WORDS: JEMIMA WILSON
ILLUSTRATION: SARAH TANAT-JONES
For women, donning evening attire for a formal occasion has always been an opportunity to stand out; men, though, have been consigned to an after-dark uniform with little scope for originality. However, thanks in part to a new generation of actors, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne, experimenting with bolder black-tie looks, there’s been a noticeable ‘loosening up’ of evening-dress conventions in recent years. A number of tailors are taking the formal foundations of the traditional tux and introducing more adventurous fabrics, cuts and colours, which means, as the winter party season approaches, you don’t have to be a film star to dress like one.
01 Gieves & Hawkes Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes may be 245 years old this year, but its eveningwear is anything but dated. The brand continues to work with British silk weavers to create new patterns for formal silk jacquards, now a signature of the house, and this season’s foliate country jacquard in bronze comes as a relaxed double-breasted jacket – ideal for evening occasions when black tie isn’t necessary but the dress code is smart. For added nonchalance, wear with a cashmere or silk polo neck instead of a shirt. gievesandhawkes.com
02 Turnbull & Asser Turnbull & Asser has become renowned as an authority on shirt-making since it was founded 130 years ago. Indeed, the first royal warrant granted by the Prince of Wales was to Turnbull & Asser for its shirts. However, the brand’s expertise extends far beyond shirting, and its eclectic eveningwear and accessories for this season effortlessly blur the lines between formal and informal. The Beeton jacket can be accessorised with a bow tie and one of the brand’s iconic pocket squares – the bolder the better. turnbullandasser.co.uk
03 Chester Barrie As a longstanding supporter of the Olivier Awards – British theatre’s most prestigious – Chester Barrie’s AW16 eveningwear is inspired by red-carpet glamour with a contemporary edge. Suits in dark shades of blue are an elegant yet understated alternative to black, and the double-breasted Kingly tuxedo jacket features lapels in ribbed Ottoman fabric – a textile specially woven in Italy to complement the exact hue of the suit. Paired with a ribbed bow tie and a classic white shirt, it’s style at its most debonair. chesterbarrie.co.uk
04 Richard James Richard James has brought a vibrant approach to tailoring on Savile Row since its first store opened in 1992, and its decadent latest collection of eveningwear perfectly exemplifies its progressive philosophy. For those who aren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd, a plush burgundy velvet suit is a particularly sophisticated cocktail- party ensemble, and a patterned silk scarf – in rope tile print for this season – is a relaxed yet refined accessory to show a touch of creative flair. richardjames.co.uk