“Get rid of that metal clothing rack—racks aren’t luxury!” Charles Finch tells a good-looking sales assistant. “And call Henry Poole and find out who makes their mannequins. We need some now!” That’s how Finch runs his tiny Chucs Dive & Mountain Shop in London’s Mayfair: seat of the pants, trust your gut, throw it against the wall and see what sticks, all in the doughty English spirit of amateur derring-do.
“I started Chucs because I couldn’t find swimwear elegant enough,” he says, conceding, however, that hiring his own bespoke tailor—a Neapolitan named Elia Caliendo—to cut the brand’s initial swimsuit patterns was perhaps unwise.
This explains why Finch may never make a ha’ penny on Chucs, which opened in 2011. (Don’t worry; he also runs a thriving consulting business.) But it also explains why if you want a pair of powder-blue swim trunks that make you look like Sean Connery in Thunderball, a down jacket that makes you look like Finch’s mountain-climbing grandfather George Ingle Finch (who’s wearing the one he invented to climb Everest in a large 1922 photo on the store’s wall) or a thick cashmere turtleneck that makes you look like gigolo Porfirio Rubirosa about to bag another heiress (“My mother knew him. Not a very nice man, but he could really work a sweater!”), you would do well to head over to Chucs.
Finch was bred to this stuff. He tagged along with his dad, bad-boy actor Peter Finch, when pals like Ian Fleming and Errol Flynn popped over to the family’s banana plantation in Jamaica. His mother’s boyfriend picked him up from school in a Rolls because the boyfriend happened to run the company. So when he tells you he found the perfect clasp for his swim trunks, believe him. Swim trunks start at $230; 31 Dover St.; chucs.com.