Orlebar Brown's New Go-To Collection
Tackle everyday dressing with ease thanks to stylish wardrobe essentials from OB Every Day
What comes to mind when you think of Orlebar Brown? Yachts drifting offshore in pellucid, turquoise waters? Bronzed bodies laying by the pool at Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc? This British swimwear brand rose to prominence making the kind of smartly tailored swim shorts you'd expect to see on the likes of Mr Dickie Greenleaf or Mr James Bond, and has spent the first eight years of its existence looking at life through the lens of Mr Slim Aarons. Or to quote the society photographer, “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”. Whatever comes to mind when you think of Orlebar Brown, it's unlikely to be the wild, craggy landscape of Scotland’s Isle of Skye – as starkly beautiful a place as it may be.
Well, prepare to have your mind changed. This season sees Orlebar Brown embark on a new direction as it makes its first proper forays into menswear with OB Every Day – a collection designed, as the name would suggest, with everyday life in mind. As such, it’s all about ease, comfort and functionality. It’s about providing an answer to the question most of us face every morning after the alarm clock goes off and we drag ourselves reluctantly out of bed: “what am I going to wear today?” And just as Orlebar Brown elevated the humble swimming short to new levels of sophistication when it launched its first models in 2007, it has brought its signature, tailored elegance to its new line of hassle-free wardrobe staples with OB Every Day.
To celebrate the launch, MR PORTER collaborated with Orlebar Brown to create an exclusive 12-piece capsule collection of outerwear, sweats and knitwear in a palette of blues and muted greys inspired by the shifting colours of the sky as summer moves into autumn. How best to show it off? The sun-kissed glamorous tropical surroundings of Orlebar Brown’s recent advertising campaigns – yachts, summer houses and palm trees – seemed somehow inappropriate, so we headed to the Isle of Skye – a place where you can’t help but be confronted by nature, and where the changing of the seasons manifests itself in dramatic fashion. To experience this beautiful island at its best, we also took a local guide with us who modelled the collection: Scottish outdoorsman and photographer Mr David Cooper.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a place more isolated than Galtrigill, a tiny craft community at the end of a single-track road on the northwestern point of the Isle of Skye. Nestled into a clifftop looking east over Loch Dunvegan is a silver larchwood and granite bungalow. This is a long way from home for most – and Mr Cooper is no exception. “I’m used to it, though. Everywhere’s a long way from home for me,” laughs the 27-year-old, who was born on the Shetland Islands – an archipelago in the North Sea that, while still technically part of Scotland, is almost as close to Norway as it is to the mainland.
“I don’t know if I really appreciated it at the time,” he says. “But it was an incredible place to spend my youth. You’re never far from the sea. “The experience of growing up in such a remote environment has clearly stayed with him. He lives in London now, but a cursory glance at his Instagram profile @davidboysoncooper, which is full of snow-covered landscapes, coral beaches, yawning caves and single-track roads petering out into dirt trails against mountainous backdrops, reminds you of where his heart lies.
Many of the pictures were taken for a book that he’s currently compiling with fellow Scottish photographers Ms Kimberley Grant and Mr Richard Gaston, Wild Guide Scotland, which is scheduled to be published next year under the same imprint as the best-selling Wild Swimming series. Look back further through his feed and you’ll see evidence of his time in Banff, the picturesque Canadian township in the Rocky Mountains where he spent a six-week placement last summer. It makes Mr Cooper the perfect man to show us around Skye, an island he has visited on several occasions. And it sounds as if he couldn’t agree more. “This kind of thing’s just a part of who I am,” he says, pulling on a gilet and striding out of the door into the brisk, late summer morning.
Shop the exclusive MR PORTER x ORLEBAR BROWN collection now; also available at all Orlebar Brown London stores