Style / December 2019

A ROYAL FLUSH

Christopher modoo, the Creative Director of Kit Blake — and, praise be, the rake’s Sartorial Guru — takes his label’s signature Prince-of-Wales check trouser and shows how you can exploit the new thinking in adaptable and versatile luxury menswear. One pair of pants, five different looks — and you hold all the cards…

Blue Wool double-breasted 10th anniversary Sorrento jacket, De Petrillo at The Rake; cream wool V003 waistcoat with shawl collar, Kit Blake at The Rake; azure and white Giro Inglese stripe cotton shirt, Cordone 1956 at The Rake; red and white Prince of Wales silk and linen blend Capri tie, Calabrase 1924 at The Rake; grey wool Blake check Aleks trousers, Kit Blake at The Rake; multicoloured silk pocket-square, Budd Shirtmakers; passport-red Redcliff Date watch with Fears blue leather strap, Fears at The Rake; navy spotted socks, London Sock Company at The Rake; brown suede loafer, Crocket & Jones.

Men need trousers. This simple statement was key to the formation of Kit Blake, the tailoring brand I created with Richard Wheat that does not sell suits. When I looked at my own wardrobe one day and realised I had 10 blue blazers but only two pairs of grey flannels, I was forced to question the imbalance. The answer lay in the fact that I had become overly reliant on jeans. I adopted the smart-casual, jeans-and-blazer look in the late 1980s and had not really updated it since. Sure, I had refined it, and the blazer was often worsted spun cashmere and the shoes were from Crockett & Jones, but it was looking tired. I needed some new trousers.

Thoughts turned to the 1997 gangster movie Donnie Brasco, and specifically the scene in which Al Pacino criticises Johnny Depp for wearing denim in the Mafia community and chides him to “get some pants”. Long before I had my first suit, I remember getting my first pair of grown-up trousers. I was 10 years old and I just had to have a pair of Farah golfing slacks to be one of the cool kids in my primary school. I wore them with white socks (strongly influenced by the album cover of Michael Jackson’s Off the Wall), penny loafers and polo shirts. When I think back to that time, circa 1981, we must have looked like little old men in our cardigans and slip-ons (though now most adults dress like children in sportswear and sneakers).

Tags