report by yasmin coke
London Fashion Week The Daily proudly presents a back-of-the-Mercedes interview with menswear designer, Clive Darby.
YC: Tell us a bit about the Rake Lounge collection?
CD: This is our second time presenting Rake Lounge. We have two collections, Rake Lounge and Rake mainline, and the philosophy for both collections is exactly the same, it’s really about flexible pieces that can be broken off and worn in any number of ways. Rake Lounge is specifically about evening-wear, cocktail-wear and party-wear, but again the looks can be broken up, and the pieces can be worn with say a t-shirt or polo-shirt. But the main thinking behind both RAKE lines is that each piece within the collection works with its counter-part, but at the same time will also work with any other piece within the collection.
YC: What’s the inspiration behind your AW12 collection?
CD: We really looked at the sixties and seventies, that jet-set era, you know the ballsy rock-stars mixed in with the gentry; so the inspiration and the way we approached it was imagining everything a RAKE gentleman would pack for a weekend away for a house-party at that time, so the collection has an all encompassing quality.
YC: What do you think distinguishes our London men, in terms of style, from the other chaps across the globe?
CD: I don’t think they are afraid of trying actually; there’s a London attitude in a way, and it’s not just about the men, there seems to be a bit more of an energy where Londoners have fun playing around with things. And I think the London crowd in a way, or English fashion generally, is about indiviuals and personalities coming through the clothes rather than being conformative and wearing a uniform.
YS: And is there any menswear trends that you predict for AW12?
CD: Well I think there will definitely be a more relaxed approach to dressing this season. Very much about the separates, which is obviously very fortunate for us as that’s where we do fit in. I think it’s about mixing and matching and having a bit more fun with clothes, whilst maintaining an edge with the indivual putting their stamp on their clothes. A key trend I see going forward this season is the softer, more refined tailoring that has the ability to go from ballroom to bar to restaurant.
YC: Do you have a muse or anyone specific that you think of when you are designing? Do you have a RAKE man in mind?
CD: We do have a specific guy in mind all the time, but it is not agesist in any way what so ever, it can be someone in their late thirties, or fifties or sixties. But with the RAKE man, it is more about an attitude and mindset, and how he would carry a certain item off. But definitely when the RAKE team is creating a new collection, a lot of thought and a lot of detail goes into each piece and who would wear it.
YC: Do you have a favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe & why?
CD: Yes, there’s this cardigan that I bought from Browns when I first came down to London, and for some reason it has always been with me and it’s one of those things that when I always put on it touches this sense of memory. It is amazing that it has survived so long in my wardrobe. It’s a little bit like having a favourite smell, it can give you a sense of comfort and make you feel great.
YC: What motto should a designer live by in order to survive LFW?
CD: ‘God loves a trier’, it’s what my father always said to me. I think sticking with it, that’s the big thing, sticking with it.
YC: And last but not least what’s the cheekiest think you’ve every done in the back of a car?
CD: You make me blush just thinking of it … I think I once remember getting a goodie bag and leaving all the items I did not want stuffed down in the back of the car, and I remember having a pang of guilt after thinking of the person who had to do the cleaning job.
Mercedes-Benz, whose fashionable fleet of cars ensure London Fashion Weekers get around in style, celebrates its London Fashion Week affiliation with Voices of Fashion, a daily blog filled with exclusive LFW updates and interviews with designers and other movers and shakers of the fashion world. See voicesoffashion.co.uk