One thing to remember when dressing while the temperature rises; style and comfort never need to be mutually exclusive. Great summer tailoring is often by necessity defined more casual by it’s lighter fabrics, earthy tones and softer construction, however this is no excuse for sloppy dressing.
I joined forces with fellow menswear aficionado and model, Richard Biedul, to produce a summer editorial for The Rake magazine to show that warm weather can facilitate a kind of dressing that has its own charms.
Since John Harrison joined Gieves & Hawkes as Creative Director in 2017, a focus has been to introduce a light and relaxed silhouette to the tailoring while still maintaining the house’s powerful classic core. With SS19 being the first of his spring/summer collections to be revealed I picked out my 4 favourite looks, flew to Fez, Morocco and put them to the test;
Always in search for my next sports coat, I could only be excited when I discovered this khaki green piece when first browsing the new collection. It’s completely deconstructed, unlined and made from such earthy, rich coloured cotton. The cut features notched lapels, patch pockets and it is finished with buttons referencing the house’s ‘1771 Crown‘.
I have never been one to experiment with pink. Not until now! This suit is dyed a warm shade of coral and cut from lightweight linen. The colour and soft construction will add a drop of relaxation to your wardrobe while keeping a cool formality to impress at meetings or on a night out.
A true summer-wardrope essential of mine is the light brown linen suit. Gieves & Hawkes is blending the Savile Row tradition with modern sensibility and presents this “Oatmeal” two-piece suit in 100 % linen. It guarantees you the coolest summer outfit on the market. Here styled with a dark green cactus print shirt, referencing this collection’s botanical inspiration.
A casual jacket that takes its inspiration from the traditional blazer and field jacket. It features a zip and button front, notched lapels and a three front hip pockets. It is cut from a Loro Piana ‘Storm system’ fabric and has critically taped seams making it completely showerproof and the perfect companion for an adventurer. Here styled with a MTM linen shirt, striped silk tie, cream linen trousers and a pair of suede penny loafers.
A place where old meets new. The City of London is an architectural time capsule characterised by clashes of medieval landmarks, Victorian arches and modern skyscrapers.
The Gieves & Hawkes spring / summer 19 collection celebrates the tailoring house’s roots at No 1 Savile Row. An address that signifies both the height of sartorial elegance and the spirit of British adventure being the former home of The Royal Geographical Society. The references are brought to life throughout the collection’s tailoring with tropical patterns, earthy tones and functional fabrics.
I put together 3 of the season’s tailoring looks, starting with;
A striking yet sophisticated business look; this ocean blue double-breasted suit screams power with its wide-cut lapel and dark windowpane check. Cut from an English woven lightweight wool makes it perfect for the warmer days in the office, tie off and its daring enough for the night. Here styled with a floral patterned silk and a linen handkerchief.
Earthy tones are my personal favourites for the spring and summer. They are easy to mix & match and makes a more casual look. I broke up this classic-cut dark green suit with a striped linen shirt and a brown tie.
Lightweight tailoring is the best tool to stay sharp in the city heat. This navy and white puppytooth suit is cut from an open-weave fresco cloth designed to breathe. Here styled with a striped silk/linen tie and tropically patterned handkerchief.
It has been a great pleasure attending this year’s SIHH, the event in every watch professional’s
diary, bringing makers and admirers of beautiful timepieces together to
discover the latest collections and new trends. I was invited by Vacheron Constantin to
join them in Geneva for this year’s expo to explore the Maison’s latest novelties.
My personal highlights of this year’s launch…
The new Overseas Collection presents the collection’s first self-winding tourbillon movement which is revealed through it’s beautiful tourbillon cage. Combining the distinctive style of Overseas with the elegance of a majestic blue dial makes it a perfect companion of a true globetrotter.
The Traditionelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar shows that Vacheron Constantin does not rest on it’s laurels. This timepiece features a system (patent pending) that allows the wearer to switch from 5 Hz frequency (active mode) to a 1.2 Hz frequency (standby mode). Meaning that the originally stated 4-day power reserve (when active) is extended to 65 days (in standby mode).
The Les Cabinotiers collection honours the name given to the prestigious and most skilled watchmakers, cabinotiers. The watches in the collection are highly complicated and unique timepieces that were historically only made by bespoke order, but now form a whole department on the Maison’s first floor in Geneva.
