Thursday, 27 January 2011

Metal Lust Object No.3 - Nuttalls of Chester

   I think that regardless of the snappy patter regarding the rising price of gold (disclosure: I used to analyse its performance as a moneymaker and hedge against inflation in a life that was more wide boy), it would redound to any man's credit to make an investment of his shirting adornments (such is my plan for the coming year). It's good taste that one can actually be proud of flaunting

   This creation from Nuttalls of Chester would make a fine start:

9 carat solid yellow gold and natural carnelian cufflinks

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Getting Around Again

   The Mode Parade and I were recently featured on the Italian stylesite, S2B Press. The title is, or course, partially borrowed from one of my articles for Men's Flair. I've run it through Google's translation service, although any Italian/English speakers are more than welcome to send me something more grammatically cohesive than that system is able to provide

   It is nice to be acknowledged thusly

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Just Fit

   I am far from a fan of the three button jacket - the 3-roll-2 aside - and yet this normally unflattering, pedestrian aesthetic comes alive when invigorated by the best possible fit:

   After observing such cutting in practice, it's more than clear to me that the idyllic three button imputes a no-nonsense sturdy broadness to the chest. In tandem with well tailored shoulders and a lengthy body, the coat practically confers instant dignity on even the swarthiest urban playboy

   This ensemble also shows a trenchant use of a pale pink tie and pocket square with a white shirt, playing their soft contrast against their wearer's complexion and also making for a gentle visual when juxtaposed with the starkly coloured and styled suit. A stronger pink tie might have been, at best, brash; at worst, wide boy-harsh. And not every look should be a geezer-approval winner

   The photograph dates from 1970 and is part of Sator's stash. I believe it's Germanic in origin

Thursday, 13 January 2011

It's Greatcoat Weather

   Outside the perennials such as Burberry Prorsum, Crombie, Aquascutum, Davies & Son and Belstaff, I've not seen much in the way of compelling outerwear for this frigid season. Of course, cursory scans of this column show that I'm rather fond of ye olde classic inspirations:

   This is Edward, Duke of Windsor's greatcoat, decorated with Royal Yacht Squadron buttons, circa 1930. Through my best friend, I recently had the pleasure of reading all three catalogues concerning Sotheby's 1997 auction of the wardrobes, knick knacks, servant's uniforms, furniture and other effects that belonged to him and Wallis Simpson, whose striking, if overly figural, Cartier jewellery and accessories recently set new records at another Sotheby's sale. Despite what the uncharitable might say about the couple, never let it be said that the Windsor collection lacked depth; I know a few women who would kill for a solid gold necessaire de soir. One or two men, also. Purseforum has male members, no?

   The greatcoat has a certain potent quality amongst other coats and the fact that they have not seen a resuscitation in their fortunes since John Barrowman first imputed his roguish Captain Jack Harkness character with Quentin Crisp-force camp in Doctor Who and Torchwood makes them a delectable attraction. Of course, this is a military coat I am talking about - it practically imbues the wearer with bearing through its shoulder structure alone. It also has a deft adaptability; deployable as it is with precise, formal ensembles, it also works with less dressy presentations like the slacks with shirts or knitwear that Burberry's stylists are adepts of. Wear it open with the collar turned up and dramatically framing an elegant turtleneck for that casual loucheness. And the drama can only deepen if one is partial to wearing them with stylish millinery like a fedora or a dressy Western hat:

   As for other styles of coat, I think that fur will be my next step-up. And this, the Duke's 1934 A Simpson & London Ltd formal overcoat, is strictly for the astrakhan lovers:

Scans from The London Lounge and The Cutter and Tailor

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Thought of the Day (Brain-Work)

I cannot live without brain-work. What else is there to live for? Stand at the window here. Was ever such a dreary, dismal, unprofitable world? See how the yellow fog swirls down the street and drifts across the dun-coloured houses. What could be more hopelessly prosaic and material? What is the use of having powers when one has no field upon which to exert them? Crime is commonplace, existence is commonplace, and no qualities save those which are commonplace have any function upon earth.

-- Arthur Conan Doyle, The Sign of the Four, 1890

Monday, 10 January 2011

A Death in the Afternoon

   I freely admit that I am not a champagne connoisseur on account of a lack of enjoyment of its  relentless effervescence and the unexpected removal of my tastebuds' functions that comes with it

   Champagne cocktails, on the other hand, are a beverage class I'm more amenable to. Most recently at a gathering in London, I was seen sampling a few of the literary-pedigreed concoction known as a Death in the Afternoon. It strikes me as one of Ernest Hemingway's more undersung contributions to mankind's progress - probably because it's overshadowed by the book - and dates back to a celebrity cocktail recipes collection published in 1935

   Traditionally served in a champagne flute, one shot or ounce of absinthe is normally recommended for the beguiling, milky green result. Personally, I err on the side of "mix to taste;"  the usual result is that one only half notices the champagne, since the merge between its liquid sweetness and the ludic smoothness of the absinthe is rather effortless. For champagnes, I suggest a cava or a cheaper brand in order to avoid disrupting their better qualities. Curiously, I recall that it more or less cured a migraine I'd been nursing through the night - truly, a gift that keeps on giving

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Leather Lust Object No.5 - A Success Story

   I'm in pain

   I don't know if it's that exquisite kind of pain that fashionable women will sometimes talk about after a few hours of suffering the constraints of a lust object on their feet. But I will admit that my first few wears of these vintage bespoke John Lobb dress shoes did include me subsuming my discomfort at a slightly too small insole by telling myself, "This is what you wanted, you vainglorious bastard!"

   Of course, if I really wanted pain, I'd not stop at my feet; I'd have run off to the nearest poorly lit basement in Soho or its newly minted Dirty East London cousin Dalston, asked for a custom leather daddy ensemble to go with these heels and, by special request, have some of the spikes placed on the inside of the outfit. Then I'd have gone out dancing. I like to insist on a complete experience

   Never trust anyone that tells you, "Blisters are part of the fun." Oh, there is certainly a powerful attraction to being at eye level with the top shelf at the newsagent, but it is moderated by the pressing need to take the heels off and run hither to the cobbler to arrange a good stretching. If you know what I mean

   But those are merely the positives. The negatives are a newfound difficulty to complete toe touch exercises and a nascent proclivity for boot cut trousers. The latter is more trying because it's apparent that good ones are rare birds on the eBay

   All in all, I am going to have fun with these. The original owner seemed to as well; the collection he liquidated included over a dozen of similarly lasted 1960s - '70s "Mod Lobb" delights in styles such as cognac lizard with horsebit, a number of black alligators, dark brown ostrich, off white suede and sky blue leather correspondent, and calf with that most Scottish of footwear adornments, a buckle. On such profligacies alone, this may be the sort of fellow that they write limited edition autobiographies about to outrage and delight the various species of aesthete that abound

   If you'd like to partake in a similarly new perspective of the world from the bottom up, these are for sale. I'm a touch surprised that such heels have been less common since the 1970s - surely an extra two inches is most men's poorly hidden desire?