Chelsea: spiritual home of Cool Britannia, before that phrase became a little too ‘Tony Blair’; beating heart of London’s florid artistic scene (long before all the yoga studios and juice); former stomping ground of The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Vivienne Westwood, no less (and believe us, she can stomp).
And now, of course, something else entirely — a curious artefact of a funny old twenty years; a pretty by-product of globalisation, Cameronisation, Instagrammification, price inflation, Californication — and so on and so forth. But it’s best not to dwell on all that.
There’s still hope. These stucco townhouses still glow white hot in the sun; the Albert Bridge still twinkles with pastel Englishness; the back streets still thrum with interesting people, good conversation, and better taste. There is still, once you lift up the rock, an artistic sensibility at large; a refinement tempered by playfulness.
With that in mind, we hope to bring back a spirit of a younger, hipper, more colourful period in the borough’s history with our recent shoot — and inflect it with the brands and tastemakers of today. Think Ivy League by way of The Who, with a good dose of the new ‘Roaring Twenties’ in there, too.
Pepper your wardrobe with pastel hues
We start with the right shades. With all the watercolour charm of Godfrey Street daubed across your wardrobe, you’ll be a vibrant, vivid vision for the upcoming summer months. These slightly lighter, slightly brighter versions of classic colours offer a muted versatility to everything from your shirts to your sneakers.
Take Aubin’s ‘Brockman’ rugby shirt. With its contrast cuffs and collar, it’s the ideal washed-out-but-warm shade of yellow for summer. New & Lingwood’s shimmering bamboo trousers, too, are a dappled green colour — perfect for statement dressing. Or, for an even subtler spin on pastels, Aurélien’s polo shirt in cotton-piqué was made to complement tanned skin.
Aubin ‘Brockham’ Rugby Shirt
New & Lingwood Bamboo Trousers
Aurélien Light Blue Polo Shirt
Shrug on some light, bright and breathable knitwear
And it’s not just light colours you should be chasing; lightweight, breathable clothes are also the order of the season — easy, breezy knits you can use to layer, loop or tie around your shoulders as the weather does its singularly unpredictable British thing.
And it doesn’t get easier to pull on and shrug off than Aurélien’s Mediterranean-inspired zip-up ‘Cashwool’ cardigan. Crafted in Italy, it’s got the smart-casual spirit of Chelsea woven into its weft. New & Lingwood, too, have captured the essence of the area with this versatile silk crewneck; at once classic but fresh. Or, for a pop of colour, Hemingsworth’s pale pink sweatshirt ticks box the lightweight knit and pale colour boxes.
Aurélien Extrafine Merino Zipper Vest
New & Lingwood Silk Crewneck Jumper
Hemingsworth Pink Raglan Sweatshirt
Put a twist on your tailoring
Don’t forget your suiting altogether — this is Chelsea, after all. Home of platefuls of Michelin-starred restaurants, the Saatchi Gallery and The Royal Court Theatre, there are plenty of places to dress up for across the area. But summer gives you the chance to put a spin on these suits; a twist on traditional tailoring.
New & Lingwood, back in fashionable force this year, has put a softly-sophisticated, double-breasted jacket together, with handsome buttons and flap pockets. Hackett’s chic summer blazer is crafted from a stretch cotton-jersey blend, and finished with a boating stripe pattern. And, to kick back and add a casual flavour to your formalwear, why not lace up a pair of Unseen Footwear sneakers?
New & Lingwood Double-Breast Linen Jacket
Unseen Footwear ‘Clement’ Sneakers
Hackett Stripe Cotton Jersey Blazer
Put some stripes on your shirts
Like the pastels above, stripes are ubiquitous on the cool streets of Chelsea. From the colourful awnings of various delis and cafés to the mesmerising barber’s poles of the capital’s best salons (we take our trims at Pavilion Barbers by Cadogan Gardens) it’s a timeless, versatile pattern. And it really sets off a shirt.
Just look at New & Lingwood’s otherwise-conservative button-collar shirt; trimly-tailored and finished with a smoothly rolled collar. Ripa Ripa’s striped linen offering is a little less structured — instead inspired by a vintage design famously worn by Gianni Agnelli during his summers in Capri. Or, for summers in the office, you won’t go wrong with Emma Willis, and this single needle-stitched shirt with mother-of-pearl buttons.
New & Lingwood Oxford Cotton Shirt
Ripa Ripa ‘Camicia Capri’ Shirt
Emma Willis Swiss Cotton Shirt
Establish your identity this summer with a signature jacket
For a final flourish, find yourself a signature jacket for summer. Something that makes a statement; that caps off any get-up with a burst of unmistakable, radiant colour. Whether green or yellow or hot pink, you want something you can zip, button or toggle up and be recognised in from sixty paces — whether that’s across Eel Brook Common or from the other side of Albert Bridge.
Mr P.’s blazing yellow jacket will do it — and also showcases one of the six shades you should be wearing this spring. This New & Lingwood heavy linen gilet, although more restrained in colour, also fits the distinctive bill. Or, for those less sun-soaked summery days — we know they’re coming — there’s always Aubin’s ‘Union’ wax jacket, that will take your outfits into autumn (and beyond…).
Mr P. Cotton Jacket
New & Lingwood Heavy Linen Gilet
Aubin ‘Union’ Wax Jacket
Styling: Benedict Brown
Hair: Sven Bayerbach at Carol Hayes Management using Bumble and Bumble
Make-up: Carol Morley at Carol Hayes Management
Models: Hugh Laughton Scott at Supa, Efosa Uwubamwen at IMG, Hamady Hirailles at Present, Peter Finn at AMCK, Zach Norton at Next, Erica Honing at Titanium
Casting: Marqee Miller