The Rake April 2020 - Issue 69

The world’s preeminent publication dedicated to the renaissance in gentlemanly sophistication and style, THE RAKE recaptures the codes of classic men’s elegance. Inspired by icons such as Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, the Duke of Windsor, Gianni Agnelli, Sean Connery, and their contemporary counterparts, THE RAKE provides incisive, in-depth commentary on magnificent menswear, and the many other elements of gentlemanly living, from manners and ethics, to art and design, tasteful travel, health and well-being, the intellectual and philosophical, to homes, modes of transport, entertainment, food and drink. THE RAKE is the modern voice of classic elegance.

United Kingdom
The Rake Pte Ltd
6 号


letter from the founder

I have to admit I got it wrong. When the outbreak of Covid-19 was first announced, I thought, in a cavalier way, that it would be limited to Asia, that it was primarily an issue that had affected China and was being contained there, and that people were being unnecessarily alarmist and even a little chickenshit about it. With unrestrained abandon I continued to indulge in my favourite group activities, from spin class to negroni swilling, ever confident that my seething pool of rage combined with high-intensity exercise — and fuelled by an endless supply of alcohol — would be enough to combat and kill any virus that might dare cross my path. I realise now how blithely stupid I was to perceive things this way. Even a week before…

letter from the editor

GoldenEye was the first Bond movie I saw at its release. I was beneath the age threshold that the British Board of Film Classification deemed appropriate for viewing — too naïve and public-schooled to understand the pun ‘Onatopp’ — but it was riveting stuff. I was sold on the Bond idea, the suavity, the sophistication, the shooting; a gentleman assassin was right up my alley. In fact, one of the great disappointments of my life was finding out that being a spy is plenty dull and requires all the sacrifice of 007 but with less of the sex and gadgetry. While Pierce Brosnan’s tie straightening during the Saint Petersburg tank chase in GoldenEye primed my love of James Bond, Casino Royale played a direct role in my route to The Rake.…


BRIAN BOWEN SMITH Brian Bowen Smith was born and raised in New York, and he became a professional photographer by a less than traditional route. After catching the eye of Herb Ritts while performing as a pro athlete in a print campaign, the legendary photographer became a friend and mentor, helping Brian find his personal photographic style. Brian has been working steadily ever since, shooting for countless publications and commercial clients, as well as publishing two books and focusing heavily on his fine art photography. When Brian’s not shooting you will find him surfing, snowboarding or riding his motorcycle. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and young son. This is the first time Brian and The Rake have worked together, and he spent it with us in L.A. shooting…

the loveliest joke

One bright, balmy Hollywood morning in the mid 1930s, David Niven presented himself at Stage 29, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, for a screen test, “made up like a Piccadilly tart” and feeling ridiculous. When his turn came, he recited — “out of my panic” — an old schoolboy limerick featuring an old man of Leeds who swallowed a packet of seeds, with unfortunate foliage-bearing results for his nether regions. It wasn’t exactly a Hamlet soliloquy, but Hollywood had a vacancy for a stiff-upper-lipped Brit — the society hostess Elsa Maxwell had urged Niven westward, saying “nobody out there knows how to speak English, except Ronald Colman” — and a few weeks later, Niven was enrolled at Central Casting as “Anglo-Saxon Type No.2008”. It was a billing that Niven more than lived up to over…

blood bond

Of the many unlikely stories surrounding Peter Fleming, the least credible is that he is now most famous for inspiring his brother Ian. It seems certain that this adventurer, spy and bestselling author, a man with the mind of a scholar, the charm of an international playboy and the looks (and wife) of a matinee idol, was one of the chief models for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. But that, for all the glory it brings, is very far from the epitaph he deserves. The first of those unlikely stories, and the one that kickstarted his wildly eccentric career, came in April 1932, when, as a 25-year-old journalist, he saw an advertisement in The Times. “Exploring and sporting expedition,” it read, “under experienced guidance, leaving England June, to explore rivers Central Brazil,…

mr. no

“James Bond and I have nothing in common. Both men are secret agents, but that’s as far as it goes.” So said Patrick McGoohan while playing the international spy John Drake in the successful British television series Danger Man (Secret Agent in the U.S.) from 1960 to 1968. McGoohan turned down the opportunity to play Bond in Dr. No after three approaches. As he once said to me, he considered Bond an anti-hero who could exist only on the basis of violence and promiscuous sex, with his ability limited to choosing a wine and wearing a suit well. So McGoohan found it easy to justify his refusal. “I just didn’t care to do it, and I have no regrets,” he said. It was quite a refreshing point of view. “I…