- Photography by Mr Billy Ballard
- Styling by Mr Tony Cook, Junior Fashion Editor, MR PORTER
- Words by Mr Peter Henderson, Senior Fashion Writer, MR PORTER
Just like some of the best Italian food on the planet is found among the Michelin-starred restaurants of Tokyo, Japanese fashion brands produce some of the best American-inspired preppy and heritage menswear in the world. A pivotal moment in Japan's fascination with American style occurred in 1965 with the release of Mr Teruyoshi Hayashida's seminal photography book Take Ivy, which documented how students dressed on the campuses of the best universities in the US. Since then the scene has exploded, with the prominence of Japanese selvedge denim a good example. Indeed, the MR PORTER buyers visit Tokyo several times a year to source the latest products from its roster of native brands, which combine a fastidious knowledge of US costume history with meticulous attention to detail in fabric, finishing and fit. One of these brands is Beams Plus, which is a signature menswear line from the Japanese multi-brand retailer Beams, and whose philosophy, in its own words, is "to suggest the updated styles of the American uniforms of the mid-1940s to mid-1960s, based on a deep understanding and appreciation".
Not widely available outside of Japan, Beams Plus' preppy-with-a-twist collections have been a popular addition to MR PORTER, so we are delighted that the brand is kicking off our series of exclusive capsule collections this summer.
Based on the concept of "Ivy surfer" - collegiate meets coast - the collection takes cues from preppy American style but with a uniquely Japanese twist. "I got inspired when I first saw the 'Palm Graphics' artworks by [surf-inspired artist] Mr Koji Toyoda," Mr Shinsuke Nakada of Beams Plus explains. "And I thought his approach could work with traditional American styles. I liked the idea of the smarter Ivy look being set against the more relaxed surfer vibe." This concept is expressed quite literally in the motifs that feature throughout the collection. Images of surfer culture collide with icons of Ivy style in prints where "waves are represented by collegiate ties, or surfboards are replaced with penny loafers and deck shoes".
This translates into a range of two T-shirts, two polo shirts and two pairs of Bermuda shorts, all of which can only be purchased on MR PORTER. Look out for more exclusive capsule collections from brands we stock in the coming weeks.