It is not often an exclusive collection comes to the market, that is the result of a sartorial triad, who have long reached the vertex of their respected fields. Cifonelli as the godfathers of bespoke, The Rake as the bible for classic men’s elegance and Fox Brothers as the standard bearer of the world’s finest flannels. Whilst Cifonelli and Fox Brothers represent eye-opening heritage with a combined history spanning a nudge under 400 years, The Rake takes it past this figure by championing this enduring artisanal excellence from an editorial vantage point.
It is the originator of fine woollen and worsted flannels, Fox Brothers who next year celebrate the extraordinary milepost of 250 years in business. One of only a handful of operational mills still producing cloth entirely in England, there is perhaps no more patriotic a British mill as Somerset-based Fox Brothers.
"We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the new world, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."
Legend has it that when Sir Winston Churchill bellowed these words in the House of Commons, 1940 he was clad in a suit cut from the finest West of England flannel, woven by his woollen mill of choice, Fox Brothers.
Lamentably since this spine-tingling speech, the British cloth manufacturing industry has had to withstand many challenges, with it even being close to petering out altogether. Fox Brothers were not exempt from these trying times, but thanks to owners Douglas Cordeaux and Deborah Meaden, their influence in the world of sui generis fabrics is once again sky-high. Not only are they responsible for weaving cloth for leading luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, but they supply just about every single house on Savile Row, and continue their long-standing relationships with some of the iconic tailoring houses in Continental Europe.
Considering Douglas Cordeaux is virtually a judicial authority on flannel, and Lorenzo Cifonelli heads the pantheon of contemporary menswear greats – it is hard to think of a more tantalizing winter collection that features Lorenzo-designed tailoring in Fox Brothers flannel.