To adequately describe the sense of style and verve that characterizes an outfitter like New & Lingwood is to try to articulate Plato’s theory of Recollection to a child. The house’s name is steeped in some of the most colourful, eccentric and urbane English sartorial tradition it is possible to conceive – it is arguably the most aristocratic retreat of British gentlemen’s outfitting and one of the most stunningly individualistic haberdashers on the planet.
The house is well over 150 years old, founded in 1865 by one miss Elizabeth New and Mr Samuel Lingwood, a couple with aspirations to open a haberdashery of the highest order – charmingly, they married once the store was opened. The firm was founded in Eton to principally serve the scholars of Eton College and soon gained a reputation for dressing gentlemen of taste and perspicacity. Indeed, the house’s role as the exclusive outfitter to the gentlemen of Eton has remained a key part of its role right into the present day and New & Lingwood can claim to have dressed four or five generations of the same Etonian families in some cases, a testimony to its very particular strand of sartorialism and elevated standards of service.
Indeed, the Etonian link is an important part of just what makes the house such a colourful emporium today. As Simon Maloney, the House’s Product & Marketing Director explains “as a supplier of uniform to Eton College since its founding, New & Lingwood’s identity has been inspired by the college’s inventive use of colour, using it as inspiration for its eclectic collections, helping us to stand apart from the crowd.” And stand apart the house does, particularly on Jermyn Street, where New & Lingwood have had a shop since 1922. The early 20s was a good time for the house to open-shop in the big smoke, and before too long New & Lingwood was being asked for by name by the bright young things of Jazz Age London. A sense of confidence, dandyism and the Art Deco are still present in the house’s designs today, whether in their imposing ‘British Warm’ overcoats, tartan trews, loud socks or Fox Brothers’ flannel suiting.
The New & Lingwood shop is of course in fact two shops, one is the two-story outfitters on the left hand side of Piccadilly Arcade and the other is directly across the arcade on the right. It is here when one can find the most aristocratic element of New & Lingwood’s offering, the handmade English silk jacquard dressing gown. They have long been a signature of the house, utterly rakish visions of intricately designed colour and swirling pattern, destined to transform the eveningwear of tasteful men far and wide, all cut in some of the finest English silks on the planet. It is only natural then, that The Rake should partner with the house to bring readers three of our own takes on the iconic New & Lingwood dressing gown.