Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Tailoring and tyrants

Over the last couple of months I have often found myself peering in to a store which had recently popped up on Ganton Street. The interesting space appeared to be well stocked with fine tailored goods but due to a combination of misfortune, poor planning and forgetfulness I've not been able to grasp the chance to explore inside. I've been meaning to check out the brand for some time since and thanks to a blogging nudge from Made in England, I finally have. I love nothing more than unearthing new (at least to me) brands and Social Suicide have to be one of my favourite discoveries. I love their AW09 look book so much, I just had to share it with you..


The AW09 collection, entitled ”Dictators of Fashion”, draws style and structural inspiration from a series of 20th Century military and political heroes and tyrants. On first glance, the idea of a collection being inspired by such figures sounds most odd and misguided but when you think about the names involved it makes perfect sense. Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle, Benito Mussolini, Nelson Mandela, Chairman Mao, General Kalashnikov, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro. Now, these names might not appear as style icons but I am reminded of an old article in The Independent which put forward the ten suits that shook the world. The owners of these ten important sartorial creations included none other than Winston Churchill, Mao Tse-Tung and Malcolm X. This collection has forced me to rethink my style in politics stance...


Ten characters, Ten cuts, Ten stories; all with incredible detailing, beautiful handwork, leather trims and delicate embroidery. For me, the most iconic suit is Churchill's wartime flannel suit. The Independent article reminded me of that famous posed picture of the wartime leader where he held a Thompson submachine gun in one hand, a signature cigar in the other and was wearing an immaculate chalk-stripe flannel suit adorned with a bowler hat and spotted bow tie. They say a picture can say a thousand words, well this piece of propaganda just said two, "Don't mess!" The original suit was made by the Savile Row tailors, Henry Poole, with woven cloth supplied by Fox Brothers of Wellington, Somerset but the Social Suicide chaps have created two fine versions for the modern English gentleman. A three button, three piece suit with high waisted trousers. Made in a pure wool flannel with an embroidered cotton pin-stripe. It also features a sunglasses pouch top pocket with spring closure and a cigar pocket.

Churchill's iconic pin stripe.

If Churchill's pin stripe suit is the most iconic, Mandella's tuxedo has to be the most popular. It is very special indeed and is beautifully made in super 150s merino wool with cashmere and silk. The Italian silk lapel is forced into a large rounded chest with a single button a bit like a shawl collar...


I love the asymmetrical leather trim detailing of De Gaulle's Sam Brown suit. A two button pure wool flannel two piece suit trimmed in Italian nappa leather. For those of you who like me are left scratching their heads as to what a Sam Brown is, well I will tell you...it is a leather belt that passes over the shoulder to suspend a holster. Therefore, the piped lapel mimics the strap over a shoulder. Ever detail works and provokes interest.


I think it fitting to end this look at Social Suicide's with a glance at Stalin's tunic. Few people wake up in the morning and declare their intent on channelling the style of one of the most powerful and and murderous dictators in history but this tunic might make you think differently. So, his regime of terror caused the death and suffering of tens of millions, but he also oversaw the war machine that played a key role in the defeat of Nazism and he had one hell of a coat! This0 three button Tunic coat in pure wool flannel is inspired by the one worn by Joseph Stalin at the Yalta Summit in February 1945.


It is worth concluding with the point that Social Suicide suits and jackets are all individually made from the finest fabrics to the highest standards. One man takes one day to make one jacket – no production lines, no corner cutting – and the fabrics used are of the finest and purest wools, silks, cottons and linens. However, the real beauty of a Social Suicide suit lies in it’s story telling and it’s detailing. The core of the brand is to create clothing with thought, humour and depth. I will certainly be popping in to their Ganton Street store next time I walk by...

7 comments:

Jason said...

Churchill's wartime suit is amazing. Thanks for bringing this fun tailoring brand to my attention.

dapper kid said...

All I have to say is heck yes. I shall definitely be heading on over to take a look. The Stalin tunic looks beautiful. And I am rather in awe of the model's mustache!

Christian said...

Its also great to look at the fashion that came to inspire this collection. I think it is very contemporary(the theme).

Craig said...

Hey Steve and EJ, loving the Social Suicide post. A friend of mine told me about the label not long ago, its nice to see it getting some attention becuase their work is incredible.
Next time I`m down in that direction I`m definitely popping in, don`t know if I`ll be able to resist the tuxedo purchase!!
Keep up the good work guys, check out savile joe blog if you have time, would love to hear from you guys.
Craig

Arushi Khosla (FabBlab) said...

The Stalin tunic is wow. And I just have a thing for pinstripes, call me dorky.

Style Salvage Steve said...

Jason: No problem at all, it is our pleasure.
DapperKid: I knew this brand would be right up your alley. Yes, his beard/tasche combo is impressive...one day!
Christian: I can't recall a brand taking such literal inspiration from such figures. The chaps pull it off admirably.
Craig: Thanks so much. Yes, I'll swing by right now...
Arushi Khosla (FabBlab): Ha, not dorky at all! I think pinstripe can be one of the most difficult fabrics to pull off well but the options from Social Suicide are just perfect.

Anonymous said...

Hiya I have just seen a swirl suit jacket by Social Suicide, cant see it here, was it last years collection?

Thanks, Harry

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