Fashion

Charaf Tajer is Men’s Paris Fashion Week’s Newcomer to Watch

The bicontinental designer is a Virgil Abloh-approved favorite of Paris’ streetwear crowd.
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Imagery courtesy of Casablanca

Charaf Tajer thinks we’re living in a very tasteful era. Democratizing forces in fashion, like Instagram and the internet, he says, are creating more discriminating and discerning luxury consumers. The 33-year-old designer, who co-ran one of Paris’ hottest nightlife spots, Le Pompon, and co-founded high streetwear brand Pigalle, has collaborated with the likes of Virgil Abloh and comes from a background in architecture. So the question, for him, is where is fashion headed? More importantly, where does an evolving consumer go?

Enter Tajer’s latest project, Casablanca, a luxury label focused on minimalist yet high-quality pieces centered around two central concepts: comfort and elegance. Tajer, poised to show his next collection in January at Paris Fashion Week Men’s, has mastered the art of balancing ease and luxury just as he has mastered being bicontinental: the line is designed in both Casablanca and Paris, although produced specifically in the former. The relaxed, vacation feel pervades the pieces: plush emerald green and nude tracksuits are a mainstay; cream suiting and floral prints also make their appearances. “We are in a moment where there is a lot of ironies,” he says. “What I love to do, in general, is go back to the beauty itself and try to touch it as much as I can without trying to protect myself with any type of irony or jokes.”

Central to Tajer’s collection is what he calls the duality of the modern man. The Spring/Summer 2019 collection is half, as he calls it, après-sport; the rest is a more unadulterated luxury. “With Casablanca, we are always going to develop this bipolarity I would say, or maybe day and night. But it’s always on the same philosophy and culture,” he says. “I would say as a man, you always want to be comfortable. In a tracksuit, you want to be comfortable. In a suit, you want to be comfortable, but you also want to be elegant as well.” His result is a hyper-evolved take on the leisurely edge given to most menswear these days. “it’s a little bit more... a man of my age.”

Morocco has long served as a haven for fashion folk, and Tajer is the latest to join the legacy of designers. From Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé’s fabled hideaway to Simon Porte Jacquemus’ Instagrammable obsession with the North African land, something about the desert oases holds an inspirational power. Tajer, whose parents met in an atelier in Morocco, has the cultural wherewithal to know his way around Moroccan references without seeming kitschy or appropriative. “There is a mix of culture. During the second world war, it was French Morocco,” he says. “This was a very interesting point in terms of architecture, in terms of culture in general. So I think, if anything, it’s not just the look of it, it’s more the story of it.”

“Morocco is a place that is inspiring and just sounds like travel,” he says, after growing up taking his vacations there. Although he’s found his muse in a country he culturally relates to, he’s noticed that the general trend in menswear at the moment is towards any number of ways to express oneself artistically. “I think the difference really is how men embrace fashion right now. there is something going on in that direction and I like it because there are so many designers who do different things,” he says. “I feel the expression is, it’s a multiplicity, I would say. The multiplicity of expression and the freedom of it.”

See the rest of his Spring/Summer 2019 Collection below.

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