When Clive Darby, an exceedingly dapper Englishman, decided to start his own menswear line in 2009, he had a very specific customer in mind: “a gentleman of rogue habits.” In other words, a rake. And with that, he had a name for his new line.
Since then, RAKE○ has been turning out impeccably crafted suits and separates in fine cloths—something Darby has some experience in. In fact, his CV reads like James Bond‘s dress code: Savile Row, Brown’s, Kilgour, Richard James. With a pedigree like that, we think RAKE○ is the ideal garb for New Year’s Eve—a night of revelry, reinvention and perhaps even a modicum of debauchery. Who knows, it could come replete with the ability to saber a champagne bottle and win a duel.
Here, Darby reflects on his brand’s philosophy and shares some of London‘s best haunting grounds for rakes.
Who are some quintessential rakes?
Beau Brummel, Scarlet Pimpernel, Raffles (the “gentleman thief” in E.W. Hornung’s stories from the 1890s), Serge Gainsbourg, George Best, Gianni Agnelli, Robert Evans and any one else for that matter who has a sparkle in his eyes and a roguish smile.
What do you predict—or hope to see—for menswear in 2012?
It’s always difficult to predict, but I hope to see a more relaxed, intelligent way of dressing. Flexible, versatile luxury will be a strong focus for 2012. I think we are seeing this more and more, but this is definitely the key to our philosophy towards modern tailoring.
If we find ourselves in London, what local spots should we hit to watch rakes in their natural habitat?
Scotts, Hix, Soho House and George Club are all places that you may see our rakes function in. But let’s be quite clear—rakes work and play on every level. It is more about an attitude and charm that carries our man through life, and he brings this with him wherever he goes.
Tell us about the RAKE○ logo that pops up on your lapels and collars.
Well it is our way of injecting some humor into our label. We call it a halo because the very fact that a rake may evan have a halo is slightly debatable, or tongue in cheek. Our annulus or halo is incorporated in every part of the collection. On lapels it also functions as a flower hole. It is subtly embroidered on the side of trousers and on the shirts it is on the back of the collar, covered when wearing a jacket and quietly there when not.
Do you see major differences in style when it comes to British and American men?
No, not particularly, but then I only really get to New York or L.A. on business. I really think that style, be it British or American, is a person whose outward style and the way in which their life is lived is an expression of his, or her, inner elegance. Having said that, it is nice to see that men are wearing clothes that fit them, and when I do travel to the States I am seeing less boxy tailoring!
How does the modern rake do formalwear?
In a way in which he feels both comfortable and confident. We have no rules; if anything, all we ask is that you enjoy clothes whilst retaining a refined elegance.
- Alexandra Andrews