Some bonds extend deep into childhood. Alexis Zambrano and Jesus Torres grew up down the street from each other in the city of Monterrey, Mexico. There, the two young friends would observe how their grandfathers dressed. It could have been a social function or merely retrieving the mail, but it was always a properly fitted suit, a perfect hat and the menswear accessories, such as antique cufflinks, collar bars and tie pins, that have been forgotten in the rush for expediency.
But Monterrey was only the beginning. The two friends, now youths, traced parallel paths that led them through three countries before meeting again to launch M. de Phocas. First, it was boarding school shenanigans in New Hampshire, where the required jacket and tie would later inform their tailored sense of style. Spurred by his love for fine cooking, Alexis then headed off to Paris, where he enrolled in cooking classes at the Ritz hotel. Meanwhile, Jesus entered Pratt Institute's architecture program.
The two would later reconnect, a few years down the road, at a chance meeting in Manhattan. Alexis, by then, had also decided to pursue architecture and had entered Parsons The New School for Design's program. It was during their studies that their search for fine but classic menswear accessories came up with little more than antique finds. So instead, they made their own.
They apprenticed with a fine jeweler in NYC's diamond district before launching M. de PHOCAS, named after the story Monsieur de Phocas penned by notorious dandy Jean Lorrain, in the summer of 2010. With pearls and pink sapphires adorning silver or gold cuff links and other bespoke items, the line is inspired by Lorrain and the dandies of old, but with a cheeky nod to the modern, style-minded man. Each piece is handmade by artisans in New York City.