Tailoring That Springs Into Summer

Inclement weather is still possible in May. But with some degree of restraint, now is the time to start enriching your summer tailoring repertoire.

Tailoring That Springs Into Summer

Summer in the Northern Hemisphere doesn’t kick off for over a month. However, if there’s an unofficial event that signals its beginning in Europe, it’s the Cannes Film Festival. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer used to charter an Ocean liner for their troupe of Hollywood talent: Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., all arriving in Cannes in immaculate lightweight tailoring. During the festivals of the 1950s, Aga Khan III, and his wife Begum gave receptions at Villa Yakimour, their sprawling estate in Le Cannet. Guests included Danny Kaye, Georges Simenon and Warren Beatty. Along with the Aga Khan, they wore breathable pale-coloured suits, navy blazers and light grey trousers. The aforementioned apparel really is the blueprint for wearing tailoring in more formal settings before the sizzling heat takes hold. By sticking to distinguished brands such as Cifonelli, Rubinacci and Edward Sexton, you also eliminate that cumbersome rigidity. The dégagé elegance that cream linen loose-fitting tailoring radiates, is best saved for temperatures that border a heatwave. Until then, tailoring rendered in lightweight cotton, hopsack, fresco and even linen blends are going to be your port of call.

Bao Dai speaking with a physician in Vichy, France, 1939. Getty Images.
Pasolini with actors from The Decameron (1971) in Cannes.
An affectionate moment when Princess Anne reaches out to her father in 1951. Getty Images,
Randolph Scott and Vivian Gaye, National Air Races, Los Angeles. Getty Images.
Toshiro Mifune and the director Akira Kurosawa in Venice, 1960. Getty Images.

The double-breasted jacket is like a political party, it falls in and out of favour. And just when it’s been liberated again, external forces banish it to the backbenches. It was once considered a sartorial rebel – a trait that in the present people are keen to utilize. Cut in a high-quality Irish Linen, a chocolate brown double-breasted jacket possesses the perfect credentials for early summer. Imbuing that swaggering silhouette, it retains that rebellious spirit, yet the crisp Irish linen gives it that sharp edge. Associated with the Italian school of tailoring, unlined jackets might fail to keep you insulated. But by doubling up on cotton – wearing a shirt and jacket made in the fabric you might achieve a comfortable body temperature. Unlined for a softer silhouette, a blue and white cotton double-breasted jacket, paired with a plain cotton shirt would work well.

Charlie Watts and his wife, Shirley Ann Shepherd, at Georgia May Jagger’s christening in Richmond in 1992. Getty Images.
The Nat King Cole Trio: guitarist Oscar Moore (left), bass player Johnny Miller, and Cole; speaking to Jackie Robinson at Wrigley Field in Chicago, 1954. Getty Images.
Jules Raynal photographed by Kalle Gustafsson with fashion direction by Jo Grzeszczuk for Issue 51 of The Rake.
Jules Raynal photographed by Kalle Gustafsson with fashion direction by Jo Grzeszczuk for Issue 51 of The Rake.

Neither the rockstar red colour nor the slubbed wool fabric were the main surprises associated with a fresh Edward Sexton style. It was in fact, the jacket’s unstructured construction. An inventive-yet-consummate design, it has both flair and elegance, two traits necessary for the hectic upcoming summer social schedule. A pleated patch pocket single-breasted jacket is a subtle nod to a safari jacket. It’s only a small practical detail, but it's significant enough that it bespeaks the arrival of summer with greater authenticity. The extra pocket room also mitigates storage problems, that one faces when travelling.

John Kennedy Jr. weaving through traffic at 7th and 56th in Manhattan. Getty Images

Remember, these pieces should feel fresh and liberating to wear. Don’t discount pops of colour; especially with accessories, but now is the time to jettison your cashmeres and heavy wools, in favour of more porous fabrics, that don’t leave you wilting when the advection of hot air arrives. 

Discover the Summer Edit