Last season, contemporary ready-to-wear tailors Chester Barrie drew inspiration from the golden age of Hollywood, in a presentation at the Waldorf hotel that was arguably one of the most compelling at London Collections - a hard act to follow. Nevertheless, it seems that the brand has risen to the challenge undaunted this season, returning to the Waldorf once more (a bold move), to present yet another luxuriant, nostalgic and thought provoking sartorial spectacle.
Inspired by the sensibility of traditional English summer formalwear, lent a contemporary edge, the collection is crisp, colourful and rich throughout. Chester Barrie’s Senior Creative, Christopher Modoo, is something of a formalwear specialist, so naturally a number of quintessentially British summer evening looks take pride of place. Alongside two exquisite silk jacquard dinner jackets, (one single-breasted in teal, and the other a black and silver double-breasted coat with a curved cutaway front), black, French blue and cream dinner suits form Chester Barrie’s eveningwear staples, all cut in the house’s signature choice of Vitale Barberis Canonico four-ply fresco, with Mogador ribbed facings. The shawl lapelled cream single-breasted cocktail coat is particularly elegant, paired with a burgundy silk cummerbund and black trousers it has more than a whiff of Bryan Ferry about it.
In terms of lounge suiting, deft combinations of softly textured wool-silk-linen suits in smoky grey, RAF blue, sage green and an exquisite pinstriped toffee three piece all offer sharp options which traverse the lines between uber-formal and contemporary casual tailoring with ease; to be pumped up with powder blue cotton-linen shirting and a textured necktie, or else dressed down with open-neck pique shirts or polos and wide-legged cream tropical worsted trousers. The two standout blazers of the collection are both cut on the house’s iconic ‘Kingly 6’ low-buttoning double-breasted model, one in French blue lightweight worsted flannel with exclusive brass plugged buttons (paired with grey checked ‘Fox twist’ fresco trousers), the other in dark, moody blue wool-silk-linen with smoked mother of pearl buttons. This blazer deserves a special mention, because it’s one of only ten in existence, all of which have been made in partnership with Chester Barrie exclusively for shop.TheRake.com, all will be revealed next month.
One final word ought to be said on Chester Barrie’s charcoal grey morning suit. Getting morning dress right is quite possibly the hardest task for any menswear aficionado – whether he is a tailor, a designer or a stylist. Modoo has not only succeeded in creating one of the most perfectly balanced and immaculately fitted morning suits The Rake has ever seen, he’s elevated the most deeply traditional of formal garments to something sexy and new – thanks to the deft application of an on-seam ticket pocket, broad razor-sharp lapels and turn-back cuffs. It’s an achingly desirous outfit, and as such, perfectly encapsulates all that Chester Barrie has achieved with this latest presentation.