Our eyes often glaze over as the conveyor belt of incessant releases trundles on and on but when we do encounter a creative coming together that makes perfect sense, we leap to attention. Since its debut for SS10, Joe Casely-Hayford for John Lewis has always delivered. Now, you should recall how we fell for the charms of the debut thirty piece capsule collection back in January 2010. It was a celebration of the very best of authentic British design whilst providing an enticingly complete everyday wardrobe, encompassing everything from jackets to shoes. Who knew that the high street could be this exciting and fruitful? It was, not surprisingly, extremely well received and has only grown in subsequent seasons. Over the last couple of years, Casely-Hayford and John Lewis have worked hard to build, nourish and grow this concept of collaboration with the finest manufacturers to create a a highly considered range of future classic designs for contemporary men who appreciate, design, quality and attention to detail. With each season it continues to evolve and grow. In essence this is a collaboration that brings seemingly specialist products to a wider audience without losing any of the integrity that make their products special. It is a masterful balancing act. Having established a strong following through exclusive collaborations with some of the UK’s finest heritage manufacturers, Casely-Hayford continues to celebrate craftsmanship and home grown British manufacturing whilst working with a mouth watering lineup that includes Barbour, Liberty, Cooper and Strollband, Abraham Moon and for the first time this season, Gloverall.
For the soon to be fully launched AW12 collection, Joe Casely-Hayford looked to the counter culture of the 1950s for sartorial inspiration. As the world recovered from the immeasurable traumas of world war two, the decade dawned as an era at odds with itself. This was a time of early rock and roll and saw the emergence of motorcyclists havens like the Ace Cafe and the 59 Club which were ever filled with the scent of leather and a thirst for change. Much as Casely-Hayford explores, plays and experiments with the duality of English Sartorialism and British Anarchy for his own line, he does the same here whilst translating these twentieth century influences for today's man. The result is a thirty piece collection spanning knitwear, shirting, and trousers with prices ranging from twenty eight pound for a pique crew neck t shirt to three hundred and twenty five pound for a long bezique twill black coat. For both myself and Matt McCormack, Head of Menswear Buying at John Lewis, we are in simultaneous nodding agreement that one of the standout pieces for this season is without doubt the Berwick which encapsulates all of these elements. It is a well crafted overcoat that fuses traditional biker elements with the more formal Chesterfield overcoat. A happy marriage. Once again the collection exhibits Casely-Hayford's deft ability to create timeless pieces, with meticulous attention to detail at every stage of the design and manufacturing process...
JCH Berwick Twill Black Coat, £325 at John Lewis
JCH Gloverall Duffle Coat, £299, Bonnier Yoke Fairesle, £99 and Vintage Denim Shirt, £85 at John Lewis
JCH Ventile Mac, £299, and Bonnier Contrast Cardigan, £125 at John Lewis
JCH Vintage Leather Jacket, £450, Pique Crew, Navy, £28 at John Lewis
Regular readers will know that I'm rarely excited by High Street unveilings but this creative coming together has been ever fruitful. To be honest, I'm a little perplexed that other retailer's haven't tried to imitate this project on some level and have instead continued along the path of fanfare and hype to the ultimate detriment of the product. Oh well, atleast someone is doing it right. Following its initial success, it is great to see that Joe Casely-Hayford and John Lewis have been able to consistently evolve the collaboration to offer some of the finest collections available on the High Street whilst shining the spotlight on the British sartorialism, craftsmanship and manufacture that make us all so proud.