Here’s one for you, what does one of Jermyn Street’s most prestigious and age-old shirtmaking establishments have in common with a maverick Italian designer and tattoo artist?
Well, the simple answer is more than you might imagine. Turnbull & Asser, despite its gloriously classical heritage is fast becoming one of the most innovative brands in luxury British menswear – thanks in large part to the efforts of Head of Design, Dean Gomilsek-Cole, who has been pushing the house forward both in terms of the materials used in T&A’s collections and through the use of ever more forward-thinking design and fabrication techniques. From Escorial wool jacquard suiting to cashmere denim shirting, you name it; he’s working on it. Crucially, this creative freedom and willingness to experiment made the house a natural go-to for The Rake, when back at the start of the year we hatched a plan to create some design-driven formal accessories with a difference.
Said difference was namely the input of Mo Coppoletta, of Coppoletta Designs, who quite apart from his extraordinary body of design work, is one of London’s most sought-after tattoo artists and owner of The Family Business tattoo parlour in Exmouth Market. A curious combination for sure, but one that we assure you has yielded extraordinary results. Gomilsek-Cole explains; “The Rake has always supported our endeavours to create clothes with real individuality, and when the team came to us with a proposal we were more than happy to participate. I’m always excited to work with new artisans on unexpected projects, so working with Mo sounded perfect. His designs have a nostalgic familiarity, but contemporary flair, so I was excited to see what we could come up with together. It was also fun to get two very different design studios to collaborate on such a distinctive product.”
The first distinctive product in question is a unique execution of T&A’s new Mega Square – a super-sized pocket hanky designed to blur the lines between pocket square, shawl and scarf. “I love the phrase, ‘go big or go home’”, says Dean, “and when I first joined T&A, a lot of very well informed people told me that the necktie was dead and that I shouldn’t waste any creative mind-space on them. I ignored them and instead produced a collection of storytelling pieces in exotic and eccentric jacquards, and also the ‘skipper tie’, a take on the kipper tie but with a 12cm wide blade – against the odds, it worked. The mega-square was the brainchild of a similar conversation.” Apparently someone made the mistake of telling Dean that the pocket square had had its day, and thus the statement-making mega-square was born. As he explains further, “It’s the ideal tool to showcase the amazing artworks that our partners in British manufacturing can produce – the larger the scale, the louder the statement.”