The Journal talks to former fashion editor for The Rake turned independent menswear stylist and luxury consultant, Sarah Ann Murray, about Samuel L. Jackson, gender and Capra.


It’s not always easy being one of menswear’s top stylists, but Murray’s talent has kept her in high demand since she travelled out to Singapore and joined the fledgling team at The Rake back in 2000.

What’s your favourite shoot story?
Arranging the Samuel L. Jackson shoot for The Rake was pretty insane. I had to take hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of clothes to the US. Then I followed Samuel halfway across the States to Colorado where he was filming for Quentin Tarantino; found a location the day before with a photographer I’d only just met, in the tiny ski town of Telluride. Fortunately, I ended up having an amazing shoot; Samuel was incredibly professional, whilst also being cool and easy going.

How would you describe your own style?
I definitely appreciate menswear over womenswear; I like loose-fitting, comfortable clothes that display a mix of elegance and nonchalance.

What’s it like being a woman in a man’s (style) world?
I think and hope men value a female perspective; ultimately, I can tell them what other women might find stylish. Of course, I’ve had to learn the detail and technical side of sartorial style with regards to tailoring and design so that I can advise men on how a suit should fit.

How is styling changing – are the ‘menswear’ & ‘womenswear’ labels becoming redundant?
The lines are certainly blurring and that’s a great thing. When fashion surges like this, it’s often representative of a much bigger progression within society; fashion can be a portal for the greater political issues of the day. And this progression has opened a creative gap for designs that could be described as neutral, ideal for those who don’t prescribe to any particular aesthetic notion of menswear or womenswear but rather just great quality, functionality or timeless design.

What’s the best piece of style advice anyone’s ever given you?
“To break the rules, first you must master them,” is a useful adage.

What are the most important things in any wardrobe?
Women should invest in a timeless bag in a natural leather, one that will patina and age well and isn’t subject to ‘it’ bag trends. I also love a classic black jacket as a go-to for evening or daywear, they can be both elegant and cool depending on how you style them. I also usually invest in a great coat and a cashmere or wool hat and scarf at the beginning of the winter months. For men, I’d advise having at least one great fitting, well-cut charcoal-grey lightweight wool suit that will see you through from work, evening formal events to a wedding. I’d also look for a more casual jersey-fabric grey or navy casual jacket – perfect for a more relaxed work look. A good coat or, this season, a light autumn bomber jacket, would also be a good investment.

What’s so special about Ettinger’s Capra collection?
The Capra collection captures the essence of the brand, its heritage, and beautiful classic designs. The clean lines of the pieces allow the sumptuous, soft goat leather to take on the perfect form and function and appeals to anyone with a taste for contemporary elegance with all the hallmarks of traditional quality. Every piece is so useful and just imagine how cool they’ll look once they’ve aged and become a part of their owner.

What are your favourite pieces from the Capra collection?
The portfolios are sublime! So much of the gorgeous leather to enjoy the feel of and simple metal detail keeps it elegant and neutral, and design-wise, they’re just so handy. They look great going to meetings or as somewhere to keep technology safe – mine is already keeping me organised. I also love the Large Flap-Over Purse as it has a particularly useful handle which means you don’t need to take out a big bag and it also means you can hang it over your arm when you need both hands, I love thoughtful details like that.

Give us some tips on styling the collection.
The blue and white pieces have a great nautical look and could be used together for contrast with a navy suit or classic navy blazer. I love the look of the Marine Blue Card Holder inside the purse for great contrast and the silver embossing pops so well. I would also recommend a strong monochrome look: wear all black and carry the large white portfolio for that incredible contrast and then the small Flap-Over Purse in black in the other hand for understated chic. For men, the portfolio under your arm in the chocolate will pretty much go with most wardrobe palettes and styles, and speaking from experience it’s worth investing in a card holder or wallet that can live in your back pocket or in the portfolio. Overall, I would look at the general tones of your wardrobe, if you’re more of a grey and black kind of guy then the billfold wallet in black will be perfect. If, however you’re thinking about summer and you’ll wear more colour or you usually wear a navy suit, then the Marine Blue accessories will work best for you.