Well-known to turn to sui generis fabric makers, it is 358-year-old family clothmaker Vitale Barberis Canonico who
have specially designed fabrics for the tailoring in the Barbanera for The Rake collaboration. It is not just about
using the coveted VBC fabrics, but about their intellectual approach to create something different, one where
tailoring is able to fuse with Western attire in their own idiosyncratic way. The personally selected light
herringbone wool imbued on their Trinity trousers is a great example. As Sergio explains: “The nature of this fabric
allows the trouser to be simple, elegant and informal at the same time.” He goes onto say: “I like to think of them
matched with a black corduroy Western shirt and a pair of boots.” As seen in the photographs, he’s combined the
Trinity grey trousers and FDP black corduroy Western shirt with a pair of Cash brown and black snakeskin leather
boots with a 3.5cm Cuban-heel. Whilst it mixes the rock ‘n’ roll loucheness of Keith Richards with the romantic
outlaw persona of Johnny Cash, it’s a masterful fusion of styles that brilliantly explores and embraces the
different dimensions of being a gentleman.
Moving onto the key component of the collaboration, the Alberto double-breasted suit, it has been woven in a
specially adapted Prince of Wales check wool to give it a real old school presence. Other tailored Prince of Wales
check suits might be well-cut and luxurious, but they don’t petition one to give it a twist with style references
from other cultures. Whilst following the good old rules of traditional Italian tailoring, little nuances such as
its sharp peak lapels, that are not too wide allow the collar of a Western shirt to beautifully overlap, whilst the
silhouette of the trousers coalesces perfectly when the hem is kissing the uppers of the wearer’s shoes. Black suede
tastefully harmonizes with the suit, and so one should opt for the Cash boots with Cuban-heel, and in anticipation
of a restock the black suede/deerskin Kerouac boots.
Denim’s dynamism has meant its cultural identity has repeatedly changed throughout its 150-year lifespan. What it
does mean though, if given to adept designers such as Barbanera, the likelihood is that you can combine the American
frontier with the elegance of a well-cut suit. In a medium blue wash, their sole denim Western shirt in the
collaboration with The Rake is constructed for exactly that. Its classic point collar, when worn unbuttoned overlaps
beautifully on jacket lapels, whilst the tone of the denim gives you scope to wear with most shades of tailoring.
Don’t be shy to wear their brown Cormac waxy kudu leather boots as footwear, and if your trousers have belt loops,
such as their trinity grey VBC herringbone light wool trousers, wear a Palladium belt from Adriano Meneghetti to
maintain that Wild West romanticism.
Like the emotive that Ralph Lauren generated, not through fashion, but through a story, Barbanera through their own
framework are rallying excitement, again not through fashion, but by sharing values – about style, about life, and
how to interpret life. It is something that sets them apart from other brands; everything is driven from the heart
and soul, and it just so happens, their unique way of merging Western attire with classic-cut and elegant suits is a
big part of it.