We don’t seem any closer to spring this week, do we? I’m itching to get you wised up on soft pastels, breezy camp collar shirts and outrageous block-colour suits, but it seems the weather-gods just won’t permit it.
Even so, I couldn’t resist giving you a little taster, in the hope that it’ll lift you out of March’s grey clutches for a few minutes. What follows are some new releases with a distinctly summery sensibility, plus your usual must-do food, drink and culture recommendations for the week ahead.
1. Denim doesn’t have to be blue
I’ve just discovered CMMN SWDN’s saturated denim truckers and they’re perfect for spring. CMMN SWDN draws its design cues from the more rebellious elements of European youth culture, but its aesthetic is surprisingly mature – and versatile. I wouldn’t recommend this season’s string vests (unless you’re a fan of Rab C. Nesbitt chic), but the wide-leg trousers in earthy colours, short sleeve shirts and relaxed layering pieces are all great. This ochre-cum-olive washed denim jacket is a distinctive, but surprisingly wearable choice – it’ll look sharp over a navy merino rollneck and raw selvedge denim jeans now, and sit comfortably over pastel coloured shirts and linen trousers when it warms up. Treat yourself and I promise you’ll feel better for it.
£290, shop now
2. These bags are built for spring
The word ‘functionality’ gets thrown around a lot in the fashion world, and often it’s a stretch to see how a product is anything other than ‘average’ when it comes to long-term performance. Fortunately, Troubadour is one of those rare brands that really does score highly when it comes to the utility of its bags. They’re known for their clean lines, lightweight designs and near-indestructible materials. Now, Troubadour has released a new grey collection; five bags cut in an Italian technical canvas that’s featherweight, waterproof and easy to clean. There’s a couple of smart-casual totes, a slim briefcase, a duffel and a zip-top rucksack – so these really will go anywhere and do anything. Give your luggage a lift now and you’ll be skipping to work all through the summer.
Available at Liberty and via troubadourgoods.com
3. Smythson and The Connaught have put their heads together
Smythson’s stationery is iconic, and so are the drinks in the Connaught hotel’s eponymous bar (overseen by director of mixology Agostino Perrone – who really is a wizard), so it makes sense that these two British institutions should partner up. To celebrate the Connaught Bar’s 10 year anniversary, Smythson’s produced a range of limited edition cocktail cards, each of which records the recipe of a favourite Perrone cocktail, ranging from the Connaught Martini to a new creation, simply called The Frank, after Frank Smythson. I know you didn’t need another excuse to visit the Connaught Bar, but I’ve given you one, anyway – go try it.
The Smythson x Connaught cards are be available in-store and via smythson.com. The Frank cocktail is available at the Connaught Bar now, the-connaught.co.uk
4. Junghans has nailed minimalism – even by its own standards
The Junghans Max Bill is a contemporary ode to mid-century minimalism. It’s always been sleek, understated and discreet. Now, the brand has released a new Bauhaus-inspired automatic model with a soft gold plated stainless steel case. It’s as cool and clean as can be, following the brand’s golden rule that ‘form follows function’. The 38mm case comes on a dove grey leather strap, with a matte silver dial featuring a date window, hour and minute markers. No more, no less. Thanks to its sharp looks this is a watch that’s easily dressed up or down; wear it to the office, treat it as a dress watch or strap it on at the weekends. However you choose to wear it, you can be sure it’ll catch the eye of your fellow design aficionados.
£945, coming soon, junghans.de
5. Fanny & Alexander is heavy viewing, but shouldn’t be missed
In a world where everything moves at breakneck speed, asking your average Londoner to sit through a show that’s three hours and 20 minutes long (with two intervals) is a tough ask. Even so, The Old Vic’s current production of Fanny & Alexander deserves to be sat through. In fact, Stephen Beresford’s adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s dark, semi-autobiographical movie is superb. It stars Penelope Wilton and Kevin Doyle and combines moments of ambitious, surprising staging with paired-back, spine-tingling poignancy. I was hooked the whole way through, and left feeling both impressed and emotionally drained – which is a good thing. With this grim weather persisting, it’s the perfect play to while away a Saturday afternoon; go for the matinee and have a drink in the bar afterwards. You’ll not be disappointed.
Until 14 April, oldvictheatre.com