It’s about this time of year when an editor’s inbox fills with festival related releases: line up announcements, competition prompts and ultimately, ‘get the look’ festival fashion ideas.
For every brand hoping to flog ‘no brainer’ pieces – khaki jackets, check shirts and denim shorts, most commonly illustrated by images of Pete Doherty era Kate Moss – not one puts forward the case for suits in a field.
You can see why (our wellies are still caked in mud from several summers ago), but for Beggars Run founder Cian McAuliffe, his choice of attire was to play a prominent role in the label’s biggest PR stunt to date.
“I was wearing one of our suits at Field Day a few years back,” he begins. “Their manager noticed and liked it. This then led to a conversation about us doing the band’s Mercury Prize suits for ‘English Riviera’.”
The band in question are of course Metronomy – ‘English Riviera’ being their third studio album, which while shortlisted ultimately lost out to PJ Harvey for the 2011 Mercury Prize.
The pairing however was a winner, and Clash cover star Joseph Mount sought Cian’s help for the band’s current unified look of burgundy blazers, front pleat trousers and navy polo necks adorning him, Oscar Cash and Olugbenga Adelekan; Anna Prior’s matching look is the work of her mum’s fair hands.
The founding of Beggars Run, so-called “suits for men that don’t like suits” by Time Out, began with an idea for leather satchels in 2010. “At that time I was having a lot of suits made for myself,” says Cian. “These attracted a lot of positive attention from friends and strangers alike so that’s how the suit label was born.”
Previously concerned primarily with made to measure, the label has since added a selection of ready to wear pieces to its clan, from which Mount and co.’s bombers have come. Meanwhile the former still plays a central role for Beggars Run, with images of the band sandwiched between wedding shots on the label’s Facebook page.
As McAuliffe notes, “Weddings bring a different pressure and challenge; it’s a major singular event in two peoples lives. Everything has to be perfect for that one occasion. At the same time we also believe that a slightly more relaxed approach to the big day can add to its enjoyment and try to offer suits that are a little different.”
For ‘Love Letters’ – the promotional tour for which the band are sporting said look – Cian was given the brief of “60s soul group”, naturally. “Based on trust gained from previously working together we were allowed to use our own intuition and come up with the two-tone tuxedos and bomber jackets,” he says, describing the whole shebang as “good times”.
While festivals might not be the natural habitat of the suit, it holds a strong presence on the streets surrounding London Collections: Men twice a year, and moreover with the recent arrival of Terry Donovan’s Sartorial Seven. So why does the designer think the uniform has remained so popular?
“I wouldn’t quite go along with this statement a hundred per cent, since the late 60s suits have become a less essential part of mans modern wardrobe,” he suggests. “Having said that, their enduring appeal still remains; as a good fitted suit gives form to the body and makes you stand out from the crowd.”
It’s this idea, of standing out, that has no doubt attracted so many groups to a one-look vision, from The Beatles’ collarless grey two-pieces to the many guises of duo Robots In Disguise, as well as The Four Tops, who provided the greatest influence for McAuliffe’s project.
“Music is a big part of my life and I consume a lot of different music whenever I can,” he says. “For me, working with bands is an extension of that, especially if they make original music. Plus it can lead to interesting insights into that world, like access to rehearsals, backstage at gigs, etc.”
Despite his obvious adoration for the industry, he cites Pierce Brosnan in the 1988 film ‘Taffin’ as his dream collaborator, before adding, “Joking aside, we like the way these things happen organically. It’s always a little more exciting when it’s unplanned.”
Words: Zoe Whitfield