The best cloths of Autumn/Winter 2019

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This series started as a way to highlight cloths from the hyper-seasonal collections - usually Italian - that came and went within a few months. 

The impulse was that readers often saw something I had had made, and asked what the cloth was - but by that point it was all gone. They needed to know before I decided to use it, rather than after. 

That issue remains, but there have also been comments that it would be good to highlight new bunches from other sources. The refresh of a three-year-old overcoating bunch, perhaps, or a mill releasing something new and different. 

So from now on the cloths highlighted here will include all new releases, but necessarily be more selective and subjective. There isn’t room to take in everything.

As ever, further comments on its usefulness or not, are very welcome. 

 

Fox Tweed

Fox Brothers has just released a new tweed bunch - or rather two, Fox Tweed 1 and Fox Tweed 2. 

This is a bit of a departure for Fox, known in recent years more for its flannels and less-hairy jacketings or overcoatings. But given the colours and overall good taste of Fox Air (its recent high-twist launch), it is a welcome one. 

There are certainly fewer bright colours in Fox Tweed than in a lot of other tweed bunches (which are inevitably rather hit and miss). But for me the difference here is a less striking one than with Fox Air, where the colour range in the rest of the market was often very conservative or oddly bold, and was attractively subtle and modern. 

Fox Tweed has some great patterns and colourways, but perhaps stands out most for its range: there are dozens of herringbones and twills across the two bunches. You can find several grey herringbones, then greens and browns, and some really interesting murky combinations. 

The ones I like most are the brown/grey/purple mixes like TD11 and TD18 below. 

 

TD11
TD18

There are also several vintage-looking checks which appeal, including ones with four-line windowpanes (eg TD64) and block checks (eg TD63). This makes particular sense, given the whole range was inspired by pieces from the Fox archive. 

All are fairly hairy and heavy, at 17/18 oz. 

 

TD64
TD63

 

Holland & Sherry Contemporary Overcoats

This is a new bunch from Holland & Sherry, intended to sit alongside its normal, more conservative range of overcoatings. 

There are some lovely heavy, British Warm-inspired cloths, but also several that are not my style. The latter includes a series of fluffy, bouclé-like options with a slight sheen. They’re mostly wool and mohair blends, 25oz or 15oz.

On the other side of the bunch, though, are some gorgeous, heavy lamsbwool meltons. All 27.5oz, there are herringbones and twills, both conservative charcoal and navy, and bolder cream and light-grey. 

My favourites are 9819402 and 9819301. The classic British Warm is 9819306. 

 

9819301
9819402
9819306

 

Escorial Natural 

Escorial are offering a seasonal range of cloths made just from the natural, undyed colours of the sheep’s wool - through agents Standeven. 

Natural colours like these feel very current, particularly as they’re less formal but still feel urban in their lack of strong colour. The creams, browns and soft greys are easy to wear in anything but a very smart office. 

My particular favourite is the windowpane 12050, but the herringbone 12058 is also nice. I’m told 12053 has sold out. They’re 11.5oz, and could make a soft suit or a lightweight jacket. 

 

12050
12058

 

Drapers jacketings/coatings

Among the seasonal Italian bunches, the Drapers range is one of the nicest. 

There’s a mix of what would be heavyweight jackets or lightweight coats, depending on your preference - 16oz or 17oz. Most are herringbones or twills, which makes the range of colours large. I rather like 6901. 

Among the slightly heavier options there is a similarly big colour range, with three shades of navy for instance. (None of them are black - nearly always indicated on the label by mills, to avoid any confusion with dark navy or midnight blue.)

I’d pick out the mid- or dark browns though, 6920 and 6921. Navy is great, but easy to find elsewhere. These shades are not. 

 

6901
6920
6921

 

Loro Piana 

Finally, the seasonal Loro Piana jacketings and suitings through up the usual interesting colours - which are always executed better by them, somehow, than pretty much any other mill. 

These are the selections that are presented on cards, and made in small runs so they go quickly. The pale-pink check of N698044 is lovely, and N698007 is a good example of that colour sophistication - I'd never normally consider red, but in that shade I am.

 

N698044
N698007

There is also a new bunch that’s interesting - Coarsehair - which adds mohair to cashmere to give a little extra body to the mix. Fortunately the mohair doesn’t add any sheen. 

Although not flagged up, the colouring of the bunch is all distinctly vintage, with soft melanges of yellow and brown in the greys. I've picked out N701004 and N701009. 

 

N701004
N701009