As the days have become shorter over the past few months, you’ve likely been pushing your summer essentials back to the dark recesses of your wardrobe. Roll-sleeved tees have been swapped for long-sleeved merino knits and super lightweight bombers have been packed away as woollen overcoats and shearling jackets take precedence.
Now, with the festive season truly upon us – accompanied, of course, by its glut of obligatory formal parties – it’s time to dust off that tux and smarten up your act. Luckily, with designers and brands placing elegant formal wear at the forefront of their offerings this season, there’s no shortage of options to get yourself well and truly spruced up for the holiday party circuit.
In this round-up, we take a close look at the need-to-know brands that’ll help you leave a lasting impression at any gathering…
6 British Brands To Know For The Party Season
1. Richard James
Credited with rejuvenating the once stuffy and elitist Savile Row, Richard James established his eponymous label in 1992 and steadily earned a reputation for winning designs that blend traditional tailoring techniques with a modern sensibility.
Arguably celebrated most for his clever use of colour, James is at the forefront of today’s contemporary tailoring movement.
Richard James AW14 Collection
The AW14 collection typifies the brand’s signature tradition and modernity with its sleek cuts and intelligent pairing of fabrics and accessories. James is exemplary in demonstrating the versatility of tailoring, mixing and matching fabrics and colours to break up the formality of a traditional suit – a technique that is also evident in its unique evening wear offering.
Inspired by the ‘New Edwardians’ of the 1950s, the collection tips a brim to dandy dressing and the self-expression that defined a new era of post-war dressing.
Velvet trousers are one of the collection’s key pieces. Sure to lend a luxe edge to any formal ensemble, these are best paired with one of the brand’s windowpane check blazers and a silk cravat for a polished party wear look.
James also proves that printed shirts work in the evening – if you’re feeling brave, try teaming an iridescent shawl-collar dinner jacket with a micro-print shirt for a truly individual statement.
- Blue Sparkle Evening Jacket
- Deep Purple Velvet Jacket
- Grey Flannel Shawl Collar Evening Suit
- Blue And Navy Windowpane Check Jacket
- Contemporary Tiny Green Leaves Shirt
- Fitted Burgundy Paisley Squiggle Shirt
- Blue Sharkskin Trousers
- Airforce Cavalry Twill Trousers
- Silver Dashes Cufflinks
- Burgundy And Olive Petals Pocket Square
- Black Tadpoles Spot Silk Tie
- Green Tiny Leaves Cashmere And Silk Scarf
2. Gieves & Hawkes
With a pedigree stretching back to 1771, and an eclectic clientele that’s included Winston Churchill, the Duke of Wellington and David Beckham, Gieves & Hawkes at No.1 Savile Row is one of tailoring’s greats.
In recent years, the brand has sought to break down the barriers of high-end formal wear, offering a fresher, more youthful take on traditional British tailoring while retaining the house’s core values and standards of craftsmanship.
Gieves & Hawkes AW14 Collection
The Gieves & Hawkes’ AW14 collection, entitled ‘Military Precision’, is a fitting tribute to the brand’s heritage of army tailoring, with pieces rendered in a colour palette of khaki, olive, racing green, grey, air force blue and tobacco.
Evening wear takes on a contemporary dandy guise, with ornate jacquard treatments on silk in hues of copper, teal and oxblood lending a modern touch to traditional formal styles. For those seeking a stand-out showpiece for the party season, the collection’s peacock feather jacket is guaranteed to turn heads.
If you’re after a classic evening look, the double-breasted dinner suit with its 1930s-inspired silhouette is a slightly more sedate, yet distinctive option, while the brand’s wool check jackets are well-cut and ideal for smart-casual events.
- Brown Prince Of Wales Check Jacket
- Burgundy Cotton-silk Jaquard Dinner Jacket
- Copper Silk Jacquard Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket
- Navy Blue Silk Jacquard Shawl Collar Dinner Jacket
- Black Double Breasted Dinner Jacket
- Raf Blue Shadow Check Handmade Wool And Cashmere Jacket
- White Cotton Pleated Front Evening Shirt
- Black & Grey Stripe Morning Trouser
- Black Pleated Dinner Trouser
- Burgundy Pattern Bow Tie
- Burgundy Herringbone Silk Pocket Square
- Teal Spotted Wool And Silk Tie
Founded by Becky French in 2011 on the back of her personal sketches of vintage pocket squares and neck ties, British accessories label Marwood has brought a fresh perspective to modern accessory design.
The brand’s unique character stems from its signature use of hand-finished lace. Once a key fabric manufactured by the British Isles’ cottage industries, today, there are just a handful of mills left that produce lace in the traditional way.
Marwood works alongside a centuries-old lace manufacturer in Nottingham, once the capital of the British lace industry, to produce its artisan ties and pocket squares, which bring this heritage fabric bang up to date.
As well as lace, the brand also utilises fine silks and yarns, producing pieces inspired by traditional geometric forms and English motifs including Edwardian hallway floor tiles and the leaves of the Royal Oak tree. What better way to add a touch of patriotic individuality to your party ensemble?
We recommend the lace oak leaf bow tie and silk geo-check Vienna tie from this season’s collection, inspired by the works of Austrian artist Koloman Moser.
