The host of HandCut Radio roots through our new arrivals in search of pieces to tackle the remainder of our fickle English summer.
Well, here we are again – another month, another story. And what else could we possibly decide to write about in the height of an English summer than the pouring rain? The last few weeks have been seriously patchy weather-wise (in London, that is), but that does at least give us all a chance to throw on some lightweight layers. I always think of this part of summer as ‘pre-autumn’ and as the old saying goes – it pays to be prepared.
Let’s start with the big one, Japanese outerwear extraordinaire, Coherénce. Clutch Cafe has introduced Coherénce for the first time this season and it is (to my knowledge) the only place you’ll find this greatest of Japanese coat makers in London. The Coherénce coat every menswear-head aspires to own is the raglan-sleeved Corb II raincoat, which Clutch is carrying this season, but I wanted to play with the sleek Vernon II field jacket, which is a minimalistic interpretation of the US Army M-43, available in either taupe (seen here) or midnight blue.
More than almost any other brand I know, Coherénce obsesses over quality. All its fabrics are developed and precision woven as exclusives, Coherence’s creative director, Kentaro Nakagomi, even goes so far as to spinning his own yarns and to stripping down vintage pieces to get his designs just right. This painstaking care and attention doesn’t come cheap, but you can think of these as twenty-year coats, and then some.
Here, I’ve dressed the Vernon II pretty simply with a cream cotton and rayon blend sport shirt from Muller Bros. You’ll have gathered from my first story that I’m a fan of 1950s-style camp collars. The blended fabric feels surprisingly soft and is less precious than a pure rayon shirt, so this is a smart buy if (like me) you can’t be bothered to mollycoddle your shirts. The wide-leg denim pants are by Cushman, and before any purists out there hit me with “why have you rolled them up?” let it be known that I’ve rolled them up so they can go back to the shop un-hemmed and you can buy them! Tan suede Paraboot Michaels and a mustard Fox umbrella (this is one of the Fox’s handy collapsible ‘tube’ brollies, lovingly made in the brand’s south London workshop) complete the picture.
Next up, we have Orgueil’s new Harrington cut in peached water-resistant polyester with a knitted collar, cuffs and hem. It’s nifty, this thing. It feels light and airy, but has a certain swagger to it nonetheless. Beneath, we opted for a Belafonte knitted tee with bold stripes and a thick ribbed hem, which helps it to sit comfortably over another pair of Cushman high-waisted pants. These are the same as the first model, the Lot 22686 wide leg pant – an authentic recreation of a 1940s workwear trouser. This time, they’re cut in mottled ‘salt & pepper’ chambray with a brushed finish, which adds to their rugged, hard-working appeal. They feel reassuringly tough when you first pull them on, and they are destined to break-in beautifully the more they’re lived in. The bag is a sizeable vegetable tanned number from Early Hollywood, finished with a plethora of brass studs.
Last, but by no means least, we have a few pieces with some serious bells and whistles. The punchy indigo 'Meridana' shirt is by Californian maverick of a brand, Mister Freedom. Styled as a Guayabera (the pattern is taken from a shirt in Mister Freedom’s archive) the detailing is very impressive. Quite apart from a raft of authentic features like its arcuate front-yokes and overlaid patch pockets, the shirt’s buttons and fastenings are stunning. They were made bespoke by Mister Freedom from polished Ox bone. If that’s not perfectionism in action, I don’t know what is. The cloth is a starchy linen plainweave that’s lightweight, but feels like it’ll take a beating. It’ll come into its own following a good few runs through the washing machine.
Over the top, we threw on the Soundman Gardens Parka, which made me feel like I was en route to a grungy music festival (which is a very good thing). As you’d expect, it is packed with all the functional features of the military design that inspired it; a drawstring waist, detachable hood, roomy pockets and a fleet of press studs. It’s cut in high-density ‘typewriter’ cotton and the guys from Clutch tell me said cotton has been coated with a layer of polyurethane for a showerproof
finish. Beneath the coat we have one final pair of Cushman Lot 22686 work pants. I’ve got to say,all the colourways I tried on were great, but these classic tan chinos were my personal favourites. Tan chinos with attitude, you might say.
As always, I hope these three looks have sparked some food for thought. I enjoyed this try-on session every bit as much as my first shoot with Clutch last month, and the point I made then still stands.
Clutch Cafe is nothing if not eclectic in its tastes, and that’s something to lean into. Here’s hoping you can pay the store a visit for a little treasure hunt of your own soon.