If you have a yen for classic styles updated with quality fabrics and flattering fits (and why wouldn't you?) then you should meet Wolsey 1755. This season marks its arrival at my-wardrobe and with exclusive products like the Zack bomber, you can easily see how creative director Richard Bengtsson and his design team are innovating. Bengtsson reveals all....
How would you describe the Wolsey style?
It always starts with the archive - it's about history and tradition. But we're not a retro brand. We always update every piece so that it becomes a modern British must-have so it has a vintage soul and a modern silhouette - fit has become more important than ever.
How much does the brand's heritage inform your design decisions?
All those years of classics, including from the Antarctic expeditions, mean that we have literally hundreds of authentic ideas, blueprints and templates to work from. So for Spring 12 for instance we can reinterpret staples like Trenches and Harringtons in lightweight fabrics.
How does Wolsey stand out from other heritage brands?
Well we're not a luxury heritage brand, our history is all about the outdoors and being adventurous, so we appeal to a rougher guy than some other brands with history. For spring 12 we have concentrated on perfecting British classics, with influences from army uniforms, hunting and outdoor activities.
Who would you love to dress in Wolsey?
I would say the leading men of the 50s and 60s. They had really great style, without using stylists and would mix the sporty and the dressy in a nonchalant, but non-arrogant way. I'm talking Paul Newman, Michael Caine, Roger Moore, people like that. When I look at pictures of these guys they look amazing but are not following rules, it's about self-confidence and being individual, that's our goal too.
Do you still commute between home in Stockholm and work in New York?
I don't spend much time in Stockholm any more. It's mostly New York to London once a fortnight now. That sort of travelling does inform the way you design, but you know what, there's less difference between East Coast US and London than there is between New York and LA. The East Coast takes its cue from Britain and the West Coast is more Southern European.
"...we're not a retro brand. We always
update each piece so that it becomes
a modern British must-have..."
What's your favourite city?
I love both New York and London immensely. They're both hugely cosmopolitan and you see such variety in both. I guess I'm a lucky guy, getting to work in my two favourite places.
What are your top hang-outs there?
In New York I don't really go out to the bars and clubs so much but I love the classic restaurants like the Odeon in Tribeca and Indochine in NoHo. They're not try-hard but are always full of cool people and have good service. In London I like The Ivy, because that's cool in the same relaxed way.
What three things could you not live without?
Good friends, travel and summer. I love the summer, without that to look forward to I think I'd feel pretty bleak.