SOFT POWER

“Cashasilk.” A clunky hybrid in grammatical terms, but when cashmere and silk come together in a weave, it can create a beautifully soft, light and lustrous texture, as seen in these two bespoke jackets, made for a long-standing and audacious New York client who’s never afraid to mix it up. The first is a three-button single-breasted bold-check affair, with patch pockets, pad stitching under the lapels for additional firmness (and curvature maintenance), and internal saddle stitching. He’ll team this one with his electric blue gabardine trousers for a more formal look, or his white selvedge jeans for those late summer cocktail soirees in The Hamptons. The second is a gorgeous blue triple check DB with black over-check, with Nutter-referencing lapels, straight pockets, and beautiful blue mother-of-pearl buttons. He’ll team this one with his chocolate gabardine trousers or his white jeans. And yes, he’s a very busy man, but while he may be time-poor, we can now safely say he’s cashasilk-rich.

 

Single-breasted, Lightweight, Cashasilk Jacket.

Single-breasted, Lightweight, Cashasilk Jacket.

 

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CashaSilk double-breasted  blazer with blue mother-of-pearl buttons

CashaSilk double-breasted blazer with blue mother-of-pearl buttons

Jacket lining.

Jacket lining.

Chocolate brown under collar.

Chocolate brown under collar.

CashaSilk; Blue triple check with black window pain over check.

CashaSilk; Blue triple check with black window pain over check.

 

 

GO-FASTER PINSTRIPES

Do you feel the need – the need for speed-tweed? For a while now I’ve been pondering the possibilities of injecting a bit of sports technology into tailoring, to create pieces that stand up to outdoor rigours yet still retain that air of indoor elan. We’ve already tested the water, so to speak, with our cycling jackets for Rapha and Brooks, and now we’re developing a shooting range for a lady who happens to be the European game champion. The problem they wanted to address – and it’s an age-old one – is that anything that’s ergonomic is not very elegant, and vice versa. We’ve been using tweed with nano-technology to make it showerproof; we’re also using Ventile, a densely woven, wind- and waterproof and breathable cotton fabric that was developed for military outerwear in World War 2, and GoreTex membranes for further protection from the elements. We’re also doing a field coat for the writer Nick Foulkes in a US military-grade ripstop, which is a cotton/polyester mix woven in such a way that makes it extremely resistant to tearing, just as the troops use in action. It’s something a tailor wouldn’t ordinarily touch, but I think it’s fun to mix these things up.

Ladies Shooting, Traditional Tweed with a Bright Green Twist

Ladies Shooting, Traditional Tweed with a Bright Green Twist

What we’re aiming at eventually is producing a ready-to-wear version of these hybrids, particularly for cycling and shooting. Bespoke can’t compete with the sports-tech giants like Nike, obviously – I don’t think you’ll be seeing Usain Bolt in a bespoke 100 metres outfit any time soon -   but we can work with the more elegant pursuits to produce garments that people could realistically wear. Getting involved with Woolmark was a real eye-opener in this regard, because we started working with things like tailored jersey and tailored sweatwear. We’ve got a lot of younger customers who’ve come through the whole heritage thing and now want clean, modern design, so I think sportswear’s becoming very relevant, but with a kind of luxe twist – a sweat shirt with a bit of alpaca in it, for instance, or Storm System from Loro Piana, which pretty much gives you waterproof cashmere. So bespoke can come in both from the top down, tech-ing up a trad look, or from the bottom up, tweaking the workaday or performance look into something much more individual. I suppose the ultimate expression of this direction would be the perfect tracksuit, cut as stringently as any bespoke suit in, say, a navy tailored jersey herringbone, modelled by some classic business type. I can’t see Sir Alan Sugar going for it, but Rupert Murdoch might well give it a go.

Ladies Shooting Waist Coat in Purple with Deep Cartridge Pockets

Ladies Shooting Waist Coat in Purple with Deep Cartridge Pockets

Ladies Shooting Jacket

Ladies Shooting Jacket

 

RIP ROBIN WILLIAMS

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Still trying to digest the awful news about Robin Williams, a true comedic one-off. I met him several times – including, on one memorable occasion, styling him for the Oscars, when he formed the centrepiece of a lady Mountie chorus line in a number riffing on Blame Canada, from the South Park movie – although each encounter was an unforgettable one. How could it not be, with that mind that seemed tuned to a different frequency to anyone else’s, where voices from all epochs, classes and denominations seemed to co-exist in a giddy comic ferment? But being of A Certain Age, I’ll always remember him best and fondest as a certain alien refugee from Planet Ork, burning up the teatime TV screen in a scarlet jumpsuit and silver boots and gloves – a look I strove in vain to emulate at the time with mother’s Marigolds – in Mork & Mindy. So I think it behoves us all to say a final “Nanu Nanu” (while twiddling both ears, of course) to Robin Williams. There will truly never be another like him.

