Transitional Dressing

Alexander Kraft, well-renowned for his high-end elegance expressed through his eponymous label, Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo, has consistently shown the stylistic merits of sporting white all-year-round.

Freddie Anderson

Meandering along the Grand Canal in a gondola on October 20, 1880, one might have caught a glimpse of the eclectic American socialite and art collector Isabella Stewart Gardener gazing up at a display of fireworks from her balcony at the Palazzo Barbaro — a 17th-century gothic palace that had earned a reputation as an American ‘hideaway’ during the Gilded Age. Trained upon her were the eyes of one Anders Zorn, the Swedish master artist who had hit a creative impasse while attempting to paint her portrait. Suddenly, Gardner pushed the French windows open, inviting guests from the drawing-room to witness the mesmerising sight of the illuminations from her elevated vantage point, and causing Zorn to exclaim “Stay as you are. That is the way I want to paint you.” Depicted in a floor-length short-sleeved white dress, and her trademark long string of pearls, she radiated in the distinctive shimmering Venetian autumn light. Famous for using a limited palette of four colours (where have we also seen a limited palette with such style and visual eloquence?!) Zorn utilised his extolled method to seduce Gardner to immediately hang the painting in her house, replacing the portrait that John Singer Sargent had made for her.

The portrait captures Gardner’s energy, as she appears perfectly radiant against the dark chamber behind her. In it, Zorn captures the mood swings of Venice in autumn, at times glorious, at others shrouded in sombre cloud, the Lido a dank puddle grey. We dare say Gardner wore nothing but ball gowns during her stay, but autumn for the rest of us requires a different approach to dressing. The practice of transitional dressing today differs from what it was for Venetophiles in 1880. As we move towards impending winter, the weather can be mischievous to say the least, but we needn’t forget summer altogether. Great fall outfits cunningly elect fabrics, cuts and colours from summer and winter palettes in order to muster up a cool, comfortable and foolproof aesthetic. Lesser men might reject the notion of wearing white beyond September, but at Alexander Kraft we appreciate the panache that can be delivered through the conduit of contrast that are white trousers. Alexander Kraft, well-renowned for his high-end elegance expressed through his eponymous label, Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo, has consistently shown the stylistic merits of sporting white all-year-round. The brand’s updated cream cotton flat-fronted Gurkha trouser is an irrefutable option to sport with a host of different accompaniments. Considering the recent blast of solar radiation, its practical attributes permit you to wear it with the mid-blue washed chambray signature shirt. If you find yourself relaxing on a room balcony with an endless view of the Mediterranean clear blue water at the mystical Cheval Blanc Hotel, Saint-Tropez, a game of backgammon with a companion might just promote some camaraderie. It was certainly evident at the shared beach house of Cary Grant and Randolph Scott in Santa Monica, both of whom were stylish proponents of the white trouser. If the temperature plummets, a pure cashmere rollneck sweater in either cream or navy makes for a cosy choice. Offered as a bundle – the addition of the navy chalkstripe wool DB Signature Barchetta blazer and burnished caramel calf leather tassel loafers are the cherries atop this sartorial cake. 

A cotton long-sleeved polo shirt from AK MC could be your shrewdest investment of the year. Encompassing numerous sartorial details, it’s hard to identify a garb that transcends flexibility the way the long-sleeved polo shirt does. A core protagonist within the 1950s jet set, and sometimes called “the rake of the Riviera”, Gianni Agnelli was a renowned devotee of the long-sleeved polo shirt.

As the spectrum of exploits in autumn expand, there’s an alluringly disheveled fabric that should have prime position in your wardrobe — corduroy. In sync with Alexander Kraft’s continued enactment of casual elegance, the soon-to-be-launched caramel cotton corduroy double-breasted Signature jacket profits from its Savile Row-inspired silhouette and tactile handle. Worn with the matching Gurkha trousers, you have a relaxed yet refined corduroy suit that will elegantly transport you from a serious business meeting in the Hôtel Plaza Athénée to Allard, the intimate French bistro in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés for a convivial lunch. In a sophisticated yet subtle ecru hue, the double-breasted Signature sports jacket in the same fabric will certainly be optimal for country jaunts, such as sociable shooting weekends.

Thanks to the indisputable icons of motion pictures, such as Humphrey Bogart and Alain Delon, the trench coat is arguably the most important item in the winter menswear canon. Now, before the driving rain is intensified by wintry temperatures, wandering in cityscapes can still ignite a sweat. Made in an artisanal workshop in Puglia in the South of Italy, the medium-weight navy cotton trench coat is a versatile invention from Alexander Kraft. Using a slim cut, the fabric is also treated with a light coating that is repellent to water whilst maintaining the softness and breathability of the natural fibre. Such are its sleek and lightweight properties, it comfortably fits over a suit or blazer when on the move. 

Transitional dressing isn’t as complicated as one might think. All it takes is some creative ingenuity and a clear perception of which fabrics are going to be appropriate in terms of warmth and practicality. Once again, Alexander Kraft has acutely tapped into the psyche of how new and old followers of Alexander Kraft Monte Carlo want to wear tailoring and casual items as the season turns. 

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