Oi Polloi

Nigel's Musings: The Henri Lloyd Consort Jacket

Published: Thu Oct 24 2019

Yachting enthusiasts should be pleased to hear we've worked with Henri Lloyd to bring back their world-famous 'Round the World' Consort Jacket. For a bit of context, here's big man on campus Nigel reminissing on how he came across the hallowed jacket...

The Henri Lloyd Consort Jacket was something I got involved with in 1988. I found one in a store on Kings Road in London, and realised that I could sell it pretty well to people in Manchester. It just made sense at the time. Everybody had a Berghaus on and the Consort was another bright, waterproof jacket, just a bit smarter.

I opened my store in Affleck's Palace in '89, and I was the first person in Manchester at that time to sell Henri Lloyd. Roger from Henri Lloyd only had five or six accounts in the UK then. There was the one on King's Road, which was a fashion store, and then there were five other shops, which were Chandlers. A Chandlery is a yachting supply store. Funnily enough, that's what the Hacienda was before it was The Hacienda.

I remember as a kid there was a thing in 1980s, a yachting look which consisted of a yellow waterproof nylon from Guy Cotten, navy straight leg pants and yachting slip-ons, like slip-on Vans. These lads had the Perry Boy haircut. It was a Perry boy look. Was It was Manchester look? Probably. I'm sure it was in other places; in fact other people mentioned it as a mod look from London.

But this was also happening at the time of the Hacienda. Ten years later this look was still about... so it maybe the Consort was the evolution of that.

Anyway, so I contacted Roger. I'd only really seen two or three jackets in that London shop: some white jackets like the Consort but without insulation - like a shell. Roger came to my house in Cheadle Hulme and opened these bags and dropped loads of gear on my rails. There was 30-to-40 items - striped Rugby shirts, grey heavyweight striped t-shirts, bright, printed yachting-style t-shirts and Guernsey heavyweight sailing jumpers with HL intarsia.

What they'd done was they'd chosen all these classic items from the past forty years and put their branding on it.

Ten years later this look was still about... so it maybe the Consort was the evolution of that.

Anyway, among them was the Consort Jacket, in all kinds of mad colours. You see, while the original Consort jacket was made in white, in red and in navy, it was the colourful ones that really took off, especially in Italy - you had Olmes Carretti to thank for that.

These were essentially the same basic jacket, but a little different. Thanks to the cord collar, they had that classic English country look. Olmes Caretti combined this with colours influenced by the spice of the bazaars in Africa. The new brighter colours became the 'Round the World Consort Jacket'. The timing was perfect for me because acid house was happening - bright colours and a return to Italian branded casual stuff.

In clubs like the Thunderdome, people wore their coats all night to show them off. People were always trying to one up each other as well – seeing who could get the coats with the maddest fabrics and brightest colours. And when it came to colours and stuff, the Consort was the ultimate.

These new versions are authentic, other than a label on the inside which is the modern branding. Label aside, I’d say they are 100 percent accurate - the way the exterior of the jacket looks, the fabric is exactly right, the colours are exactly right.

I love all three of bright colours. The navy is amazing too. If you like navy jackets this is loud navy jacket. You can hide all the colour away by buttoning up or you can display it. The Consort is one of those things that was, and always will be, amazing.