Contrary to appearances, the man sitting across the café table is neither a supporting character in Bohemian Rhapsody nor Billy Crudup in one of his Almost Famous getups. In fact it’s Ben Cobb, a British magazine editor known for his decade-long tenure at Another Man, drinking tea with a splash of skimmed milk in a corner of Maison Assouline, a bookstore and café on Piccadilly. It’s the bitter end of a drizzling Friday afternoon; outside, the masses bow their heads and trudge forth into the autumnal wind.
But here, perched on a burgundy midcentury chair, is a warm and lovely man in a double-breasted Givenchy blazer, unbuttoned-down-to-there white Edward Sexton shirt, and dark denim Gucci flares. His mustache has been painstakingly groomed; his rakish haircut is the handiwork of a certain Fabio Nogueira. Cobb’s 70s-esque ensembles are so reminiscent of a much more swinging era that the mere act of admiring his clothes feels like a party. “I’ve refined it, definitely,” says Cobb, who has been dressing in a similar fashion since he was a teenager growing up in London in the 90s. “I’m lucky that fashion’s a cyclical thing…. I’m a big believer in you do you, and it comes around again.”