There are British Institutions and then there are British institutions. As a symbol of everything that is right with these fair isles, nothing comes within striking distance of the Spitfire. Plucky, defiant, brilliantly engineered, devilishly clever, bold and beautiful yet somehow understated: forget this blue leather nonsense — when it comes to re-designing the post-Brexit passport, let’s just slap a Spitfire on the front and be done with it. How’s that for strong and stable?
One brand leading from the front in that department is Aspinal of London, accompanied by British institution-in-waiting David Gandy. We speak a lot about David over at Gentleman’s Journal, and that’s largely because he’s always got a new project on the go. This one might be the most up-our-street yet.
The new Aerodrome collection centres on a full set of luxury travel and business accessories. With 18 pieces made from dark brown or tan calfskin leather, and others drawn from military-inspired lightweight khaki or navy canvas, the collaboration runs the entire gamut of luggage needs, with some beautifully-observed accessories to boot.
The collection takes its main inspiration from the Spitfire itself, bringing in colours and components from what David describes as “one of the greatest pieces of British design and engineering of all time.”
The clasps on the bags are a joyous case in point — each of them is a direct copy of the firing mechanism on the fighter plane. You literally hit fire to open your briefcase. Ingenious. It’s also worth pointing out that the leather used across the collection is drawn from a traditional pilot’s flying jacket grain. In other words, if it can cope with high altitudes, the slings and arrows of modern working life should be a doddle.
The collection as a whole seems to fit perfectly with a modern gentleman’s travelling needs, down to the custom-built power packs and passport holders. But there’s still that vintage, timeless feel that David holds so dear. It’s hard to replicate, but comes off beautifully here. Chocks away!