Worshipped by stylists, hoarded by editors, and worn by just about every celebrity from Kate Moss to Chrissy Teigen, the Equipment shirt is indisputably (in this author’s opinion) the go-to top for everyone in fashion. Period. But how did this come to be? What secret recipe of serendipitous ingredients created such a monopoly on the buttoned-shirt market? To solve this sartorial riddle, we turned to the past for answers.
Christian Restoin founded the brand in Paris in 1976 with the intention of perfecting classic menswear-inspired shirt designs. Icons like Jane Birkin, Catherine Deneuve, Yoko Ono, and Lauren Bacall adopted the label into their wardrobes, further catapulting Equipment into 20 years of successful business. After two decades, Restoin moved on from the label; however, Serge Azria brought it back to life in 2010.
“Two years after it all started, I didn’t know any one celebrity … who didn’t own an Equipment shirt. I remember retailers flying back to Paris just to ship boxes worth back to the States,” Azria said in Equipment’s 40th-anniversary press release. “Equipment was, for its two decade span, the Levis 501 of buttoned shirts: easy, cool, classic—a wardrobe staple.”
Since its revival six years ago, Equipment has collaborated with creatives across the spectrum, including Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince of The Kills, the inimitable Parisian Caroline de Maigret, and of course Daria Werbowy, who did a massively popular self-portrait series for the brand’s F/W 14 ad campaign.
Thus it seems the Equipment shirt’s ability to stand the test of time can be attributed to its wearers: a hodgepodge of insouciant, creative women (and men!) who bring their version of je ne sais quoi to the table. And that never goes out of style.
In celebration of the brand’s 40th anniversary, get a special look at the Equipment archives below. Also, be sure to snag a buttoned shirt for yourself (it is the holidays, after all).