Bespoken Fall 2011: Seagoing Sophisticate

One of the most pleasant surprises of last spring’s collections was Bespoken’s jaunty and yet natty collection of prim British suits, shirts, and the occasional croquet mallet. For A/W 2011, they’ve followed up with another exceptional venture, inspired by an old photo the boys (Bespoken is made is made up of two sets of handsome brothers: James, Sam and Liam Fayed; Paul and Carlos Goncalves) found depicting their great grandfather on a naval supply ship during World War II. The collection it inspired is sartorial naval-themed, replete with English culture, heritage and tailoring without ignoring modern needs. This is a heavy (but not bulky), refined, gorgeous collection, replete with harris tweeds, supportive cottons, raw edges and unstructured pieces. The boys went deep into the Turnbull archive (the brand is associated with Turnbull and Asser) to source their textures and wools. They turned to some of the oldest weavers and yarn suppliers in the UK for their materials, like JC Rennie, which has been providing yarn since 1728.

One of the most pleasant surprises of last spring’s collections was

The result is true luxury and tradition. All that good British providence, without a hint of pretension or a snub to present.

Their oxford shirts, with barreled, and short collars, carry a tag that is autographed by 16 different people, representing the 16 pairs of hands each shirt passes through at the Turnbull factory. Their pullover and 4-pocket flannel shirts, highlights of the collection, look like denim from a distance, but are actually made from fine cotton flannel—though to the touch you would swear there was cashmere in there. Fitting with the seagoing sophisticate theme, they are also perfectly located at an intersection of elegance and casual.

They’ve taken a cavalry topcoat and added a thick woolen knit to the collar; also, there is a gorgeous pinstripe jacket, with a traditional ticket pocket, and their taken on a classic two-button grey flannel, which comes completely unstructured in weathered wool (pre-crinkled, if you will). The unstructured jackets, with their whimsical lining, just call out to you. Finally, their grey pea is a wicked throwback, with big brass buttons and sumptuous quilting strengthening the interior.

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Bespoken is taking sure-footed steps in exactly the right directions; they’re doing heritage their way and producing smart, sophisticated apparel that reveals the young brand’s maturity with every detail.

I’d set sail with Bespoken any day.