You might think that the head of marketing for American heritage company Penfield would dress in the brand from head-to-toe. And you might be right sometimes, but in a perpetual state of style ennui, Christophe Brumby revamps his wardrobe like the wind. Amidst his revolving (and evolving) fashion cycles, the one thing you can count on is his thick and neat beard, a feature that he says requires little to no maintenance (I should be so lucky). Having his roots deep in France, he walks the streets of London, appreciating the sights, sounds and smells – but he’ll joke and say, “I am French, therefore I hate.” But whether he is in the US, Paris or London, Christophe owns the full fledged beard and he pairs it with some contemporary twists and versatile classicism. I’m not French, therefore I love Christophe for BEARDED – Penfield perfect.
Name: Christophe Brumby
Occupation: Head of Marketing & PR at Penfield
City: London, UK
Are you a grower or a show-er? Are you a guy who has always had a beard, or is your growth a response to a trend?
I would say I am more of a grower as I have pretty much always had a beard or at least kept stubble, except for work reasons on a few occasions (working in retail or for global corporate firms).
Do you keep it neat and clean or is a little more unkempt your style?
I must say I am quite lucky, as I have got a good natural beard, neat and thick, so I don’t really need to look after it, I only give it the odd trim on the cheeks every now and then.
Does your beard ever factor in to the clothes you choose to wear? Do you like to frame it as your statement, rather than wear bold patterns, graphics and colours to distract from it?
I guess it is somehow part of my general ‘look’ and generally complements my outfit, but I definitely wouldn’t say it influences the way I dress everyday.
Does facial hair suit everyone? If you weren’t fully bearded, would you sport a ‘stache?
It probably can suit everyone; there are so many kind of facial hair… One just needs to experiment and find what suits one’s face, traits and general style. I have tried to sport a moustache a couple of times in the past but to be honest it turned out to be pretty disastrous! Haha. I just tried for fun and only kept it for a few days after shaving my full beard – I have never grown a proper ‘stache though.
How would you classify your style?
Hmm… Tricky question. I am constantly drawing inspiration from different sources (the streets of the city I live in at a given time, my friends, magazines, random things I see everyday etc.) and have always loved mixing influences, so a safe answer would be classic and versatile with a twist of contemporary. I am probably still trying to define my style and always will be, as I get bored quite quickly and need to change pretty much every other day.
What do you think about bearded, less-standardized models on the runways of Yohji Yamamoto, Vivienne Westwood, Walter Van Beirendonck? Can high fashion be showcased in this way? Why do you think a lot of contemporary menswear brands are focusing on the bearded model in look books over the past few seasons?
I think it is a sign that menswear – and high fashion is no exception – has yet again taken a new direction over the last couple of years. It seems like men in general are looking for a more rugged, more authentic and overall a more manly style as of late. Some commentators like to think that this was caused by the recession, with people looking for more durable, reliable and timeless clothing during hard times – a kind of back-to-basics instinct. I would probably see it more as a new fashion cycle, as everyone was getting bored with the metrosexual trend of the mid 2000’s. “Rough is the new metrosexual” as some bloggers quoted.
Name one item of clothing you will never part with and describe a head to toe look you feel most comfortable in
This is in fact an accessory, but I would definitely say my watch. It is the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off at night – I would never go out without it. As for an everyday head-to-toe look, with winter right around the corner, I would go for a simple plain oxford shirt under a wool cardigan, a pair of dark denim jeans, a good pair of boots and obviously a warm down jacket or vest for the colder months.
Any advice to those gents out there who may want to achieve a beard like yours (i.e. shaving products you use, trimming tips, or just some sage-like wisdom)?
Keep it raw, keep it real!
Assorted images provided by Christophe Brumby