Style is Eternal

By Jo Phillips

Style can not be bought, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or how good your connections are. No; style is something so ingrained from birth, style has nothing to do with sex or fashion it is literally something that just is…Either you have it or you don’t. As Yves Saint Laurent said, ‘”Fashions fades, style is eternal.”

When we think of style in this day and age what do you conjure up? Instagram with its multitude of ‘preened’ for the momentary image? How many of us tend to be drawn back to the golden age of Hollywood icons especially when we think of men. For example suave Cary Grant? louche sexy Frank Sinatra or the easy charm of Gene Kelly. You don’t buy style off the peg, actually you can’t buy style at all.

One man draped in style, literally oozing it in the most natural louche way is model and former solicitor Richard Biedel (the name Biedel stretches back to Saxon England). He literally drips the stuff with such ease it’s astounding.

So we asked Richard what his take on style was

What does style mean to you?

To me, the term “style” is impossible to define. What works stylistically for one person, won’t necessity appeal and / or work for another.

But what I do know is that when we see something or someone that has “style”, we instantly know it. It’s just, some form of special alchemy – but I have no idea how to quantify it.

Who is the most stylish person you have ever mean and what effect did they have on you?

There are a multitude of stylish men that have intersected my life throughout the years but the one that had the most profound effect on my was my grandfather. 

Although he passed away when I was in my early 20’s. He was, and remains, extremely influential in my personal development. He was the first person to introduce me to the art of craftsmanship.  He wore suits from Savile row, shirts from Jermyn Street, and shoes from Northampton.

I found it fascinating. Not only the physical products that he wore but the choices he made in terms of where those products HAD to come from.

He taught me about the notion of investing in quality over quantity and to appreciate the work and craftsmanship that goes into making every single garment.

If you were asked to describe what style is how would you go about it

Modern yet retrospective. I like to wear classics, but with a contemporary twist!

Richard, a hugely successful model and creative director, has collaborated with luxury shoe brand  Joseph Cheaney & Sons. And as Richard himself says ‘The collection features three evergreen styles that seamlessly blends my contemporary, creative vision whilst also staying true to the quality and integrity of the traditional shoemaking processes Cheaney is revered for’.

At the core of the collection is Richard’s desire to be as stylish as they are durable; with an amalgamation of form and function, as well as ethical and sustainability as key principles that underpin every part of the design process.

In 2018, Richard worked with the founder of British brand King & Tuckfield to collaborate on the design of a capsule collection of clothing.  And from this experience came the desire to develop a footwear collection stemmed from his own inability to find the ‘holy grail: the “perfect shoe” to compliment the clothing I was both designing and wearing’.

He felt strongly about creating a line that was ‘simultaneously classic yet contemporary, elegant yet masculine, refined yet durable, and above all, I wanted something that was ethically, sustainably, and responsibly manufactured here in the UK’.

He visited the Desborough factory and instinctively knew that Cheaney the right fit to collaborate with. ‘A quintessentially English shoemaker that does not compromise on quality or style’. 

Working with the team helped him understood what he wanted to achieve. Working directly with him they took the time to educate hi in the craft of shoemaking from factory floor to finished product.

A true meeting of the maker and creative, Richard says ‘each pair are nostalgic yet simultaneously modern, influenced by my own personal history and the brand DNA of Joseph Cheaney’. 

Of the three shoes in the collection, Richard says ‘these are the styles I would choose to wear over and above anything else on the market and as a consumer I know the shortcomings of each style. Where some designs fail others excel and I simply wanted to use my own knowledge to create my own versions of these three timeless classics’. 

‘The Steadman is named after my grandfather. Hands down, the best-dressed man I ever met’

The Vietri is named after Vietri Sul Mare. The notion that a sandal should be simultaneously masculine yet delicate came to me whilst on holiday on the Amalfi coast 

The Isaac is named after an old friend of mine from New York. In all the years I’ve known him I don’t think I’ve ever seen him wear anything other than Derby’s.  

So style is eternal especially when it comes to men’s fashion and their shoes. Always look down to see what is on a man’s feet when meeting him. We make our mind up within seconds of meeting someone what we think so the best judge of character you will ever get is checking out the footwear.

Joseph Cheaney by Richard Biedul will be available from the 17th September 2020 online and in-store.

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