Running one of Melbourne’s best pastry businesses doesn’t give Gareth Whitton many opportunities to get dressed up. The founder of cult patisserie Tarts Anon in Cremorne and Collingwood says his work demands clothing that’s tough enough to withstand long hours in a fast-paced kitchen.

Whitton’s work uniform consists of a slim-fitting pair of black trousers (“with a bit of give through the waist”), a well-cut white T-shirt and always a leather clog.

This begs the question: how did Whitton, the former head pastry chef of Dinner By Heston, end up the face of Melbourne menswear designer Christian Kimber’s new rugby shirt?

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“I guess in a way our crafts aren’t too dissimilar,” Whitton tells Broadsheet. “Food is something we all take for granted on occasion, as it is such an integral part of our day-to-day and fashion is no different. The beauty of both disciplines is there is so much diversity within them that’s indicative of culture and individuals that, when in the right hands, [they] can transcend purpose and become things of beauty – something that I believe Christian and I strive to achieve daily.”

The garment in question, the Mornington rugby shirt, is Kimber’s interpretation of the menswear staple, elevated with the designer’s signature sense of plush detail.

Hand-knitted in Portugal from thick, heavyweight 360GSM cotton for a warm and comfortable wear, its bands of beige, deep ocean blue, muted green and native wattle are inspired by the colours of the Mornington Peninsula. Kimber says it’s one of his favourite places in Australia because “It reflects so many of the best parts of the Australian lifestyle: beach, wineries, restaurants, country, farms, wide open spaces and the most spectacular sunsets.”

Whitton says that even when it comes to choosing clothes that aren’t his usual uniform, his typical rules still apply. The new shirt works in perfectly.

“I’m always on the lookout for clothes that I can wear again and again, but that also suit my style without being too restrictive,” he says. “I love to be comfortable without compromising on a certain aesthetic, something that Christian has worked brilliantly into his pieces so you never feel over- or underdressed.”

Since launching his label in 2014, Kimber has been studiously reinventing menswear staples, from field jackets to knitwear, with the rugby shirt the latest classic to receive the Kimber touch. It’s perfect timing: the easy-wear item has recently made its way onto the Paris runways at Loewe and Louis Vuitton shows.

“Rugbys are really coming into frame right now,” says Kimber. “I think it’s due to both a focus on oversized and deconstructed garments of late, and a love of nostalgia. It’s a slightly more rugged option to a polo, which we’ve perfected over time.”