As Hackett opens the doors of a new flagship on New Bond Street, long-time customer and actor Matthew Goode talks about his love of the brand and its take on British style. By Eric Walker
‘I did some work with Hackett many years ago, so it’s really gratifying that they came back to me again now,’ says actor Matthew Goode, who has recently starred in a campaign for Hackett in which he journeys to the Highlands for some fishing and camping, accompanied by none other than F1’s Jenson Button.
The campaign places Hackett firmly as an outfitter in the classic British tradition: a maker of tailored clothes that take the British countryside as a source of inspiration for their textures and patterns.
The reason that Goode is the perfect choice for this is evident when you consider the roles he routinely gets cast in, including Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited, cryptanalyst Hugh Alexander in The Imitation Game and the 1st Earl of Snowdon in The Crown. It would be fair to say that he specialises in portraying English gentlemen. Does he like the wardrobe that this sort of casting comes with?
‘I do like it, because – whether it is precisely historically correct or not – whenever you put that sort of thing on, especially a suit, it makes you feel good,’ says Goode. ‘It fits, it makes you feel smart. In fact, in real life I’m someone who is not the most confident and a suit is like a shield of armour.’
Part of that Savile Row-esque look also incorporates a countryside influence: tweeds, checks, corduroys. And this certainly seems to have been the mood of Goode’s ‘road trip’ to the Highlands with Jenson Button. Did the look relate to the environment and the spirit of the journey?
‘Yes, it was a sort of hunting, shooting, fishing thing,’ says Goode of the Hackett campaign that sees him fishing from a rowing boat while Button relaxes onboard reading a book. In other scenes the two of them lead horses down a country lane, play cards in a field of sheep, and, er, hold a pair of falcons! All this in the sort of wool jackets and coats, corduroy trousers, ribbed knits, scarves in patterns, textures and natural tones that you would imagine two well-dressed 21st-century men about town would pack for a weekend away in the Highlands.
‘That crossover where town meets country is something that Hackett has always done very well,’ says Goode. ‘It was all quite outward bound.’ He adds that his Hackett adventure was thoroughly enjoyable. ‘It was, of course, a fantasy fashion shoot, but it’s nice to dress well and if it’s me out walking I do dress up. I am, of course, aware of the British weather; at the very least I’ll have a gilet.’
One thing Goode did notice was that although the scenario was British and traditional, the clothing was decidedly contemporary. ‘I still have the suits that Hackett made for me back in the early 2000s; they are really well made and they really last. But they are of their time too – slightly boxy – and I have had those early suits taken in a bit. So it was nice to see in Scotland how Hackett has worked so hard to modernise silhouettes through incremental changes.’
Although there are many great makers of tailoring in the world, Goode feels that the British have a special knack. ‘The Italians make a great suit, and they do in America too,’ he says. ‘But the history of tailoring is what we’re part of, and we love history and craftsmanship here. Hackett can, of course, make you a beautiful bespoke suit or jacket. But you can also buy things off-the-peg and, in that sense, Hackett really does deliver affordable luxury.’
This is something that is instantly apparent at the new Hackett flagship store at 69 New Bond Street. Taking its design cues from the boutique Hackett store on Savile Row, it has a London townhouse feel while offering the brand’s wide selection of menswear, which takes in everything from outerwear to knitwear, shirts, tailoring, shoes and accessories.
The shop is a great addition to Mayfair, a part of London that Goode associates with a certain type of British urban glamour. ‘Maybe it’s because I’m originally from Exeter, which is incredibly small, and I went to university in Birmingham which, although it is bigger, is still not like the big capital. So when I came to London to go to drama school and started living there it was like a city made up of different villages that bled into each other.’ One of those ‘villages’ is Mayfair. ‘I always feel I’m playing at being glamorous when I’m there,’ he says. ‘Of course, it is full of the type of private institutions that I wouldn’t see if I wasn’t in the world that I am professionally, and it’s nice to go to a club once in a while. It’s great to slip on a Hackett dinner suit and go for a posh night out in town.’
And just as Goode is a sucker for a traditional suit, there’s something about Bond Street and its environs that speaks to him: ‘I still marvel at the architecture; I love that it’s quintessentially London and quintessentially English. I have a soft spot for that.’
Hackett is at 69 New Bond Street, London W1S 1RR
Eric Walker writes for The Times’ Luxx Men’s Style magazine