May 20 2011
Lucia van der Post
If there’s a harder thing to find than glamorous swimwear, particularly for the less-than-skinny set, then I don’t know of it. The well heeled can always have a bespoke bikini made by the inestimable Marisa Padovan in Rome (attentive readers may remember that I wrote about her last year), but Charles Finch – film producer, director, agent, man about town – has a new enterprise, Chucs Dive & Mountain Shop, which has a small collection of simple, retro-inspired swimsuits that could solve the problem.
There’s a beautifully cut navy bikini top designed to be worn with a “skort” – a cross between a skirt and shorts – that is much more flattering for most of us than the very high-cut bottoms that are supposed to lengthen the leg but, in my view, rarely flatter ample thighs and can look a tad vulgar. The skort and top are sold separately so you can buy them in different sizes (first picture: top £150; skort, £125). For those who prefer a one-piece, there’s a simple swimsuit with a nicely sculpted halter-neck top (£245 in red, navy or grey), which also has echoes of Hollywood’s heyday, of Esther Williams and Rita Hayworth. (Third picture shows Blanchett bikini bottoms, £125, with moulded bikini bra, £150.)
Chaps are not forgotten: there are crisp navy swimming shorts piped with white and red (third picture, £145) or in a navy-and-white print (£155).
But Chucs isn’t only about swimsuits. As Finch says, it “will provide the discerning traveller with everything required for a trip to the beach, mountain or hunting lodge, or even the bar at the Hôtel du Cap”. Safari-goers should look out for a Cate Blanchett collaboration in the form of a Safari jacket (second picture, £685) and shorts (£245), and the autumn will see a mountain jacket inspired by the first down-filled jacket dreamt up by Finch’s mountaineering grandfather, George Ingle-Finch. There are Bermuda shorts for hikers (£224), silk scarves (second picture, £120), cashmere pieces (essential for keeping air conditioning at bay) and a men’s piqué polo shirt (second picture, £110).
It’s not the place for the trendy or gimmicky. Finch, son of Peter Finch, imbibed his father’s love of Jamaica (Peter had shorts made for him and pals Errol Flynn, Ian Fleming et al in Kingston), and seems still to hanker after that long-lost world. So the mood is nostalgic, the aim being to bring glamour to leisurewear. But it’s also the sort of place that might inspire one to tread more adventurously. As Charles puts it, “A man’s finest hour is often not in the office or boardroom, but on the sports field, the hill or at sea!” A shop to make one dream, then.