Craft / October 2018

New & Lingwood: Old School Style

How the colourful yet classic menswear purveyed by New & Lingwood is inspired by Britain’s most famous boarding school.

Black and blue crocodile print lined velvet dressing gown, New & Lingwood; cream cotton ruffled shirt and black wool evening trousers, both Turnbull & Asser; black velvet slippers with gold embroidery, Jimmy Choo. Photograph by Tomo Breje, styling by Grace Gilfeather.

In Boris Johnsonian tones, a friend who attended England's most famous educational institution recently remarked, “You must understand, old bean, Eton is the village and the village is Eton.” What he meant was that the famous Berkshire boarding school — founded in 1440, and alma mater of no less than 19 British prime ministers — is seamlessly integrated with the burgh that shares its name.

Since 1865, the village tailor has been New & Lingwood. The house was established by Elisabeth New and Samuel Lingwood to cater to Eton’s privileged students — a list that includes Princes William and Harry, David Cameron, Hugh Laurie, John Maynard Keynes, Ian Fleming, George Orwell, Harold Macmillan, Lord Snowdon, Aldous Huxley, the 1st Duke of Wellington, Tom Hiddleston, Prince Michael of Kent, the Maharajah of Jodhpur, and aforementioned Brexiteer Boris. For the past 153 years, New & Lingwood has provided Etonians’ distinctive uniform of black tailcoat, waistcoat, pinstriped trousers, and tunic shirt with stiff false-collar, as well as the boys’ athletic, house and extra-curricular attire.

This background informs the grown-up garb that New & Lingwood has sold to denizens of St. James’s from premises on Jermyn Street since setting up shop in London in 1922. “Colour and pattern are very important to us,” says New & Lingwood Product and Marketing Director, Simon Maloney. “Our Eton heritage informs the colour range, inspired by their many team, society and club colours. We embrace Englishness in all its guises — from sober and discreet to bright and eclectic.”

Overseeing collections brimming with poppy hues of red, green, blue, burgundy and yellow, Maloney says, “We’re not afraid to try anything and if the product is right, made with the best fabrics available and tailored with integrity, then there will be a customer for it. People like to be different and express their personality far more than previously.” (Indeed, chaps who’ve endured wearing an ensemble of black, white and grey daily for several years would likely find the chance to sport a splash of colour quite refreshing.)

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.