My top 5: William Gilchrist

Juliet Kinsman

London’s leading men’s stylist William Gilchrist picks shares his five favourite disruptive brands

William Gilchrist is the top ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ stylist who’s worked with Buffalo creator Ray Petri and Oliver Spencer, men’s glossy mags from L’uomo Vogue to GQ and Arena, and styled for designers like Versace and McQueen. His packed schedule sees him regularly jetting between London, New York and Naples, with a client list ranging from tech giants to the Rolling Stones, whose aesthetic he’s been tweaking for nearly 15 years. After graduating from the London College of Fashion he originally started out as a tailor, making and showing his own clothes, before landing a job in a Milan design studio.

After that, the fashion world was his to disrupt. It’s a fitting career for the former boarding school boy whose housemaster once angrily burned his treasured first punk outfit from Vivienne Westwood’s Seditionaries collection. A lover of quality, practicality and great design, here are the brands Gilchrist himself recommends…

William’s favourite disruptive brands

Richard Anderson store

Richard Anderson 
For Bryan Ferry, he has “the traditions of Savile Row with a modern twist”. And for Gilchrist he’s simply, “A fantastic tailor with a focus on exquisite tailoring and quality who still surprise .” Having originally trained under celebrated cutter Colin Hammick, Richard Anderson, dubbed ‘the King of Savile Row’, once worked with clients such as Rex Harrison and Katharine Hepburn, and his own premises, operating since 2001 have fitted the likes of and George Michael and Ian McKellen. “It might cost £5,000 but a good suit can last a lifetime,” says Anderson. “It can be a sound investment.”

Brompton Bike

Brompton Bikes
From a niche product into a cult classic, Brompton Bikes is still actively planning for further strategic growth in everyday cycling. “Being a bit different is what marks out disruptors”, says William Butler-Adams of Brompton, the true blue folding bike company founded in 1976. “If you’re being disruptive or unruly, you’re just one degree to the side of everyone else. It need not be a radical difference.” It’s a simplicity of idea, approach and design that sits well with Gilchrist, who can often be spotted riding one around the streets of Mayfair. “The simplicity and utility of a Brompton bike is tough to beat,” he says of the company that sells more bicycles than any other in the UK.

Brookes England bag

Brooks England

Based in Smethwick, in the West Midlands, Brooks England has been making bicycle saddles with an inspirational pursuit of innovation for cyclists since the 1880s."It is not the name of Brooks which makes the saddle good, but the saddle, and its excellence, that makes the name supreme," wrote founder John Boultbee Brooks in ‘The Brooks Book for Cyclists’, in 1912. They also make “great saddle bags,” says Gilchrist. “Beautifully designed, simple and perfect for life’s essentials - sunglasses, a hip flask and, of course, my silk scarf… I always have a silk scarf. I’m skinny and I get cold so it keeps me warm.”

Stella McCartney Stan Smith trainers

Stella McCartney

No one else has ever tried to create a luxury brand that uses neither leather or fur. From day one she has not used two of the foundations of a luxury brand and as other brands begin to follow her example she is already years ahead. She’s just created her first collaboration with Adidas - the Stella Stan Smith sneaker, a leather-free and vegan alternative to the iconic Adidas silhouette.

Tom Ford model on the catwalk

Tom Ford

They say sex sells and no one does it like TF. His is a perpetual party animal whose roots are deeply entrenched in Studio 54 and whose bough and branches sway to a deep decadent sexy beat. 

This article was first published in Luxury Plus magazine, issue 1.