BOOK REVIEW By Belinda Morris
The Finest Menswear in the World - Quality, luxury and Craft
by Simon Crompton (£24.95, Thames & Hudson)
Should your idea of ‘fine’ menswear be inextricably associated with today’s must-have label or being sure that your trouser hems are the requisite number of inches from your shoes, then this book is going to be something of an eye-opener. ‘Fine’ in this context isn’t about fashion – although style certainly enters into it; here we’re talking about ‘finest’, which means craftsmanship, luxury, love, intricate details…
Taking a number of elements of the gentleman’s wardrobe, author and editor Simon Crompton hasn’t simply researched the history of traditional clothing manufacture, he’s been there, lived it, owned most of it. He clearly knows what he’s talking about. And in order for us to understand and therefore appreciate what goes into the creation of a bespoke suit, the best Panama hat, the most perfect scarf etc, he doesn’t stint on the intricacies of contemporary artisanal menswear.
We learn how Anderson and Shepherd jackets achieve that particular drape (so loved by the likes of Fred Astaire as well as modern celebrities), how many different craftsmen (in Equador) it takes to make a Panama hat and why the best tie must be a combination of British and Italian aesthetics. You wont think about M&S socks in the same way again after you’ve read about Bresciani’s (hand-linking is key) and even jeans get full coverage – Japan-based Kapital does its own dying, spinning, weaving and making and innovative thinking sets it further apart from the very few denim producers that does this.
A great cover-to-cover read, all the better for the personal insights from Mr Crompton.