In this months ‘Rake Magazine’, their editor and founder, Wei Koh, heralded “a new era in sartorialism. The peacock is dead, replaced by a concern for purity and restraint.”
He writes with fluency and passion, and brought a smile to my face, as he poked fun at the foppish, flâneurs who descend on Pitti Uomo, the menswear show in Florence, to flounce about in their finest.
I’ve had first hand experience of the above, and the spectacle of thousands of over-caffeinated boulevardiers, braying and kissing in a whirling dervish of hats, suits, silk scarves and sunglasses is something to behold.
As far as I’m concerned, I love people who have the balls to dress differently from the crowd. It takes courage and confidence to go against the grain, to dress in clothing that resonates with your body and soul, and not just slavishly follow the fashion zeitgeist of the moment.
I have customers who have slowly developed and evolved their own signature style, and don’t give a hoot if that’s not in keeping with what’s hot on the catwalks of London, or, Paris.
My Instagram feed is still rammed to the gills with trousers cut above the ankle, double-monk shoes worn with no socks, and hairy wrists bedecked with enough bracelets and jewels to constitute a magpies wet dream.
As far as the above goes, I just don’t get it, but seriously, if it puts a smile on your face and a strut in your step, then fill your boots.
There is no doubt that dressing in a dandified manner has become more mainstream over the past decade, and as the wheel of fashion turns, a more informal, and perhaps less aggressive approach to tailoring, is on the horizon.
As far as I’m concerned, the spirit of the peacock is a fundamental part of the Michelsberg DNA.
Our head-turning roped shoulder and epic lapel will always be on the menu, but counter-balanced by a softer approach to tailoring, creating a more laid back vibe, for the man who doesn’t want to look like he’s tried too hard, and yet still turns heads and radiate fabulousness.
Further on in the article, Alessandro Sartori, of Zegna, talks about another key trend, the “focus on the refinement and performance dynamics of materials.”
This is certainly something that is very apparent in our business at the moment. It’s all very well looking great, but clothing has to perform. It has to be fit for purpose.
Many of our customers are international businessmen, travelling from country to country, living out of a suitcase, in climates that can be oppressive. They need suits that are crease resistant, comfortable to wear, and can deal with hot and humid conditions.
Hardy Minnis have just launched their new “Fresco 111 bunch” to cater for these requirements. The worsted yarn is twisted, to create a springy handle, so it bounces back when crushed, and the weave is more open, to allow heat and moisture to escape.
Loro Piana have created a blend of wool, silk and technical yarns (incorporating 2% lycra) made extra resilient with their ‘Rain System’ finish. This gives protection from the weather, extra stretch and thus more freedom of movement. Weighing in at only 180 grams (per running metre), this is incredibly light, so perfect for when the sun shines down on the wicked.
For this Spring / Summer, I’m having a suit made-up in a medium blue glen-check, in a blend of (50%) wool, (30%) silk and (20%) linen by Vitale Barberis.
Normally, I’d avoid linen like the plague, as it creases so badly, but these clever chaps have managed something just short of alchemy. When you crush it, it just springs back looking crisp, calm, cool and collected. It should land early March – can’t wait!
For those of you who haven’t yet experienced the joys of working with a tailor, and buy off the peg, look out for cloths in a blend of wool & mohair. Mohair fibres are much stiffer than wool fibres and as such, are more springy and crease resistant.
Grab the bottom of the trousers and scrunch it up in your hand. Does is crease quickly? Anything that feels very silky, or, ‘limp’ (god forbid) should be avoided.
Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking that choosing a ‘thinner’ cloth will be cooler to wear. A heavier cloth is better placed to fight against the rigours of the working day and can still be comfortable to wear in Summer, if the weave is more open (a crepe, or, hopsack), and the jacket is unlined.
I suppose the argument put forward from the Rake Magazine, is that perhaps men are becoming more sensible – looking for functionality over extravagance. In order to look great, you have to feel comfortable, and developments in materials and construction methods can only be a good thing.
As far as style goes, my advice would be to listen to nobody but yourself. Follow your heart and sod what the rest of them are doing. Whilst understated elegance will always be lauded by the many, I salute the man that isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd and do so for himself, not to impress others.