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Meet Mr. Victor Besnard (@victor.besnard) from Haarlem, The Netherlands, owner of the clothing brand Besnard.
Victor, how do you define your style?
I would describe my style as a blend of British, American, and Italian. During fall and winter, the British sets the tone, while the Italian sets the tone during spring and summer. My sport coats are softly tailored, and I always aim for a classic feel, whether it’s a formal or informal occasion.
What does it mean for you to be a Modern Gentleman?
Since I became a father, I started thinking about what beliefs, norms and values I want to teach my son. Respectful, polite, well-mannered, confident, open-minded, and light-hearted are all character traits that come to mind. A gentleman today is not so different from a gentleman a century ago; he enjoys life to the fullest and treats others the way he wants to be treated.
When it comes to style, where do you mostly get your inspiration from?
I find inspiration from various sources such as classic films, old photographs (VoxSartoria has an exceptional archive), social media and menswear illustrations. I recently bought a 1989 reprint of a selection of Apparel Arts magazine, a quarterly publication for the menswear trade in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. This book is full of amazing illustrations and interesting articles, like advice on mixing patterns and color palettes. I often turn to this book to find interesting ensembles and color combinations.
What’s your personal style signifier?
I’m not sure if I have one, to be honest. However, you’ll never see me without a watch; it makes me feel incomplete without it.
What are your favorite wardrobe essentials?
My go-to outfit is a navy sport coat, gray flannel trousers for fall and winter, and fresco trousers for summer, paired with brown suede tassel loafers. These are the cornerstones of every classic wardrobe in my opinion. You can wear them with white, blue, or striped shirts and essentially any tie.
During the weekends, I often wear my Levi’s 501 jeans (1947 with a higher rise, full cut, and button fly), white beaten-up tennis sneakers, and an OCBD.
What are your main passions and how do you cultivate them?
Working on new collections is one of my favourite activities. I love the creative process of experimenting with designs and sourcing new fabrics. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, watching films, running, and playing tennis. Finally, I have a healthy obsession with collecting watches, vintage Persol Ratti sunglasses, Danish design furniture, and searching for bespoke tailoring in second-hand shops.
What does your ideal Sunday look like?
My ideal Sunday starts with breakfast, including either pancakes or a soft-boiled egg, orange juice, and a proper coffee with my family. Then, in no particular order, a stroll through the park, lunch in the city, and work for 1-2 hours when my son is asleep (there is always something I need to get out of my system). At the end of the day, drinks and dinner at my parents’ house with my siblings and their families, where my mother cooks amazing food, and my father selects the accompanying wine.
Describe an interesting trip you have taken and tell us what’s the next destination on your bucket list.
On our honeymoon, my wife and I traveled through Italy and Sicily for 3 weeks and this is still one of my favorite holidays. I’m a bit of an Italophile and I just love the food, the culture, the people, and the atmosphere. We spend most of our vacations in Italy since my clothing is mainly produced there, so we always try to combine a visit to my partners with a family holiday. My wife and I love surfing and exploring new cities, but with a young kid and a second on the way, these types of holidays will have to wait for a while. So the next destination is Veneto in two weeks.
Tell us what can never be missing in your liquor cabinet.
Everything to make a Gin Martini, Negroni, and Whiskey Sour. Then there will always be Laphroaig, which I used to drink with my grandfather.
What are your three favorite books?
My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl – It’s about the adventures of an entrepreneurial bon-vivant who wants to start a business. The imagination of Roald Dahl is extraordinary.
Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy – The book is primarily about advertising, but in actuality covers a multitude of interesting business topics.
Goldfinger by Ian Fleming – A great novel and interesting to understand a bit more about the background of James Bond.
What are your three favorite movies?
The Sting – This is my favorite film. It follows Paul Newman and Robert Redford who are planning a con to revenge the death of a mutual friend.
The Talented Mr. Ripley – The scenery, the cast, the storyline, everything in this film is brilliantly executed. And I just love watching the Italian Riviera in the 50s in color.
Scent of a Woman – Without spoiling too much, it’s about a veteran who has lost the lust for life and goes on an adventure with a college student who has to chaperone him. With Al Pacino in the leading role, it’s one of Al Pacino’s best performances in my opinion.
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