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2 weeks agoupdated Jun 07, 2024

Orlebar Brown’s Adam Brown On a Unique Collab with La DoubleJ

Three new prints from La DoubleJ, give this Orlebar Brown collection a Mediterranean edge.

By Toby Louch

You’re on the Côte d’Azur, lounging in the swimming pool of a glorious five-star resort. It’s 12:30 and the sun is beating down, the weather almost as good as your view across the crystal blue of the Mediterranean. It’s time for lunch and you have a reservation at the chic poolside restaurant that sits proudly above the superyacht-laden harbor below. But this is the South of France, you can’t waltz into the restaurant in your swimming trunks. Well, with Orlebar Brown, you can. The British brand utilizes classic tailoring to devise a solution to this very issue.

I recently caught up with Adam Brown, founder of OB, days before the brand dived into uncharted waters and launched its latest collection, a unique collaboration with Milan-based women’s brand La DoubleJ.

“You can holiday in different places, and in different ways,” said Brown. “You might be in a smart resort, having tea with your granny, or dancing on a table in Ibiza. We understand that and create clothing that can take you to different places.”

Orlebar Brown x La DoubleJ
Swing Dress Morpheus Placée Orange (left), Ridley Shirt Morpheus (right) / ©Orlebar Brown

Aside from its unique designs and bold geometric patterns and prints — getting ever more vibrant thanks to this latest collab with La DoubleJ — what sets OB apart all comes down to quality and construction. As an example, let’s take the Bulldog swimming shorts, an OB icon since day one that kickstarted the brand. A standard pair of swimming shorts may contain as little as five or six elements (several pieces of fabric, netting, drawstring, pockets). A pair of Bulldog shorts do things a little differently.

“I think the word tailored is very important. A tailored approach was how we started, so 60 individual elements go into the making of one pair of shorts,” said Brown.

This extensive detailed construction completely changes how the shorts sit and hang on the body. Add to that some elevated details, such as the side fasteners — giving the wearer both the perfect fit and providing a not-so-subtle nod to classic tailoring — and your average pair of swim shorts are transformed into restaurant-ready attire. Or as OB succinctly puts it: Not a swim short, but a short you can swim in.

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Orlebar Brown x La DoubleJ

The Anglo-Italian collaboration between these two summerwear aficionados was not born from sales-driven, headline-grabbing necessity, but a chance meeting in an English countryside house.

“I first met JJ (JJ Martin, founder of La DoubleJ) on a promotional trip, a group of us had gotten together at a countryside manor called Heckfield Place,” said Brown. “We had breakfast together and got on well, but the collaboration itself wouldn’t come about for another few years.”

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Adam Brown and JJ Martin
JJ Martin (left), Adam Brown (right) / ©Orlebar Brown
summer dress
Breakfast Dress Dragonflower Red / ©Orlebar Brown
Holiday outfits
Salt’N’Vinegar Mini Dress Red/Cream Red (left), Dragonflower Print Linen Relaxed Fit Trousers in Summer Red/White Sand (right) / ©Orlebar Brown

While OB items include some bold patterns and designs, there is still an essence of reserved British sensibility, when it comes to the tailoring and direction of its palate. Milan-based brand La DoubleJ brings the medicine in this regard, known for its riotous color palate, Mediterranean boldness and power prints.

“Even though we may not present ourselves with quite the same vibrancy,” said Brown, “I have always believed that the La DoubleJ woman would be a part of the Orlebar Brown man’s life. Some collaborations you see today are just ridiculous, they come across our desk an awful lot. But this one felt like the DNA of the two brands: holidays, travel, sunshine, was in a similar direction, so the collaboration took us in an interesting place.”

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Elevating out of office attire

Orlebar Brown shirt
Broderie Anglaise Relaxed Fit Capri Collar Shirt, Woven In Italy in Midnight Navy / ©Orlebar Brown

Called ‘Raise You Vacation Vibration,’ this collaboration is a high summer capsule that’s comprised of 34 swimwear and ready-to-wear styles that have been designed for all genders and includes three prints in red, white and blue. Combining the tailored silhouette of OB with the punchy vibrancy of La DoubleJ, plays off the unique factors of both brands and results in something new.

“OB is not an overtly masculine brand,” said Brown. “Our first waiting list was at a women’s wear store in Manhattan on the Upper East Side. Women were buying our shorts, cutting the netting out and wearing them over the top of bikinis. Fast forward ten years and if you look at OB’s classic pieces, big baggy shirts, a drawstring trouser, short sleeve maitan shirts, it’s all pretty genderless, so playing with that idea in this collaboration just seemed like the right place to be.”

The 34 pieces that comprise this collection all come in three exclusive prints that have been designed by La DoubleJ. Inspired by deific energies the prints and been utilized in a way that creates ‘mood-boosting visual harmony between positive feminine and masculine characteristics.’ Dragonflower is a reimagined classic La Double J print and plays on the concept of strength and beauty. Morpheus pays homage to the god of dreams, while Whitsun takes its cues from the king of flowers.

“JJ is based in Milan. Because of that this collection has a certain Italian, a certain continental flavor to it,” said Brown. “The prints are bigger, more extravagant, more baroque, it’s something I have always wanted to experiment with, there is a sense of scale and confidence that La DoubleJ does. That’s just great for us.”

An ode to holiday styling

Orlebar Brown shirt and shorts
Women’s Pull-Up Shorts Morpheus Orange and Better Than You Boyfriend’s Shirt Morpheus Placée Orange / ©Orlebar Brown

Having spent 17 years in the industry — focusing heavily on the world of holiday fashion — it would be remiss not to ask Adam his opinion on style, particularly dressing on vacation.

“In the 1940s and 1950s it seemed that men used to dress for holidays, there would be a particular wardrobe they would take,” said Brown. “Starting Orlebar Brown, I sensed that was a particular opportunity to rekindle that. When people go on holiday they can present themselves in a slightly different way for a week or two. They may not wear bright, vibrant colors in London but on holiday they can, you have the license to do it and not feel embarrassed or self-conscious. When I go away, the core elements of my suitcase is a pair of Bulldog shorts, a toweling polo shirt and a t-shirt, I normally stick to navy as a base and expand from there,” said Brown. “It works because it’s effortless, as soon as it gets too stylized or forced it all falls apart. At OB our Terry Toweling Polo Shirt comes from a photo of my Grandfather in the 60s on a boat, he’s wearing something similar. It’s easy, unfussy.”

The new Orlebar Brown x La DoubleJ collection can be found at: Orlebarbrown.com

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