Alexis Mabille Teams with HOM

French underwear maker HOM has paired up with fellow countryman Alexis Mabille, an up-and-coming fashion designer, to release a line of prêt-à-porter sous-vêtements – that’s ready-to-wear underwear – for the mass market.

“One will find chic boxers, briefs and underpants made of either light and soft fabrics or very comfortable materials such as elastane cotton” in the l’HOM d’Alexis Mabille collection, according to the website. “Aiming at a new and unexpected look within mens lingerie, the underwear collection consists of flower prints, black and white graphics, the essential small bow tie pattern – all with daring colors and details.”

Models clad in HOM’s black-and-white briefs or short trunks first showed off their new line at the Spring/Summer ’12 fashion week in Paris. Models walked the runway in Mabille’s outerwear, wearing shirts which read  “Alexis M’habille”—a play on his name, which sounds like the words for “Alexis dresses me”—or “Alexis m’habille me deshabille,” meaning “Alexis undresses me.” Before the pun could sink in, the models stripped off their pants and shirts to reveal the real star: Mabille’s underwear line. They showed briefs and trunks, some all with a thin black band below the waist, and made of a material patterned with Mabille’s signature bowtie in an almost Escher-like tessellation.

Detail of this class is hard to find in the men’s underwear market, and it was immediately apparent that Mabille’s entry would raise the bar for everyone. The collection represents a real step up for men’s underwear, which is all too often gaudy and gauche. HOM’s decision to partner up with Mabille seems like it might pay off for everyone.