Something to keep in mind when next on the red carpet.
Seeing a lot of purple cloths appearing in my Dormeuil and Scabal books recently and I am glad to say it’s getting some traction amongst my clients. Now it’s not like I am making boat loads of purple suits but I will have made three (and all three-piece solid purple) in the past three months compared to zero in the past 10 years. Of course high-end cloths would not have come in colors like this as readily even a year ago. I think as soon as people started wearing “midnight blue” (which gets lighter and lighter every season) after Sky Fall, we started to see an emergence of colors outside of navy and various shades of grey for men. in fall/winter 2015 Loro Piana, Scabal and Dormeuil did a lot of Burgundy and I think this will continue for 2016 but the new emerging color to watch for 2016 will be purple.
Of course a solid purple suit is not for everyone but I have also been seeing the color used in linings and cloths as an accent color like in this very, very English flannel from Hardy Minnis I finished up recently.
Its is not just limited to more formal cloths either, it can also be found in Scabal’s “Ascona” book of brushed cottons which can be made into great moleskin trousers
and in Dormeuil’s range of very high quality cashmere that can be used for dramatic sport coats or overcoats.
Funnily enough the second bespoke suit I ever commissioned for myself 16 years ago at the age of 19 was a deep purple. It was rather over designed, 4 button fastening, two top welt pockets and gauntlet cuffs. It was a great suit to wear though, made from gaberdine it was highly resistant to beer and G and T that could be spilled on you at the student union.
I found it a very versatile color to wear as well, it went with both black or brown shoes and matched up with lots of shirts and ties but as my tastes developed I became more turned on to better and better cloths and Dormeuil or Loro Piana just weren’t doing purple (I got my purple gaberdine off Leeds market, god knows where it came from). So this color makes me feel nostalgic, and I am glad I can now scratch that purple itch.
Colibri described by Scabal in their own words: True to its avian namesake, the award winning Colibri collection is alive with color and energy.
Including 18 articles that each experiment with color, weave or sheen. Gun club checks, jacquard patterns and checks are just some of the designs available, with others so innovative they have not yet been named.
Such a colorful collection is ideal for the informal connoisseur who wants something different, and the fashion forward man who enjoys style experimentation.
Well….let’s dive in shall we?
This is an interesting book that unfortunately does not photograph too well on my iphone, too much color variation going on and this is a strength and a weakness of this rather flamboyant and whimsical collection, its amazing looking but ironically may not translate too well on camera.
After showing this new book to a few clients initial reaction is a little negative at first perhaps when looked at in a purely modern commercial context, but when you frame these as rather fun and retro cloths, that perhaps Johhny Carson or a 60s or 70s playboy might wear people start to see the appeal.
These are cloths which would be great for a host of a party or to wear at a fancy cocktail bar, to many this may seem like a frivolous use for bespoke tailoring but I am always of the mind that we are doing style here and style is all about who you are and your lifestyle and your choices.
I have seen (and encouraged) a real trend to not just confine bespoke tailoring to work or important meetings and events in the past few years. Usually this has meant dressing down bespoke and the utility of tweeds, moleskins and corduroys but maybe the next frontier is bringing fine(er) cloths into our leisure time as well? Maybe its about what we wear on a Friday or Saturday night and this is about refinement, sophistication but also fun and of course confidence.
My only real critisim of this book outside of its rather niche context is that it sometimes does not go far enough, we have quite a few repeat patterns here in different color ways and at 18 cloths the book is not quite the bold offering it could be but I can understand why.
Colibri is not for everyone, its rather advanced and will probably be for the client of considerable means who has his” basic” Bespoke wardrobe covered, nothing wrong with that though. I think it is great that cloth houses are taking risks with cloths like this rather than going for the safe route of the mythical all year round, fits all needs, "commercial cloth" with colors and patterns like we see everywhere else.
Colibri is 100% wool made in England and weighs in at 250 grams or 8.8 ozs
My personal rating is a solid 3 out of 5 stars, this is brought down from 4 because of the limited nature of the collection but also because there are a couple of weak patterns here design wise which bring down the overall rating and stand out especially, again, in such a small offering, still a very interesting book and worth a look.