A few weeks back a couple of the Style & Then Some ladies attended a press preview for River Island. Now, due to the onslaught of Fashion Week it is regrettable that the male species does get slightly overlooked while we are reporting on the future of peplums, pastels and princess lines. So here is some much-needed style news for the boys (hurrah!).
Now, we all know what mystical wonderment a truly amazing suit can do for a dude. Step in to a perfectly fitted three-piece and you might as well carry a big butterfly net in your breast pocket to collect all the swooning ladies (or lads) that passes by. There is a reason, just like the LBD never goes out of style, why a truly remarkable suit will remain the staple of any man’s wardrobe throughout his lifetime. Not only does it connote authority, maturity and style, but also the right suit can empower a man in the same way a woman’s favorite pair of heels instantly add swagger to her step. With great power, however, comes great responsibility. If you want a suit that will sizzle, you go to Savile Row. The wizards of the waistcoat; the Lords of the Lapels. The masters and creators of the finest suits ever worn have been born and raised in Savile Row. But obviously, like that pair of Louboutins your girlfriend, mum or sister lusts after the majority of her life but can’t quite afford, the price of a Savile Row suit is usually reflective of the deposit on your first house. Therefore, many high street brands over the years have attempted to tap in to the tailoring arena and offer a more wallet friendly version. River Island, it seems, being no exception.
Available from this September, the ‘Life of A Tailor’ range has been launched online and through selected RI stores. The capsule collection of men’s tailored pieces is being heralded as ‘a new era in tailoring’ and we were lucky enough to get up close and personal with the range ahead of its initial release. The pieces themselves take inspiration from the majority of the history of the suit. You not only have your classic Frank Sinatra suiting inspiration (and yes, the original Brad-Pittless version of Ocean’s 11 was screened on the night), but also hints of a Modish vibe mixed in with your dandy influences in the form of polka dot and paisley linings to add a little ‘quirkiness’ and inject a youthful element – perfect for River Island’s target market of teenage and twenty something men. With price points that mean you probably wouldn’t have to borrow your Dad’s oversized suit for your first interview (Jackets £120, trousers £60 etc) River island seem to have succeeded in creating such a capsule collection in a very difficult market and at an uncertain time. We spoke to the head of River Island’s Menswear, Elizabeth Taylor, who told us how suiting is going to be a major influence for AW12-13 and therefore this is the perfect time for them to launch their new line. Adding that the range is predominantly aimed at ‘young City guys’ Elizabeth also commented that RI are attempting to ‘create more of a fashionable look’ that is more trend driven, rather than your bog standard High Street suit. This seems to be a smart move for River Island, especially as this is a way for young professionals to distance themselves from the suiting stores their elders frequent (your T.M Lewins, Marks & Spencer’s for example). With celebrity culture as dominant as ever in influencing us mere mortals what’s ‘HAWT’ right now, it cannot be denied that the likes of Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zac Efron et al seem to be suiting up in the same way rappers such as P Diddy and Usher are. Apparently it doesn’t matter if you are Park Avenue born and bred, or from the wrong side of the tracks ‘done good’ a la 50 Cent, the suit means business, and in River Island’s case, hopefully profits.