Grey Fox X Cordings Autumn 2023
David Evans AKA Grey Fox started writing about style for the older gentleman in 2011 and is a well-respected voice on how to dress well at any age.
A conversation between Justin our Design Director and David about a vintage 40’s tie last year was the catalyst for the creation of the first collaborative styles curated by David to sit alongside the complete Cordings range. The collection was an immediate success with many items like the tie and York suit selling out within weeks.
Fast forward to a warm spring day in March 2023 and Justin and David were again deep in conversation about heavy Donegal cloths, Shetland knitwear and Herringbone tweed as the next collection started to take shape.
Q. This is the second collection you’ve worked with Cordings. How has your thinking developed since last year?
I was very pleasantly surprised at the success of last year’s items. My thinking then was to highlight the very British character of Cordings and to build on that in the colours, materials and design of the collection. We’ve built on that further in the new collection for 2023/4 and have tweaked the shape of the suit, for example, so that it respects the traditional Cordings design while introducing some new elements as I describe below.
Q. The new collection features a magnificent Follifoot Donegal in a rich checked tweed. What was the thinking behind the bold pattern and how do you see this being worn?
Men’s tailoring – suits, coats and jackets – are becoming much more casual in feel, shape and appearance. The new Follifoot is still very smart but adds a touch of informality in its playful colours that produce a coat that is highly adaptable and can be worn on country walks or in the city. I wanted to celebrate the colours of the outdoors and to break away from the monochromes so often seen in menswear. It can be worn in the city over a suit or casually with cords, knitwear and boots.
Q. The Grey Fox Shetland Herringbone suit is an incredibly versatile suit and has a softer silhouette than Cordings usual tweed suits. Can you talk us through the styling for this and the choice of colour for the tweed?
Versatility was my aim here. You can think of this not so much as a suit as a jacket and trousers that happen to match. I tweaked the shape to make it softer in outline. The broader lapels introduce a contemporary look and I’ve adapted the traditional 3-button shape of the jacket to what is known as ‘three roll two’ so that the jacket has a two button shape but the hidden third top button can be used if required. The tweed is soft and comfortable and its colour and pattern mean that it can be used as a formal suit or as casual separates. I wear the trousers with knitwear and the jacket with jeans, making this a suit that’s highly adaptable and meets the highly varied role of the contemporary suit. If you wear this suit for work in the week you could also wear it as separates at the weekend.
Q. The start point of the collaboration was a tie, and this season you have chose a distinct knitted wool tie in a Birdseye pattern. How do you see this being worn?
I don’t think we should give up yet on the tie and I still feel undressed when I wear a jacket with an open neck shirt. The knitted wool tie is about as casual as you can get but is adaptable enough to be worn with a work suit, knitwear or a pair of jeans and tweed jacket.
Q. Last seasons brushed Shetland knitwear proved so successful that we have had it as a permanent fixture ever since! You have selected new colours for the crewneck – can you talk through your choice of colours?
I’ve long been a fan of the Shetland jumper and the brushed finish enhances its colour and texture. Like the very British tweed jacket and brogues, the ‘shaggy Shetland’ has long been popular in the US as a preppy / Ivy League favourite making it ideal for young and old as a style staple. I like fresh natural colours and these are designed to be at the core of the collection, giving it a coherence that runs through all the items.
Q. You selected the horizontal cord when choosing a cloth in which to put your coordinating trousers. Why was that?
A. They are so unusual, the horizontal wales give the, a completely different feel to the vertical corduroy, and the colours are just so lustruous and rich. I wanted to add an olive colour, but in a cloth which stood out as something different but with every day wearability.
Q. You selected all other pieces that were worn on the shoot, how important is the ability to build a coherent wardrobe around core pieces and what of the other items that you wore were your favourites?
Our thinking behind both collections is that the individual pieces should be capable of forming a coherent whole if worn together, yet also work well on their own or with the other items in a man’s wardrobe, such as corduroy trousers, chinos, check or chambray shirts and even jeans – allowing the development of an adaptable capsule wardrobe. We’ve done this by giving the collection an overall British feel while keeping an eye on the colours and textures of each item. Classic yet contemporary looks are key. So too is quality: I was determined that the collection should be made of the best materials so that they can be worn stylishly for many years to come.