From Zebrano wood razors and 24k gold-plated manicure sets to some of our favourite fragrances, here’s how the British brand freshened up your bathroom experience
A long, hot bath is more than a matter of cleanliness. It’s a simple, intimate part of our daily routine; important alone time enjoyed in a private space. We use our soaking stints to contemplate, meditate and delight in self-care. It really is a ritual — with added bubbles.
And nobody understands the importance of these eighty-gallon escapes more than Frank Sawkins, founder of Czech & Speake. A British brand steeped in heritage, Sawkins has an unwavering focus on the holistic bathroom experience — and is committed to bringing the best grooming gear to the market.
Four decades since it drew its first bathful of products, Czech & Speake is still at the forefront of grooming innovation. But the road to bathroom revolution has been long. An Englishman with a background in product and architectural design, Sawkins’ first design studio was launched in 1976, when he spent time working on renovation projects for clients.
It was during this time that he identified a niche in the market. The traditional English bathroom was lacking; there was metaphorical mould creeping in around the corners, limescale had built up on the same, tired toiletries and the cabinet needed a jolly good cleanse.
Today, Czech & Speake’s extensive collection includes fine fragrances, cologne, bath oils, aftershaves, shaving and bath soaps, and shaving kits — as well as burning sticks and candles, leather goods and towels. It’s a mixed wash bag, but one that is selling handsomely from the brand’s Belgravia shop.
There are nine fragrances in the brand’s range, all created using the purest essential oils and ingredients — and presented in packaging inspired by traditional pharmacy bottles, with unique livery and etched glass. One such of these scents, the iconic No.88, is Czech & Speake’s best-selling fragrance. A complex, characterful blend of exotic, spicy notes with a warm, dry base, it is also our favourite.
Sawkins’ inspiration for his fragrances was a want to distil the essence of what a luxury bathroom should be into a bottle. As such, the scents pay homage to many vibrant, piquant locations around the world. ‘Oxford & Cambridge’ is a traditional yet contemporary blend of lavender and bergamot, ‘Citrus Paradisi’ transports spritzers to the grapefruit plantations of La Quinta California, and ‘Mimosa’ captures the sensual blooms of the American deep south.
‘Neroli’ is reminiscent of Corsica, ‘Frankincense & Myrrh’ takes its inspiration from the traditions of the Orient, and ‘Villa Ausonia’ captures the exhilarating freshness of the Atlantic breeze of South West France. And these aftershaves – enjoyed by everyone from Colin Firth to David Beckham – are the cornerstone of Sawkins’ collection, along with a range of luxury shaving products, designed to be as practical as they are beautiful.
“I want to surround myself with aesthetically pleasing products,” says Sawkins, whose son Freddie now runs day-to-day operations at the brand. “Products that are beautifully made, but are also created to be practical.”
Any product can be elevated by design, says Sawkins. And design he has. Always on a mission to create ingenious products using luxurious materials; the Englishman has created a Zebrano wood shaving set, a 24k gold-plated manicure set and many exquisite leather cases during the brand’s illustrious history. He has even fashioned limited edition product runs from 5,000-year-old fossilised oak.
But the success doesn’t sit solely with the luxury innovation. The Sawkins name is also responsible for revolutionising the practical side of grooming. Globe-trotters and jet-setters around the world can be found with a Czech & Speake manicure set in their carry-on; an innovative, travel safe, airport-approved product that has been internationally recognised and awarded for its pioneering design.
So what’s the next step for Czech & Speake? Who’s to say. But with the brand now available on the Gentleman’s Journal estore, you can be sure that we’ll keep you updated — and your bathroom fresh — every step of the way.