“My great-grandfather opened a store on the Place de l’Église, within the coronary heart of our village, in 1926 to make sturdy darkish fits for the native farmers to put on to weddings and funerals,” says Antoine Allard. “He didn’t understand it then however his timing was good.” The city of Megève, nestled between the peaks of the French Alps, was about to develop into one of the vital modern winter-holiday locations within the nation. Baroness Noémie de Rothschild and her ski teacher had simply chosen it as the selection location for a French mountain resort – one to rival these in Switzerland. Snowboarding took off for the French beau monde, and AAllard quickly turned the go-to tailor for snow clothes.
Clients have continued to flock to the pine-panelled boutique, which stays in its authentic chalet in town sq., coming each for the refined après-ski put on and for the shop’s most iconic innovation – the fashionable ski trouser. Quickly after the store’s founding, regionally born ski champion Émile Allais turned pissed off by the constraining or saggy designs of the Thirties and requested his tailor, Armand Allard, to give you a streamlined replace that might enable him larger flexibility. Collectively they invented the fuseau – a pair of trousers that tapered on the ankle and hooked beneath the instep, making them straightforward to tuck into ski boots. In 1937, when Allais received the World Championship triple crown – downhill, slalom and mixed – sporting Allard’s trousers, the type prompted a sensation. “It was this garment that principally created fashionable snowboarding,” says Antoine.
Although nonetheless high-waisted and narrowed on the ankle, the trouser vary has since expanded to incorporate chocolate-brown lambskin kinds for girls (€1,200) and mocha-coloured flannel cargo pants for men (€350). Parkas are equally luxurious, in pebble-grey quilted wool and cashmere (€3,880) or ivory wool and cashmere with a removable inner hooded vest (€5,417). “I consider in custom however with smart innovation,” says Antoine of his designs, noting that the pockets in their jackets have been usual to maintain the bigger iPhones.
Jean Cocteau dubbed Megève “the twenty first arrondissement of Paris” within the ’50s, and because the city’s recognition with bourgeoisie holidaymakers has continued to develop, so too has AAllard’s assortment of cashmere and merino après-ski put on.
It’s this “chalet-wear”, now by a spread of makers, that accounts for a lot of the present stock – suppose cable-knit cashmeres in scrumptious tones of tomato and absinthe; numbered limited-edition cotton shirts from tailors in France and Italy; and sheepskin-lined wool jackets, corduroy trousers and sports activities jackets with material by Loro Piana. Womenswear contains quilt coats with cashmere collars and celadon-coloured turtlenecks with raglan sleeves – reflecting what Antoine calls “le Megève life-style”. The one bestselling merchandise is sheepskin slippers embroidered with the AAllard brand, that are made in Suffolk, England. Every little thing is designed to be appropriate each for lounging across the chalet fireplace or assembly mates for dinner at basic Megève restaurant Flocons de Sel.
The shift into off-piste put on has allowed the shop to play to its strengths. “Working with neoprene and different active-sports materials wasn’t the perfect use of our tailoring expertise,” explains Antoine, noting that just about the whole lot is made to their very own designs and completed by hand. However “a sure Savoyard spirit and athleticism nonetheless stays the DNA of what we do at this time”.
Whereas designs are sometimes playful, “they’re by no means ostentatious”, Antoine says. “Now we have been known as the “Hermès des Neiges” [Hermès of the snow], which may be very flattering, however we’re totally different in a single necessary method. Our outlets [one for clothing, one for accessories] are solely in Megève. A world with the identical names in every single place is boring.” His household’s store will survive, he believes, as a result of “magnificence and luxury by no means goes out of fashion”.
148 place de l’Église, Megève, France; aallard.com; @aallardmegeve