If you’d said to me a week ago, “By the way, I’ve just had a suit made in Ripstop canvas,” I’d have scoffed at you over my spectacles. Foolish me. British luxury thoroughbred Connolly has just launched two pairs of tailored Ripstop jackets and pants—and they’re really quite something.
Ripstop, for those who might be unfamiliar, was originally a military-grade canvas used for army tents, tarpaulins and even on occasion for parachutes. The clue’s in the name: the fabric is woven with a thick, reinforcing stitch at regular intervals across both its warp and weft, which toughens it up and prevents it from ripping. While Ripstop is still used by the military today, it migrated to civilian use in motorsports in the 1950s, primarily as the go-to material for racing overalls.
Cue Connolly, which has a reputation for both reinventing and contemporizing classic motorsport style. Before moving into fashion, the company built its name as a state-of-the-art interiors upholsterer for luxury marques ranging from Ferrari to Rolls Royce. In fact, Connolly was the exclusive leather supplier to the latter for over 100 years. Not only are these new separates a playful riff on Connolly’s automotive pedigree, they also elevate a functional fabric.
These pieces perfectly balance the ‘high-low’ look that’s so in right now—they’re tailored yet relaxed. The fabric itself is, in fact, a pure cotton seersucker, which gives the impression of Ripstop but is considerably finer and more breathable. Having taken the pieces for a test drive myself, I can attest that the airy, unfussy fabric is ideally suited to the warmer months. The jackets are unstructured and satisfyingly slouchy, while the trousers mix a roomy fit with a casual drawstring waist. They’re garment-dyed for a lived-in feel, while patch pockets complete the low-key effect.
They’re perfect for throwing on over a simple T-shirt (Connolly’sare also to die for) with, dare we say it, a pair of soft suede driving shoes to tie everything together. Pop the jacket’s collar and roll back the cuffs for extra panache—Rolls not required.