Anytime Drake’s releases anything new, you can pretty safely bet it is a cause for celebration. A wallet-punishing celebration, but in the best way possible. This past winter they unveiled their first collection of house branded sport coats to much fanfare, and here we have an exclusive preview of the second, Spring/Summer 2012, collection. Let the cheering begin.
You might remember seeing photos of the unstructured, buggy-lined, patch-pocketed tweed jackets a few months ago on Drakes Diary. When I met Michael Drake last spring, he told me that he likes to think of Drake’s as doing British the way the Italians see British, and these coats fit that image to a T. Made in Italy out of traditional British materials, the coats balance Mediterranean ease and Anglo aesthetics.
It might still be in the 30s outside while I’m writing this, and a cardigan-like tweed jacket sounds heavenly right now, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about the warm sunny days waiting just a few weeks away. Michael Hill, Drake’s MD and Chief Designer, has tweaked the designs from this winter’s collection and had them done up in heat-ready fine cotton, cotton drill, and lightweight wool gabardine, as well as adding a few double breasted options.
I spoke with Michael the day the coats arrived from the factory, and he agreed to model a few of them for Simply Refined before they hit the Clifford Street store on February 13th. A 3/8th lining will make a heavy tweed coat feel more like a sweater, but you can see how impossibly light the results are when you’re dealing with finely woven cottons. It is almost impossible to capture on camera, but the cleanliness of the internal seams is astounding. Really top of the line construction here.
You’ll also notice that a few new pocket configurations have been added. The three patch pockets that dominate all those blogger-beloved Italian sport coats have for now been set aside in favor of two patch hip pockets on the double breasted models and flap pockets with a ticket pocket on the single breasted coats.
With the lighter materials (wool gabardine or cotton drill), minimally-constructed silhouettes, and soft colors, I think the flap pockets give a little sharpness to the single breasted coats, as does the slightly roped shoulder. And pulling in the other direction, the patch pockets keep the smooth herringbone cotton double breasted coats from being too formal.
The three-roll-two button stance is nicely placed, if a tad higher than perfect for me, and the quality of both buttons and button-holes is excellent. My only real gripe is that I wish they would make the sleeves working-button-ready, but not cut. Guys like me with short arms inevitably need sleeve alterations, and while working buttons are nice detail, it just makes alterations a pain. Not bad for my only real complaint.
As of now, Michael is only planning on offering these at the Drake’s store on Clifford Street in London’s West End. Make your pilgrimage if you get the opportunity. The prices on these is certainly on the higher-end for ready-to-wear sport coats, but in my opinion you’re getting what you pay for in both the product and the process. The coats themselves are well-constructed, tick all the style boxes, and nail the details, plus the guys at Drake’s are some of the most genuine, intelligent, and tasteful guys in the game right now.
While the other guys are out buying their Blogger Blue whatever, I recommend saving your cash for some British Blue.
Thank you to Michael Hill at Drake’s for this sneak-peak.