Except now we are heading for some rain, even thunder and it all seems like pathetic fallacy; the weather imitating the political mood and business. One day we have clear skies, and the next, grey foreboding ones. Our parks and gardens need the rain, so I feel I should welcome it and the gods have been kind with all that summer shine throughout lockdown... except for the day that my friend Elliott wore his Connolly Seal Up raincoat to walk the streets of St James and took this photograph.
“I took this picture of the fonts, in this framers in St James, on one of the many strolls during this lockdown period,” says Elliott. “I like the mix of typography, scale and the interesting graphics that you see on sign-writing in windows, stores and galleries in this part of London… luckily I was wearing this super light Connolly Seal Up Trench!”
This is a straight down the line raincoat… ageless yet incredibly modern. The light as a feather piece is cut so simply and so brilliantly made, that no one can do it better. But it's stealth wear. In fact, it’s very like my friend Elliott, whose talent and influence is always below the radar but hugely influential and fashion-intelligent. I met Elliott through a friend who has a famous eye for detail and beauty and said, "I want you to meet". Three teas later, Elliott came late one evening to the Claridges’ pop up to help me set up for the opening, and blasted through our Goodwood Connolly collaboration, refocusing the collection in such an exciting way. For me, any visual merchandising is the best moment of keeping shop and having lived with one of the greatest visual merchandisers and editors, seeing Elliott work his magic there that night, made me so happy. It’s only in the view, the edit, that you see the beauty of what you have bought or designed... it's like the wrong frame can kill the art. I think the fact that Elliott photographed himself, reflected in front of the framers in St James… explains subconsciously, everything about what he does and what he brings to any fashion collection he works with; and his framing has had more influence on British fashion brands than his modesty and understated style will ever reflect.
Get in touch with Elliott here.
“Over lockdown I’ve read Diaries 1942-1954 of James Lees-Milne, the architectural historian and founder of The National Trust; and also Home Ground by Dan Pearson. Films I’ve watched that have inspired me are Joe McKenna's intimate documentary on Azzedine Alaia and also the We Margiela documentary… and the wonderful Normal People on the BBC in lighter moments."
Joe McKenna is regarded as one of the most influential stylists working today. He is the former fashion director-at-large at The New York Times’ T Magazine and his Calvin Klein and CK campaigns would come to define the era photographically. Self financed and filmed over several years and completely shot in black and white, it’s a wonderfully intimate portrait of Alaia and the designer's method of working.