Ask The Rake: Can you list 10 aristocrats that have influenced and inspired gentlemen's attire?

The Rake’s Editor Tom Chamberlin reveals 10 aristocrats that have influenced and inspired gentlemen’s attire.

Padmanabh Singh, polo-playing maharaja of Jaipur in India. Photo: @pachojaipur/Instagram

Ultimately this comes down to what one defines as ‘influencing’. The Aristocracy played a key part in the luxury industry as we know it today. The concept of luxury was, at its most rudimentary, when the King or Queen of the land would get a craftsman to make something extraordinary for free, whether that be clothing, jewellery or furniture. The aristocrats in court would then copy but pay, and so on and so on. As things became slightly more democratised in the U.K., with politics divided from the Crown, and society developing pockets of influence outside of Court, trends grew out of all sorts of places but the kind of people who had pubs and streets named after them still maintained what we might refer to today as “influencer” status. Here are ten of the major contributors.

1. Duke of Windsor: Cheating slightly as he was at one point the monarch. As an abdicated sovereign in Côte d’Azur, he maintained considerable sway on the local great-and-good. One story that springs to mind was when he visited the Marbella Club and the guests who knew he was coming all dressed in black tie, he arrived in a Hawaiian shirt, and when he saw the others in eveningwear, he left to change, returning to the party to find they had all removed their jackets and bow ties to be more like him.

2. The Earl of Avon: After the Duke of Windsor, the Earl of Avon, better known as former Prime Minister Anthony Eden, was perhaps the best dressed politician of all time. His jaunty-angled Homburg, the three-piece suits, cane and preference for a wider lapel brought a sense of dashing which was missing in the fuller-figured Winston Churchill.

Published

February 2021

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