Style / September 2016

History Boy: George Skeggs

Gentlemen with truly unique style can be hard to come by, but George Skeggs is a master of owning your individuality and not apologising for standing out from the (usually admiring) crowd.

Artist George Skeggs is undoubtedly one of London’s last remaining legends. It only takes a short time in his company to realise that he is the sort of gentleman everybody knows, or wants to know. His mischievous grin and wicked sense of humour are the feathers in his (probably bespoke) cap, and the combination of a colourful personality and a striking, dandified style draws people in like no one I’ve ever met before. Within minutes, people had stopped to take his photograph, say hello, and admire his look - or all three.

“I don’t follow trends. It’s all about detail, really; anything in the arts – writing, painting, it’s all about editing. Get the detail right, and you’re laughing.” Mr Skeggs’ bold taste and devil-may-care take on tailoring challenges many a convention, none more so than that which is expected of a chap like himself. “You’ve got to step up to the plate, stick your head above the parapet and take chances – people are going to shoot you down. I’ve been shot down all my life and I don’t care.” He may be 74, but the fact remains that he has more style in his little finger than the majority of people half his age. “I’m doing good for my age – I’m not going to sit indoors and vegetate. When I was younger, this lightbulb went on one day and stayed on. As I’ve got older, it’s got brighter and brighter and brighter. It’s bloody beaming now. But some people never turn their lightbulb on, or they don’t have the confidence to do it.” This metaphorical bulb has lit the way for a successful art career and a huge following, and George is the first to admit that his style echoes his art; in both creative outlets, he likes to go where others haven’t, and enjoys injecting an element of surprise into everything he does.

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Anna Prendergast

Anna is a freelance writer and former staffer at The Rake. She is passionate about travel, well made clothes and homemade chocolate chip cookies.