Rakes At Home: Richard Biedul & Melissa Jane Tarling

Friends of The Rake, Richard Biedul and Melissa Jane Tarling, picked out their favourite clothes from our online offering to create some incredibly rakish #RakesAtHome looks.
Rakes At Home: Richard Biedul & Melissa Jane Tarling
Richard Biedul and Melissa Jane Tarling are a couple that need no introduction, especially if you’re familiar with The Rake, but allow me to do so anyway. If you don’t recognise Richard Biedul by name, you most certainly will by face. A former solicitor who was ‘discovered’ outside of a pub, Richard started his career as a runway model that took Fashion Week by storm, and has since gone on to model for some of menswear’s most famous brands, as well as showcase his creative flair on collaborative projects with the likes of King & Tuckfield and more recently, Joseph Cheaney. Melissa is an art director and stylist, with an incredible eye for detail and aesthetic. Her work for the likes of ASOS, Reiss, Collusion, King & Tuckfield and many others carved her out as one of the most sought after stylists in the industry - spanning both men and womenswear. In short, she’s likely to be your favourite stylist’s favourite stylist.
The Coronavirus, which brought the world to a sudden halt, made the work of creatives that much more difficult - with manufacturers temporary closing production, and campaigns and product launches being delayed indefinitely. As the saying goes, however, you can’t keep a good man (or woman) down. Richard and Melissa, who live together in East London, are two of the most creative people you’re likely to meet, so we set them a task: pick a selection of clothes from The Rake’s ecommerce offering to create your best #RakesAtHome looks. Of course, they did it with aplomb, so we got them to break down what they chose, how they styled it, and what they’ve been up to during the lockdown.



“We both come from a background in the fashion industry,” says Richard. “Melissa is a style and art director and I am a model and creative. We are used to working with large teams on set or location: from art directors to photographers, stylists, hair and make-up artists and various assistants. So, to be working from a make-shift set at home with just each other, was very novel.”


“We wanted to keep everything pared back and simple, so we went for a semi-studio/lifestyle aesthetic, utilising some vintage furniture and shrubbery, and shot against a plain muslin background with natural lighting. The clothing reflects our shared taste for relaxed tailoring, neutral tones with contrasting pops of colour and Mel’s obsession for house coats.”



#RakesAtHome was coined in the early days of lockdown, as a means of ensuring people still took pride in their appearance, as opposed to letting that element slide due to confinement. We saw a brilliant uptake on the submissions from everyday people wearing their favourite outfits, and in turn it provided us, as well as the community, with ideas on how they can be comfortable and still look good whilst at home. On their ‘at home’ look, Richard discusses their approach, “Melissa and I have been tackling this conundrum in very different ways. Melissa tends to get up in the morning and dress in a smart-yet-casual manner. She says that it makes her feel “normal in a time that isn’t”.”


“I have found myself making more practical decisions; focusing more on function than form. That’s not to say I’ve stopped caring how I look or making an effort, I’ve just found myself choosing to wear items of clothing that have a different aesthetic value to what I would normally wear. I never thought I would choose loungewear and casual wear over tailoring but it’s just not practical to wear a three-piece suit to walk the dog or a double-breasted jacket to do DIY.” As creatives, the idea of being at home can be quite a daunting thing, so just how do you adapt to the new normal? “We wake up around 8am and have a (very) leisurely breakfast whilst catching up on the morning news. We tend to take Vinnie (our miniature dachshund) out for a walk around 10.30am to either Victoria Park or Tower Hamlets Cemetery. On the way home we will usually stop to pick up some lunch.”


“At home, we are fortunate enough to have the benefit of some outside space, so when the weather allows, we sit on the balcony to do some reading or listen to music. In the evenings we will more often than not log onto a Zoom chat with some friends or family or watch a film or documentary… before you know it, it’s time to go to bed and do it all over again! Although this might sound very frivolous, we have made a conscious decision to try and take the opportunity to reconnect with the things that are truly important to us. Taking more time to speak with our friends and family, reading books that will help us grow and develop personally or professionally. Personally I’ve found myself trawling through books of art and design in an attempt to learn and develop my basic knowledge on the subject. I’ve also been reading a lot of mid-century Eastern European science fiction — very niche I know. I’ve made my way through quite a few of Isaac Asimov’s works as well as Stanislaw Lem’s. I would highly recommend Foundation by the former and Fiasco by the latter.”


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