It was a Sunday afternoon and there was a certain chill in the air. I was sat in my studio sipping a black coffee and listening to Miles Davis, Kind Of Blues (1959), when my thoughts just simply roamed into the ethers of randomness and settled on the style planet like a spacecraft…I’m not crazy, I promise! I am just simply passionate about gentlemen who dress well and would like to be a part of their journey. It could become our journey, if you wish?
I believe what separates anyone in terms of style is 'detail', as it is within these selections that we reveal our true selves and this is where we can have a lot of fun! May I also add that having fun does not necessarily mean always wearing bold patterns or colours. It can simply be subtle, quiet and mischievous.
Whilst deliberating over the 'non-tie' trend, a thought suddenly presented itself to me in a sense of a beautiful 1950s Aston Martin DB2, driving smoothly through the busy streets of present day London. I love the concept of how classic cars fit nicely within modern time.
I began the journey of what the new collection would bring and how this would combine the old with the new. When looking at patterns, I consistently asked myself, "Does this remind me of the way the notes from the Kind of Blues album hits and the way the melody flows?" I wanted to capture the feel of the notes, which are smooth and articulate. The fabrics for 'A Kind of Classic' have been exclusively sourced and specially selected to create this range, taking colours, textures and patterns into careful consideration in alignment of the inspiration.
A Kind Of Classic collection encapsulates the attitude of the modern man, who knows his true worth and reflects this in how he interacts with the world daily. From his eloquent speech and fine conducts that follows through in his appearance, he celebrates the old within the new modern world and relishes in the confidence of who he is. The inspiration of refreshing classical styles for the modern gentlemen who are many things in today’s society (grandfather, father, uncle, son, husband and the list could literally go on into eternity) and shares the same values of dressing well is what I worked with when creating this collection.
My main question was 'How do we refresh what is considered classic in this modern time?' and looked at details within patterns of today. I did so especially when I travelled on the London Underground, whilst discreetly observing at the ties of men who each wore a tie in their own way (well those that could be bothered to wear one!). It gave me a little insight of not only what they liked but also of how they felt comfortable in their work environment.
During my research, I felt drawn to various series of imagery at the art galleries and was acutely aware that I had a subconscious link to what gentlemen may have worn in the past. No matter how much I try to block it out in aid of seeking ‘newness’ for as long as I can remember, it seems to me that polka dots or spots are a popular choice of pattern for men. How can we make this interesting? A thought of irregularity came to mind which made me think of anything that evokes movement, such as Opt Art. I did not want to attempt to find something too drastic or out of place but instead something complementary to the ones who already own or love polka dots and who would be ready to give something different a try. I wanted to bring something that would be the next step to polka dots. Whilst looking at multiple artworks, such as Paolo Scheggi, Intersuperficie Curva Bianca (1966), a vision of frog spawns flashed into my mind and luckily enough there it was! The pattern I was looking for.
Another popular pattern one has to consider is paisley, which is always a great option to own when the mood suits you for a display of ornate panache. One thing I love about this pattern is the way it gives the illusion of movement. Which is rather similar to the slow mellow, smooth sounds of Miles Davis, and strikes a vision of movement.
As I said previously, you don’t have to wear bold colours or patterns in order to have fun. It can be subtle, and what better way to achieve this than by looking at micro patterns. I felt inspired by geometric patterns from architecture - when you have time from brisking through London, look up! There are so many interesting patterns within the designs of London's historical buildings. I for one, am very guilty of being captivated by these buildings and slowing my pace in order to take it all in. Looking up at the many bricks and building pattens led me to think about the simplicity of bricks and how they were laid out. This essentially drove me to research artists such as Bridget Riley and Fulin Zhao.
As well as looking up once in a while, sometimes there are interesting details within the floor itself. Such as movement of the cracks on the ground and the intricate design layout on the drain lids, which reminds me of the floral medallion patterns which were worn a lot during the late 60s-70s.
Speaking of which, floral designs are engraved in most stone mason’s work. The great thing about London is the hidden parks in the midst of the city like Mount Street Park or St James Square. The mix of greenery and city is quite impressive in comparison to other cities, which is why I always have floral leaves in the back of my mind. Not to mention, most sartorial gentlemen love printed floral ties, so much that they would not be caught dead without wearing one! William Morris was the master of executing beautiful foliage illustrations with a keen sense of detail and so I wanted to select something which could imitate the same level of detail in a subtle manner.
You will notice that the range itself will have some elements of blue throughout, which relates to the 'blues' element of the album mixed with different colours to represent the liveliness of the music's content. A certain kind of liveliness I want to share with you, a certain kind of classic I wanted to reveal to you today and without further delay, it gives me great pleasure to present the collection, A Kind Of Classic - enjoy.