Not just cricket Style

For years, the crew­neck has been the only col­lar that would do. Now the V re­turns Fash­ion / Groom­ing / Tech / Food / Cars

Esquire (UK) - - Style - Edited by Teo van den Broeke

There’s a sem­i­nal menswear scene in the over­sexed 1992 thriller Ba­sic In­stinct (no, it’s not the scene you’re think­ing of), in which Michael Dou­glas’s pervy de­tec­tive is prowl­ing a night­club, fol­low­ing Sharon Stone’s ice blonde mur­der sus­pect. Most no­table about it, to men’s style ob­ses­sives, is not Dou­glas’ char­ac­ter’s ques­tion­able be­hav­iour, but the su­per-deep V-neck jumper he is wear­ing. It’s a heavy shade of ditch green and the V reaches down al­most to his nip­ple­line. He wears no shirt or T-shirt un­der­neath.

It’s pos­si­ble that this mo­ment launched the un­sightly trend for navel-skim­ming V-neck T-shirts and jumpers that dom­i­nated the Nineties and 2000s. The knock-on ef­fect for knitwear be­ing that for the past five years at least, anything other than a crew neck in sum­mer or a roll-neck in win­ter has been un­ac­cept­able. V-necks were all but ban­ished from the shops (cricket and golf departments apart) and you’d have been hard pushed to find one in any rep­utable de­signer’s col­lec­tion. Un­til now.

The first sign of a re­turn started a sea­son ago at Kent & Cur­wen, where cre­ative di­rec­tor Daniel Kearns, un­der the watch­ful eye of par­towner David Beck­ham, has rein­vig­o­rated the

label’s fa­mous cricket jumper. K&C’s ul­tra-soft navy wool knit with sub­tle cream trim is the kind of thing to wear to lunch at the week­end.

“In 1932, Kent & Cur­wen pur­chased a knitwear fac­tory in Lon­don to cre­ate their first cricket sweaters, a style that would so­lid­ify K&C’s rep­u­ta­tion around the world,” says Kearns. “Cary Grant and Er­rol Flynn started wear­ing this cov­eted knitwear, soon mak­ing the cricket jumper the must-have item for stylish gen­tle­men of the Thir­ties.”

The brand’s con­tem­po­rary in­ter­pre­ta­tion of this clas­sic style has in­sti­gated to­day’s sea change for the V-neck. “Fash­ion is a cy­cle,” Kearns says. “For so long, we’ve had the sweat­shirt and crew neck, and now the V-neck has be­come an an­ti­dote.”

It’s a point echoed by Alessan­dro Sar­tori, cre­ative di­rec­tor at Ermenegildo Zegna, who for his first col­lec­tion has teamed V-neck jumpers and shirts with clas­sic suit­ing. “The V-neck was out of fash­ion for so long prob­a­bly be­cause it was per­ceived as syn­ony­mous with an old style associated with a very dusty look,” says Sar­tori. “I love to see the skin around the neck­line and mostly I en­joy the par­al­lels be­tween the V-neck of the jacket and the V-neck of the sweat­shirt or jer­sey. The best way to wear a V-neck is di­rectly on the skin with a beau­ti­ful blazer.”

Cre­ative di­rec­tor of Cer­ruti 1881 Ja­son Bas­ma­jian is equally spe­cific about how to wear a V-neck: “V-necks look great worn alone on skin, es­pe­cially in fine gauge cash­mere or wool-silk. Avoid­ing a clas­sic sports shirt will en­sure you don’t look like you bor­rowed your dad’s old golf sweater.”

Brown hound­stooth wool coat, £860, by Paul Smith. Oat­meal Fair Isle wool sleeve­less V-neck sweater, £195, by Joseph. Blue denim shirt, £130, by Paul & Shark. Bur­gundy/white polka dot silk tie, £65, by Peck­ham Rye

Grey cash­mere V-neck jumper, £750; blue/white striped cot­ton poplin shirt, £550; navy wool-cot­ton trousers, £600, all by Louis Vuit­ton

Navy/cream wool V-neck sweater, £495, by Kent & Cur­wen. Blue cot­ton trousers, £130, by Hugo Boss

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