Now, popular Aussie men’s clothier M.J. Bale are going underground for their new Autumn 2023 campaign; and if the early images, shot amidst the impressively cinematic rooms of Restaurant Hubert are anything to go by, then the clothes on offer will certainly cover the largest sweep of environs of any menswear brand we’ve tackled in recent memory.
Entitled A Moveable Feast – after the Ernest Hemingway memoir first published in 1964 – the campaign demonstrates a fitting preoccupation with classic tailoring: timeless clothes that will flatter men for many years to come, as they sup and sip their way through life’s celebratory occasions.
Hubert’s many wood-empanelled bars and intimate nooks serve to highlight the Golden Age energy that permeates the collection. Smart, trans-seasonal staples like the brand’s best-selling “Bowning” suit (available in three different birdseye wools, in either a 2 or 3-piece make) are certainly still the foundation; but now enriched with various, significantly more rakish accoutrements.
Some of our favourites include the “Opera” – the M.J. Bale Autumn 2023 take on the ever-decadent smoking jacket – and the “Vigaro.” Made from a wool/silk/linen blend (milled by Loro Piana), the latter is one of the few articles put out by a contemporary menswear brand to live up to the whole ‘smart casual’ malarkey – equally flattering alongside white denim or your favourite pair of charcoal trousers, thanks to the use of a muted glencheck pattern.
The campaign’s sumptuous nocturnal setting also lends itself to an emphasis on black tie, or rather, pieces that may be worn with the cheerful brio of formalwear. These include the aforementioned “Opera” velvets; monochrome rollnecks to layer underneath (knit using M.J. Bale’s signature single-source Merino) and, in a historic first for the brand, a full-blown linen tuxedo – a raffish subversion of many consider to be a hot weather fabric.
This cocktail of superfine Tassie wool, linens and heavier seasonal fabric highlights the vital role that tailoring still plays in the Bale universe, but the brand has been conscious to sprinkle in little hints of casualwear – amuse-bouches, if you will – in anticipation of the more substantial fare.
In this way, men are able to embrace the languid, slightly melancholic energy of the collection at a range of budgets: with the ‘Itoku’ collection of $1,500 suits (handmade in Japan) at the tippy-top end; and simple pleasures like a pillow-y gilet at the other.
To butcher a metaphor: the best bits of M.J. Bale’s latest Autumn campaign are laden thickly with the charm of comfort food – equal parts pleasure, familiarity; and almost certainly better in the company of one’s lovers and friends.