First thing’s first, the honourable mentions: Blade Runner, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, Detroit, and John Wick: Chapter Two. You all made valiant efforts. Hats off to you. But if there’s one film that deserves my imaginary award for Best-Dressed Cast of 2017, it’s Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The spy franchise boasts one of the most sartorially sound film wardrobes of this decade (even giving 007 himself a run for his Moneypenny), taking espionage-chic to a whole new daring, contemporary level — which, yeah, checks out for a secret service team hiding out in a Savile Row tailoring boutique. So on-point is the movie’s style game, in fact, that there now exists an IRL Kingsman tailoring boutique from which you can buy your very own heist-ready suit. To promote the Blu-ray and DVD release of Golden Circle (out now!), the good folks at 20th Century Fox asked me to fly across the Atlantic just to peruse this curious shop. And, given that this may well be the first full-fledged high-end menswear store spawned from a film, I was curious enough to oblige.
Located on St. James’s Street, aka the London’s menswear mecca, right beside famed wine merchant Berry Bros. & Rudd (which makes a cameo in Golden Circle), the two-room shop resembles the undercover outpost where Colin Firth My Fair Lady’d Taron Egerton. There are straight-from-the-screen decanters full of Statesman bourbon (also real and available for purchase, by the way), ultra-futuristic interactive changing room mirrors, and the real-life (uh, real-death?) Mr. Pickle himself chilling on a shelf. (There isn’t, however, a subterranean Hyperloop leading to the main Kingsman HQ — I checked.)
Even more impressive are the threads themselves. A collaboration between menswear e-tail masters Mr Porter and Kingsman’s costume designer Arianne Phillips, the bespoke collection reflects what you see characters don in the film. That means lots of Savile Row-esque double-breasted suits, smoking jackets (like the burnt-orange cotton-velvet one Eggsy wears in Golden Circle), and power ties, as well as bench-made shoes (sans retractable knives) from George Cleverley of the Royal Arcade and shirts from royal warrant holders Turnbull & Asser.
This is actually the eighth (eighth!) collection between Kingsman and Mr Porter, a partnership that began with the first film. This time, given that the sequel centers on (SPOILER ALERT!) a partnership the Kingsmen and their transatlantic counterparts the Statesmen, a bunch of rugged American classics have been added to the fold. That includes shearling bomber jackets from Mister Freedom, padded vests from Rocky Mountain Featherbed, and, duh, cowboy hats from Stetson.
The offerings have also been broadened to include accessories. There’s a Kingsman fragrance by The Perfumer’s Story, Higgs & Crick decanter sets, pens by Conway Stewart, and an exclusive TAG Heuer Connected Modular 45 Kingsman Special Edition watch — which is showcased in a very nifty, very Batman-y digitized glass case highlighting all its special elements.
By now, you’re probably thinking things like How much blasted effort are they putting into this glorified movie merch?! and How many aspiring Kingsmen could there possibly be in the world? The answer, to both those questions, is a lot. A manager at the Kingsman x Mr Porter store tells me the line has sold remarkably well over the last few years — certainly well enough to release eight collections and open a brick-and-mortar boutique devoted to it. The line — a partnership between director Matthew Vaughn’s Marv label, Mr Porter, and 20th Century Fox — was conceived as an attempt to take an “extreme high end” approach to movie merchandising. More traditional, James Bondian paths to product placement (read: getting stuff for free to use in your film) were eschewed, with Vaughn instead approaching various brands to craft pieces he felt would fit “organically” within the film. It was a big gamble — not only are you making a significant and unnecessary investment in your movie’s wardrobe, but your clothing line’s success is inherently tied to the film’s success. Then again, perhaps that’s the point: if the movie does well, the profit could be massive.
Luckily, the gamble paid off, resulting in one of the most fruitful film and fashion tie-ins, well, ever. Might other movie franchises follow suit (so to speak)? Who knows, maybe Disney’s already working on its own line of evil, bespoke Kylo Ren capes. (Actually, I just Googled it and, whad’ya know, there is, in fact, a new Rag & Bone x Star Wars collection.) Either way, we’re just happy the sartorial merchandising game has evolved since the days of Spartan briefs.
The Kingsman x Mr. Porter shop will be open in London until December 22, 2017. You can also shop the collection online anytime.