ALL GUNS BLAZING: Michael Browne

Michael Browne’s cashmere body coat combines the swagger of a frock coat with the comfort of a bespoke jacket — and it’ll make you feel like a dandified outlaw riding into town at high noon.

Michael Browne in the leather version of his body coat.

The characterisation of Constantin Brâncuși as the creator of an art form that emphasises clean geometrical lines balancing forms inherent in his material with the symbolic allusions of representational art perfectly encapsulates the tailoring vision of Michael Browne. For it is Browne who has achieved what the Greeks referred to as the infusion of anima, or ‘spirit’, in normally lifeless cloth to endow it with a sense of living dynamic energy. Browne does this as Brâncuși did in his sculpture — not through embellishment but through the reductionist language of clean, fluid, purposeful tailoring brushstrokes augmented by inordinate handmade details that make his clothing feel alive and as though it is bristling with energy. His are garments that are informed by velocity, embodiments of the Italian poet Filippo Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto, and fittingly worn by men who are in perennial movement in their kinetically charged, ascending trajectory in life.

But he is not without his progenitors. If you wanted, you could trace Browne’s storied tailoring pedigree back to London in the Swinging Sixties, when Tommy Nutter and Edward Sexton redefined the codes of bespoke tailoring by connecting it to the fabric of contemporary culture and rock ’n’ roll. These enfants terribles took the sartorial universe by storm by cutting dazzling finery for the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones, and later Bryan Ferry, that was equally distinguished in its priapic, fertility-symbol styling and its otherworldly tailoring elan. While Nutter supplied the stylistic acumen, it was Sexton who elevated their clothes beyond louche rock ’n’ roll uniforms to couture-level tailoring works of art. Sexton’s protégé, a man of remarkable skill, was a then young Joe Morgan, who would later strike out with fellow cutter Roy Chittleborough to set up their eponymous house, Chittleborough & Morgan.

Published

September 2020

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