Gone Were The Restraints From Here On In

Daily Fashion Illustration 151. Tuesday, April 1. 2014

Style submitted by Charles-Philippe Bowles. -instagram @charlie_le_dandy
'Although it's a long time ago now, I went to a school where being different in any sense of the term made you a target for mockery and abuse. It was a challenging time for me and even though I tried my best to dress like everyone else and listen to their music, I just never really fitted. I suppose in hindsight, my efforts to fit probably made things even more difficult. Even though uniforms were a norm for my education until 2007, a pupil always has a tendency to rebel and never carry it properly.

I grew up worshipping heroes such as Sean Connery for his interpretations of James Bond, Carry Grant, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, and George Raft; I desperately wanted to be as bold and cool as these cats, but I guess I was educated differently. Film has always played a vital role in my life. From great Westerns, spy thrillers and Science-Fiction to the Mob Film classics from Scorcese’s Goodfellas to Copolla’s immortal The Godfather as well as but not limited to the Coen Brothers’ Miller’s Crossing, you could say film influenced me the most during my development.

Daily Fashion Illustration 151, Charles Philippe Bowles

However, it wasn’t until the summer of 2010 at the age of 20 that I really started to explore the sartorial world that I’ve grown to love. Before then, vain as I was, the closest I would get to a suit would be a blazer thrown over an un-ironed shirt and ripped jeans. The very thought of it today sends chills down my spine. Although I wanted desperately to dress like my heroes, the society to which I was accustomed would not permit it. On this particular summer, I had hit a rough patch which would become a milestone in my life. I was young, naïve, and very inexperienced (not that I would admit it). In short, I had a lot to learn and from the brutal and emotional ending of my first relationship to having effectively failed my second year at university, I was a little low to say the least. Needless to say, I required my first-ever dose of retail therapy.

Being but a mere student and having no knowledge of the richness in vintage wear Nottingham had to offer, I stumbled through Primark’s automatic doors and for a measely £35, this was where a new lifestyle was born. It was just a grey pin-striped suit and not very inspiring yet upon wearing it daily, it thrusted me into a new world. Gone were the restraints from here on in, I would be trawling through vintage stores, old family wardrobes and second-hand stores in order to build a rich selection of outfits.

Benefiting from a stint at TM Lewin, I endeavoured to learn all I could on the sartorial world. Years have passed since and I like to think that my style has evolved from a modern, relatively bland look to something a little more matured with a variety of hats, tweeds, textures, and style. Thanks to current trends in vintage, there hasn't been a better time to embrace the revival culture with both television and film following suit. Shows like Boardwalk Empire offer a wealth of ideas for the sartorial aficionado as well as providing a digestible gateway to cinema from bygone eras. Moreover, having settled down in Paris, I've had the fortune to be exposed to a unique culture that looks differently upon both style and film. Although not better, it provides an alternative perspective.

For me, these outfits I wear aren’t merely the collection of garments that make up conscious fashion choice but actually encompass a personification of my love the golden age of the silver screen as well as a representation of my lifestyle that reflects upon the nostalgic olde world.