“What do you think of Whistles new menswear collection?” I said to @bombfashion. “It’s the way Jigsaw menswear should have looked,” was his reply. And he’s right.
I have my own personal doubts about Whistles womenswear and its continuing onslaught of the high street. Sorry folks, I just do. It tries just that too hard to be either too inconspicuous or too ‘key piece’ by default, neither which rings true to these tired eyes. However, over in camp Menswear (and that’s not a description…honestly), Whistles seems to be straddling Nicole Farhi meets Uth (remember that?).
It seems smart as well as casual without labouring the point and has enough strong, serviceable pieces (the words that normally have designers running scared) to be a great high street wardrobe stop for men who like to add pieces rather than dress ‘a look’.
The launch collection manages to balance classic outerwear with high-end knits, versatile tailoring and accessories to highlight the relevance of updating well-loved, familiar pieces with a functional contemporary edge. Overcoats emerge oversized, and signature bikers are reworked in aviator- inspired black shearling. Trousers tick off both tapered volume and slimmed-down silhouettes. And shirting explores smartened-up staples, ranging from crisp Oxfords to check flannels and textured overshirts.
Cashmere upgrades the tracksuit, taking lounge sportswear into luxe levels. Chunky hand-knitted sweaters sit alongside roll-necks in relaxed mohair blends, or smart fine gauge wools, to define the season’s knitwear. While denim is stripped-back to the essentials, emerging raw and slim with subtle detailing. It’s this same clean approach to design that lends bags and wallets their minimal, premium appeal too.
By introducing pared-down, high-quality menswear priced below designer level but above the mainstream, the collection positions itself firmly in the accessible men’s contemporary ‘bridge’ market where it belongs, making Whistles a new destination for the increasingly discerning male customer focused on creative, yet anonymous style. Though that not anonymous if you’re going to rock a neon fuchsia sweater or scarf.
The Whistles AW’14 menswear collection will be available in the following Whistles stores: Phase 1: St. Christopher’s Place, Islington, Covent Garden Long Acre, Bath, Oxford, Glasgow, Richmond, Nottingham, Guildford, St. Albans, Liverpool, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds, Spitalfields, Brighton Duke St and York. Phase 2: Dover St, East Sheen, Reigate, Cheltenham, Windsor, Edinburgh, Westfield and Canary Warf.