From socks to shirts and everything in between, there is nothing quite like a Richard James gift for Father's Day or otherwise, says India Knight.
There is nothing more pleasurable than giving the perfect thing, and nothing grimmer or more annoying than giving something not-quite-right. In an ugly world, Richard James clothes are beautiful things. They are life-enhancers. They used to make me wish I could wear men’s suits, actually, when I first came across them. My former husband would be in the changing room, and while I milled about waiting for him, I started noticing how any man wearing Richard James looked amazing, even if he was actually un-amazing and ordinary. Even the sort of man who was really quite unattractive looked cool in a Richard James suit - and obviously anyone halfway decent-looking suddenly turned into a demigod. It’s quite a feat.
I used to buy Richard James ties for my stepfather, for his birthday. These ties thrilled him in the way that no ties had before – he is a man with a lot of ties, and he previously had awful tie fatigue. It’s the prints and the colours, the lavishness of the silk – the lavishness and opulence of everything the label makes, really, except it’s this very English lavishness and opulence, so it’s impeccably restrained at the same time. It’s alive but never vulgar, or sad. I can’t think of any menswear brand that does that as well as Richard James: completely chic, completely modern, very English, totally understated, but you never get the sense that the wearer is about to insert a monocle and start braying at you. Richard James makes clothes for people with chins – people you want to go to dinner with.
The shirts, ties, socks make brilliant presents. I gave my partner a Richard James shirt years ago. The next time I saw him, he said: ‘You know that shirt you gave me? It’s a brilliant shirt. It looks amazing on. It’s the nicest shirt I own. Explain it to me. It’s just a shirt.’ I would imagine that people feel the same way when they catch a glimpse of their Richard James socks, or suddenly remember the Richard James tie they’re wearing, and look down at it with a little smile of pleasure.
Taken from the Richard James: Savile Row book. India Knight is an author and a journalist, and a columnist for The Sunday Times.