Dreaming Of Paris And Tangier: Mr P.’s New Summer Collection
To paraphrase Mr Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl”, we’ve seen the best days of the past year destroyed by a lack of stylish options. OK, that probably doesn’t accurately reflect the sentiment of the poet’s magnum opus, but our point remains: not being able to dress up (and having nowhere to go) has taken its toll on our wardrobes of late.
Circumstances – as well as the skies – look brighter, however, giving us reason to feel optimistic about the immediate future. And now we find ourselves contemplating how we’ll go about filling our closets this summer. Maybe we will ceremonially burn our sweatpants and don nothing but tailored trousers for the foreseeable? Or perhaps we’ll let go of all our inhibitions and start wearing skirts and feather boas and top-to-toe fuchsia leather.
The point is, the possibilities are endless as we go forward. Just one of them, supplied by our very own label Mr P., can be found with Ginsberg and his fellow Beat poets. After all, why not? Along with their contributions to literature, this generation also had an enduring impact on the way we dress, their early efforts to break free from grey-suited 1950s convention, a precursor to the expressionistic mood of the Swinging Sixties.
The latest collection from Mr P. takes particular inspiration from the group’s travels to Paris and Tangier in the late 1950s. While here, the Beat poets strolled the banks of the Seine, took solace in the sun-soaked beaches and, yes, occasionally penned a masterpiece or two. A perfectly lazy, hazy summer then, and ripe for mimicking. But how to go about it more than half a century later? Just follow our lead…
Try tobacco tones
When you think of Beatniks, you presumably think first of the colour black. Black turtlenecks; black berets; black loafers and, must not forget, black sunglasses. It’s a look, and an achingly hip one at that. But it’s hardly a prudent sartorial choice in the heat. Instead, we’ve opted for varied shades of tobacco and tan (the leather jacket, pleated trousers and even shirt all belong to the same side of the spectrum). It’s just as effortless and evocative of the era, but less sweltering.
Show your stripes
Another Beatnik hallmark – illustrated by the Beat poets’ adoration of French libertine poets like Messrs Arthur Rimbaud and Charles Baudelaire as well as their frequent jaunts to Paris’ Left Bank – is the adoption of the Breton tee. Decades on, the Gallic staple is still high on the style rankings, but this relaxed shirt (and matching swim shorts), with vertical rather than horizontal bands, are a more modern take on the classic. We’re particular admirers of the blurred watercolour-like stripes – expressive, right?
Go wide for comfort’s sake
For the Beat poets, the pokey cafes of Greenwich Village and second-hand bookshops in San Francisco served as their workplaces. And so, when the stuffy suits on Wall Street and Madison Avenue were clad in trim tailoring, wide-legged trousers – particularly those of the cuffed variety – distinguished Beatniks from a sea of office-appropriate gents. Plus, we imagine they were infinitely more comfortable. Lightweight, louche and loose, this Mr P. pair is a carefree alternative to slimmer or tapered styles.
But opt for slim jeans
If you’re a card-carrying member of Gen Z, you might want to be look away now. While their trousers might have been on the wide side, on the whole, the Beat Generation favoured skinnier-cut jeans. Why the paradox, you might be asking yourself. Well, since roomier-fitting jeans were a workman’s staple, there’s an argument that – subconsciously or otherwise – the silhouette distinguished them as intellectual types. In any case, this true blue pair is ideal for summertime, as is pairing it with a retro polo shirt (just seen) and classic blouson jacket.
Go to prints
The Beat writers marched to their own, er, beat. Their mantra was to break free of conservative American society and culture, which they considered “square” and strait-laced. Shirking academic convention in their poetry was one way they professed their freedom; another was through anti-conformist dress. True, a printed shirt isn’t exactly something you’d deem especially out-there these days, but it certainly speaks volumes louder than a plain white button-down. Add a pair of polished loafers and you’re onto a winning retro-casual formula.