In the universe that occupies the collective mind of The Rake, every waking day presents an opportunity to showcase one’s latest fashions, and to display to the outside world what a cultivated individual one is — it’s one of many reasons why wearing nice clothes is such a pleasurable experience. What we wear helps others form first impressions, and allows us to present an image of ourselves we want the rest of the world to see. There are some instances, though, when adhering to a particular aesthetic goes out of the window, and getting dressed in the right gear becomes less of a luxury and more of a necessity. Good quality clothing appeals to The Rake’s inner narcissist, yet some people in certain locations rely on it to perform important daily tasks, or, in some cases, even to survive.
Laurie Skreslet is one such example. In 1982 he became the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest, during an expedition that saw four climbers in his entourage die during an icefall. Since then he has led 30 quests at Everest, and he’s long been conscious of how his clothing can benefit him in more ways than one. According to Skreslet, “There’s been many a night when bad weather forced me to bivouac on the side of a mountain with only my Goose parka as a sleeping bag. I survived because of that parka.” The piece of outerwear he’s referring to was made by the extreme-weather specialists Canada Goose, a brand that he and countless other explorers, arctic emergency forces and cold-weather film crews have long been reliant upon.
There’s something appealing about functional clothing. The Rake has for some time championed the finest tailors from Savile Row to Naples, artisans who create exceptional pieces of clothing with not much more than their bare hands. But suits are not functional. They aren’t warm, they can crease easily, and like a middle-aged banker they require a lot of work to keep them in good shape. Functional clothing, however — and particularly outerwear — makes more sense. Regularly derived from the military, clothes that once served a specific purpose — i.e. field jackets, bombers and parkas — can now aid the wearer in complementary ways, with multiple pockets, waterproof fabrics and, in some cases, removable padded linings resulting in a jacket that will adapt to the seasons. Canada Goose, who celebrated its 60th-anniversary last year, has always specialised in producing the latter, parkas that put function and practicality before style, a noble concept if ever there was one.