A Most Wanted Man
Looking for the perfect watch, cufflinks or accessory for your next clandestine encounter? Call in MR PORTER, your personal quartermaster….
Spy style: it’s all about the killer touches. A beautifully cut suit is all well and good, but if it’s not complemented by the right tie, the right watch and the right shoes – Oxfords, not brogues – then you won’t charm your way into the casino, you won’t blend in at the baccarat table, and your suave, come-hither glances certainly won’t be returned.
Never mind that the toe of said Oxfords is fitted with a razor-sharp retractable blade. Or that beneath the sapphire dome and sweeping hands of said watch there lies a 500,000-volt projectile dart. It should always be remembered that the primary purpose of these accessories is not to shock or stun – but to simply look the part. Without them, the archetypal image of a gentleman is incomplete.
That’s why, when MR PORTER joined forces with director Mr Matthew Vaughn and costume designer Ms Arianne Phillips to devise a shoppable wardrobe for the new spy movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, we didn’t just stop at tailoring. We brought together a dream team of British heritage designers to ensure that every detail was accounted for – from eyewear and eveningwear to cufflinks, umbrellas and even pens. Herein lies Kingsman: a full and true depiction of the wardrobe of a spy, and a new brand for the modern gentleman.
Rule Number One
The devil is in the detail
When you raise your arm to shake the hand of another – whether friend or foe – it will expose your wrist, and whatever adorns it. The cufflinks on the left are made by Deakin & Francis, a family-run jeweller and silversmith with a history going back to 1786. The watch is by Bremont, a renowned watchmaker based on the banks of the River Thames in Henley, England, and comes with a rose-gold casing and alligator-leather strap. Together, they offer up a one-two punch of taste.
Rule Number Two
Put your best foot forward
Picture the scene. You are the interrogator. Your subject sits before you, hooked up to a polygraph machine. An unlit cigarette hangs lazily between the fingers of his left hand. First impressions: a rakish sort, a rogue. You allow your eye to wander, taking in the rest of his appearance. If clothes make the man, you think, then what sort of a man is this? Your gaze falls on his expertly polished, Goodyear-welted Oxfords. You recognise them as the handiwork of George Cleverley – workshop in London’s Royal Arcade, former customers include Sir Winston Churchill – a brand of unquestionable repute. A kernel of doubt begins to form in your mind…
Rule Number Three
Keep your cards close to your chest
When it comes to concealing your identity at the world’s most elite gambling tables, a poker face just isn’t enough: you need to dress the part, too. Proper black tie demands a shirt with stud fastenings – this one is made by royal warrant holder Turnbull & Asser – and a self-tied bow tie, such as this handmade one from Drake’s. Only when a man has mastered the art of true elegance is he able to hide in plain sight.
Rule Number Four
Stay in the shadows
A gentleman spy understands when to make himself known and when to hide. Accordingly, he keeps a minimum of two watches – one for show, and one for what those in the trade call “wet work”. The Kingsman collection by Bremont provides a timepiece for both scenarios. A rose-gold watch with alligator strap and three chronograph counters is perfect for the former, while this – a mat-black stealth model with black dial – is better suited for covert operations.
Rule Number Five
The pen is mightier than the sword
Many a historical conflict has been avoided through a few well-chosen words. The Kingsman pen is crafted by Conway Stewart; a company that has been serving the needs of men of letters for more than a century, and the briefcase is by Swaine Adeney Brigg; a leather goods company whose origins go back even further, having first been established as a whip manufacturer on London’s Piccadilly in 1750.
Photographed at 45 Park Lane, London dorchestercollection.com