The first item I bought from Blanc Bleu was about four sizes too big – a washed-out, jeans blue and oversized jumper with white stripes around the lower third. It was so baggy it almost reached my knees. The sleeves kept on slipping over the back of my hands and right up to my fingertips. A trait I valued and cherished, being a somewhat shy-ish 19-year-old back then. (The jumper was also on sale and one of the few things I could afford.)
It was the first of a long tradition of summers spent in the South of France; the summer I fell in love with the Provence, with the Cotê d’Azur, with the people, the food and the fashion. A fashion that seems timeless and ageless, very much after my heart.
A good 12 years later I embarked on my first vacation together with Big M. A two-week long road trip that took us from Zurich down to Sanary-sur-mer, further on to Saint-Tropez and after an extended product testing at a vineyard in Italy back to Zurich. In a small boutique in Aix-en-Provence I made him buy a couple of Blanc Bleu linen shirts and a washed-out, blue and white striped bathing short.
Fast-forward four years, a marriage and an energetic little toddler girl. Big M still owns and wears the pieces, forever reminding me of that first, utterly loved-up vacation. And still, our holiday destination of choice is the South of France.
Of course, we have to visit the Maison Blanc Bleu at the Place des Lices in St Tropez. If only to have a look. Of course we don’t leave with only a look. But much more importantly, we bump into the founder of the brand, Patrick Khayat, Monsieur Blanc Bleu himself.
Patrick takes pride in selecting the best items for us, serving us strong and sweet Italian espresso, telling us about his passion and the rational behind his collections. ‘I only design clothes I’d like to wear myself.’ he says, helping me into a casual linen jacket. ‘Clothes you can keep for a very long time.’
I nod silently and think of the oversized jumper and how I just can’t get myself to give it away, because the fabric is still so nice, and because it is still somewhat cool, in its completely trend-defiant way. Knowing that Patrick designed it because he would love to wear it himself might make me want to keep it another 16 years.