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A Race Suit

Steve McQueen Le Mans

Following my meeting with Ermenegildo Zegna I was hopeful that something would materialise regarding possible sponsorship of my team for the Gumball 3000 rally.  On top of that I had had the amazing news that HYT wanted to make a watch for me and were inviting me to Switzerland to create the design.

In my correspondence I had outlined how the rally works; it’s around 3000 miles in total, hence the name. We drive from city to city, often crossing country borders and stay in a different hotel every night. Additionally, at the end of each day, dinners and parties are thrown at each destination for the Gumballers and their guests.

Historically, long before the Gumball 3000 was conceived, such rallies regularly took place, albeit for those who perhaps might have been categorised as old money. Those taking part in these events were ladies and gentlemen who had the means to do so and they dressed accordingly. It is, lest we forget, not that long ago that having a motorcar, never mind a sports car, was a luxury few could afford.

As the decades have moved on, I felt that the sense of grace and style from these times had somewhat waned. Nowadays, men and women very rarely make a habit of dressing up any more than ‘smart casual’ unless it is for a special occasion. Accordingly, this was precisely my vision for participating in the rally; taking the elegance of a bygone era and marrying it with a modern spin. In short, the contemporary sartorial elegance that, in my opinion, defined Zegna.

In my proposal letter I explained my thought process and how I thought it would help the brand. I pressed send and waited for a response.

The answer I received was more than I could have asked for. Part of my picture painting of old-fashioned rally drivers was that they dressed in race suits to compete; I had images of Steve McQueen in Le Mans in my head and had used him as a classic example. How, even fifty years on, pictures of him dressed in his race suit are still used to identify just what exactly is ‘timeless, effortless cool’. So when they confirmed their agreement to make me a race suit to be worn during Gumball 3000, I was absolutely delighted!

The Road to Mykonos has already taught me so many lessons so far, but there’s one that stands above them all.  If you really want something, and you are prepared to put time, effort and patience into making it happen, it will.  Zegna agreeing to create this one off piece for me was just another example of that and I could not be more pleased with how my journey to the start line of the Gumball 3000 was unfolding.