JUMPIN’ JACK FLASH
Our resident fashionista James Michelsberg looks ahead to the coming year and why a huge appetite for knitwear will see the best-dressed men combining a chunky rollneck or some cashmere with a well-cut suit.
When asked by this bible of cool to pass comment on the stylistic path we might tread in 2022, I started my research over breakfast, with a quick shufti on Google. According to GQ magazine, we should be wearing, ‘kilts, sleeveless hoodies, baggy shirts and partywear in ultra-shiny lamé.’ Once my wife had administered the Heimlich manoeuvre, I pressed on to discover that Nicolas Di Felice has been one of the biggest stories in menswear this season with, ‘a series of vests with holes cut out of them, which became an instant sensation on Instagram.’ Well, if Nicolas is putting bread on his family’s table, them more power to his elbow, but in my experience, the only people in Leeds with holes in their clothes, congregate outside Bella Pasta on the Headrow with a bottle of Buckfast and I’m pretty sure they’re not wearing furry sandals by Fendi for £780. After more than fifteen years plying my trade as a bespoke tailor, I have never known such a busy start to a year. The air is reeking with positivity and the pent-up demand for fun and frolics is off the scale. According to The Wedding Report, this will be the biggest year for weddings since 1984, and having been starved of any social gatherings for so long, I have been inundated with customers commissioning outfits for those long-awaited special occasions.
Our spice-smoking journo at GQ predicts colour is back with a bang, and this has certainly been reflected in the latest spring & summer cloth collections from my favourite Italian cloth mills Loro Piana and Ariston. Whilst I will always be content to remain the man in the navy blue suit, I’d happily pen my name to a pink, or bottle green summer jacket, made up in a relaxed open weave in wool and silk. Checks are still very much centre stage, fabrics have a more relaxed feel, and there’s still a creeping relaxed 80s vibe in terms of fit, with double-breasted jackets worn open, and wider, higher waisted, pleated trousers. The Italian style, floppy, sloppy blazer, is still very much ‘di moda,’ and whilst shirts in softer, more informal fabrics are relevant, there’s now a huge appetite for knitwear. During the menswear show Pitti Uomo in January, the cafes of Florence were awash with guys in sunglasses, smoking fags and sipping espressos, a chunky rollneck under their ‘giacca,’ or a cashmere jumper aloofly draped over their shoulders. This unabated trend towards knits is why I’m launching a made-to-measure range of polo shirts, roll necks, crew necks, cardigans and zippy tops, partnering with a family run atelier in Italy. I am thrilled to say formality still has a place in the gentleman’s wardrobe and black-tie events are solidly back on the social calendar. After nearly losing our stylish souls to sweatpants, a beautifully cut dinner suit is the dandified defibrillator to a broken sartorial heart, and orders for velvet jackets and elegant mohair tuxedos has restored my faith there is still a place for pizazz. A night on the town, dressed in a double-breasted jacket with roped shoulders like skyscrapers, is the perfect tonic for a man who has spent too many Saturday nights, slovenly slumped on the sofa in a t-shirt and jeans. Now we are truly back on track, it’s time to shun your Dominic Cummings fleece and bid farewell to lonesome days working from home, dressed like an unlicensed cab driver. But if there is one item whose fall I will rejoice most, it is the dehumanising chinstrap that is the mask. The longer I’ve seen my fellow man muzzled, his glorious, God-given smile stolen away from me, the worse I’ve felt. To now laugh and shake hands with customers, brings me more joy than words do justice, and as spring flashes her stockinged legs at us from under wintery outerwear, the future looks bright. As your resident tailor, I implore the men of Yorkshire, to turn their back on drab austerity, adorn themselves in flighty new finery and find that Florentine peacock within. Grazie!