Dressing Up Denim With Andrew Brookes

Dressing Up Denim With Andrew Brookes

I’m certain most of you own or have owned a denim shirt in your life time. A fantastic, versatile item to have in the wardrobe, it goes with anything from chinos to denim jeans. Yes indeed the old “double denim” is something I’am an advocate of as long as they are not matching in the same colour. When it comes to popping on the shirt itself however, I would guess a good percentage of you have never worn one with a suit. With this in mind, last month I paid a visit to renowned tailor Andrew Brookes in Edinburgh to check out some shirt options and where I also found a denim shirt perfectly suited for any occasion.

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Driving a MINI is a statement in itself, an iconic piece of motoring through decades. To now have MINI in a clothing format is equally as bold. This January past at the 88th Pitti Uomo in Florence, MINI collaborated with six gifted Italian designers, along with heads behind the Pitti Uomo fashion fare to create the MINI Capsule Collection. The finished products were six high end accessories that merge Italian craftsmanship and innovative detail all inspired by the fourth coming MINI Clubman.

Viewing the collection, we looked a little deeper into the designers and their inspirations. For us they all share the same traits, a passion for unconventionality and a passion for their art. The creative minds behind this project go from SuperDuper, TYG Spectacles, Alberto Premi and Pijama, including famed perfumer Paola Bottai, to the Proraso Team with illustrator Pietro Nicolaucich. Through them into a melting pot with MINI and you have the resulting MINI Gentleman’s Collection, cool fashion classic with a modern twist. A noticeable foundation which the designers were clearly inspired by was Italy’s vibrant fashion scene, traditional mens tailoring and exquisite craftsmanship. The six gentleman’s accessory collection consists of a pair of sunglasses, a pair of shoes, a bag, a hat, a fragrance and a shaving kit.

SuperDuper: The Gentleman’s hat.

The structure of the hat is in true classical Italian format, using traditional handmade methods and premium-grade felt. The inner band is inspired by the leather upholstery used in the 2015 MINI Clubman whilst the colourful double seam is a nod to the wonderful variety available in the MINI car range. SuperDuper is known for its combination of old school millinery and modern design elements which always produce the most striking of product. Founded in Florence in 2011 by siblings Ilaria Cornacchini, Veronica Cornacchini and Matteo Gioli, this talented trio are certainly ones to watch.

TYG Spectacles: The Gentleman’s Sunglasses.

As all us chaps know, sunglasses are an essential gentleman’s accessory which can be paired with many an outfit. In the MINI Capsule Collection this pair is a combination of high-grade acetate with brushed metal which gives a unique, yet elegant and sporty appearance evident through their elliptical form and minimalistic design which, as same as the special little hat above, harks back to the MINI car itself. TYG or “Three Young Gentleman” as the glasses creators are known, all share that same passion and goal: to create high end sunglasses which are both timeless and current. You can also bet the guys choose the finest in materials, with materials sourced from traditional Italian household name Mazzucchelli Varese and lenses by legendary Carl Zeiss vision.


Alberto Premi: The Gentleman’s Shoe.

When you have your feet on the pedals of cool little car, its important your shoe game is equally as fresh. The shoes here in the MINI Collection are modern yet elegant. Crafted from the finest hand cut leather, combined with a modern, ultralight sole so no comfort is sacrificed. The fantastic thing is not only is Alberto Premi talented in his own right, but he has the history of shoe making in the family behind him, his father has been a shoe designer for over 30 years. Alberto Premi’s use of innovative materials and unconventional colour schemes emulate that of what MINI is all about. Being different. This is perhaps why then Pitti and MINI voted him most talented young designer at the 87th Pitti Uomo 2015.

Proraso: The Gentleman’s Shaving Kit.

Since the mythical days of Sweeney Todd plying his trade on Fleet Street, the clean, cut-throat shave has came a long way, however still sits as the most demanding method of shaving to master. Here, this stylish kit travels back to the vintage barber look with classic shaving brush, pre-shaving cream, shaving cream and an aftershave balm. The Florence based Proraso are true shaving kings when it comes to the wet-shave, guarding its 70 year old eucalyptus oil-based formula like a treasure, this is why they claim to guarantee one of the best gentle and thorough shaves going. We certainly don’t doubt them. The packaging itself is equally as wonderful, put together by Italian illustrator Pietro Nicolaucich, who boasts clients such as Moschino, Benetton and Nike, worked in unison with Proraso to implement such quirky details as pipes and moustaches.

For us overall, the MINI Capsule Collection was a resounding success, a unique and brilliant combination of classic and modern Italy which captured the essence of MINI. It  also brought to the fore front some wonderfully talented designers. If you are lucky to come across any of the pieces, in a shop or online, I say snap them up at once and gain your own unique part of MINI and PItti Uomo.