Kings of cool - four stylish creatives past and present

Kings of cool - four stylish creatives past and present

Artists, writers, musicians, creatives... they're an eclectic bunch with esoteric tastes. Some are more than happy in their paint-splattered overalls, channelling existential art through their own particular medium, while others see their public personas as an extension of their creativity, and thus important. And there have been some great examples over time of creatives nurturing a personal style befitting their artistic output.

This season, we were inspired by this concept of modern artisans and what they wear. We wanted to create a collection that referenced the silhouettes and fabrics of artists past, while making sure they were every bit as stylish and contemporary as artists present. And so we've highlighted a few of our favourite creatives from multi-disciplines to examine what they wear/wore and how they wear/wore it.

Jean Michel Basquiat

Jean MIchel Basquiat

Graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, often cited as an icon of modern menswear, was a brilliant exponent of mixing elements of tailoring with sportswear in a sort of artistic post-punk mash-up in the 80s. But since we can't all be creative global phenomenons, our collective wardrobes need to be a little more considered. 

Solms Jacket Ellbridge Green

Solms Jacket
Ellbridge Green

Brook Shirt Wick Denim Rinse

Brook Shirt Wick
Denim Rinse

Drawstring Trousers Helford Ecru

Drawstring Trousers
Helford Ecru

Oli has always been a proponent of relaxed silhouettes, especially with tailoring and in this collection you'll find plenty of loose drapes and soft shoulders that naturally pair well with the athletic shapes of tees, sweatshirts and even hoodies. Basquiat's canvas could appear chaotic, even manic at times, and yet although his style was a mishmash of classic and modern inputs, it always looked effortlessly put together. For him, tailoring was to be thoroughly lived in. Similarly, this spring collection by Oli features blazers can be worn with polos, rollnecks, crewneck sweaters, and yes, even shirts, while also introducing elements of workwear.

Kazuo Ishiguro

The acclaimed novelist and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature moved to England from Japan when he was only five years old and claims that much of the Japan he wrote about in his first two novels was largely from his imagination of the land he felt such a strong emotional connection to, despite not going back for some 30 years. Yet for all Ishiguro's English upbringing, his personal style borrows much from Japanese minimalism and loose silhouettes.

Solms Jacket Ellbridge Black

Solms Jacket
Ellbridge Black

Fishtail Trousers Ellbridge Black

Fishtail Trousers
Ellbridge Black

Riviera Short Sleeve Shirt Phaidon Black

Riviera Short Sleeve
Shirt Phaidon Black

In public, Ishiguro more often than not wears a black suit with either a black shirt, black t-shirt or crewneck sweater, deviating only slightly with a dip into the odd charcoal tone. The dark, restricted palette oozes sophistication and intrigue, together with a sort of introspective quality you would expect from an author of his magnitude.

David Adjaye

Architects aren't typically lumped in with artists and writers but we feel like this is a huge omission since their work is no less an expression of their imaginative capacity. One such architect we have huge respect for is David Adjaye, the Ghanaian-British award-winner, who along with creating stunning buildings can also put together a great wardrobe.

Solms Jacket Mylor Sand

Solms Jacket
Mylor Sand

Fishtail Trousers Mylor Sand

Fishtail Trousers
Mylor Sand

Grandad Shirt Hayle Blue

Grandad Shirt
Hayle Blue

Ghana, especially the capital Accra, has a fantastic tailoring tradition, which is perhaps where Adjaye gets some of his inspiration. He favours relaxed tailoring and unstructured silhouettes, somewhat contrary to the tenets of his day job, and enjoys a collarless shirt or two. Like Ishiguro, his wardrobe plays on a restrictive palette of dark tones such as green, navy and black, with occasional sorties into neutral territory.

Charlie Watts

Charlie Watts

Has there ever been a more ineffably cool man than the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts? It's hard to think of anyone who could look as good and innately comfortable in his sartorial ski than Watts. For all the frippery and flouncing of his more flamboyant band members, Watts nevertheless was the one to truly stand out for his style. Immaculate three-piece suits were his uniform. Watts always considered himself as something of the jazz man, looking up to the likes of Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, and it was from such behemoths of the jazz age that Watts got a lot of his sartorial inspiration.

Finsbury Jacket Ives Indigo

Finsbury Jacket
Ives Indigo

Penhale Knitted Polo Shirt Keybridge Beige

Penhale Knitted Polo
Shirt Keybridge Beige

Judo Trousers Hepworth Ecru

Judo Trousers
Hepworth Ecru

Watts's bespoke suits, first by Tommy Nutter then later by Huntsman were spectacular sober compared with Jagger's and Richards' aesthetic, and yet it was that very juxtaposition that made him stand out. Whatever the decade, Watts persisted with an unerring approach to classic tailoring that suited him perfectly. 


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