HTSI editor’s letter: the queen of the boxwoods, and other stories
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Style news every morning.
Something sexy is happening to menswear. After having watched the rise of “office sneakers”, cashmere tracksuit bottoms and those other casual totems of stealth luxury that have been popularised of late, I had begun to wonder whether we had witnessed the death of dressing up.
Silly me. No sooner does a trend seem to have gripped the popular imagination than another swoops right in. Our cover story, shot by Kyle Weeks and styled by Esther Matilla, looks at the innovations in tailoring and fabrication that have allowed designers to remove the stiff architecture of the suit. This season it is softer, lighter and comes in pale sorbet colours; it’s being worn with big statement jewellery and a floppy, silky scarf. The mood is languid, laidback and subversive, recalling ’70s-era Yves Saint Laurent.
In fact, Saint Laurent is very much at the vanguard of this new mood in tailoring. Under the creative direction of Anthony Vaccarello, the brand’s menswear collections in the past few seasons have been narrower, silkier and a lot more seductive than we’ve seen previously. Vaccarello has provided a welcome shot of glamour to a moment that might suffocate in swathes of tasteful greige.
Aleks Cvetkovic talks to designers about the new soft tailoring, and how to dress smartly in the summer while keeping cool. Would you consider, as we are seeing increasingly on the red carpet, dispensing with your shirt? No, I suspected not, but maybe you’ll undo some buttons this season – it’s now de rigueur to bare your chest again.
A sort of antidote to the vagaries of fashion, the gardener Charlotte Molesworth couldn’t be less interested in trends. For the past 40 years, the artist and plantswoman has been working at Balmoral Cottage in Kent, transforming a dilapidated gardener’s dwelling into a place of pilgrimage for scholars and horticulturalists, who come to study her world-famous collection of box cultivars and extraordinary topiary. As Clare Coulson observes on a visit, Molesworth’s efforts are the antithesis of the instant garden where things are brought in pre-grown and ready for immediate effect. Molesworth’s garden has taken decades to reach full maturation, and what a magnificent wonderland it is.
A more immediate question: where to find the perfect T-shirt? Mark C O’Flaherty has provided the answer in this issue, and I’m fully in favour of his choice. Like him, I waver between prohibitively expensive, yet entirely perfect, tees from James Perse (worth every penny, trust me), and US-pharmacy-bought white “vests” by Hanes. Mark has further suggestions that should fit most appetites and styles. We’ve also met the man behind the Japanese watch renaissance at Grand Seiko and done a round-up of the best summer “demi” reds.
For the best of HTSI straight into your inbox, sign up to our newsletter at ft.com/newsletters