Ben Cobb has designed a 1970s-soaked collection for Tiger of Sweden
The editor, widely renowned for his excellent retro-infused wardrobe, has bottled his secret sauce for the Swedish brand
Thursday 15 September 2022 By Teo van den Broeke
Although Ben Cobb’s primary role is editor of ES Magazine, the eminently readable supplement to London’s Evening Standard newspaper, he is also known worldwide as one of the most stylish men on the global Fashion Week circuit.
Boasting a wardrobe full to bursting with wide-lapelled Gucci suits and syrupy corduroy Prada separates, his aesthetic is part souped-up member of Crosby, Stills & Nash, part 1970s-era George Harrison, with a soupcon of Yves Saint Laurent’s hirsute glory years thrown in for good measure.
It should come as little surprise, then, that storied Swedish tailoring house Tiger of Sweden has called on Cobb – a long-time friend of the brand – to design a collaborative capsule collection of pieces that perfectly encapsulate the editor’s unique aesthetic.
Crafted from reclaimed fabrics sourced from British and Italian manufacturers, the collection launches exclusively on matchesfashion.com today. We spoke to Cobb to learn more.
How did the collaboration come about?
‘Per Håkans, Tiger of Sweden’s PR director, texted me with the idea. He had just seen a shoot I’d done for Fantastic Man featuring me dressing up in amazing vintage at Carlo Manzi.’
Which are your favourite pieces?
‘I’m particularly proud of all the suiting; we worked incredibly hard on achieving the right silhouette – each lapel shape is a true labour of love. We spent ridiculous amounts of time perfecting shoulders and trouser widths. And the overcoats are pretty special, too. The collection is designed to be broken down and worn as separates, that’s when it really comes alive. I love when it’s worn as a mish-mash, lots of clashing patterns – the striped shirts with the zig-zag knitwear – but because it’s all part of the same tonal family it works however you put it together. Those Cuban-heeled loafers really complete the look, but sadly they’re not available at present – maybe next season. I have the only pair.’
Did you feel nervous about sharing your look with the world in such a directly consumable way? It could be said that you’re giving away the recipe to the secret sauce…
‘No, I was excited to be given the opportunity. To be honest, I’ve seen myself on mood boards for lots of brands in the past and have been cited as a style reference for a few collections, so I saw this project as the perfect chance for me to really own my image.’
How much creative freedom did you have?
‘Tiger of Sweden gave me total freedom, which was very brave of them. But because I've been friends with the brand for so long, the collaboration was built on a solid foundation of mutual trust. I worked very closely on the collection with Tiger’s creative director Bryan Conway; he was so supportive, which really helped me to go for it.’
The ad campaign and the garments are very sepia-toned, very you. What were the influences beyond your own personal style?
‘The concept for the campaign came from an old 1970s Tiger ad I stumbled across on Instagram. It was always important to me that whatever we did related back to Tiger’s rich tailoring heritage but, of course, updated for today. As soon as I saw that archive ad it all came together. During the design process, I always kept my style heroes at the forefront of my mind: men like Helmut Berger, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Alain Delon.’
The garments in your wardrobe tend to be from luxury brands – was it easy to replicate their quality at a premium brand like Tiger?
‘The collection is crafted from beautiful, super high-quality fabrics that we sourced from UK mills. Early on we decided to use pre-existing stock, which allowed us to work with a very different level of material. They’re really special materials; they have serious weight to them, which instantly feels elevated and luxurious.’
How involved were you in fabrication?
‘I relied on Bryan’s expertise for that part of the process. He has such a rich knowledge of fabrication, which he really brought into play for this collection. It was then a case of us constantly reviewing and refining together until we were satisfied.’
Describe the Ben Cobb look in three words.
‘Elegant. Romantic. Timeless.’
Ben Cobb for Tiger of Sweden is available from matchesfashion.com now.