January 11, 2016

Luxury and Glamour with Chester Barrie at the A/W '16 LC:M.

Undoubtedly, the biggest event of January is the London Collections: Men. Yes, the New Year has officially begun and we are back to the studios of London's finest to view the magnificent collections the leading menswear brands have to offer.

It was only a couple years ago that I began documenting my thoughts on choice brands featured
throughout the four-day period of the Autumn/Winter LC:M and it has been a beacon of opportunity for me in the world of fashion and business. Which brings me to my discussion today.

The classical modernists and surpassing Savile Row tailors, Chester Barrie, are back this year with yet another extraordinary collection that exceeds their previous collection. As a gracious apart of their team (having met them through the LC:M when I began documenting the event), I am honoured to be presenting and discussing their phenomenal Autumn/Winter 2016 collection.

For their Autumn/Winter 2016 collection, Chester Barrie have looked towards the glimmering opulence of the Red Carpet with a dazzling and irresistible assortment of only the most classical and seductive suits, knitwear, ties, and shirts with the brand's signature modern twist. As a supporter of the and tailor for those attending the Olivier Awards (who will be celebrating their 40th anniversary this year,) Chester Barrie have stitched many styles that will be sure to be seen at the gala event upon Britain's finest actors.


The stand-out cut is the new Kensington style – a low buttoning db with a shawl collar and curved front. Inspired by the stars of Hollywood’s golden age, it has more than a touch of Clark Gable about it. For AW16 the Kensington is realised in three ways: in brown wool with silk/cotton Mogador ottoman facing for a modern take on the classic dinner suit; in navy silk/wool (woven exclusively for CB in England) for a cocktail jacket that works for day or eveningwear; and in rich green velvet as contemporary version of the smoking jacket. ― The Chester Barrie Team on their A/W '16 Collection
The lovely mastermind behind the brand, Christopher Modoo, kindly offered an exclusive interview to invite you into the minds of the brand and answer a few of your burning questions.

Q: Every year, you arrive at the London Collections: Men with a traditional, suave, and idiosyncratic collection that never fails to , so what do you have in-store for your A/W ’16 collection?

A: A/W16 will have the launch of our new “gold label” evening-wear. Introducing colour to Black Tie. New fabrications and a new model…an idiosyncratic version of a double-breasted smoking jacket. The feel is very opulent and old-school hollywood glamour.

Christopher J Modoo and Mike Darcy Hughes
(Creative, stylist and buyers for Chester Barrie) and the models.
Q: You have labelled this show your biggest to date, why is that?

A: It is the biggest venue! The Palm Court at The Waldorf had the space for us to show the complete range. 32 complete looks…an incredible amount of work to produce but we have a great team. Grace Gilfeather of GQ helped style the collection and always gives us great ideas and colour combinations.

Q: As always, you and the team have put in every inkling of heart and soul into your collection which leads me to ask – what is your favourite piece from the A/W ‘16 collection and which piece was the most difficult to construct?

A: My favourite piece is the double-breasted “Kingly” bright navy dinner suit with wide peaked lapels. The lapels are faced in “Mogador” which is a traditional blend of cotton and silk…the suit is very powerful and will have pride of place on the red carpet. Working with silk can be difficult as it has a different drape to wool.

The team chose the idyllic setting of The Waldorf Hilton in Aldwych to scrap the generic runway and showcase a sensual red carpet display. Unlike last year's intimate affair at The Ivy, Chester Barrie thoroughly laid out a spectacular event to transport viewers into the life of a celebrity, with connotations of glitz, glam and luxury.

I've never seen an atmosphere like it. It was incredibly electrifying. Spectators first stood and viewed the models and mannequins modelling the collection in awe from the sidelines of the red capart before erupting into a cluster of bodies; mingling, sipping from champagne flutes, and enjoying the echo of fascinated chit chat.

The key was all in the detail with Chester Barrie's AW16 collection. It was sleek, sensual, and sharp. The perfect ingredients for the modern gentlemen. Once again, intense attention to intricate detail and immaculate tailoring has displayed and has been paid to each and every ensemble, particularly apparent in the monochromatic checks and stripes.

The homage to the refined red carpet glamour of the Olivier Awards was clearly presented through the sleek scarfs offering a dash of elegance to an exceedingly classy blazer jacket and the quirky, thick bow ties. What excited me the most in the blazer department was the deep amethyst and emerald hues upon velvet jackets with their coordinating pocket squares. What, perhaps, explains just how much elegant craftsmanship is the delicate pocket squares. The geometric patterning was simply mesmerising. The survival of the ever illusive (in this day and age, at least) pocket square was a diamond to see make more than a rare appearance in the collection.

What particularly stood out for me from the collection were the window pane check luxe trench coats. Chester Barrie are known for taking an established form and cultivate it into something entirely unpredictable. Taking the steps to blend classic with modern and with this trench coat, they did just that.

It was, indeed, the brand's biggest show to date and it's true to say Chester Barrie keeps the ever-fading modern gentlemen alive. It's our job to make sure we make the species more common! 
Here's to the next London Collections: Men!

LC:M Ambassador, David Gandy (centre), and the models.


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