BRIT SHOP

“Buy British.” A perky little phrase, isn’t it? But in recent years it’s been a lot easier to trip it off the tongue than put it into practice, for all sorts of reasons – cheap imports, the decline of manufacturing in the UK, etc. I’m glad to announce that the counter-attack is now well and truly under way. I recently dropped in at the House of Commons (nice buttresses – and the architecture wasn’t bad either, ooh Matron), for the launch event of the inaugural Buy British Day, which will take place on October 3rd. It’s part of the Best of Britannia event showcasing British brands, which we’ll again be participating in this year, and it’s a chance to acknowledge the enormous talents, sterling traditions, and continuing innovations of our native industries and craftsmen – something I’m naturally very passionate about, from my Welsh socks to my Spitalfields cuffs to my Scottish gloves. So many people are looking to Britain at the moment in the wake of events like the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, so we shouldn’t hide our various lights under any more bushels. Buy British Day will be a chance to help educate people about the sheer range and quality of goods that we produce, and I’ll be doing my rah-rah bit in the run-up to the event by featuring some of my fellow Brit-players-and-manufacturers on the blog. Together – and I think we need a rousing bit of Elgar on the soundtrack here, thank you – we can have these Isles ruling the aisles once again!

The panel included Timothy Everest (left) and William Church of Cheaney Shoes (2nd from right). Images thanks to Grey Fox Blog.

The panel included Timothy Everest (left) and William Church of Cheaney Shoes (2nd from right). Images thanks to Grey Fox Blog.

MR TIM’S TALES: 1

One of the best things about working for Tommy Nutter in the early 80s – aside from plentiful opportunities to down a Judy Garland, Tommy’s favourite tipple of cold lager, so-called because he’d read it was what Judy used to drink before going on stage, to calm her nerves – was the sheer range of his clientele; we had Lords, Ladies, pop stars, legends of light entertainment, and East End gangsters. It might possibly have been one of the latter who once came in on a bespoke appointment. After taking him though the whole process – cloth, style, measurements – we shook hands at the door and I was about to ask him when he’d be free for a fitting, when he said “OK, great, I’ll come back and see you when I get out of prison.” I think his details are still on file somewhere, so, if he’s reading this, and he’s not still in the Scrubs, he knows where to find me…

Annex - Garland, Judy_NRFPT_09

Judy Garland

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The List… August

To Eat | Blackfoot, 46 Exmouth Market, London EC1R 4QE

Blackfoot Restaurant. It’s new, it’s East and it only serves pork. How delicious!

 

To Drink | La Chapelle, 35 Spitalfields Square, London E1 6DY

I went to an amazing party here a couple of weeks ago. Upon walking in I thought how real the music sounded, of course when I looked up there was an entire orchestra playing the Meet Joe Black theme tune.. what a moment!

 

To Visit | Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival is here again and with this glorious weather we know it’ll be at it’s best. Get ready, it’s time to take those giant head dresses out for a walk around town.

 

To Ride | RideLondon

Image courtesy of www.compton-hospice.org.uk

Named by Boris to be one of the greatest cycling festivals in the world, and we all love a bit of biking. RideLondon consists of cycling events dotted around London. From family cycling tours to keen amateur challenges London will be laced in lycra.

 

To Win | Glorious Goodwood

The starter pistol fired it’s first shot on Tuesday at the Glorious Goodwood and it looks to be quite the glorious few days at the worlds most beautiful racecourse. Pour some Pimms and place your bets, your in for a treat.

 

To Listen | Kate Bush, The Apollo Hammersmith, 45 Queen Caroline St, London W6 9DZ

She’s back with a vengeance for her second ever tour in the carrier of this eclectic english singer. No wonder it’s a sell out, I shall find a way!

Hitting the Road with my TE Travel Blazer, Part 5: Porto Cervo

Guest post by an anonymous Trail Blazer.

