Style / July 2016

Chester Barrie for The Rake: The Lightweight Double-Breasted Travel Blazer

Introducing The Rake’s latest limited edition collaboration; the extraordinary lightweight Chester Barrie double-breasted travel blazer. A jacket that’s every bit as clever as it cool and comfortable to wear.

Savile Row’s Chester Barrie has been making real waves in the sartorial sphere of late. Known as ‘tailors of the unexpected’ the house has evolved steadily during recent seasons under the guidance of Senior Creative Christopher Modoo, producing ever more innovative tailored collections with particular attention paid to quality of design. It seems as though there's nothing that the brand can't do at the moment; French blue double-breasted dinner suits, ultra-fine wool and silk seersucker jackets and sharp tuxedo-blazer hybrids have all caught our attention in recent months. We felt it only fitting then, that The Rake should partner with Chester Barrie to create a particularly rakish trans-seasonal blazer, which ticks just about every requirement of the modern, travelling man's wardrobe.

It’s important to understand first and foremost, that the house has an unusual philosophy, one that The Rake finds particularly compelling; to offer ready-to-wear British tailoring that feels relevant for today, but without compromising on the construction and exclusivity of the traditional Savile Row suit – as Modoo puts it, “Chester Barrie creates a tailored garment that’s been curated for you, which you can wear straight out of the shop, and which combines the practicality of the best ready-to-wear with the quality of bespoke.”

Consequently, the internal architecture of a Chester Barrie coat is of paramount importance. Modoo has spent years perfecting his secret recipe with a number of little-known artisanal workshops that are capable of lending a lightness of construction (perfect for the modern rake’s international lifestyle) and sharpness of silhouette to an old-school English structured coat. To quote Modoo once more: “We have devoted a lot of energy to developing a jacket with structure, chest expression and rich roll on the lapel that is still comfortably light. It dispels the myth that English tailoring is heavy and cumbersome.” In other words, this jacket poses the ultimate challenge to the assumption that formalwear needs to be completely unstructured in order to be lightweight. Believe me when I say that it represents a thoroughly impressive technical achievement – the blazer really is every bit as comfortable as a deconstructed sports coat, with a shape that is considerably more defined. It's also worth noting that the blazer's low-buttoning double-breasted cut is an exceptionally demanding style to tailor effectively - one which many bespoke tailors struggle with - and yet Chester Barrie is so familiar with the silhouette that the 'Kingly' as its known, is now the house model.

"This jacket poses the ultimate challenge to the assumption that formalwear needs to be completely unstructured in order to be lightweight."

The cloth chosen is equally clever. Cut in a high-tech high-twist wool, silk and linen mélange from Vitale Barberis Canonico, it weights in at a phenomenally light 7.5oz, with an open-weave, which combined with the coat’s half-lining makes it extremely light and airy to wear. Modoo elucidates: “Crucially the cloth has retained the best features of each fibre, perfect for the global traveller. But unlike many 'travel blazers' that can be a little corporate, this has an attitude that is just a little bit cooler, and that little bit more rakish.” The added crease-resistance lent to the coat through this high-twist blended yarn ensures that it performs like a wool, with the textural softness and sophistication of a summery silk cloth – it travels well and in this refined navy mélange it is as suited to the transitional seasons of autumn and spring as is lightweight fresco or mohair suiting.

The standard of finishing is likewise beautiful, and Chester Barrie prides itself on the firmness of its lapels, which positively spring across one’s torso like a pair of champagne sabres. What’s more, the jacket’s smoky grey lining matches its exclusive smoked mother-of-pearl buttons (which are ground into shape from solid blocks of mother-of-pearl to emulate the iconic shape of Savile Row’s favoured horn buttons), a colour chosen to allow for the coat to pair harmoniously with grey fresco trousers or flannels, depending upon the season.

As with all our collaborations, the result feels truly special, and the beauty of these jackets is really in the way that they feel when you slip one on. The closeness and comfort of fit that Chester Barrie achieves (its also worth noting that Modoo worked with bespoke-legend Edward Sexton on the house’s patterns for almost four years) is extraordinary. Only ten have been produced, destined to travel the world upon the shoulders of a select few rakish jet setters. As per usual, they’re only available through shop.TheRake.com and when they’re gone, they’re gone.

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Contributor

Aleksandar Cvetkovic

Aleks is Deputy Editor at The Jackal and former staffer at The Rake. He’s long harboured a passion for fine menswear, well-timed dramatic pauses and stiff drinks.