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Even French academics like Balenciaga suits

Antoin Compagnon's "habit vert" for his induction to the Académie Française designed by Demna

Even French academics like Balenciaga suits  Antoin Compagnon's habit vert for his induction to the Académie Française designed by Demna

Balenciaga's new couture customer is neither a pop star nor an entrepreneur. Antoin Compagnon, a critic and professor of French literature, has chosen the Maison directed by Demna to make the "habit vert," the suit he will wear during his induction to the Académie Française. This is the first time that the brand founded by Cristobál Balenciaga in 1917 has been commissioned to design a suit for a member of the academy, as in the past, most of the inductees of the Académie Française - known as "les immortels" - were used to preferring Dior or Givenchy. The "habit vert" was instituted in 1801, but it has since undergone minor modifications over the centuries, thanks to illustrious figures from the academy, such as Victor Hugo in 1892. 

According to Balenciaga, before the suit for Antoin Compagnon was embroidered for over 900 hours at the Maison Lesage, the tailcoat, the black trousers and cloak, and the shirt, the white waistcoat and bow tie were tailor-made over 300 hours by the expert hands of the sartorial team at Balenciaga's Paris atelier, while the sword, sported by Compagnon to represent his life and work, was produced by Boucheron, a luxury jeweller which, like Balenciaga, belongs to the French Kering group. For the president and CEO of the luxury company, François-Henri Pinault, the occasion is a great source of pride for the maisons chosen by Compagnon. «These unique pieces fully reflect the personality of Antoine Compagnon, a manifestation of creativity combined with the greatest skills and traditions that allow individuals to express what is unique to them,» he explained. Compagnon is known in the world of academic literature as a leading expert on Michel de Montaigne, Charles Baudelaire, Marcel Proust and Colette. The handle of the sword bears the shape of a feather, and a hedgehog in the cabochon, indicating a quip from the Greek poet Archilochus, «A fox knows many things, but a hedgehog knows a great thing.»