Graham Greene, W. Somerset Maugham, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Fleming, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling and P.G. Wodehouse are just a handful of writers who sought creative nourishment around the coves and cliffs of la Cote d'Azur – an epithet which itself has a literary source, being the title of French poet Stephen Liégeard’s 1887 treatise on his country’s south-eastern coastline. The world’s greatest chefs as well as artists (Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne, Renoir) have shown the region to be suited to both palate and palette respectively, the former enticed by the intermingled cuisines of two European culinary heavyweights, the latter by the region’s vibrant colours and playful chiaroscuro.
So it’s no surprise that the French Riviera, along with the Italian stretch of shoreline across the border, has been a bountiful source of inspiration on the style front too: notably from the 1920s onwards, when Europe’s most affluent began to flock to places such as Nice, Marseilles, Cannes, Portofino and Monte Carlo. Such a deft job of shedding the cumbersome rigidity of their regular attire without sartorial compromise did these new visitors make, they ended up inventing a whole new genre of solar-powered uber-elegance - one that would later be hiked up to an even higher strata by the arrival of the jet set era, and with it the likes of Aly Khan, Porfirio Rubirosa and Gianni Agnelli.
Staple Riviera garments include polo and long-sleeved Oxford shirts, lightweight blazers, tailored chinos (or shorts) and straw fedoras/Panamas. The must-own Riviera style menswear staple, though, is a casual, unstructured jacket. Cifonelli’s Porto Sole – whose material is a mix of cotton and polyamide by Vitale Barberis Canonico – is a great option, as are its double-breasted Spy and Sinclair options.