From the moment the menswear fashion press descended on London’s contemporary David Gill Gallery, the perfect foil to act as backdrop to Gieves & Hawkes S/S’14 presentation, it was clear what we were seeing; The English Gentleman and an ode to the 19th Century great tradition of The Grand Tour, only translated 2014 style.
It is a rare thing indeed to inject a British institution that counts HRH The Prince of Wales amongst its clients, with life and verve that can inspire and excite even the most ultra contemporary seeking journalists into submission. But, creative director of Gieves & Hawkes, Jason Basmajian’s treatment did just that as ‘team fashion’ were almost awed into silence.
The modernist and the traditionalist fused in this collection that was steeped in style and sustenance. Basmajian’s roots in the ultra linear simplicity of Calvin Klein and Donna Karan shone through as did his experience of Italian luxury at Brioni. Colours, texture clashes and the simply immaculate styling down to the two-tone Correspondent shoes shone through – this is a creative director who takes it to painstaking detail and boy, does is lift this brand head and shoulders above others attempting to replicate its traditional easy luxury, intelligent styling and line.
This collection was believable. Believeable, in that every man worth his salt and sense of style would want to wear this English Gentleman Abroad from head-to-toe. Moreover, it was multi generational. I witnessed several hipsters as well as classically clad journo gents be awed into submission by its beauty.
Firstly, colour was muted and revolved around soft earth tones, ivory and beige with rose, navy, khaki and dark brown. Fabrics were featherweight in the finest wool, linen/silk and Egyptian cotton. Shoes were just-so to impeccably match the collection, hand crafted in England on a British last with modern interpretations of classic styles; canvas and leather correspondent shoes, suede tasselled loafers, ankle boots and lace-ups in mulberry, ivory, navy and brown.
The stalwart Gieves and Hawkes tailoring was complimented by a focused collection of weekend wear, performance outerwear, knitwear, swimwear, and accessories to provide a full wardrobe solution for this modern traveller.
Key looks for Summer included the two-button patch pocket ivory cotton Oxford suit worn over a micro-stripe linen knit T-shirt, with a reworked regimental stripe linen foulard and ivory suede loafers. Then there was the olive waxed cotton military blouson inspired by a British army coat with navy cable knit linen crew, navy Bermudas and canvas and leather lace- up brogues with a monogrammed rucksack.
The Pea Coat came in tangerine with khaki cotton trousers, navy/white stripe linen knit t-shirt and khaki espadrilles. And, the British blazer, double-breasted in bright blue mohair, with belted back and military pocket detail, worn with white on white seersucker shorts and monogrammed caramel linen slippers.The shawl lapel appeared on a raw silk ivory dinner jacket with navy dress trousers while a navy silk herringbone cocktail jacket was worn over a pleated navy linen collarless dress shirt. All quite exquisite.
True, money can’t buy class but style may certainly be on the thinking-man with a healthy bank-balance’s shopping list by way of Gieves and Hawkes this Spring/Summer ’14.
Molte bene, molto chic.