Orlebar Brown was created by menswear designer Adam Brown to transpose the codes and details of fine British tailoring and values of timeless style into charmingly evocative resort- and swimwear. In so doing, the nine-year-old brand has carved out a unique niche for itself as the most innovative resort-wear creators in the contemporary sartorial scene. Says Brown, “One thing we’ve realised is that the comfort and adaptability of our uniquely tailored resort wear and romantic spirit of travel and play encoded into these garments have found its way even into street wear and work wear. How men were dressing for the weekend has come to inform how they dress during the week.” This has motivated Brown to launch a new collection of hybrid-tailored sportswear with Savile Row legend Gieves & Hawkes that has connected inimitable pared-back elegance with highly appealing softness and adaptability. “It’s very exciting,” says Jason Basmajian, the former chief creative officer of Gieves & Hawkes, “you can see the codes of menswear evolving before our eyes, thanks to the creativity of brands like Orlebar Brown, who’ve brought their signature sense of fun normally associated with leisure wear into a more dressed-up sensibility with this collaboration.”
It is the idea of ultimate adaptability and cheeky irreverence that inspired the very first Orlebar Brown for The Rake signature garment, a stunning shawl-collared blazer, rendered in the softest blue toweling fabric and injected with that soupçon of old-world élan through the addition of ivory lapel piping, reminiscent of vintage tennis or boating blazers. There are all of three ways to wear this panjandrum of a blazer. The first is unbuttoned and simply cinched with its detachable “robe-styled” belt over bare skin and swim shorts down to the pool or beach as the ultimate tailored bathrobe. Because the blazer is totally unlined, it can be slipped on immediately after emerging from the pool, and will dry your skin, perfect for lounging at the resort restaurant, enjoying a club sandwich and a cold beer, while engaged in some leisurely backgammon. The breast pocket is perfect for your sunglasses, while two more patch pockets are meant to be the ideal repositories for your afternoon’s worth of Trinidad cigars, cutter, lighter, your keys and your sunscreen.
But when the sun sets, simply remove the belt and slip the towelling blazer over a T-shirt, polo, towelling or linen open-necked shirt and be the sharpest man at the hotel bar. The blazer has been tailored to fit impeccably, utilising all Orlebar Brown and The Rake’s mastery of proportion and fit. The lapel even comes with a functional button hole and a boutonnière loop to secure a spontaneously acquired flower, perfect for tucking behind a young lady’s ear later that evening. And finally the blazer offers up a third way of wearing it and an amusing clin d’oeil to the occasionally intrusive rigors of restaurant formality. Many years ago, The Rake’s friend watchmaker Franck Muller found himself at a resort in Mauritius and was barred entrance from the Michelin-starred restaurant for not having a necktie. To which his incredulous reply was, “This is Mauritius — why would I possibly bring a necktie?” The condescending maître d’ retorted, “Monsieur, this is a Michelin-starred restaurant; we have certain standards to maintain.” So Muller went back to his room, removed the belt from around his bathrobe, tied it around his collar and went back downstairs to dine, unperturbed. His insouciant reply, “This tie is the height of contemporary fashion.”
"The blazer has been tailored to fit impeccably, utilising all Orlebar Brown and The Rake’s mastery of proportion and fit."
In homage to Muller’s sartorial derring-do and whip-smart problem solving, Orlebar Brown and The Rake have designed the detachable belt of our towelling blazer with pointed tips, so that when confronted with similar inanity you may simply whip the belt off, tie it around your neck, resplendent in sartorial correctness, despite you having just usurped that particular piece of dress-code gibberish and given it the middle finger. Rake Victor.