Buttoned up: a chat with Jenson Button
Tempus talks to the British Formula One icon about his new collaboration with luxury menswear brand Hackett – and his views on the state of modern racing
For a hefty chunk of the 21st century, Jenson Button was the face of British Formula One. Unassuming and polite off the track yet ruthless on it, he played a key role in revitalising the sport among the UK population. Together with a young Lewis Hamilton, the Somerset-born driver helped cement Britain’s dominance on the world stage by the end of the 2000s, bringing to an end a barren spell for the country – the last British F1 Champion had been Damon Hill, a decade earlier in 1996.
Despite now being four years into his retirement from the sport, Button has been keeping busy, recently taking up a senior advisory position at Williams, the team where he started his F1 career more than two decades ago. But he’s also finding time to collaborate with iconic menswear brand Hackett London on a campaign for its autumn/winter 2021 collection under the concept “embrace the curves of life”, shot at the Brands Hatch racing circuit – a location Button knows all too well.
According to the brand, the new collection “includes a new take on the classic Hackett London parka and the iconic tech Velospeed jacket” among other pieces, and demonstrates that Hackett is “committed to its British core”. But what is it about this collection that Button finds so enthralling? Here, he speaks exclusively to Tempus about his appreciation for fine menswear, his standout items from the new collection, and the current F1 season.
Jenson, do you feel there is a crossover between fashion, design and racing?
From a design aspect, absolutely. Fashion as an industry, much like the world of automotive or racing, doesn’t happen by accident; it’s fuelled and underpinned by some incredibly talented people who are able to push boundaries and constantly evolve. Neither industry can sit still for a second without being left behind.
What have you enjoyed most about this collaboration with Hackett?
It’s a brand I have long admired and am delighted to be working with. The overall feel of the brand really suits my style and how I like to dress. Fashion for me largely sits around confidence and how a particular outfit or item of clothing can make you feel. I especially get that from well-tailored suits – I love nothing more than the occasions where I get to dress more formally.
Which item of this new Hackett collection are you most fond of?
There’s a Velo jacket I wore for the initial shoot which I love – it’s a great autumn jacket and actually has a real ‘driving’ feel to the style.
What about the collection do you feel represents Hackett’s commitment to its “British core”, as the brand puts it?
I think it’s a collection that you can tell straight away is made by a British brand. Now, it’s hard to articulate why that is, but the general look, style, shape and colour scheme throughout just feels classically British. There are plenty of items in there to keep you dry and warm; we know that British autumns and winters are always going to keep you guessing when it comes to weather.
What are your thoughts on the current F1 season and the rivalries that are developing in the sport – such as between Hamilton and Verstappen?
It’s fantastic and exactly what the sport and the fans want. To see two such talented drivers going at it in competitive cars is what F1 is all about.
Equally there are some other brilliant story lines occurring at the same time – you’ve got the resurgence of McLaren and their remarkable one-two, you’ve got George Russell showing what he can do at Williams ahead of his move over to Mercedes next season and we’ve already been given a taste of just how quick George can be. F1 is in a brilliant place at the moment with some unbelievable talent coming through.