Often when we produce a ‘Pocket Guide’, it’ll be on a menswear industry aficionado. It is hard to describe what a pleasure it is then, to find a gentleman who enjoys good clothing even though it has no bearing on his professional life. “Part of it comes from my grandfather,” says Clive Collet, tailoring connoisseur, vintage-hunter and long-time subscriber to The Rake, “he was a stylish gentleman and rakish in his own way you might say. He was a pub pianist in Battersea, and used to frequently be taken out of the pubs he played horizontally. I got into the magazine years ago because I love good clothes – it was such a breath of fresh air to have a magazine that dealt with that area of men’s clothing in such depth.” Speaking of a breath of fresh air, we hope you’ll agree that Clive’s own personal take on classic style is as refreshing as can be.
Clive’s suit is the realisation of a long-held ambition, to own a suit cut in Chittleborough & Morgan’s signature style; with broad peaked lapels, strong shoulders, a heavily structured svelte coat, waistcoat and high-waisted forward-pleated trousers. Cut in trusty Dugdale Bros & Co navy cavalry twill, a favourite cloth of Joe Morgan’s, the suit was Clive’s fiftieth birthday present to himself. “When it came to my fiftieth, I decided that I was going to go to Savile Row and get something made. When I started to think about where it was going to be from, it was always going to be Chittleborough & Morgan.”
In rakish fashion, Clive is a fan of strong checked shirts and wide spread collars. The tie is a glorious copper knitted silk piece from Turnbull & Asser, and the pin was another piece of his grandfather’s.
Clive’s intriguing silver and gold-banded ring is a recent acquisition. “I just had this ring made last week by Sarah Herriot, who’s a very talented contemporary jewellery designer. The band in the middle was my mother’s wedding ring. The piece inlaid in the centre is part of a tile from Battersea power station turbine hall. I managed to nab a piece of it about ten years ago during an open-day – before the power station shut. All my family is Battersea born and bred.” The signet ring was Clive’s grandfather’s.
“These are just my everyday glasses from Masunaga, I hadn’t heard of them before but I got those on the Kings Road and I liked the look of them. I know nothing about Masunaga.”
Clive’s pocket watch is an antique Doxa, “it’s not really of any value, but it was my grandfather’s” he explains. “It’s from the 20s and it still keeps pretty good time, I’ve never needed to service it.”
This medal lives on the end of Clive’s watch chain, and is a memento from his other grandfather, one of the few things he owns to remember him by. “It’s a defense medal that was given to people who formed a part of the home guard in the Second World War. He was too old to sign up at the time, so he was a firewatcher. He would have to go out looking for fires during the Blitz, and if he spotted a fire he would have to rally the community together to go and put it out. I thought it would be nice to have a medal that was about defense, and saving London from burning down, rather than one which was about going off and fighting in far flung lands. So I’ve got each granddad in each waistcoat pocket as it were.”
Clive’s shoes are from the great Riccardo Bestetti, and show-off his signature angular silhouette beautifully. Impressively, the patina is Clive’s own handiwork. Note the wooden pegs which attach the sole to the uppers – an idiosyncratic method that Bestetti has used for years. “If I need to replace the soles I’ve no idea how I could get it done” says Clive, “so I try to wear them as little as possible.”
The copper bracelet is of Clive’s own creation. “I just enjoy making things, it’s a bit slap-dash but I like things that I’ve made – its good to know that they’ll be a complete one-off.”