Kingsman: The Next Episode
Twenty-four hours on the move with the latest collection from our own British-made brand .
The gentleman spy is a character of pure fantasy. Smooth, suave, sophisticated, he represents everything we wish we could be. The women we lust after, he effortlessly seduces. The cars we can only dream of driving, he drives with indifference. We long to order drinks like him. To play chemin de fer like him (let alone know the rules of the game). But, alas, our fantasies are just that: fantasies. Without access to a Savile Row tailor and a Jermyn Street shirt-maker, we can’t even dress like him.
Or can we? This secret-agent fantasy came a step closer to reality last year when MR PORTER launched Kingsman, an exclusive menswear line inspired by the subversive, stylish spy movie of the same name. This was far more than your average movie tie-in. It was the first time a costume wardrobe had made the leap from the big screen into your closet. And these were no cheap imitations, but proper British clothes. That navy double-breasted pinstripe suit? You can buy that, fully canvassed and made in England to the same specifications as the one worn by Mr Colin Firth. His sunglasses? Those, too, designed in England by Cutler and Gross and made by hand in Italy. In fact, every single thing worn by the Kingsman agents – every suit, shoe, hat, sweater and tie – could be purchased on MR PORTER.
The other remarkable thing about Kingsman was the number of brands it was able to unite under one bullet-proof umbrella. MR PORTER Buying Director Mr Toby Bateman, who worked with the movie’s costume designer Ms Arianne Phillips on the original collection, described it as a “dream team” of British heritage brands: royal warrant holders Swaine Adeney Brigg made the leather goods, the 300-year-old hatter Lock & Co made the hats, and George Cleverley of Bond Street’s Royal Arcade made the shoes. But this was all more than a year ago. The movie, a roaring success at the box office, has long departed cinema screens. Meanwhile, Kingsman – the self-anointed “new brand for the modern gentleman” – isn’t quite so new any more. Which brings us to the question: where do we go from here?
“With the movie franchise effectively dormant for at least the next few seasons, we have the chance now to define the Kingsman brand on its own terms,” says Mr Adam Cameron, who has worked as a design consultant on all three seasons so far (and designs The Workers Club with his wife Charlotte). “The first collection had to live up to the challenge of looking good, both on screen and in real life, but we’re not held back by that any more, which frees us up to take things in a more commercial direction.” For “commercial”, read relaxed. The very first thing you notice about Kingsman Season Three is that it has a considerably more casual feel than last year’s debut collection, reflecting a general trend in menswear towards a softer silhouette. Think cotton-flannel shirts with button-down collars, suits in wide-wale corduroy and soft-shouldered cashmere overcoats.
There are certain, classically British motifs that remain central to the collection: the double-breasted silhouette, for instance, or the navy pinstripe. “We’re now able to employ them in a more creative way,” explains Mr Cameron, pointing to the newest addition to the Kingsman range, a classic fibreboard suitcase made by Globe-Trotter, which appears as normal from the outside, but is lined on the inside with navy pinstripe cloth. Then there’s the navy pinstripe Mackintosh raincoat, a standout piece that brings a fresh look to a timeless classic. To be clear, this isn’t about turning conventions on their heads, or breaking rules just for the sake of it. “Despite this evolution, the template for Kingsman remains the same,” says Mr Cameron. “If we can’t imagine Colin [Firth] wearing it, I’d question whether we should be doing it.”
The result of all this hard work is a collection of stunning, highly covetable menswear that will lend an air of devil-may-care to your next mission (OK, OK, business trip). We took it for a spin over the course of 24 hours in Paris.