Marwood AW14 Highlights
- Vienna Tie
- All Fall In X Marwood Fragile Lace Tie – Ecru/black Print Over Black Silk
- Marwood Floor Tiles Nude And Brown Tie
- Marwood Wall Texture Old Black And Black Self Tie Bow Tie
- Marwood Chalkline Tie – Midnight
- Marwood Moser Grid Self Tie Bow Tie
- Vertical Border Scarf
- Marwood Lace Evening Scarf
- Marwood Floor Tiles Pocket Square- Mint Dust And Red
- All Fall In X Marwood Lace Tie – Ecru/ Black Fragile Lace Over Cream Silk
- Marwood Large Staircase Scarf- Navy And Teal
- Marwood X Alice Made This – Gold Leaf Knit Tie And Gold Pin
4. Hardy Amies
Founded in 1946 by a man some might dub the Oscar Wilde of the design world due to his sharp wit and impeccable taste, the house of Hardy Amies has undergone a revolution under the guidance of current Design Director Mehmet Ali.
Much like Richard James and Gieves & Hawkes, the house is spearheading an altogether fresher, more contemporary approach to both suiting and casual wear that has its roots in London’s tailoring heritage.
Hardy Amies AW14 Collection
This season’s collection, entitled ‘The Monogrammed Spy’, gleans its inspiration from founder Amies’ stint as a Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.
The collection’s outerwear has a sharp, military-inspired feel, while its evening wear features the brand’s original house monogram, which first appeared in the 1940s. It’s a subtle motif that’s been applied to dinner jackets, giving this timeless style a contemporary slant that will ensure you stand out in a sea of standard black tie.
Put your stamp on one of this season’s key trends with Amies’ luxurious wool and angora roll neck jumper, which makes for a polished alternative to a shirt and tie – try it layered under a strong-shouldered double-breasted jacket.
- Grey Wool Blend Double Breasted Jacket
- Light Grey Check Wool Double Breasted Jacket
- Blue Check Single Breasted Wool Suit
- Navy Monogrammed Silk Jacquard Single Breasted Tuxedo Jacket
- Black Kid Mohair Shawl Collar Tuxedo Suit
- Navy Check Wool Single Breasted Jacket
- White Popllin Cotton Contrast Panel Bib Shirt
- Black Wool Monogram Evening Trousers
- Grey Wool Flannel Tailored Trousers
- Off-white Wool Blend Bullet Roll Neck Jumper
- Navy Diamond Printed Silk Handkerchief
- Orange Enamel Monogram Cufflinks
5. Hackett London
A firm presence on the international menswear scene, Hackett London was born in 1979, when Jeremy Hackett began trading vintage tailoring on London’s famous Portobello Road.
Since then, the brand has garnered international acclaim and become a byword for British elegance in the process.
Hackett London AW14 Collection
Hackett’s design DNA consistently draws upon the sartorial virtues of the English Gentleman, and the current AW14 line is no exception. Celebrating the allure of the golden age of travel, the collection takes its creative cues from the concept of the global traveller, showcasing refined tailoring, casual separates and road-ready accessories inspired by the globetrotting CEO, explorer, travel photographer and graduate.
Hackett’s updated take on evening wear proffers some of this season’s best looks for a black tie do. Whether you’re after a richly hued velvet jacket, an Edwardian-inspired dinner suit or something a little more conventionally classic, the brand’s well-thought-out selection won’t leave you short of options.
- Hackett Shawl Collar Velvet Jacket
- Hackett Peak Lapel Velvet Jacket
- Hackett Shawl Collar Velvet Jacket
- Hackett Chelsea Single Breasted Dinner Jacket
- Hackett Chelsea Dinner Trousers
- Hackett Mayfair Dinner Trousers
- Fine Twill Stripe Shirt
- Hackett Pleat Front Dress Shirt
- Silk Adjustable Bowtie
- Bachelor Studs
- Paisley Handkerchief
- Dress Cufflinks
6. Duchamp London
2014 marks the 25th anniversary of Duchamp London, a brand renowned for its trademark bold prints and rich colours that distinguish it from its peers in the formal wear market. The label was established in 1989, after founder Mitchell Jacobs happened upon a hoard of vintage cuff links in a Paris flea market, and felt inspired to start his own accessories business.
Mitchell named his London-based label after the French Surrealist artist Michel Duchamp, due to the latter’s ability to “turn objects into art”.
Inspired by the work of the brand’s namesake, Mitchell set about turning “everyday icons of men’s fashion into wearable art”. Never afraid to challenge the norm (true to its founding principle), the brand eschews the ubiquitous dark greys and blues that dominate most men’s formal wear collections, in favour of unconventional colours and patterns.
Duchamp London AW14 Collection
This season, Duchamp takes its cue from the lifestyles of five sartorial personalities: the Jet-setting Rogue, the Artist, the Country Gent, the Alpinista and the Entertainer.
Structured around outfitting these five distinct profiles, the AW14 collection features Scottish tweeds, corduroy tailoring and luxe printed silk evening jackets, primed for the party season.
With so much superb formal wear on offer for AW14, you’ve no excuse not to polish up for the party season.
Whether you’re bound for a traditional black tie function, cocktail soiree or simply want to impress at the office party or new year’s bash, these six key British brands offer worthwhile investments you can depend on time and again.