There is undoubtedly something rather special about brands with integrity coming together to create something greater than the sum of their parts. Indeed, it is these rare and precious moments in the luxury menswear sphere that The Rake has always tried to celebrate.
For this reason, the Jermyn Street and St James's catwalk show this morning was undoubtedly rather special. Building on last season's show, the catwalk represented an extraordinary collaborative effort between all the significant purveyors of luxury menswear west of Piccadilly Circus - demonstrating not only the breadth of contemporary British brands that make the sartorial soul of the West End what it is - but also painting a compelling picture of how the modern British gentlemen ought to be dressing next summer.
Tailoring, naturally, takes centre stage; Dunhill, Turnbull & Asser and Aquascutum all presented standout looks - whether trim double-breasted patch-pocket blazers in cream cotton-linen or soft grey-green mohair with brass buttons, or else sophisticated tonal-check fresco and tropical worsted two-piece suits - there's a crispness and depth of tone evident in the suiting and separates of the season. Cool shades of navy run throughout too, whether that be in the soft, slubby linen shirts of Emma Willis, the navy track pants of Sunspel paired with an iconic 'Riviera' polo shirt, or even in the extraordinary navy and gold silk brocade smoking gown shown by New & Lingwood matched with velvet slippers, naturally. Elsewhere, touches of trademark English eccentricity are muted in contemporary combinations with pastel tones, most notably with a couple of ivory and biscuit-brown summer-weight sports coats sitting next to fun tailored trousers in French blue and apple green gabardine. Plenty of Panama hats care of Bates and floral neckties, printed pocket hankies and silk scarves courtesy of Budd Shirtmakers helped the show to retain its suitably dandified quality.
Footwear comes care of Northampton shoemaking powerhouse Crockett & Jones with its wealth of beguiling polished tassel loafers, along with Cheaney, Tricker's and JM Weston; with the ever-chic Le Moc' loafer a notable standout piece - particularly in shades of cream and sunny yellow full-grained calfskin. John Lobb's effortlessly cool sneakers also made for a natural counterpart to the collection's sportier looks.
All in all then, it seems that the West End's sartorial heart beat is pounding stronger than ever, and that in amongst the post-modern designer madness of LCM, there's still a reassuringly sophisticated place for traditional luxury.