CharlieM Whitfield and Russo Robbiani, the two designers behind Flawless Mainland, bring a sleek, continental flair to their work. In business for only a few months, theyâ€™ve released three new suit lines that demonstrate technical grace, the sharp angles of Teutonic styling, and a precociousness that sets expectations high.
With the Chandrima Business Suit, Whitfield and Robbiani tempt fate with horizontal stripes, but manage to negotiate the potential straits between the Scylla of â€œit makes me look porkyâ€ and the Charybdis of â€œit makes me look like I just escaped from the workhouseâ€ with aplomb. “It’s our standard business suit, and our bestseller,” said Robbiani. “There are many combinations possible, so that you can create your own individual style.” High, tight and available in four colors (shown in blue-grey and including brown, green and basic black), the suit has superior corners and is (no surprise here) reminiscent of something by Hedi Slimane.
And yet, the severity typical of a Slimane analog is damped by the friendliness of the fabric â€“ not linen, but seemingly of a light, warm wool that is just a little coarse and, thus, a bit informal. The accompanying white shirt has a small, pointed collar, and the tie is narrow and falls well short of the mid-buckle. The lapels are notched and aspire to peaks, and the buttons and jacket pockets are nearly vestigial, minimizing the accoutrements and overall adding to the suitâ€™s already lean silhouette.
Flawlessâ€™ Suede Suit is an intriguing combination of both old and new. Old, in that the double-breasted closure and gull-wing collar lend the suit a noir element thatâ€™s more than a little Dashiell Hammett. New, in that the gold goat suede leather (also available in red, blue, midnight, green and grey) is reminiscent of some combination of Formula 1 driverâ€™s firesuit and a bladerunnerâ€™s leather duster. The jacket, looking like nothing so much as a cropped version of the aforementioned duster, sports two rows of buttons and – a delightful touch – another half-hidden under the collar, lending a nice retro air. The accompanying pulls, tight around the buttons, is a nice effect as well and subtly done.
The trousers imply a deft mottling, and take a solicitory back seat to the jacket. The visible slice of shirt and tie are of similar make and mien as that of the Chandrima accompaniments (albeit the tie is in black here). The Suede Leather Suit is, in short, a uniform for a less-haunted Rick Deckard who seeks to retire to the bar rather than retire a replicant. “It’s for people who don’t want that usual business look,” explained Robbiani.
Finally, the Runway 41 SilkSuit is the most club-ready of the three and it is, again, a clever merging of nostalgic and modern, formal and casual. The fabric is smooth and just a bit shiny, reminiscent of better quality polyester blends, and the lapel an unnotched â€œUâ€ that seems to beg for a ruffled shirt. The trousers are beltless and ingeniously shadowed, an unknotted necktie drapes the torso under the lapels, and overall one is reminded of Napoleon Dynamiteâ€™s older brother Kip â€“ who, as we all know, was the coolest thing about that movie.
At the same time, the suit is tight and very fitted, a highly contemporary touch. The flatted collar and the rounded shoulders are an organic, naturalistic element that counterpoints the suitâ€™s overt artifice, and the shortened sleeves, exhibiting a solid inch of cuff, are an elegant, decidely European-inspired detail.
The Chandrima Business Suit in blue-grey (L$300), the Suede Leather Suit in gold (L$250) and the Runway 41 SilkSuit in grey (L$300) at Flawless MainlandÂ (FutureCity 138, 66, 23).