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Off the Tracks and On the Money: With Mathias le Fèvre

Style emissary and sartorialist par excellence, Mathias le Fèvre, talks us through his summer styling tips and tricks

First off; tell us a little about the inspiration behind the shoot.
‘Off The Tracks’ is a photographic essay inspired by the growing chaos that is our reality in 2020. A photographic essay where style is the narrative that locates a moment of peaceful self-expression amid the uncertain reality that we are currently living. – The location tells a story of its own; set on an abandoned railway in the deep forests of southern England, the derelict train coaches demonstrate that no material objects nor systems are constant, the only constant is change. 

Can you give us a little breakdown of the (rather spectacular) looks you’ve gone for here?
The first look is a very classic and inspired by the charms of the 1920s. It is no secret that brown is my favourite colourway when it comes to tailoring, and this is a pull-together from some of my much-loved British dressers. The jacket is from DAKS and cut from their iconic house-check. It is here paired with a cream silk shirt by Edward Sexton, which features my very deep collar. Certainly a personal essential for me. I have, over the past year or so, been very into experimenting with silk as a wardrobe element. It seems to work brilliantly in the shape of shirts and as a blend fabric for suits. Moving on to the other half of the look; DAKS archive trousers in a chic tobacco brown, finished off with a pair of classic spectator shoes. 

  1. House Check Jacket by DAKS 
  2. Bespoke shirt cut in Cream Silk by Edward Sexton
  3. Brown Paisley Tie by Eton Shirts
  4. Archive Trouser by DAKS
  5. MTO Spectator Shoes by CARMINA SHOEMAKER
  6. Black Umbrella by Pasotti

Throwing it back to the great 70s, this second look is a tribute to Tommy Nutter. He set up his Savile Row tailoring shop with companion, Edward Sexton, to tear up the conservative idea of a suit and introduce a little rock-n-roll flair. He dressed all the cool musicians of his time; Elton John; The Beatles; Mick Jagger, you name it. The trousers of this look are vintage Tommy Nutter from the 80s, cut from a heavy flannel and they are here paired with a willow green knit from John Smedley and a very special trench coat made from an interesting fabric called Solaro. If you are a menswear geek like myself, and if you are not yet familiar with the story of the Solaro fabric, I’d highly recommend looking it up. 

  1. Roll-neck Jumper by John Smedley
  2. Solaro Trech coat by DAKS
  3. Vintage Houndstooth Trousers by Tommy Nutter  
  4. MTO Spectator Shoes by CARMINA SHOEMAKER

Inspired by the prep style of the 1950s, this third outfit’s base is a blue colourway featured on a classic-cut, high-rise trouser and a long point collar shirt. For an injection of dandyism, it is styled with a neckerchief and a pair of horse-bit loafers. 

Matching the blues with cream, here are two ways to complete the look: A double-breasted cream flannel blazer presents the smart casual option. I would call it summer chick and wear it for a garden party or a night out on the town. However, say that you are off to a picnic or a Sunday brunch with family, then the cricket jumper makes the relaxed counterpart.

  1. Chambray Shirt by Edward Sexton
  2. Cricket Jumper by Hackett London
  3. Cream Flannel Jacket by Edward Sexton
  4. Heritage Trouser by DAKS
  5. Sartorial Socks by London Sock Co
  6. Horse Bit Loafers by CARMINA SHOEMAKER

What are the main stylistic trends we should be trying to incorporate into our SS20 wardrobes?
I have never been one to follow trends as I like to think that my style is quite classic and timeless, however there are a popular few style moves that I am really liking at the movement:

Cuban collars; are certainly “in” this summer. Worn with a casual linen trouser or under a suit with the collar popped over the lapels, they certainly make it on to the list of summer wardrobe essentials.   

Flares have for a long time belonged to a bygone era, but the 70s have made a big comeback on the style scene and flares came with it. With a thin upper leg and an exaggerated ankle, these trousers are sure to make an impact anywhere you go. 

Comfort is key, goodbye to the slim fit: For more than a decade the “slim fit” has been what the majority of men aspired to when suit shopping. Finally, it seems that we have come to the realization that asking your tailor to taper the sleeve so that your biceps show through the suit is no longer cool. Wide-leg trousers and a more traditional fit has now been welcomed, which is definitely to my preference.

What advice would you give to those looking to up their tailoring game for SS20? Are there any particular tailors you’d recommend we check out?
To me summer tailoring is all about breezy fabrics and natural colours. Stay cool with linen, silks and light cottons. When the temperature breaks 25 °C, you know that it is time to lock up the heavy flannel and tweed suits to make space for the summer wardrobe. To cope with the warmer climate, it is an unspoken rule among sartorialists that it is now acceptable to loosen the formal dress code and ease into  more casual tailoring. Think breezy linen trousers, silk blends and relaxed cotton suits. These fabrics are highly breathable and will keep you cool even on the warmest day of the year, in the UK at least. 

Earthy tones are my absolute go-to colourway for summer tailoring; variations of browns, greens and sandy beiges. Not only do they mix and match really well, but they also create a fantastic casual and laid-back look. They make a statement without shouting and that alone is enough reason to invite them into your wardrobe.  

In terms of tailors with great summer tailoring on offer, I would recommend New & Lingwood if you want to bring colour and character to your wardrobe. The Scott Fraser Collection is another ideal option  for those looking for the perfect wide-leg trouser. He also just launched a lush polo collection based on the iconic designs of the movie The Talented Mr. Ripley, which you must check out. 

High-waisted, wide-legged trousers seem to be l’ordre du jour here, and you’re wearing them expertly! What advice would you give to those looking to branch out from a slimmer-cut trouser?
I have always aspired to wear a clean cut trouser that falls straight down the leg. When buying my first suits, I made the mistake of having all my trousers tapered super slim, thinking it would make them look neat. After a lot of trial and error, I learned about fabric drape and that a fuller trouser is key to a clean straight-leg trouser. Not only does a wider fit offer a beautiful aesthetic, but it is extremely comfortable and will also keep you cool by allowing air to circulate in the excess leg room. So, there is no doubt that a pair of wide-leg linen trousers will be your best friend this summer.

And lastly; footwear is all too often overlooked this time of year. Any tips on what we should be looking for in our summer shoe?
While autumn and winter is praised for being the best seasons for tailoring as it is possible to layer-up, summer is probably my favourite time of the year for footwear. I am a huge loafer-head and I am too ashamed to admit how much space they take up in my London apartment. Tassel, Horse-Bit, Suede, Full-Strap and Penny loafer, they come in so many styles, shapes and materials, there’s one for every occasion, I love them all. Other than that, I call on Espadrilles when at the beach. If you love a classic, you must own a pair of spectators shoes to wear at the summer races. Whenever they return, that is.

@mathiaslefevre //