50 Questions With Ben Cobb

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 Ben Cobb x Tiger of Sweden at MATCHESFASHION (12)
Ben Cobb x Tiger of Sweden

As his collaboration with Tiger of Sweden is launched, the editor of ES Magazine is faced with a barrage of invasive questions by AnOther Magazine

Even if you don’t know Ben Cobb by name, you’ll know him by sight. The former Another Man editor-in-chief and current ES Magazine editor – and this writer’s old boss – is known for his inimitable style: a svelte, sophisticated, 70s-inflected uniform of tailoring that some call elegant and others (the NYT) call wonderfully sleazy – their words not mine.

This week, Cobb has launched a collaboration with Sweden’s oldest tailoring brand, Tiger of Sweden, exclusively on Matches Fashion. Echoing his style, the collection comprises two suits, four shirts, two cosy cropped knits, and two extremely cosy overcoats – one brown, one grey – all crafted deadstock from British and Italian mills so you can enjoy it guilt-free.

To celebrate the launch of the collection, AnOther Magazine took Ben Cobb to the pub, bought him a stiff drink and proceeded to probe him with a series of intrusive, invasive questions – some pertaining to this collection and others (most) not.

1. Are you ready? No, I feel like this is revenge.

2. A cob is a male swan, a “thickset short-legged type of horse”, another name for hazel, a small rounded lump of coal and a round loaf of bread. Which do you think is most true for you? I’d say a swan because I like the way they appear graceful on the surface, but below the surface they’re paddling like crazy.

3. What was it like collaborating with Tiger of Sweden? It was a great experience. I’ve been a friend of the brand for years so it felt really natural. I’m also very close with Matches Fashion, who are our exclusive partner on this project, so the whole thing felt like a family affair. 

4. Describe the collection in three words? Elegant. Romantic. Timeless. 

5. How do you want people to feel when they’re wearing it? Confident. 

6. What is a fashion moment that genuinely moved you? Dries Van Noten’s A/W16 menswear show at the Opera Garnier in Paris. That swept me away.

7. Who’s the best-dressed person you know? My father.

8. Clothes-wise, what gives you the ick? No socks.

9. Shag, marry, kill: the 60s, 70s and 80s. Shag the 80s, marry the 70s and kill the 60s.

10. What makes you angry? Ineptitude. Particularly in politics. 

11. If you could bring one political policy into immediate effect, what would it be? All empty property to be opened to the homeless. 

12. What is one social cause you wish people talked about more? Homelessness.

13. What does liberation mean to you? Not caring.

14. Where is your happy place? In bed.

15. What’s something people would be surprised to know about you? I was a county champion gold medal hurdler.

16. Do you believe in aliens? Yes, I think so. 

17. Do you believe in ghosts? Yes.

18. Do you believe in God? I don’t think anyone’s in control. Nature is God.

19. Do you believe in life after death? I really hope so.

20. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes, absolutely. 

What’s something people would be surprised to know about you? “I was a county champion gold medal hurdler” – Ben Cobb 

21. What’s the best compliment you have ever received? The one I always get is that I look like Billy Crudup from Almost Famous. Which I’ll take. I get that a lot, particularly at airport customs. 

22. What is the best advice you have ever received? Learn how to say no.

23. What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t worry about it.

24. Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life? A young Helmut Berger.

25. And who would you want to direct that movie? David Lynch. And if he wasn’t available, Dario Argento

26. Of everyone you’ve met, who had the most star quality? I don’t really get starstruck by big Hollywood people, it’s more trashy TV people. I remember seeing Cat Slater in Selfridges and she kind of blindsided me.

27. Which historical figure would you most like to meet? Stanley Kubrick.

28. Describe your perfect date. Anywhere with my wife, Anna-Marie. Preferably in Paris. 

29. What’s your top first date tip? Go in for the kiss.

30. Who or what makes you laugh the most? My wife.

31. What qualities do you look for in a friend? Humour, loyalty and good shoes.

32. What is your most controversial opinion? You’re not going to cancel me, Ted. You’re not going to bring me down now.

33. What’s the last thing you changed your mind about? Doing this interview. 

34. What is your star sign? Sagittarius.

35. What’s the most Sagittarian thing about you? I’m an eternal optimist.

36. What is your greatest virtue? I’m kind, I hope.

37. What is your greatest vice? Married at First Sight Australia.

38. What would you wear to the Met Gala? My Tiger of Sweden collection.

39. And on the other end of the spectrum, what’s your classic lazy day/popping to the shops for a pint of milk look? I mean, it’s always tailoring no matter what I'm doing. 

40. If I came round for dinner, what would you cook? A lemon chicken tagine.

Of everyone you’ve met, who had the most star quality? “I don’t really get starstruck by big Hollywood people, it’s more trashy TV people. I remember seeing Cat Slater in Selfridges and she kind of blindsided me” – Ben Cobb

41. What are you reading at the moment? Best Seller June Newton.

42. What book would you want to read for the first time again? Anything by JG Ballard.

43. What would be the title of your autobiography? You Should Have Seen Me Ten Years Ago.

44. What’s the last film that made you cry? The George Michael documentary.

45. If you could steal one work of art, with no repercussions, and hang it in your living room, what would you choose? Patrick Procktor’s portrait of Christopher Gibbs.

46. What’s your most treasured possession? My life.

47. What object would you like to be? Liz Taylor’s diamond necklace. 

48. What advice would you give to aspiring magazine editors? Find your voice and use it.

49. What’s your greatest fear? Mediocrity.

50. Who’s your ultimate muse? Pier Paolo Pasolini, Helmut Berger and Alain Delon. They’re my holy trinity.

Ben Cobb x Tiger of Sweden is available on Matches Fashion now.