Lookbooks are a strange thing. Brands spend time and money producing what amounts to a sort of picture book surrounding their collection, setting the look and mood of how they would like their product to be seen. Not the plain product photos you’ll see in the webshop, with all the details and such shown, but staged photoshoots, with props, weather and lifelike poses.
And for the most part they are complete rubbish. Why? Because they get so caught up in the artiness of it all that you’re left frustrated and wondering what the actual garments look like. Hence why I rarely bother mentioning them. Now though I have two candidates in a row to do. First up is Realm & Empire.
Realm & Empire are a brand that’s had a couple of mentioned previously here (the recent review of their roll neck sweater, and last years review of their waxed jacket) . They find their main inspiration in vintage military garments, much of it through their visits to the archives of the IWM. As I’ve noted a few times, the army influence on menswear is notable, so going back to the vintage sources makes a lot of sense.
For this season the inspiration is mainly around WW2 aircraft and the people who flew them. This means visibility patches, shearling jackets and the graphic details often painted on the nose of the aircraft. Check out a few of the vintage photos included to see where the inspiration is coming from:
So what does the inspiration translate to when the actual garments are made in 2015? I’ve picked a few of my favourites from the lookbook, though the collection itself spans much wider, as can be seen on their website.
What I like best in the lookbook are the sketches showing the inspiration and design of key garments. The way the details of the vintage pieces are identified and remixed into a new context is quite fascinating.
Much of the new R&E collection is made in England as well. You can find their lookbook and more details of each item on their website at Realm & Empire. Oh, and they’ve been kind enough to set up a discount code for my readers as well. Use the code WellDressed20 for 20% off the new collection through to the 21st of November.