Timothy McKenzie, or as he is better known by his stage name; Labrinth, has certainly enjoyed a paramount last two years. Bursting onto the British music scene as a singer, songwriter and producer, he was signed by Simon Cowell to his record label Syco – the first artist in six years not to have been launched via a TV talent show – giving you an indication of just how gifted this young man is.
Labrinth launched his career by co-writing, producing and appearing on Tinie Tempah’s number one debut single, Pass Out. Labrinth and Tinie worked together again months later to create the twosome’s second consecutive number one hit, Frisky. The man of the moment once again co-wrote and produced the single, pushing him further into the limelight.
McKenzie finally went it alone in late 2010 with his debut single; Let the Sun Shine, which brought him in direct competition with close friend Tinie (who had just released Written in the Stars.) Labrinth has also worked with other big names such as Professor Green, Yasmin, Wretch 32 and Gary Barlow, among others.
However, chart positions are not the only good-natured rivalry Labrinth and Tempah share. Both are well noted to be stylish chaps and Tinie of course headed GQ’s 2012 Best Dressed list – in which Labrinth came a begrudging 41.
While Tinie may well be [currently] rocking award-winning style, we have no doubt Labrinth’s up and coming efforts will go close to – if not the distance – in knocking Mr Tempah off of his top spot. Our very own in-house stylist, Ashley Cover, certainly thought Labrinth had pushed Tinie all the way at the Brit Awards 2012.
Labrinth Style Breakdown
Before we commence dissecting this up and coming icon’s style, let’s take a look at some of his signature looks.
Key Component #1: Colour
One of Labrinth’s major plus-points comes from his use of colour. Our subject took last year’s major menswear trend as a signal to expand his palette to include every colour under the sun; tan-inducing yellows played a particularly well-represented part, as the lookbook above shows.
Knowing how to compliment and contrast colours is half the challenge when it comes to broadening the tone of your wardrobe. Labrinth has certainly done his homework and provides an astute example as how to incorporate those fear-provoking shades into a look. Matching yellows to reds and reds to greens has proved nothing but child’s play for this style icon.
If you’re looking to brush up on your colour know-how for spring/summer, I would fully recommend taking in [and memorising] Matt Allinson’s guides:
- Men’s Fashion Basics – An Introduction to Colour
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Mixing With Monochromes
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Combining Colours
Key Component #2: Accessories
Labrinth is not one for keeping his style minimalistic and is often photographed in a plethora of accessories. From coloured belts to jewellery, favoured bow-ties and of course his signature eyewear, Labrinth has perfected the art of accessorising.
Despite his penchant for using accessories as accents, Labrinth knows how to avoid overcooked style and is never seen over-accessorising. A key principle to bear in mind is to pick 2 (or a maximum of 3) key accessories to integrate into your look – you don’t need to wear a bold watch, jewellery, a pocket square, a hat AND a scarf to make an impression; less is definitely more.
The way you hold yourself and how comfortable you are with your style will also make a huge difference to your overall aesthetic. The sheer confidence he portrays within his looks – which have occasionally bordered on the audacious – allow him to carry off of a hat, bow-tie and bag combination, or a matching shoes and shirt ensemble with consummate ease.
- Topman Apple Green Oxford Skinny Suit Jacket
- Topman Nudie Jeans Slim Jim Black Twill Slim Jeans
- Etro Striped Slim-fit Cotton Blazer
- Asos Printed Washed Shirt
- Penfield White Pop Pocket Oxford Shirt
- Allsaints Wylle Denim Shirt
- Polo Ralph Lauren Merino Wool Rollneck Sweater
- S.n.s. Herning Port Sweater Ink Blue
- Polo Ralph Lauren Coral Red Slim Fit Stretch Chinos
- Jeans With Piped Back Pockets Lillon 2-w By Boss Green
- Apc New Army Chino Gris Clair Trousers
- Nudie Jeans Slim Jim Black Twill Slim Jeans
- Black Felt Trilby Hat
- Topman Red Leather Distressed Satchel
- American Apparel Langston Eyeglass
- Spitfire Studio Sunglasses With Removable Lens
- Drakes Polka-dot Silk Bow Tie
- Asos Knitted Stripe Tie
- Mark Mcnairy Contrast Sole Suede Loafers
- Clae Ruby Suede Strayhorn Boots
- Hudson Tan Burnished Leather Rafferty Brogues
Labrinth Inspired Looks
Attempt to replicate Labrinth’s excellent use of colour from head to toe. A vivid red shirt looks great when anchored by some neutral tan jeans and accented via blue accessories and a flash of yellow. All three colours are complimentary and there is no danger of unsavoury clashing.
- Polo Ralph Lauren Button-down Collar Cotton Shirt
- Asos Tan Skinny Jeans
- Topman Aaa Blue Leather Belt
- Mark Mcnairy New Amsterdam Navy Suede Yellow Eva Sole Low Chukkas
Labrinth really adopted the autumn/winter polo neck trend and rocked it to great success; even being snapped on the front row at London Fashion Week in a grey marl number alongside some red trousers. Recreate a similar look by combining a dark polo neck with some coloured trousers and layer a grey blazer over the top to finish it off.
- John Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck Sweater
- Joseph Beige Stretch Cotton Raphael Blazer
- Shore Leave Burgundy Chino
- Allsaints Clip Shoe
Labrinth’s red carpet looks – much like the rest of his style – always stand out in a crowd. Whether it’s his polo neck and peach suit at the MOBOs, the cord Ozwald Boateng suit at the Brit Awards 2011, or the waistcoat, trilby and statement shoes combo at this year’s Brits.
Have a go at mimicking this statement style with some bold coloured tailoring and bow tie. Slim, point, tan shoes contrast beautifully with the bright blue in the suit, as does the yellow (and more subtly the red) in the bow tie.
- Allsaints Bruges Shirt
- Asos Skinny Fit Indigo Jacket
- Drakes Paisley-print Silk Bow Tie
- Topman Frank Point Shoes
Labrinth’s style – like his music – is very current. He takes on board current high street and street style trends and puts his own spin on both. Whether it’s his pairing of a bootlace tie with a slick purple suit or a printed polo neck with a heritage style blazer, Labrinth knows how to put together unmanufactured looks which show a real sense of personal style.
But what do you think of his look?
- Are you a fan of Labrinth’s style?
- Is his use of colour front row or back end?
- How does his look match up against Tinie Tempah’s and other style icons?
Let us know in the comments below…