I love a book. I don’t read that much, but I love a book. In a digital age, good art direction, good writing and good ideas deserve a physical form. With that in mind, I’m starting a series looking at the books brands make. Books are, in the fashion game, just a little extra, something to have sat on the coffee table to show everyone your hipness and loyalty. But they’re also a great way to see what a brand really is.
I bough my copy of Jeremy Hackett’s Mr Classic discounted at Waterstones, Islington in about 2008 when I was at college. I was 16 and my clothes obsession was firmly rooted in post-Mod smartness and cultural hipness. I was an early Style Council-era Paul Weller; France and America were cooler than Italy, Jazz was cooler than soul & I was cooler (but not necessarily nicer, or more popular…) than the other kids. To me, it felt like Jeremy Hackett was casting his net just as wide as I was trying to.
The nod towards classicism is evident in the photography and the cuts of the clothes, but it’s full of humour. A shirt so monogrammed that they ceased to be tacky and instead became almost a foulard or a beautifully soft-shouldered tweed – antithetical to the traditional English cut – covered in symbols of old-world British patriotism. It’s not all classicism however and the nods towards hipper cultural movements are there too. The early 60s abstract painter and the Bright Young Thing feature as much as the young fogey.
There will be those who only think of Hackett as a word tackily emblazoned across a polo shirt. For me though this book stands as evidence that Jeremy Hackett is much better than that. He’s somebody as hip to all those things that make British style culture great as anyone else and so those late-90s sins must be forgotten.