The Richard James AW15 Transandine collection hitches an exhilarating, high-altitude ride by rail through the towering, snow-peaked and sun-stippled mountains of South America with the plucky, pathfinding band of Brits that was responsible for one of the greatest feats of engineering ever achieved.
The brand tells the story of how at the end of the 19th Century the Chilean government looked to put a railway through the sky-high, impossibly imposing Andes to neighbouring Argentina they turned, as they only could, to the renowned engineering skills and pioneering spirit of the British.
And so, zipping up the sheerest of mountainsides to a height of 13,000 feet, barreling along the brink of the most dizzyingly precarious of precipices and cutting a snake-like swathe through a score and many more valleys and rock-ribbed gorges, the Transandine railway came to be.
This is a bold, distinctly durable collection that embodies the pioneering spirit of the men who undertook one of the most remarkable engineering projects in the world and the solid, beautifully crafted quality of their work.
Base colours of granite, blue-grey and earth brown evoke the solid, unmovable essence of the Andes, while darting accents of blood red, fuchsia, burnt yellow and turquoise capture the vivid, deep-dyed costumery of the indigenous peoples and the almost sparkling, wind-scattered flora that dots their heart-stopping homeland.
Soft, wonderfully warm all-wool flannels and richly textured Saxonies and boucles feature prominently throughout tailoring, and sharp, intensely coloured digital prints add a diverse, sharply lifting note to shirtings and accessories.
The exhilarating, very much off-piste skiing that the engineers introduced to the Andes as a way of both going about their work and winding down lends a clear touch of sporting heritage and intrepidness to their casual wear.
Richard James (29 Savile Row, London W1S 2EY)