Gieves & Hawkes Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear
No. 1 Savile Row. Mmmm. Just roll that address around your tongue for a while. And then say it again. Mmmm.
Gieves & Hawkes has the most evocative address in menswear, no doubt. And its history is impeccable. Depending on whom you believe, it invented the blazer. It most definitely invented the pith helmet. This 244-year-old company is the Last Supper of menswear, no diggity.
But the past is the past. Jason Basmajian, the Italian-trained American auteur at the helm of G&H, is facing a brief of transformation rather than preservation. Today, rather shockingly, his collection featured not a single suit and tie. You could almost hear the scandalized harrumphing from Pall Mall.
“Guys now are dressing more casual,” he said: “Instead of fighting it, for me it was about giving those guys options, in the most elevated, tailored way.” Thus this was a collection of supersmart casual, in which “caviar” knit T-shirts in robust Guernsey cotton lived under softly tailored suit jackets and trainers. Jackets came in olive or rust, rather than navy or charcoal. A one-button shawl-collar evening jacket was worn with fine-gauge cashmere instead of cotton shirting. Even more scandalously, the swimwear brand Orlebar Brown was revealed as collaborator on an excellent collection of swim shorts, linen overshirts, and jackets whose design was inspired by Victorian-era African explorer Dr. Livingstone—whose body once lay in state at this very address. Basmajian is charged with an exploration of his own: to take this evocative brand forward into the 21st century without losing its roots. This collection felt more Italianate Miami Vice than proper old-school English. But that might be just what Gieves needs.