Stinson R. Ely feature article in Cigar Aficionado - March 2012.
Adrian Jules’ Town & Country Collection Revives An Era Of Dashing Dandies And Debonair Bon Vivants. Drawing Design inspiration from The Sartorially Elegant Wardrobes of Manor Borne, English Country-Gentlemen, Adrian Jules’ Au Contraire, Retro Revival Resurrects Richly Textured But Near-Forgotten, Old World Scottish Tweeds And Lofty English Flannels.
“At heart,” quipped British novelist, J. B. Priestley, “all Englishmen want to be country gentlemen.” Therein the inspiration for Adrian Jules new Town & Country Collection of tweed and flannel suits, sport coats and color coordinated flannel trousers. An unmistakably seasonal line-up, it denounces both the idea and ideal of a year-round-suit and a cloth-for-all-seasons. It’s an Op-Ed letter from the past addressed to the future: Men have never looked as elegant, or as stylish, as they did when seasonal clothing was last all-the-rage.
A retro-inspired, back-to-the-future collection, it recalls an era of high-fashion elegance; a time of dashing dandies and debonair bon vivants. On the one hand, it fetes uniquely distinctive fabrics, all richly textured and colorfully woven. And on the other, resurrects the now-near-forgotten notion of seasonal wardrobes: One to handsomely vanquish Fall Winter’s frigid temps. Another – lighter, breezier and more colorfully spirited – for Spring Summer. In suit, sport coat and trouser it reprises the now almost forgotten idea that a gentleman’s wardrobe is expressed in the nuanced language of fiber and fabric, its dialog in fluent harmony with the seasons. All – whether suit, sport coat, or trouser – are meticulously artisan handmade in America.
Shunning today’s lightweight worsteds, it’s a woolens collection, entirely. Cloth is British, throughout. All woven in England, Scotland or outer Hebrides of Scotland. Much like Coco Chanel’s own rule-breaking marriage of pairing coarsely textured, menswear tweeds to femininely shaped lines, Adrian Jules’ Town & Country Collection is likewise an au contraire counterpoint that flies in the face of conventional wisdom. In both cloth and design thematics, it is purposely meant to butt-heads with a bevy of modern menswear trends.
It emphatically snubs the now popular notion of a year-round suit; assertively faults its premise as not only flawed, but absurd. Does anyone really believe that one suit can keep you cool-as-cucumber in a sweltering, 100-degree Manhattan heat wave? Then, three months later, keep you warm and toasty while it goes toe-to-toe, against an ornery, Nor’easter arctic squall? Ridiculous! Do the math, again: One suit. Versus two seasons. First, it effortlessly battles 100 degree heat and 90% humidity. Then, just as easily, keeps you warm and cozy in wind-chill-driven, 15-degree-below-zero temps? Not a chance. That’s why cars, homes and shopping malls all have air conditioning and heaters, remember.
Country Collection. Classic, 14-ounce thistle-proof tweeds, now near to impossible to find, along with lofty, heavy-weight flannels, anchor the Country Collection. Unlike treated worsteds, all are water resistant, thanks to natural wool’s rich stow of lanolin. Many of the fabrics are first hand spun, their colorful medley of twisted fibers then hand-woven; most on antiquated looms no different today than 400-years ago when tweeds and woollens were once the keep of Scots and Irish cottage crofters.
The collection’s hues and shades – all a high contrast mix of vibrantly colored earth-tones – are rendered from country-side dyes; blackberries, moss, fuchsia and lichens. A mimic of Mother Nature’s own environs, their flecked collage of colors a clever charade that creates the cloak of camouflage, their slight-of-hand disguise designed to deceive foe and prey, alike.
The visual wallop from their surprisingly vibrant color medley hastily lays-to-rest the notion that earth-tones are a fashion snooze.
Whether flannel or tweed, all apropos, if necessary, for coursing wild boar or fleeting grouse in bramble and hedgerow, alike. Their mien equally appropriate for raiding corporate quarry on Wall Street’s mean streets.
Throughout, it’s a line-up of three-piece suits and sport coats – all single-breasted, exclusively – along with flannel trousers color coordinated to the sport coats. All styled in a classically English design vocabulary; side or unvented, 2-button jackets touting peaked lapels and patched pockets. The crisply tailored, economic lines of its single-breasted suits chicly counterpointed by “broad-belly,” double-breasted vests.
Town Collection. Touting a strong shouldered line atop a powerfully styled, double-breasted silhouette chicly finished with peaked lapels, the visually dramatic Town Collection is unmistakably a CEO power suit, its authoritative fashion statement dynamically delivered in lofty flannels and nappy cashmere. Their mostly micro-patterned motifs and discreetly colored palette chock full of shades of blues and grays, their colors a perfect foil for visually striking accessories.
Executed in a now high-fashion, 6-button double-breasted silhouette that Town & Country designer, Arnald Roberti, loosely modeled after “The Kent” – a once hugely popular style eponymously named for the Prince of Wales’s younger brother, Prince George, Duke of Kent, credited with first introducing it during the 1920s — it features a smoothly draped chest and a longer lapel line that rolls and buttons at near the waist, creating a stylish swagger and the sleight-of-hand illusion of an athletically slim, masculine physique and added height.
Whether Town Collection or Weekend Sport, designer Roberti faithfully hewed to the Duke of Windsor’s fashion caveat when creating this unmistakably Fall-Winter collection of elegant business suits: “Brown in town should never be seen.”
While grays and blues signature the Town Collection’s subtle pattern-motifs, the Weekend Sport Collection veers opposite; no shrinking violet, its kaleidoscoping palette of vibrant colors isn’t for the milquetoast or pusillanimous.
Weekend Sport Collection. Co-anchored by a striking, classic colored Regatta Stripe sport coat paired to winter white flannels, along with the traditionally colored bright red that signatures the Lady Margaret Boat Club Blazer – itself stylishly joined to pearl gray flannel trousers — the Weekend Sport Collection touts single- and double-breasted woolen sport coats hand-crated from cashmere, wool and lambswool-alpaca blends, all wed to a collection of woolen flannel trousers, itself a line-up that bookends fashion’s largest color offerings of flannel slacks.
About Adrian Jules: Founded at Rochester, New York, in 1962 by Adriano Roberti and Julio Volantere – both guild-trained, Italian Master Tailors – Adrian Jules now ranks the oldest, and largest, still-family-owned maker of men’s and women’s custom-bespoke, made-to-measure and RTW clothing in America. Currently co-helmed by Arnald Robert and Peter Roberti, the second generation sons of co-founder, Adriano Roberti, Adrian Jules is retailed by 200 of America’s premier, luxury niched specialty stores. In addition to custom-bespoke suits, sport coats and slacks, it also counts top coats and full dress coats, as well as wide range of tuxedos and formal wear among its men’s and women’s clothing categories. Led by a luxury appointed, flagship boutique in the heart of Rochester’s premier shopping district, a retail division was added in 1982.
One of two “Grade 6 Makers” remaining in America, Adrian Jules has won more Blue Ribbons for Excellence from the Custom Tailors & Designers Association (CTDA) than has any other American Clothing Maker.
Adrian Jules, Ltd., is headquartered in Rochester, New York, at 1392 Ridge Road East. Zip code is 14621. Telephone for either corporate offices or Arnald Roberti, co-CEO and Town & Country Collection designer, is (585) 342-5886. Telephone for Peter Roberti, co-CEO and director of retail operations is (585) 381-1111. Website is www.adrianjules.com.
A founding member of the Consortium of American Luxury Makers (CALM)