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Christopher R. King: It’s all about that swagger

Debonair gets to know the cofounder and creative director of luxury accessories brand CCCXXXIII

The common mistake I see here is over-accessorising. Keep it simple with a great timepiece, a ring or sophisticated cufflinks.

My first fashion memory is...

I remember looking through fashion magazines as a child, in waiting rooms and at different department stores. I also loved to watch movies like Casino, The Godfather, and Goodfellas. I always looked up to the men in their well-tailored suits; it was their confidence and swagger that I really looked up to as a kid.

The most stylish item I own is...

This is a tough one as I have so many. Of course, my own products by CCCXXXIII are very stylish; the attaché case is something I find myself grabbing on a daily basis. I have an incredible baby cashmere robe from Loro Piana that I love to wear during the winter with matching diamond-quilted stitching slippers. There’s my silk cocktail jacket from Tom Ford that is one of a kind, which I really love.

Some of my most stylish items I would have to say are my tuxedoes. I have many of them and I tend to collect them, from my double-breasted, classic and shawl collar to my peak lapel, one button, navy blue tuxedo. I also have many belts and shoes in crocodile and python.

For travelling, besides the luggage from my brand, I have a specialised custom set from Louis Vuitton that I absolutely cherish. I use it exclusively for when I fly private. 

What’s the difference between fashion and style?

The simple answer is: Fashion fades and style lasts forever. Fashion is simply the process of selecting something that may be in style just for a moment, while style is the ambiance of someone who can put anything together and the confidence they wear it with. 

The one look I wish I could pull off is...

I don’t have one, sorry!

The common mistake I see here is over-accessorising. Keep it simple with a great timepiece, a ring or sophisticated cufflinks.

The one item nobody should wear is...

A notch lapel tuxedo. I say this because a tuxedo is an outfit to be worn to a classy function, be it a gala, wedding or red-carpet event. A notch lapel is better for a casual jacket or a daytime suit. It should never be applied to an evening jacket or tuxedo. A peak lapel is much more dressy and classy for such an occasion. 

What are your thoughts on accessories?

Accessories are great when done right. The common mistake I see here is over-accessorising. Keep it simple with a great timepiece, a ring or sophisticated cufflinks. In this case I would say err on the side of conservative — less is more. 

When I shop I...

I like to shut down the whole store (laughs). But in all honesty, most of the places I shop, the staff know me well and they know what I like. I like to build strong relationships with my favourite brands, so I can be notified of the latest and greatest, and be treated well when I visit the store.

Do you prefer bricks or clicks?

I know online is a big thing right now and of course I will occasionally take advantage of different apps for convenience, but in my opinion there is nothing better than walking into an incredible fashion brand’s flagship and having a glass of champagne or an espresso while shopping. I love to touch, feel and connect with the brand. There will always be a place for brick-and-mortar stores in the luxury fashion space. 

Who would you say is the most stylish man to have ever lived?

That is a tough choice! Off the top of my head I would say Marcello Mastroianni, Gianni Agnelli, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and the whole Rat Pack. Their style exudes their clothes alone; it’s the confidence and swagger they wear it with that makes the difference. 

If you could invite three designers to a dinner party, who would you invite and what would you serve?

I would definitely invite Carolina Herrera, Coco Chanel and Valentino Garavani. If I could sneak in two more guests then it would have to be Oscar De La Renta and Karl Lagerfeld. 

My style would be to have the dinner party in an old Renaissance home, either in France or Italy. I envision an extravagant event where everyone is dressed in their very best, something straight out of the The Great Gatsby. Everything would have to be perfect down to the detail, from the table setting, stemware, flatware, candles and crystal. The setting would be like that of the early 1930s, or even from the Renaissance era, with a grand buffet and live music drowned out by laughter and me asking all the questions I have for the guests of honour.

The one item I can’t live without is...

My phone. Period.                     

What I like best about my job is...

I love the freedom to think creatively and out of the box. I have the ability to articulate my vision of what it should feel like for a classic man or woman to carry a true luxury product. I love being able to utilise my obsession to detail and perfection, in order to create unique products that represent something I feel never existed before. 

How do you feel about the industry?

My honest opinion is that I feel the industry is over saturated and it’s time to set a standard in order to distinguish true luxury products from trendy fashionable ones. True luxury requires incredible attention to detail regarding the materials, manufacturing process and a dedication to the craft. I feel that we are taking brands that don’t necessarily honour a vision of quality and we are putting them on a pedestal by giving them a luxury price tag without the actual quality to back it up. This is something that’s gotten progressively worse over the past 15 years and I feel passionately about using education and awareness to fix it. 

If I wasn’t in fashion, I would... 

I love creativity and the idea of developing or creating something new, so if I wasn’t in the fashion industry, I would still be an entrepreneur by collaborating with different people and brands to create new products, and by developing my own companies. There is nothing like creating something yourself.

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