Like many of the menswear brands we most admire, Reigning Champ keep it simple and do one thing really, really well. In their case, it's perfecting classic jerseywear. Their sweatshirts and sweatpants are crafted from 25oz heavyweight Canadian fleece and handfinished by a small team of inhouse sewers with flatlock seams and their signature zigzag stitching. Rob's rarely been without his grey marl classic sweat of late but the final seal of approval for us has to be the fact that another of our much admired brands - Engineered Garments - always turn to Reigning Champ to make their sweatshirts. Got to be good.
YMC has come of age with their AW offerings. The aesthetic is altogether smarter, yet we're pleased to see we've not lost the label's bold takes on shape, colour and texture. It's the geography teacher and the librarian, not out of place taking a walk down Shoreditch High Street, warding off winter in colour and in style.
The girls are wearing silk pussy bow blouses, beautifully fitted wool dresses, cropped knits and a peter pan collar coat, all in a lovely, unwintry primary palette. Following on are the guys wearing heavy textures and rich hues; weighty cashmere blend knits, beautiful tactile shirting, thick cord chinos and smart wool trousers.
Woolrich is a company made of steadfast stuff. In the 19th Century they saw the confederates through the Civil War with blankets and uniforms. And they're still going strong today with straightforward designs and uncompromising quality. They make clothes you'll come to depend upon.
With the label's first outing in womenswear, Victoria and Lucy were won over by their original blanket-style pieces. A series of heavy duty knits and boiled wool jackets centre around one supremely gorgeous cape. The lovely toggles, buttons and collars smarten up appearences on a crispy autumn walk.
Meanwhile Rob's second season is the most perfetly complete collection you'll find in the basement. The starting point is the parka, the piece for which Woolrich have become most well known. Tokihito Yoshida's re-engineered arctic parka and grey wool field jacket set a high standard, which continues with classic wool blazers, cashmere blend roll necks and subtly checked brushed cotton shirts.
Maybe, just maybe, we'd become a little bit blasé about Bloch. Our love affair with the perfect ballet pump has been a long one, after all. But all of a sudden the lust is back. In amongst our staple classics, there's a new suede number with a fake fur lining, taking comfort to a whole new level. And then there's a heel, possibly the prettiest and most comfortable heel we've sunk our feet into for a long time.
Just when we thought we couldn't possibly find an excuse to fall in love with Marilyn Moore all over again, she goes and ramps up the fit. With dresses cinching, pleating and draping in even more of the right places (we didn't think it possible), little jackets cut to perfection and the softest cashmere cable knit cardis hugging at the waist.
This season Just in Case gets edited down to its very essence. A tiny, neat collection that could be straight out of Cecil Beaton's scrapbook. Three full skirts, two classic cardis, one wool dress and the plushiest coat we ever did see. All the right balance of 30s print, monochrome, glorious florals, digital photography and dreamy colors. All the signature stuff we've come to love.
Sigh. It's time to hoik out the hoisery. Not that we really mind. No endless hitching and general discomfort here. Just Wolford, the finest hoisery going, as endorsed by Lucy who has roadtested a lot of tights through the seasons and converted us all into Wolford wearers. The perfectly fitting Velvet 50 is our staple winter black but such is our new found love of hoisery you're likely to see us stepping out this season in spots and a Vivienne Westwood-esque check, not to mention metallic and hot pink numbers.
A trio of classic coats heads up our small but perfectly co-ordinated collection from Paul Smith this season. A rather majestic maritime inspired double breasted wool overcoat takes centre stage, flanked by two distinguished tweed blazers in navy and grey. Remove the outerwear and you'll find the rest equally as well dressed; here are the consistently excellent shirts - florals, checks and stripes - and Rob's standout piece - a heavy grey mohair knit to see off the winter chill in style.
As many of you well know, our Rob is a shoes man. So when he started working at The Hambledon, it wasn't long before we were stocking Tricker's, the shoemaker responsible for the very finest shoes a man can buy in the land. Three years and many a happy Tricker-clad customer later, the time had come to get serious.
So, back in Spring, Rob and Rich took a trip to the company's historic Northampton factory to commit some exclusive Hambledon designs to leather in our first ever footwear collaboration, a matter of huge excitement not least for Rob, who as you can imagine was in seventh heaven.
The result is two unique takes on tried and tested styles. The Superboot is an adaption of the classic Burford style in a rich chestnut Nastor calf leather. They kept the welt and midsole in natural leather and soled the boot in a durable Dainite rubber unit. The boot is finished with brass eyelets and the choice of two sets of laces.
Next up is the Supershoe, based on the classic Woodstock. For this, Rob and Rich chose a burnished coffee calf which is at its best when polished black, giving a fantastic finish over time. They stuck with the original by going for a double leather sole but made it a natural shade to give a rich contrast with the upper. As with the boot, the shoe comes with the choice of two sets of laces plus the all important tin of black polish. And let's not forget our favourite bit, The Hambledon stamped smartly in gold on the leather lining.
We could talk about Breathless, a lovely low rise velvet skinny in rose and cement. Or perhaps we should mention the beautiful silk seafoam print top and tails shirt. Or the classic surfer check shirt. All mint green, putty and blush pink, softening the move into winter. But no, what we're really busting to tell you about is one, single, truly special, slightly mad silver leather jacket that's sitting all by itself up on the womenswear rails. It's a little bit Bowie, a little bit Erté, but really you just need to see it to know why we had to. Sorry.