Dressing top to toe in denim has long been considered a fashion faux pas, but the oft-derided look can be applauded when worn raw and rugged cowboy-style (below) or in polished perfection as a bespoke suit (above).
Paul Newman contrasts shades of denim to great effect
Steve McQueen does matching denim, unapologetically
Once upon a time in America, Brad Pitt wore double denim
The furore around double-denim began in Canada in 1951 when American singer Bing Crosby was visiting the city of Vancouver. Following a hunting trip, he attempted to check into an upscale hotel wearing his sporting apparel of Levi's jeans and matching denim jacket. Not recognising the international entertainer at the height of his stardom, the hotel's concierge, Art Cameron, refused admission due to the inappropriate dress. The bellhop revealed the guest's identity, and the superstar was allowed to check in. Cameron stated in a subsequent interview, "He looked like a bum", and went on to explain that, “Almost all of Bing’s fans wrote me wanting to know how dared I refuse him a room and how come I didn’t recognize the most famous singer in the world?”
Bing Crosby in his sporting apparel
News of the hotel lobby incident reached the headquarters of Levi Strauss & Co, and the company's executives decided to capitalise on the marketing opportunity by producing a tuxedo for their famous customer, incorporating the very same denim and copper rivets used in the production of their 501 jeans.
Bing Crosby models the Canadian Tuxedo
To insure against further mishap, a leather patch was sewn into the garment, reading, "Notice to hotel men everywhere: this label entitles the wearer to be duly received and registered with cordial hospitality at any time and under any conditions".
Double denim is officially marked as appropriate attire
A couple of decades after the birth of the Canadian Tuxedo, a young British pop artist called Peter Blake, flush from the success of designing the Sergeant Pepper's album cover for The Beatles, decided it was time to buy his first bespoke suit. Following in the footsteps of the Fab Four, he went to see the celebrated tailor, Tommy Nutter, at Nutters of Savile Row - a company that was owned by the Mason family for a period in the early 2000s. At a party in 2010, Sir Peter Blake recounted the story to David Mason:
"Tommy asked what type of cloth I had in mind for my new suit, and I said that I wasn't sure as I only ever wore jeans. Well, he said, that answers the question - we'll make it in denim".
Self Portrait by Sir Peter Blake
From the Canadian Tuxedo to Savile Row Serge de Nîmes, pairing denim remains a daring double-act. The challenge of making it work is welcomed with open arms by Mr Fish - the brand that was founded in the 60s by a contemporary of Tommy Nutter, and dedicated to defying convention and courting controversy. The new collection of denim suits is available in a choice of ten colours, made to the customer's exact specifications, and guaranteed to get you access to all the best places.
Elliot Mason adds a Mr Fish chambray shirt for a triple-denim look
Click here to view the Mr Fish Denim Collection.