The ‘Dave’ of ‘Made by Dave‘ is the name of Michael Barrymore’s pet Jack Russell terrier.
I rather like the idea of upmarket men’s clothes line designed by a diminutive dog with a big personality. Fashion labels can be notoriously snobby and pretentious. And after all, Barrymore is a working class Bermondsey boy who became a mischievous, chaos-causing much-loved fixture of the nation’s front rooms. His hugely popular TV act often consisted in him bounding off the stage and jumping all over his audience, covering them with licks – to their loud, giggly shrieks of delight.
Barrymore’s seismic success in the Nineties and early Noughties as ‘Mr Saturday Night’ – before disaster struck, and Simon Cowell nabbed his crown – meant that he could develop a taste for the finer things in life. Back then, when I lived in a leafy part of London, I would often spy an immaculately turned out Barrymore sailing past in a gleaming Bentley convertible, top down. A geezer from the South London docks scrubbed up nicely and looking like the proverbial million quid.
Speaking of which, Made By Dave togs don’t come cheap – a jumper will cost you a ton and a half. Perhaps that’s why they’re aimed at being ‘what City lads wear at weekends’.
In an interview with The Telegraph he admits that people are likely to scoff at his new venture:
Always a natty dresser on screen, Barrymore was hardly ever a style icon. “I know what everyone will be thinking,” he says, “he thinks he’s a bleeding designer now. It’ll be one rail with a few shirts that a few mates put together in Peckham, and Aunt Cath’s knitted him some Aran jumpers. Then he’ll run around the room screaming ‘Awright, awright, awright…’?”
But as the sometimes rather snobbish GQ put it: ‘the most shocking part of this enterprise is that some of the clothes are actually quite good, especially the shoes’.
GQ knows rather more about clothes and shoes than me, though for what it’s worth I think some of Dave’s clobber is quite tasty too. Or maybe it’s the model.
The other predictable response to Barrymore’s fashion line launch involved loads of online ‘comedians’ tweeting (and commenting beneath the GQ piece) about the lack of swimwear, or how ‘this fashion line is already dead in the water’.
Being used as a crappy punchline, and much worse, has often been Barrymore’s lot since the death in 2002 of a party-goer in his light-entertainment success-symbol swimming pool. The bespoke efforts of Fleet Street’s finest to fit him up as some kind of murdering gay rapist sold a shed-load of newspapers for years afterwards, but no one really bought any of it. In fact, what’s remarkable is – a few Twitter trolls aside – how fondly regarded Barrymore remains with so many people more than a decade after his TV career ended so abruptly.
I wish him and Dave every success in their dead posh new venture together. And suspect that the vast majority of the British public does too.