The crown jewel of this new collection is inspired by the legend of the phoenix. The myth of the bird that rises from its own fiery ashes which represents the immortality of the Les Cabinotiers Grand Complication Phoenix which packs no less than 15 complications into its meticulously engraved, 47mm rose gold case.
The power of a scent is not to be underestimated; a waft of the right perfume can take a your personal style to a new level in seconds. However, selecting the right fragrance for the right occasion is crucial for it’s appreciation. Your choice of fragrance should reflect your personality and whether you are in the boardroom, taking time off or going out.
With head notes of fresh Juniper berries (also used in Gin), the fragrance Juniper Sling brings a tribute to the roaring 1920s. Think crisp evening-elegance. It first teases with aromatic Angelica (root and seed). The heart next races to the vitality of cinnamon, pepper and cardamon. Orris creates a smooth melody of softer cherry-woods. Notes of leather, brandy – a liqorous, vigorous base – hit the spot.
Lothair, a fragrance as novel as the sight of land on the horizon, and at the same time as reassuring as – tea.
Whether at sail on the High Seas or at home in one’s private London Club, refreshments are essential. The British penchant for gin and tea is renowned and well-known. From notes of a fresh gin-grapefruit tonic, it settles into a fig and black-tea signature. The scent is progressively smooth with hints of magnolia and lavender. Ultimately it turns daring and dark with trials of debonair woods (cedarwood, wenge).
The night fragrance, Endymion Concentre. Named after Endymion, Zeus’s most handsome son. A Greek God in a perpetual slumber, forever young. He was in the night visited by Luna, his divine consort, she who loved him so.
The fragrance reflects passion, love and loyalty. The perfect companion for the easy-going gentleman. The scent is based on elegant hues of geranium, lavender and mandarin, nutmeg, resins and suede. A demi-lune, a semi-oriental.
A few months back, I shared the experience of measuring up my Canali Su Misura (Made-to-Measure) suit, via appointment at the London menswear shop – Richard Gelding part of baltzar.com. I was delighted to receive a message 4 weeks later telling me that my suit had made it over from Italy and landed in London.
I returned to the store for a final fitting, excited to see the result of the various changes and choices done when ordering. I was instantly pleased to see the soft textures and deep blue colour of the beautiful fabric. I had already seen the fabric on the sample, but when it unfolds in front of you as a full suit it always becomes more true to its colour and slightly lighter than on a small sample piece. Something which had been pointed out and highlighted to me during the process of choosing.
Next up was trying on the suit. By now having had several pieces made, by routine I scanned the suit for potential need of finishing touches. I was happy to conclude that the seam of the structured shoulder fit perfectly on the edge of my shoulder bone, the sleeve length was sublime and it had a very nice v-shape on my waist. Looking at the trousers; the waist fitted nicely on my hips and the drape was just impeccable, potentially I am going to let out the waist just a fraction, something which always has to be considered a possibility due to the nature of a waist circumference. The trousers came unfinished, meaning that the length would be adjusted and altered by Richard Gelding’s in-house tailor. Due to how the rest of the trousers is fitting the final length may vary slightly, since we did quite a lot of changes in the waist, seat and leg area, it is the safer option to finish the trousers when everything else is in place; also I am quite particular about the length and tend to have slightly different length depending on the characteristics off the trousers.
Another important detail on the trousers are the double reverse pleats, these folds of fabric adds flexibility to the front of the trousers as it allows to expand slightly when sitting down, as well as an aesthetically pleasing effect of drape to the trouser legs.
The final result came out very satisfying. We strived to make a classic formal lounge suit the Milanese way (the Canali way). The No.1 suit in a man’s wardrobe should be a classic dark navy suit and this we definitely achieved. I am particularly happy with all the visible design attributes of the suit. Due to the plain nature of the fabric we added quite a few details to make sure if still felt exciting and distinguished, which I think really worked out well. The structured shoulder together with the peak lapel giving the suit a powerful silhouette. The ticket pocket disrupting the otherwise completely symmetrical design.
The side adjuster and buttons for braces is eliminating the need of belt loops, which helps enhance the clean look of the waistline of the suit. The trousers was finished with a turn-up to highlight the short but perfect finishing of the trousers.
Overall my interaction with the store Richard Gelding has indeed been happy and pleasant experience, a good start to a happy relation. Their combination of relaxed, yet knowledgeable approach makes shopping easy and enjoyable.
