Eveningwear Explained

Harry Shum Jr. shone in our burgundy notch-lapel velvet suit at this week's Critics' Choice Awards. 

Here, David Furnish (pictured below, middle) explains the allure of our eveningwear

As one part of a couple who is regularly invited to high-profile parties – often where the invitation stipulates black tie – I speak from experience when I say that this can cause quite a problem. Put simply: how do you dress for the evening in a way that is sophisticated and elegant with a stamp of individuality?

Harry Shum wears Richard James

Harry Shum Jr. wears a Richard James burgundy velvet evening suit and ruffle-front evening shirt at the 2023 Critics' Choice Awards

I found a solution to this conundrum when I discovered Richard James. Richard then, as now, seems to have an unerring talent for treading that very fine line between peacockery and respect for the occasion. It’s a peculiarly British talent: our dandies were perhaps always historically more refined than their equivalents from abroad, and I speak as an honorary Brit, being Canadian and having lived here for years. I remember hearing somewhere that the famous Beau Brummell, the Regency fashion plate, was a champion of understatement; though he did, apparently, suggest you polish your boots with champagne.

David Furnish Richard James Evening Wear

David Furnish wears Richard James 

Therefore, when I first found Richard James’s eveningwear, it was like discovering the answer to a particularly difficult puzzle. Here were clothes – suits, shirts, ties, and all the trimmings – that possessed the cut and colour and fabric combinations that spoke of character and personality, but also made you look like you were a connoisseur, and not a brash show-off. Even in coloured velvets, or the brightest of shirts and ties, Richard always manages to make things that look like a wink and a smile, rather than a belly laugh.

I own many outfits by Richard James that I turn to in my hours of red-carpet need. From classic black tuxedos in the finest of fabrics that drape just-so, to more flamboyant coloured and patterned pieces. Richard James is known for blues, and one of its beautiful blue day suits can easily double for the evening. In a similar vein, one of my favourite ‘red-carpet’ outfits from Richard James has been a bright green jacket with dark navy trousers, a pocket square and white shirt. It’s not conventional eveningwear, but it works.

Harry Shum Jr. wears Richard James Eveningwear

Harry Shum Jr. wears a Richard James burgundy velvet evening suit and ruffle-front evening shirt at the 2023 Critics' Choice Awards

And the accessories that go with these – the coloured-glass cufflinks, bright red tie, or orange socks – are a dressing-up box for men that has enough of the sweetshop about it to entice, but is always going to make you look well-turned-out. And your personality shines through.

David Furnish is CEO of Rocket Entertainment Group. 

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