On the ball: David Beckham discusses his collaboration with Kent & Curwen
Creative director Daniel Kearns and David Beckham discuss their collaboration and the future of the brand's quintessentially British look
David Beckham's most recent sartorial venture has seen him join up with Kent & Curwen – a British brand established in 1926 by Eric Kent and Dorothy Curwen, who met on Savile Row. The former England footballer is a partner in the business and is collaborating with creative director Daniel Kearns (formerly at Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent), who joined Kent & Curwen earlier this year.
The two men revealed the first fruits of their partnership during London Fashion Week last Saturday.
"Daniel and I have been working on this for a long time. It's been a great experience being part of a brand that has such a rich history. What we want to do now is something that keeps those roots, but gives them a modern twist, which is what we've achieved with the new collection. We've incorporated the English rose, which is very important to us, as well as keeping the three lions motif, which has meant so much to me personally over the years.
"We wanted to create clothing that would appeal to all kinds of people. A good example of that is this: I took home some of the items and went to get one of the rugby shirts from my wardrobe one day, but they'd all gone – and I knew exactly where to. I went to [son] Brooklyn's room and he was wearing it. He even went out that evening in it, pairing it with the camel overcoat and changing up the look. It made me smile that it went from me as a 41-year-old wearing it to a 17-year-old."
"When David and I first met, we initially discussed the history of the brand. It began by making ties for Oxford, Cambridge and Eton, then Kent & Curwen bought a knitwear factory in London in the early 1930s and started making the first cricket jumpers. We started to realise the potential of the brand and the ownership it has over British heritage, especially with the three lions, which actually derive from the Kent family crest. The company started to put the motif on the English cricket team's sweaters in the 1950s, and then, in the 1970s, Kent & Curwen gave the England football team the rights to use it. We also drew on memorabilia from Eric Kent's personal archive, from his regatta-striped watch strap to his hunting items. All this created a character we could rediscover and redesign.
"We wanted to make a collection that was for garment lovers – those who are looking for the perfect overcoat, shirt or knit but with that British-heritage twist that is so integral to the brand. It was really a problem-solving exercise: how do you take a rugby shirt or cricket sweater and make it interesting, modern and exciting? We looked into changing the fit, giving the pieces a different sensibility and then marrying them with a contemporary wardrobe. We've updated several classic items, from making the cricket sweater in soft lambswool instead of rough Shetland wool, to reinventing a brass-button blazer with an unstructured silhouette.
"Our customer is not somebody who is obsessed with seasonal trends, but has their own sensibility, fashion and style. We're talking about the e-commerce generation, with people mixing and matching. David is a fantastic icon and an example of this contemporary approach, putting pieces together with an understated ease."