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But what would have prevented an empire built on licensing the brand’s name when it was especially hot?
One insider who has known Boateng for many years simply said, “Ozwald is his own worst enemy.” For all of Boateng’s slightly shiny, champagne party aesthetic, the look actually works best of all on himself – thanks to his model height and good looks – but it is arguably not as accessible to many others, at least not those working outside the entertainment industry.
Yes, the business was in receivership within six years. Boateng, in fact, is a quintessentially British success story; self-taught in tailoring – something many on Savile Row would say defined him more as stylist than craftsman – he was the first tailor to have a catwalk show at Paris fashion week, something that he said, again ambitiously, would “revolutionise tailoring”.
Bankruptcy and two marriage failures followed, each met with the bounce back of a rubber ball. He was one of the youngest tailors to ever set up shop on Savile Row – offering a genuine alternative to the old boys’ offer of charcoal and pin-stripes.
A year after setting up shop he was picking up a ‘best menswear designer’ award in Paris and, three years after that, one in London.Yet Boateng’s supernatural abilities to create hype, buzz and press have not, it seems, been matched by an aptitude to develop and grow an international brand.A roller-coaster career of big claims and high hopes – mostly propagated by Boateng himself – has seen the man who would have been king of a global menswear empire reduced, at day’s end, to a jobbing tailor. But it is hardly the culture-defining position the one time creative head of Givenchy menswear (who also had a chain of shops in Japan and looked to open the same in the US), might have expected by now.Two years ago, for example, ‘GQ’ voted Boateng the worst dressed man of 2014.That, to emphasise, is the very worst dressed – more so than George Galloway, Brian Cox or Nigel Farage, who also featured on the magazine’s list that year. One might say that Ozwald Boateng is simply ambitious. Yet critics have pointed out that Boateng has a history of suggesting that world dominance is just around the corner, each failure delivering yet another blow to that precious image.