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Reiss’s new pieces

Unable to rely on the male equivalent of the ‘Kate effect’,  British label Reiss has chosen to update its younger offering, says Lee Holmes


When Kate Middleton wore a Reiss dress for her engagement photos, and then again as a married Duchess when meeting the Obamas at Buckingham Palace, worldwide sales for the womenswear line went through the proverbial roof. If only a blue-blooded male equivalent could be photographed – for argument’s sake, let’s say Kate’s brother-in-law – wearing Reiss menswear, then the label would’ve had a royal double whammy on its hands. Unfortunately, as those raucous pictures from Las Vegas go to show, Harry seemingly doesn’t like to wear many clothes at all.

Which is actually a crying shame when you take into account that this month, the slightly edgier side of the label has undergone a very discreet relaunch. Seen as a diffusion line of sorts, 1971 – named after the year in which Reiss was founded – is aimed at a younger clientele.  Designed by the family-owned brand’s in-house team, 1971 reflects current menswear trends, confirming that Reiss is a luxury high-street brand with designer kudos.

This spring, the men’s collection has the distinct whiff of the 1950s about it. Casual polo shirts, botanical prints and bold colour sit alongside sharp tailoring and clean lines – catering for casual as well as working wardrobes. Although it has a cooler edge than its slightly more sedate older brother, 1971 still sits comfortably alongside the core  values of the brand. The collection itself is made up of 71 pieces and is available online (Reiss.com) and at selected stores throughout the UK from today.

What’s perhaps interesting is the 1971 bishop logo; the first-ever Reiss store opened in Bishopsgate in London, cleverly illustrating how a label that is happy to move forward and attract a younger, more fashion-savvy customer doesn’t want to forget its roots.