On the island of Sardegna, Porto Cervo today lies somewhere between Robert Redford’s The Great Gatsby and Baz Luhrmann’s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel.

 

In placing into some context the Rolls Royce waiting at the island’s Olbia airport you might use a similar method of bookends. At Olbia, planes from charters to private jets service Porto Cervo, at the heart of the northern Costa Smeralda quarter created by Prince Karim Aga Khan now a half century ago to act as a Mediterranean Sea hub for the most comfortably well off. The Rolls that is kerb side for arrivals also draws on bygone days and more recent times. The car is both classic in design and at the same full of contemporary touches.  Functionality, as you would expect, transcends eras. ‘Twas ever thus.

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The plane from Milan being met by this Rolls Royce carries a weathered looking local hugging himself in a heavy cotton blazer and further insulated by a scarf. Sardegna on the cusp of summer’s heights isn’t yet quite warm enough for this native as he chews in anticipation on an unlit Toscana cigar. He could predate even Fitzgerald. After landing he may head to the village of his birth where the tradition of splitting a Toscana in two to share will come to pass. He won’t be short of a friend there to accept the invitation.

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The travel jacket is heading to a spot well known for satisfying every personal wish and whim. For a bespoke piece like this, the short trip from the airport to Porto Cervo is, fittingly, in the best possible style. The Rolls Royce’s interior and immaculate finish mirror the bespoke detail of the jacket. The engine’s quality and durability is on par with the jacket’s wool-mohair blend that instantly restores the shape and structure regardless of how creased the sedentary, packed passage from Milan has been.

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There is a theory that it is better to be driven in a Rolls Royce than to take the wheel. Who is driving is of course at the heart of The Great Gatsby. Is it Daisy or Tom Buchanan? Much of the narrative to resolving this is provided by Nick Carraway. He sees Tom for what he is. Likewise Daisy, for whom sympathy drains away with the turn of every page.

 

Of all The Great Gatsby protagonists, Nick Carraway would best suit the travel jacket.  The many bespoke pockets could be a perfect fit for his note pad and other observational tools that the book’s narrator always seemingly carries.

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As you progress through The Great Gatsby Carraway begins a descent into oblivion and is only saved – indeed saves himself – on his birthday. He seeks a way out of the chaos on realizing he has forgotten that a landmark day is upon him – “30 years old and the prospect of a decade’s loneliness ahead”. Yet at the same time, his affairs remain in order and he keeps isolated from much that is around him. In maintaining composure the travel jacket would help. A Rolls Royce would further insulate him comfortably from intrusions.

WORLD CUP CATWALK

They think it’s all over – it is now! That was some tournament, no? From Alejandro Sabella’s backwards “faint” to the giant grasshopper that alighted on James Rodriguez’ sleeve as he took his penalty against Brazil, we weren’t short of memorable meme-worthy moments. I’ve got several style-skewed armchair-pundit highlights I’d like to share in a doomed attempt to bridge the yawning void till Russia 2018…

 

*Gary Lineker’s glasses. The modish frames combined with the Clooney-esque salt-and-pepper crop to elevate GL into the hallowed-hipster league.

Image courtesy of www.radiotimes.com

Image courtesy of www.radiotimes.com

*Thierry Henry’s cardigans. A smart move to differentiate yourself, panel-wise, from the massed ranks of peer-reviewed, extravagantly-collared open-neck shirts.

 

*Glenn Hoddle’s shorts. Oh my days, as Clarke “down with the kids” Carlisle would undoubtedly say. This ill-advised attempt to “loosen up” ITV’s team with some beachside action only resulted in some excruciating tightening-up that came perilously close to post-watershed camel toe.

Image courtesy of www.brunchnews.com

Image courtesy of www.brunchnews.com

*Angela Merkel’s Final outfit. Beautifully tailored red-and-white Dries Van Noten-esque combo. You’ve got our number, Angela, for any future commissions…

Image courtesy of dapperchap.co

Image courtesy of dapperchap.co

*Rio Ferdinand’s Final outfit. The TE household appreciated his on-trend DB blazer very much, though Rio himself later opined that it made him look like an EasyJet pilot. At least it wasn’t Ryan Air, Rio…

Image courtesy of armradio.am

Image courtesy of armradio.am

*Finally, Sepp Blatter getting roundly booed at the Cup’s presentation. Every great piece of theatre needs a panto villain.