Tom Howard, writer and man about town tells LUX FIX why pochettes are exerting sartorial influence from breast pockets once more.

For decades now, the transformative powers of the pochette have been falling into disuse. Once a staple of every male wardrobe – pochettes, pocket squares, or simply hankies, as you prefer, have spent the last fifty years largely relegated to the arena of rock ‘n’ roll dandyism and Sloane Ranger foppishness.

Supersized silk handkerchief by LUCY JAY

The art of this garment is generally considered to be in its’ arrangement. Cascade from the pocket lip in luxurious pleats for rakishness. Fold simply for that old school look of quiet authority. Or arrange in a tri-corn crown for something a bit more meticulous gangster. The significance of these displays are at the heart of most discussion on the topic. But they are ultimately superfluous.

The power of the pochette lies in its presence or absence. The addition of one handkerchief converts a tired blazer to dapper vintage; a stiff pinstripe to business chic. One puff of silk can breath style into even the dullest jacket and – regardless of arrangement – it is a detail attended to, that the lesser dressed would ignore.

Silk pocket squares by Dominique Mosley

It’s very purposelessness, imbues it with sartorial stature. And a twenty-first century resurgence is afoot.

The choice of London outlets used to be one of two – obscure Burlington Arcade boutique, or Marks and Spencer’s value pack – but a clutch of avant-garde designers have begun to bring pochettes to Ledbury Road and Shoreditch. Lucy Jay, Yang Du and Dominique Mosley have all added the pochette to their design repertoire (in bold geometric patterns, surreal wildlife designs and a modern twist on classic polka dot, respectively), to name just those sold recently on LUX FIX.

Yang Du’s exclusive design for LUX FIX

Ryan Gosling sported a pochette in his Testino shoot for GQ last year (notably entitled: How to look like a movie star). Ed Westwick’s NYC ultra-man-about-town Gossip Girl persona, Chuck Bass, wouldn’t go down to breakfast without one – a style Westwick has been known to carry off-screen as well. P Diddy’s breast pocket hasn’t been seen empty for years, and Daniel Craig is also a noted fan.

There may of course still be those who think the pochette a foppish touch – an antique and unnecessary detail that no longer has a place in the breast pockets of real men.

Well, if you’re going to call Don Draper and James Bond a pair of fops, you might want to have a pochette to hand.

You can follow Tom on @atomhoward
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YANG DU’s fantastical, magical, surrealist A/W 12 Show

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Surrealist designer Yang Du has been blasting London with colour this year from her dedicated ‘Bright Young Things’ window at Selfridges. Her brilliant cartoon-graphic silk squares memorably billowed up the London Fashion Week staircase, as if Astro Boy and the Powerpuff girls had used them to parachute to the exhibition (probably to go and meet Batman and Superman on Yang’s stand – below).

LUX FIX caught up with the fabulous Yang on her label’s mission to ‘blur the line between art and fashion’ and (as) if you needed any more to whet your appetite we can promise superpowers and Peter Blake by way of a Chinese toy factory…

Q. The name Yang Du is synonymous with surrealist ‘walking art’ designs, when you were very first studying at St Martins, which artists inspired you?  

A. There are a lot of artists over different times who have been inspiring me. The first was Gilbert & George, then was Richard Linda… but overall, it is Franco Moschino who is my all time favorite artist.  

Q. We can imagine one of the Pop artists dressing his muses in your pieces for a hot date – what from your new collection “3 Times Lucky” are you getting excited about dressing up in? We already have the Mr Superman handkerchiefs ear-marked for our potential dates’ suit breast pockets!

A. I am imagining the pop artist Peter Blake dressing his Muse (who would be?). I would be wearing the Mr Superman orange Lion Jumper (below) and Walter Steiger leopard print platforms to the hot date.


Q. Where else can you imagine a Mr Superman silk handkerchief (below) having an impact? They are so bright and beguiling they really take away the need for a button hole… 

A. I can imagine them working in interior design… for me they are the piece of art itself. 


Q. Raw meat seams to be having a bit of a fashion moment after THAT Franc Fernandez dress last year. We want to know more about the prints you made for your degree out of steaks?

A. I was walking past a butcher in the small town next to the “Valley Of The Kings” in Egypt a few years ago.  It was a really bizarre experience.  I guess I was having a very surreal moment where I could see that meat can be so beautiful as a piece of painting. So I did some sketches and paintings from the photos I took and, eventually, I hand-dyed the yarns and decided to use crochet to achieve the meaty feeling of textures…

Q. Your S/S 2011 “He is a Superman” collection incorporates Superman, Batman and Astroboy (!) – what inspired you to bring superheros from the pages of comic books into fashion? Have you always been interested in the use of colour and proportion in comics?

A. The collection is based on a story of a very good friend of mine who believes he is a superman. It is also about everybody having a superhero moment in life where we are really taking risks, believing in ourselves, making things happen. It is also inspired by the Toy Museum in Seoul where there was a whole collection of comic superheroes from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s…….

Q. Tell us a bit about the things that inspired you while you were creating your A/W 2011 collection “3 Times Lucky”?

A. The collection was based on the love of friendship and my trip to a toy factory in China.

Q. Finally, if a Yang Du piece could give it’s wearer special powers, what would they be?

A. They would be Miss/Mr. Super Happy.

Both from A/W 2011 “3 Times Lucky”

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What are you inspired by?

Travelling, people, music, film…

What are your design signatures?

Fun, relaxed, sexy!

How would you describe the YANG DU woman?

She’s a risk taker and she loves life.  One signature piece, Mr. Superman, is based on the story of a very special friend of mine who believes everything is possible!

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