Luke Walker is one of Britain’s most talented and relevant designers. The go to man for many of British Luxury’s key brands in need of an injection of brilliance.
That coat you love? Probably one of his. The look book image you wish you could copy? Yeah that’s one of his. The refined and highly improved version of a brands hero piece? Pretty sure Monsieur Walker’s hand is in there somewhere.
You may never have heard of him, but that is about to change.
Luke has a new project called LEJ, Last season, it’s first, it partnered with Drake’s to create a series of workshirts, that, well, are as far away from the East London uniform as is possible.
Luxurious and sexy yes, but shirts you can actually do stuff in.
Cut full and designed to be both tucked and untucked. I wear mine in town over Real McCoy’s plain white tshirts and tucked in, or when home in the country undone with a Connolly cashmere knit underneath.
Because I’m lucky like that, I’ve seen some of what is coming next and the next LEJ chapter is an exciting, refined, and thought provoking take on the modern male’s wardrobe. Forward thinking and beautifully finished. Cloths to die for in cuts which flatter and pose questions outside of the norm.
Here’s the thing, Luke has an innate understanding of Britishness which goes beyond any notion of twee and costume. This isn’t revivalist dressing up for menswear bores, rather clothing, of today, understanding of the past and ready for tomorrow.
Annoyingly, there are few rooms he enters in which he isn’t the best dressed person. Chic to a fault, a professor of the power of colour, cut and texture, mixed with an artistic sense of humour and style.
This is Formula 1 dressing Do not try to out dress unless bringing A game and a half decent plan B and C.
But it’s not pastiche, nor trickery. It’s actually quite a simple formula, sometimes bespoke tailoring, sometimes great jeans, proper shoes, knitwear and a beautiful shirt. Always clothes worn by someone who wears it for themselves, not for the ‘gram, or those on the street, just themselves.
Also, someone who wears their experience and knowledge of most things lightly and with a mischievous twinkle.
Because Luke, if anything, is in that wonderfully British sense, trouble. The wine is always very good, the company better and the night flashes by in a blink. The hangover, at least for me, legendary.
Earlier this week, we sat down, well walked round and mooched about his house, for what was meant to be an hour or two and ended up being 4 chatting about life.
Discussion ranged from poor restaurant service; Radio 4’s In our Time (we disagreed on that one); best places for kebabs in London; people taking clothes too seriously – life really is too short; electric cars; cars generally – from mark two Golfs through to Bristols; English made shirts; English made shoes; English made Barbours; proper tweed; underrated British restaurants; tea; wine; steaming chips in paper cones (extra vinegar please); domesticity; Murano glass; Fleabag; how great football is (Luke disagrees), amongst a million other things.
I probably ought to have recorded it, then again, who wants to listen to us two wittering on? That said, if you do, drop me a line and I’ll think of a way to either make it work, or work out how not to do it.
So I have stuck with our usual format, questions and 4 British items. This week, the items are perhaps a little less literal, ranging from a particular artist’s work, singular world beating product x 2, then I guess two concepts and overarching titles, and there are 5 of them not 4.
We will of course, in future, be talking more about LEJ the brand, from first season shirt, through to well, I can’t really give the game away . . .
Why do you do what you do?
It’s generally impulse.
What do you collect?
Other than clothes, and I collect a lot of clothes, I have a large spatula collection. But that’s more of an archive, I haven’t really added to for a while.
Not really. People who I admire, people who I study. Does that make me a cynic?
*Probably* a ragu that’s been cooked forever. But you could also get me with a Dover Sole and a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet, on the right beach . . .
With steak tartare, please (lettuce, obvs).
Probably lots of lemon. And hopefully an expanded project for SS20 🤞🏼
Four items which sum up the UK:
The Handblown Glass of Jochen Holz:
Maldon Sea Salt: Consistency, taste and sheer quality. How could you live without?
Mid 50s engineering and it’s tools: The artistry, technique and skill. All hand done and extraordinary.
English Garden Culture: inside and outside of the home. Unites the nation and fantastic kit.
The Potato: Who doesn’t love a potato? So versatile.