An old saying says “You can tell a gentleman by his shoes” and it has been stuck in my head ever since I first heard it. As much as it might not be right, I feel there is a slight of truth to the words. Having an eye for details such as your shoes, shows a gentleman’s ability to take care of the things he loves. Wearing a well polished pair of shoes can make a great first impression, whether that be professionally or personally. Whilst a sloppy shoe may give the impression that you have come unprepared and do not think highly of yourself nor the person you are meeting.
Two classic pairs of shoes that I have always found essential for any gentleman is a quality pair of Oxfords and an elegant pair of loafers. These two styles will have you covered for practically all smart-casual occasions as well as professional dress codes.
The Oxford shoe The Oxford, is a simple pair of shoes which is mostly considered as a formal style choice. It is named after the University of Oxford and characterised by it’s shoelace eyelets that are attached under the vamp, a feature termed “closed lacing”.
There are two main variations of the Oxford shoe; The Classic Oxford which is a basic style without perforations (as seen on the left image above) and The Brogue which is defined by it’s perforations (seen on the right image above).
The Loafer The Loafer, also called “the slip-on”, is the epitome of “the lazy shoe”. Having no laces, there is no need to bend over or to use a shoe horn to put one the shoe, before walking out of the door in the morning. There are numerous different types of loafers. My two personal favourites are The Penny Loafer and The Tassel Loafer.
The Penny Loafer, as we know it today, was first introduced by shoe company G.H.Bass in 1936. Their design included a distinctive strip of leather (the saddle) of the shoe with a diamond-shaped cut-out. Their version of the loafer was named Weejuns (to sound like Norwegians – a nod to the Norwegian roots of the shoe). Weejuns became very popular in America, especially among the students at The Ivy League Collage in the 1950s, who coined the term Penny Loafer. A legend says that, in the 1930s, two pennies were sufficient to make an emergency telephone call. Regardless, the name stuck, and the G.H.Bass penny loafer has achieved the status of a classic.
The Tassel Loafer says to originate from after the end of the World War II. While in Europe, an American actor named Paul Lukas acquired a pair of oxfords with little tassels at the end of the laces. When he returned to America, he took them to several shoemakers and asked them to make something similar. Not satisfied, Paul Lukas kept trying to find a shoemaker that could meet his demand. The request made it’s way to the Alden Shoe Company. The then President of Alden, Arthur Tarlow Sr., Came up with a slip-on pattern keeping the leather lace and tassel as a decoration. The Alden Shoe Co., realizing the potential of the shoe, continued to experiment with the design, finally launching it in 1950. The Tassel Loafer, as it became to be called, was a success, and was especially in popular among bankers and lawyers in the late 90’s/early 00’s.
Not long ago, I had my first appointment at Tailor Made London’s Belgravia showroom. A 10 year-old London born business, offering an untraditional tailoring service with a yet traditional aesthetic.
The first step of my appointment was a talk with the tailor James, with whom I discussed what had in mind for my spring / summer suit. I explained that I like earthy tones and wanted a very lightweight cloth to stay cool on warm summer days.
Together we went through Tailor Made London’s spring / summer fabrics and I found a beautiful green cloth made from a mix of linen, wool and silk. A blend that makes a very lightweight and breathable cloth while still keeping a good shape compared to a very easily creasing 100% linen cloth. I paired the green with a bold paisley lining and dark brown horn buttons.
The next step was to enter their 3D body scanner to have my measurements taken. From my 3D body scan they are able create a unique suit pattern which they afterwards adjust to my fit preference by trying on different samples.
My first appointment was now over and my measurements and design choices were sent off to their production in Italy where the suit is cut and put together. It takes an average off 4-6 weeks from your appointment in London until the suit is delivered in store.
4 weeks later I was notified that my suit was in store and it was time for my 2nd appointment. When I came in, I put on the suit and it overall looked really great. I was pleasantly surprised about the result and admitted to the tailor Mickey, that I at first was quite sceptical towards the 3D scanning concept as I never heard about it nor tried it before. Only minor tweaks had to be made, such as letting out the jacket waist and a slight shaping of the trouser seat.
After the alterations were made the suit fit perfectly to my preference. I was particularly astound by the suits’ cut: an unconstructed shoulder, a wide notch lapel and a high waisted trouser with double pleats and 2 inch turn-ups.
I here wore the suit jacket with a light brown pair of linen trousers at Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy. An example of how it’s possible to mix and match tailoring for more casual occasions and to achieve several looks form the same suit. The Italian sun was strong in June but the unlined jacket stood the test and did very well in the warm climate.