Mr. Start and Mr. Hare: Friends with Benefits
Philip Start—known simply as Mr. Start—launched his eponymous line five years back with the view of producing something casual that still maintains sharp tailoring and a very English feel. “I just don’t think anyone needs to be sloppy,” he said during the Mr. Start/Mr. Hare presentation at London’s House of St. Barnabas this weekend. Of all the pieces in his collection, the cotton-piqué blouson got Mr. Start the most excited. “It’s a take on the bomber jacket, but really our blouson is a new silhouette—we are getting a lot of demand for it, and it anchors the collection. And doesn’t it look great with the shoes?”
Ahh, the shoes—all were provided by the dreadlocked cordwainer Marc Hare, who trades under Mr. Hare. Apparently, he and Mr. Start have been friends for an age. “He makes all my suits,” said Hare. “I guess that’s what you can call a friend with benefits.” In the crush of the crowd, Hare, resplendent in paint-splattered trousers and a tunic, showed us his greatest hits. “The starting point of the collection was to take ten of the most loved shoes and reissue them,” he explained, referring to pieces such as a tasseled loafer, a driving shoe, and an oxford with an absurdly chic basket-weave detail that had us wondering if they came in women’s sizes.
Squishing down the butter-soft leather of a desert boot, the shoe designer added, “With the weather being so unpredictable, I made sure the collection had a shoe that was appropriate in whatever weather, wherever you are in the world. So a boot in the summer makes complete sense.” However, it was Mr. Hare’s showpiece—a loafer crafted out of blue silk from a Mr. Start jacket—that elicited the most attention. “Marc,” an admirer called while examining the slick kicks. “You are just hashtag fab. End of.”