Mister Freedom® Pantalon “Le VAILLANT”, FW2019 mfsc “Pioupiou” Collection, Indigo-dyed Linen-Cotton and SC401 “Hawaii” selvedge denim. Made in Japan.

Á la soupe! (1914)
Photo by Jacques Moreau from the book “1914-1918 Nous étions des hommes” Courtesy Edition de la Martinière ©2004

Mister Freedom® FW2019 mfsc Pantalon “Le VAILLANT”: Indigo-dyed Linen-Cotton model.

Pantalon “Le Vaillant” (2019) and worn “Le Valseur” (2017), cut from the same indigo-dyed HBT Linen/Cotton.

Mister Freedom® FW2019 mfsc Pantalon “Le VAILLANT”: SC401 “Hawaii” selvedge denim model.

Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Co Pantalon “Le VAILLANT”.
FW2019 mfsc “PIOUPIOU” Collection.
Made in Japan.

We introduced the historical background of our FW2019 mfsc “PIOUPIOU” collection with the recent release of the Mécano Jacket. The “VAILLANT” is the matching bottom that completes this jacket/trousers ‘fictitious’ set.

As mentioned in that intro, the flamboyant red trousers (the infamous Modèle 1867 Pantalon Garance) flashed by the pioupious at the onset of WW1 proved fateful for many. Well-adapted for gun smoke-filled battlefield of the 1830’s (the trousers original design dated back to 1829), when the vibrant red color helped French soldiers spot comrades amidst thick black gunpowder clouds, these fancy trousers proved totally unsuitable for the modern international warfare of 1914.
As soon as October 1914, the French Minister of the Armies ordered thousands of indigo-blue light-weight canvas work trousers (of civilian origin and designs, as worn by mechanics and blue-collar workers) to be requisitioned, dispatched to soldiers, and urgently worn over the Pantalon Garance. This triggered last minute production of tens of thousands of indigo blue overalls…

As an anecdote, I remember scoring a very large amount of similar work trousers in a Paris flea market (Puces de Montreuil), sometime in the early 2000’s, when the Parisian Puces promised more than Bob Marley T-shirts and used fast fashion junk. It must have been around 06:00AM when I spotted a dealer unloading bundles after bundles of blue pants from his truck… Surviving the initial heart attack, I suggested he’d leave them inside, and painstakingly cut a deal. And hour later, I was loading my rental car with about 150 pairs of NOS 1920’s-40’s indigo buckle-back vintage work pants! Some specimen from that lucky haul have survived after all those years, and are now part of the Mister Freedom® HQ archives. These are completely generic and very similar to the hastily-produced indigo overalls issued to French Poilus in 1915, and probably share the same manufacturing factories.

NOS 1920’s-40’s French utility pants loot, surviving specimen of a Parisian flea market lucky find in the early 2000s.

Before fashion designer Paul Poiret got commissioned to draft new outfits for French infantry troops (source here), leading to the familiar Bleu Horizon woolen uniforms issued at the end of 1915, civilian garments were often adopted by weary Poilus, as seen on period documents. Indigo blue mechanic overalls, drab corduroy (Velour d’Amiens) or coutil hunting jodhpurs, civvy leather brodequins, non-regulation stripe flannel shirts and jury-rigged sheepskin ponchos, hand-knit wool scarves sent to the front by anguished mothers and wives… All this, added to raw material restrictions and to the chaos of war, definitely made for an eclectically-clad bunch on the battlefields.
Check out the photographic works of Jacques Moreau in the book “1914-1918 Nous Étions Des Hommes” for vivid, rarely-seen hi-res visuals of Poilus in the field and in their daily life, chronologically documented. Fascinating.

Design-wise, the pattern of our Pantalon “Le VAILLANT” (French spelling for the word valiant) is inspired by late 1800’s utility and uniform trousers, the afore mentioned M1867 Pantalon Garance, and the classic white HBT linen M1882 bourgeron chore fatigues. Again, our rendition is a wearable hybrid and not a replica.
If we kept the traditional expansion gusset/cinch strap, we added two rear welt pockets, as pants without rear pockets are a bit hard to pull-off in 2019. Then came the pocketing/lining challenge… a tailoring puzzle skillfully solved by Mr. Fukutomi, Toyo Enterprise’s talented pattern-maker! We are partial to no open seams/no overlock in general, so the inside of our garments often become an elaborate textile origami of folded fabrics and seams.
We played with fabrics and pocketing patterns to let both indigo and white stripe tickings compliment each others, a concealed visual treat for the vintage clothing aficionado and tailoring connoisseur. The MF® Advertising Dept suggested “With the Pantalon Le VAILLANT, impress with what’s inside the trousers!“, but it probably won’t fly.
Anyways, the pocket openings are decorated with arcuate stitching, typical of turn-of-the-Century Old World tailoring. We also added thin belt loops for practicality, since suspenders are not everyone’s cup of tea. The extended button waist tab is a period detail. The button fly facing is cut from indigo-dyed poplin, for another serving of visual stimulation and a guarantee of interesting patina down the line.

