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Thomas Pink reveals the Art of the Shirt

Q&A

Some looks never go out of style. A well-tailored button-down shirt is definitely one of them. While many do this wardrobe staple well, we have a soft spot for Thomas Pink, which presents this classic look in the short film “The Art of the Shirt.” Here, we talk to Thomas Pink’s creative director, Florence Torrens about finding inspiration in the archives.

How do you keep a heritage brand like Thomas Pink fresh?
The wonderful thing about having a rich heritage is that it is a constant source of inspiration. For this season, we raided the Thomas Pink archives for bold shirting patterns and then layered inspiration from our style heroes to create a shirting collection teeming with texture and colour. Our mood boards featured two devil-may-care British icons: the racing driver, James Hunt, best known for his raffish sense of style and the bohemian Marquess of Bath, known not only for his eclectic dress sense but also for his favourite pet – a lion named Marquis. All these influences translated into our collection and this constant mainspring of ideas invigorates the brand.

What are some of the longest-standing styles at Thomas Pink?
The core of our business and the mainstay of a gentleman’s wardrobe is a beautiful white shirt. The white shirt is a wardrobe hero – it will never let you down, will always be there for you and will rise to any occasion, however demanding. As a design team, we tax ourselves to offer myriad cuts and fabrics (currently more than 30 different styles) so that there will always be an option which will answer the specific sartorial need. Our flagship stores boast our specialist White Shirt Bars, where you can shop specifically for a white shirt that meets your specifications on style and comfort.

What are some new looks this season?
The ruffle evening shirt has staged a come back – just in time for the holidays. The Needham shirt comes in white, but we’ve added some fun festive colours as well to give a twist on the classic evening shirt. In brights, it adds a pep to an evening suit, especially when teamed with a quirky bow tie – I love our printed silk hummingbird bow tie with this look. Add a velvet jacket and top it all off with one of our beanie hats and you’ll be ready for whatever the night may.

The "Art of the Shirt" video spotlight's what is perhaps the brand's most celebrated garment. How/when did Thomas Pink become the go-to for shirts?
We are passionate about shirts and we strive constantly to combine our Jermyn Street heritage of traditional shirt-making with innovation in design, melding together the best of the old with the most inventive of the new. Quality is a watchword for us and underpins everything we do. When we made this video we showcased it in our London flagship store and had a lady from the factory who had been making Thomas Pink shirts for 30 years, come and sit in in the store window with her sewing machine, stitching shirts. The beautiful thing was how amazed our customers were to see the detail and attention which went into making each individual shirt. Our Classic fit shirts are made up of 38 separate pieces and have 14 pieces in the collar alone. Our reputation for quality derives not only from our unique fabrics, attention to detail and craftsmanship, but also from our excellent customer service. Our customers know that they can rely on us to have the variety, colour, and styling options they want, made with the craftsmanship they expect from Thomas Pink. We only use the very best materials and processes available. View the "Art of the Shirt" video below to step behind the scenes of this heritage brand.

Do you have a personal favorite style/cut?
Oh this is an easy one – I always have a favorite. I probably shouldn’t but I do! Plaid is pretty hard to fault at any time of year, but for the holiday season it is unbeatable. Based on a variant of a traditional Scottish tartan, the Promenade shirt comes with a matching tie or bow-tie. I picked out this shirt for my husband thinking it would be perfect for Christmas day, but he’s wearing it already! Details seem to be a very important part of the brand.

Can you share a few details we might find on a Thomas Pink shirt that make it so special?
The pink gusset on the hem of our Classic fit shirts is easily the most iconic detail of a Pink shirt. This gusset is our distinctive way of branding a shirt so that only the wearer knows it’s there. We add a pink touch to every shirt - there’s always a button or button hole stitched in pink. Our signature motif is the fox, which originates from the fact that the first Mr Pink was actually a tailor in eighteenth century London who made the scarlet hunting coats for the Masters of Foxhounds. Despite being bright scarlet, these coats are always referred to being Pink, in honour of their originator and so the fox has a special significance for us and appears on our casual shirts and polo ranges.

What do you feel is trending now in menswear?
I think right now is a golden moment for menswear. The rules have relaxed a little, permitting sartorial conventions to be bypassed and allowing the individual to shine. The hard lines between formal and casual have blurred and this has enabled men to dress with more freedom, colour and creativity. Men are starting to have fun with their accessories by wearing bold colours and patterns in new and unexpected ways. Colour-blocked pocket squares, printed ties, mix-and-match cufflinks; they all add flair and speak to individual style. We introduced a four colour blocked knitted silk tie this season, which has been a big hit. It’s all in the detail and this new sensibility can be expressed as simply as a wild sock paired with a sober business suit. 

Who are some of your personal style icons?
One of my favourite images is the Kings of Hollywood by Slim Aarons and the stars featured it in are all time style legends…Clark Gable,Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and James Stewart. Maybe it was the magic of the movies but they all looked so amazing both on and off screen. Prince Charles is right up there – he has impeccable taste and puts it all together with incredible verve and assurance. Mr Darcy, Jane Austen’s dashing hero deserves a mention even if I am thinking more of Colin Firth in that white shirt than any literary reference. Mrs Vreeland certainly figures on the list as does Jackie Kennedy-Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill.

 

 

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