Fall 2011 Menswear
February 11, 2011 New York
A great-grandfather who'd been a British Royal Navy man in World War II gave the Fayed and Goncalves Brothers, the synod of families that run Bespoken, the inspiration for their latest outing. A seaman needs clothes that are hardy and resilient: thick, chunky knits, water-resistant waxed cotton, insulating tweeds. The nod to an earlier era gave the brothers the opportunity to point up the role of heritage in the brand—no small consideration, considering the Fayed family also runs the English clothiers Turnbull & Asser, founded in 1885. The theme gave a focus to the collection that the label's last outing lacked. But the most literal winks to great-grandpa Burt on the briny were where the collection fell flat. They didn't tell the real story here, which is this: The line is expanding by leaps and bounds, introducing a footwear program (a lace-up derby, a desert boot, and a lug-soled utility boot) and fine cashmere/lambswool knits, with yarn from Scotland's J.M. Rennie & Co. (est'd. 1798). The line is also moving, happily, in a more formally tailored direction, with the unstructured jackets introduced last season mostly giving way to sharp-shouldered, slightly roped, proper English sport coats and suits.