Just as its Mécano amigo, our “Le VAILLANT” comes in two distinct fabric options. The first is a deep indigo-dyed linen/cotton herringbone twill (HBT), an old mfsc favorite with very rewarding patina potential. This linen-cotton blend fabric we developed a few years ago was inspired by late 1880’s French Firemen uniforms. It has been previously featured on the ValseurVeste Belleville and Gilet Gadjo  of the 2017 mfsc Gypsy Blues collection.
We also thought an “Americanized” version would be an interesting hybrid, so we are offering the “Le VAILLANT” in a sturdy 14 Oz. “401 Hawaii” selvedge dark indigo-dyed denim twill. This blend of 50% cotton and 50% recycled sugarcane fibers is milled in Japan exclusively for Sugar Cane Co. The “401” will be familiar to MF® OGs, as it was featured on the right leg of the original mfsc UFO, aka “7161” Utility Trousers released in 2006. This is the first time in 13 years that we are using this beautiful fabric again, with its characteristic subtle indigo shade variations in the yarns, its interesting denim nep, and attractive slub.

The 401 denim “Le VAILLANT” option is complimented by early workwear-style metal tack buttons with dull aluminum finish, while the HBT model features genuine bone suspender buttons.

Finally, our original FW2019 “Pioupiou” woven label design features a hardy and mighty Zouave (zouzou in military jargon of the period), and is a reference to La Coloniale and its often eluded 590,000 man-strong participation in the Allied victory of WW1. The specific grayish blue color of the label is a reference to the classic 1915 “Bleu Horizon” afore mentioned.

The MF® Pantalon “Le VAILLANT” is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.

SPECS:
PATTERN:
An original mfsc pattern inspired by vintage French military late 1800’s utility and uniform trousers, such as the Modèle 1867 Pantalon Garance, and the classic natural HBT linen M1882 bourgeron.

FABRICS:
Two distinct options:
a) Dark indigo-dyed 15 Oz. blend of 80% linen and 20% cotton herringbone twill (HBT), selvedge, milled in Japan.
b) Sturdy 14 Oz. “401 Hawaii” dark indigo-dyed denim twill, a blend of 50% cotton and 50% recycled sugarcane fibers. White w/ green line selvedge ID. Milled in Japan exclusively for Sugar Cane Co.

DETAILS:

  • Vintage-inspired silhouette with slightly tapered leg and medium-high rise.
  • Traditional rear cinch strap and selvedge expansion gusset with split waist band.
  • Two rear welt pockets, coin pocket and slash side pockets.
  • Decorative arcuate stitch on pocket openings.
  • Spilt outseams displaying fabric selvedge.
  • Thin trousers-style belt loops for wider belts.
  • Suspender buttons:
    a) Genuine bone with attractive finish for the indigo HBT Le VAILLANT.
    b) 1930’s style metal tack buttons with dull aluminum finish for the denim Le VAILLANT.
  • Fly buttons:
    a) Amber brown corrozo for the indigo HBT Le VAILLANT.
    b) Utilitarian donut type with dull aluminum finish for the denim Le VAILLANT.
  • Pocketing: attractive combination of cotton indigo stripe ticking, white stripe ticking and indigo-dyed cotton poplin.
  • Original mfsc “Pioupiou” woven rayon label.
  • Made in Japan.

SIZING/FIT:
Both versions of the “Le VAILLANT” come raw/un-rinsed. We recommend the usual protocol before wearing:

  • Cold soak for about 30-40mn, with occasional hand agitation.
  • Spin dry and line dry.
  • Wear briefly before fully-dry to set creases, then hang until fully dry.

Both versions will fit approximately the same following the above procedure, although the denim “Le VAILLANT” feels roomier because our mfsc shrink tests are done with heat-dried garments. There is therefore more shrinkage to be expected for the denim version with subsequent washing, or if a heat dryer is used.
We don’t recommend heat drying as this tends to soften garments, ‘break’ the fabric starch, and result in unsightly fold creases or marbling marks. Garment stiffness after a soak/line dry will subside rapidly with normal wear.

Fit: Due to the split waistband/rear expansion gusset pattern, the “Le VAILLANT” have a generous waist. Fully cinching the back strap will take in the waist by about 1 ½ inch. If your waist measures an actual 32 inches, the “Le VAILLANT” W32 will have a generous seat leg and a very comfortable fit. For a slimmer silhouette, if your waistline allows it, sizing down is an option. I usual wear W32 in mfsc trousers, but opted to size-down to a W30 for these, for a tighter seat and tapered leg silhouette.
Hemming: The bottom hem on both models is done using a single needle machine, no special chainstitch machine required. Not a fan of contemporary stacking, I opted to crop “Le VAILLLANT” quite high, above the traditional trousers’ break.
Regardless of the length of your liking, these trousers might look better traditionally hemmed than with Wild Ones denim rolls, unless you go with the full leg silhouette.

Please refer to sizing chart for measurements, reflecting a 30-40mn cold soak/spin dry/line dry process, resulting in minimal shrinkage. The raw measurements are given for reference only, as the numbers that actually matter are post soak. We do believe that, according to frequency of use, washable garments should be laundered when needed, and not kept ‘raw’.

“Le Vaillant” 401 Denim

CARE:
Launder when needed.
We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling during laundering. Machine wash, cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
Potential attractive patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.
Please note that dark indigo might cause color transfer, and potentially “bleed” on light-colored garments, furniture, and skin.

Available raw/unwashed.
Sizes
W28
W30
W32
W34
W36
W38

Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email sales@misterfreedom.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.

Thank you for your support,
Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom® 2019

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