Winter has almost arrived and as we wrap ourselves in more layers, let’s not forget to add some attitude to the bleaker, shorter days. There is no need for our appearance to reflect the miserable weather, no matter how miserable we may actually feel; let’s stand defiant as the UK enters its roughest season.
Why not take inspiration from the rake, an archetypical figure born from the 17th century who embodied hedonism and charm. Lord Byron, for example, was the personification of the carefree European gentleman from whom the term ‘rakish’ derives. Provocative, sexualised and roguishly luxurious, the rake adds spark to whatever situation he is in. Never rude, always charming, the rake draws attention in the best of ways. To ease you into the mood, here is a selection of both traditional and modern takes of the rake to motivate you next time you open the wardrobe.
Paul Smith, a go-to designer for tailoring, embodies the rakish love-affair with colours. Slim-cut suits make up the classic charm of the gentleman whilst the bright colours inject a bright pop that is typical of the rake’s sense of humour.
This season, Nicopanda presents to us a tough, punk-inspired approach to the rakish aesthetic that sometimes bares skin but mostly covers it all up while all through being cool and striking. You can read, and see, more of Nicopanda’s collection in our latest issue.
Toying with Wild West aesthetics, Dolce & Gabbana’s AW16 menswear collection is a typically refined collection with a regal twist that peps up the models with roguish sophistication. Fur and velvet make appearances, spicing things up with a hint of decadence whilst keeping things classy.
Psychedelic and colourful, this Gucci collection is just brooding enough to give the rake enough mystery to keep his allure going. The 70s prints are dangerously fun, perfect for someone wanting to stand out as a bright beacon amongst the monotonous city-life rush-hour.
To perfect the rakish look, one must possess an inherent blasé approach to life and this quality is exactly what Saint Laurent’s AW16 menswear collection channeled. The man of this collection frequents jazz-clubs, underground soirées and is prone to chain-smoking. Heidi Slimane’s devotion to slim frames inserted an air of androgyny into his outfits but we like to affirm that, whatever the body type, it’s foremost the attitude that makes the rake.
Contrasting to Saint Laurent’s ultra-slim silhouette, Dries Van Noten’s AW16 menswear collection displayed a variety of baggy clothes that added a degree of laid-back sportiness to the looks. The casualness of the silhouettes were balanced with luxurious velvet and embroidery that fuses the rake’s appetite for the nicer things in life with his devil-may-care attitude.
Topman Design is another brand adding exuberance into our winter wardrobes this year. The most striking pieces of this AW16 collection are the ones in copper shades. Subtly luxurious and comfortably draped on the body, these clothes were at their most rakish when velvet was added to the mix. These clothes prove to show that the rake is not a person bound by restrictive, Victorian-esque garments.
Compiling your christmas list? Here are a few items that will further inspire you if you are interested in picking apart the rake’s vibe.
In order, from top to bottom:
Penhaligon’s Hammam Bouquet Eau De Toilette Spray. Purchase it here
Saint Laurent Peak-lapel single-breasted velvet blazer. Purchase it here
Saint Laurent Devon embroidered velvet loafers. Purchase them here
If you fancy doing more research on masculine style and attitude, why not do some reading? Debrett’s, a specialist publication, is known for releasing books that explore gentlemanly ideologies. Since 1769, Debrett’s has been recognised for its approach to British etiquette, influence and achievement. As well as selling a variety of books, the publication also offers leather goods and stationary products for the man on the move. Additionally important is the Debrett’s Foundation which aims to expand opportunities for younger people from lower socio-economic backgrounds by providing free training and CV help.
You can purchase Guide for the Modern Gentleman and Men’s Style on the Debrett’s website. They cost £15.00 and £7.99 respectively.