us how the brand ESSIUS began? How did the partnership between yourself and your co-founder Adel Najah form?
When Adel and I got introduced through a common friend in Spring 2015, we both had already a clear idea of creating a brand on our own, but during our discussion we realized that his idea was very close to mine and so the project of ESSIUS was born. Adel and I wanted to create a Swiss luxury brand. We realized that Switzerland has certain values that match with what we wanted to create in menswear such as precision, quality, rareness, uniqueness and rigor. But of course that was not enough for us.
We also wanted to give a contemporary twist to the brand and to every collection; that’s how the brand and name itself got inspired – by the Dadaism movement that started out of Zürich.
What is the main creative vision for the brand? What aspects of Dadaism inspire you?
The philosophy of Dadaism gave us the inspiration to create a name with a twist – a palindrome: engage le jeu que je le gagne (if you read the sentence backwards, letter by letter, you get the same end result), and design a differentiating trademark collar applied to all tailored pieces, inspired by the LC4 chair of Le Corbusier. Our philosophy was really to create a twisted detail into a rather classic product such as suits and coats. ESSIUS ended up being a wise mixture of pure tailoring tradition applied onto a contemporary silhouette with a quest for quality fabrics and construction. It’s what we refer to as twisted luxury.
How was your previous experience as the Creative Director of SMALTO? What perspective did it give you in terms of creating your own brand?
My experience as the creative Director of Smalto gave me my a complete knowledge about tailoring since I’ve learned form the best Mister Francesco Smalto himself.
During my career at Smalto I realized that there was much more to tailoring that only tradition. I’ve learned great techniques, details and tradition that are important in tailoring, but for me there is another great way to transform those points into modern tailoring. Offering services that come from tradition such as made-to-measure and bespoke, and personalizing even more each item with a modern technique.
In your own words, what does luxury mean to you?
Luxury means to have the possibility to own a garment with perfect details, without any concession to quality, driven by zero time restriction, which has an absolute and intangible value.
Swiss craftsmanship is reputed the world over for its excellence in quality. How can we see that cross-over into ESSIUS’ collections?
Craftsmanship is one of the points that is very important for us, high quality fabric such as Swiss cotton are used in our collection. The manufacturing is made in Italy but we will be having Swiss production in the upcoming collections. It is absolutely a must that our collection has a impeccable construction.
What can you tell us about your “Home Sweet Home” SS18 collection?
ESSIUS SS18 collection is inspired by shirting, with the creation of our particular Shirt in collaboration with Omega I designed a whole palette of cuffs that can be combined with a selection of collars which can be personalized with client’s initials drawn by street art artists. The large shirt collection is completed by a total look of different garments that are made out of shirting fabrics.
As menswear continues to evolve and expand, what are some aspects that remain timeless for you?
Quality and fit in menswear remain timeless. Men pay a lot more attention about comfort that looks.
What drew you towards designing menswear and what do you hope for the future of menswear?
To be honest, with womanswear you have the possibility to create everything and anything and it still would work. The interesting thing about menswear is, that men are more aware of details, how the garment will make men look better. I was driven by creating garments that are at the same time wearable but also more than only a classic item. But the process for men getting interested into fashion was a lot longer so I do hope that men will be even more open minded about fashion but in terms of quality and looks.
How would you compare the menswear styles of Paris and Zurich?
Paris and Zurich menswear style are complete different. In tailoring, Zurich is more influenced by Italy and Germany on the other hand, Paris is more influenced by British tailoring.
And lastly, could you describe the ESSIUS man for us in your own words?
The ESSIUS man is an ambitious man that is aware of quality. He is interested in contemporary art and pays attention to luxury. He travels a lot for business but also for leisure. The ‘made in’ and the choice of fabrics are very important, and he also does not want to look like any other guy in a suit–he is looking for something more edgy and distinguished.