Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Rediscovering Crombie

Crombie makes a welcome return for AW10.

What does Crombie mean to you? It should evoke the very best of Englishness, timesless elegance. It transcends fashion, instead preferring the minimum of fanfare and typical British understatement but in doing so it can be over looked. No longer. Crombie is ready to reassert its sartorial authority with the launch of a lifestyle line for Aw10 along with an e-commerce website in September and a new flagship store at number forty eight Conduit Street. Earlier this week the above two books arrived in the post to both raise my awareness of the collection launch and to refresh my memory on the heritage of the label. As I pored over their contents I could not resist sharing a few ages with you...

It is the original and typical of British understatement. Its place in history as well as a generation of wardrobes as well as the pages of the Oxford English Dictionary has remained irreplaceable.

Founded at the dawn of the industrial age, the Crombie trademark became renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship, earning it a place amongst the founding fathers of modern luxury. The prize medal pictured here was presented by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert 'For Superior Manufacture and Beauty of Design' in 1851.

In the late 19th Century, John Crombie's grandson Theodore and his agents embarked on journeys across the globe, with trunks filled with their trademark cloth. Over the course of the following century, Crombie wove many of the fabrics that protected the world's armies, most notably the woolen cloth that became the legendary British Warm greatcoat.

The 20th century's most enduring icons, from the Duke of Windsor to Clark Gable to Cary Grant, carried Crombie's understated, effortless style in to the modern age.

With over two hundred years of heritage and almost as many years' worth of inspirational archive material to draw upon creating the Aw10 collection was always going to be stimulating as well as challenging but it is obvious that the new team relished the experience. Unsurprisingly the coat, in its many subtle guises, remains the hero line within the collection....

The tall slim silhouette is encompassed in two key styles, the flat front, straight covert coat and the subtly waisted retro frockcoat. Variations in cloth from the opulent one hundred per cent cashmere, to the urban and functional showerproof backed cotton/wool and inky black shearling, broaden the further appeal of this iconic garment.

And with more than a nod to Crombie's heritage, there is the authentic English wool, Military Great Coat with its chalk filled handcrafted brass buttons. In army green or air force blue archive cloth, it is a faithful World War II replica of the coat that the brand supplied to the War Office for the officers of the armed forces.

The formal collection showcases slim or classic fit suits in the finest cloths, including a 150s cashmere blend, complimented by two fold cotton shirts and handmade in England silk ties. Relaxed elegance comes in the form of English wool checked jackets, a wool pea coat, moleskin cords and denim jeans, hand knits, lambswool cardigans and classic cashmeres.

The brand's enduring simplicity and elegance have allowed it to be rediscovered afresh by every generation. The company continues to use the finest British wools, tweeds and cashmeres to create its iconic menswear. It is now time for the fabric of British menswear for over two centuries to move in to the future with a rich legacy. I'll end this post with the words of Robert Elms on purchasing his very first Crombie, twenty four years after first wanting one as an aspiring skin head. I recently picked up 'The Way We Wore' and am finding it difficult to put down. Elms' way with the English language is far superior to mine...

"...there in the window was the coat. Navy, blue, heavy felt wool, fly fronted, square shoulders, black velvet collar.

I was nervous when I walked in. After twenty four years a tiny dream was about to be realised. I was enthralled when I walked out, wearing the coat of course.

I still have my Crombie, occasionally study the label to see that it spells out the correct, all important word."

Extract from 'The Way We Wore'.


jekkvalle said...

I'm drooling over those coats *moves laptop at a safe distance*. But I can never wear them - don't have the height for it. I could get something tailored...but they sometimes cost more than the jacket themselves.

Beautiful photos btw. They look so elegant. Even the dog!

enterrement vie de jeune fille said...

quel style et quelle élégance, l'homme parfait et très jolies photos.


Anonymous said...

All of these coats look so elegant, masculine and classic. I'm hoping to get a WWI inspired greatcoat before the winter comes, without the hefty Burberry price tag.


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