31 October 2010

Trunk Bay, St. John

30 October 2010

Kiss Me, Chudleigh: The World According to Auberon Waugh

Auberon Waugh (1939-2001) has been compared to Jonathan Swift. He was an outrageous satirist who slaughtered whole herds of sacred cows and turned people's heartfelt convictions on their heads. The best of his writing, collected here, is as timeless as Gulliver's Travels and has much power to outrage as the day it was written. Auberon Waugh is a master of the art of going too far, but above all, he was very funny. Kiss Me, Chudleigh is a collection of Waugh's best writing. It is also a compact biography. It consists of excerpts from the things he wrote, drawn from every stage of his career, from the Catholic Herald to Private Eye, the Spectator, the Daily Telegraph and the Literary Review. Arranged both chronologically and thematically, marrying his main preoccupations with the main phases of his life: school (where he received a record number of beatings); university (he came down from Oxford after one year, without a degree); Fleet Street (where he cut his teeth writing captions for the Sunday Mirror's bathing beauties); France (where he lived while writing his second novel, and returned regularly throughout his life); the House of Commons (where he won his spurs as a political correspondent); Grub Street (where he found his comic voice, writing for Private Eye); Somerset (where he made his home) and Abroad (from war reporting in Biafra to travel writing in Bangkok).

Coronet (Hodder & Stoughton)

Rolex Milgauss

29 October 2010

Nice Age (YMO)

Thesiger & Young (1979)

28 October 2010

Lacoste: Croco Véritable


27 October 2010

Eduard Meier seit 1596

26 October 2010

On Blazers

The shocking truth was bound to come out sooner or later. That is, I do not own a navy blazer. In fact I do not own a blazer of any kind. I sent the last one away a month or so ago. The prep underground is quivering with the news, I am sure.

This is crucial. Having practically grown up in navy blazers, as you well know, I have come to detest them and have not worn one in years. Frumpy and undaring, adopted by every pimple-faced prepster from here to Halifax, the blazer is the safe, comfortable choice for unimaginative men everywhere. It screams overgrown schoolboy, aspiring pompous prep, and suburban mall security guard. Can you feel it?

Navy blazers! I once owned four of the damned things. One from Brooks Brothers, a 2-button model, and the next two from Southwick, one with a coveted 3/2-roll as I discovered later. The last was a beloved 2-button Burberry number, lightweight and side-vented, acquired in my early 20s, and worn to smart events round Greenwich and Manhattan.

But no more. Upon sad reflection I seem to discard clothing items with the same velocity with which I get rid of wife, mistress, girlfriend, and household pet, but that is a subject for another column. A navy blazer, despite what they say, is a strictly optional item. Like a dress shirt, it is disposable. Still, the ramifications of choosing to wear one require precise consideration.

Life, as we all know, is just one long photo opportunity. So think before you wear. Do you really want to be mistaken for a security guard? Or, worse, a lawyer? Do you really want to be caught dead in a car wreck on Pacific Coast Highway wearing a department store blazer? Think of what your chums would say. I certainly do.

It is time for you to come clean. Do you own a navy blazer? And if so, why?

Same Old Scene (Roxy Music)

24 October 2010

Lawn Bowling at Rotorua

23 October 2010

J.Press Fairisle

Grazie al nostro corrispondente a New York

Eduard Meier Brogues

21 October 2010

une petite ligne de défense

"Quand on voit l’équipement d’exercice moderne, que cela soit celui de skieur, de joueur de hockey, de pêcheur sportif, on dilapide des sommes considérables. Le concept même de loisir a changé. Dans ma jeunesse un hobby ne pouvait pas et de ne devait pas coûter cher ou mieux ne devait rien coûter sinon les pièces pour réparer les genoux des pantalons. Les écoles et les villes ont des gymnases mais, dans cette nouvelle ère de folie, on ne pratique plus les sports de saison. Patinage en été, football en hiver, on lutte contre le climat. Tout cela ramène au débat du gaspillage de la nature: fabrication, transport, énergie, perte d’espaces verts, changements climatiques, trou dans la couche d’ozone. La vieille rengaine écologiste qui, pourtant doit être répétée ad nauseam. On doit sans cesse rappeler que le sport automobile est un crime, au moins jusqu’à ce qu’il soit étouffé par des taxes environnementales...Chaque individu qui marche, court, fait de la bicyclette, nage, rame, pagaye, ski, creuse, bine crée une barrière pour se défendre contre cette folie, la machine. Au mieux, s’il est un parent, un grand parent, un professeur, un entraîneur, il créera ainsi une petite ligne de défense."

Pentti Linkola, Can Life Prevail? (2009)

Jermyn Street Brummell

Chap Florentine

Images courtesy of Anonymous and The Sartorialist


Not long after contemplating the Case of the Missing Belgian Shoes I was summoned into main hall by a flurry of errant notions advancing on my consciousness like a locust swarm landing on Yemeni plain. Time to seek refuge. The play of deep-cosmic moonbeams and archaic forms on white walls signalled the approach of unnamed horrors, including a grinding dream-whirl sleep pattern experienced off-and-on since I was 16 that I was determined as ever to avoid. Cue the Malbec and Moët-coated codeine tablets. With ambiguous intent I secured the ground communications lines and stepped into astral mists. Submerged in melancholic condition my mind’s eye spied a celestial girl with sugar-tongue of crystal blue and hair of gold. She stood before me. I spoke to her. Do you remember me? We watched the Queen of a Thousand Years pass by your villa. We kissed on a bench under the double suns of Besberas, while bemused teleradio-technicians in platinum astro-suits strolled by. I loved you and wanted to marry you. Today I trek alone upon the path of fogey psycho-alpinists united in spirit if not in flesh. Do you read me?

20 October 2010

American Gigolo (1980)

Ce qui est BCBG

19 October 2010

Arcadia Of My Youth

"My name is Phantom F. Harlock. At that time I was flying amidst rolling thunder from Port Moresby, traversing New Guinea, heading for Rabaul, on New Britain Island. As an aerial explorer, conquering the sky throughout the world was the dream upon which I staked my life. It was the Owen Stanley Mountains that stood in my way. Its highest peak, 5030 meters, the mountain that has come to be feared by men as the Stanley Witch...

My name is Phantom F. Harlock, and this plane is flesh of my blood, sharing my blood...the friend that shares my fate, Arcadia of my youth. When this plane, with whom I shared my youth, with whom I rode the skies, has ceased to fly, my life will also end.

The fuselage was heavy that day, with a full load of fuel. Unable to gain altitude, Arcadia's engine gasped terribly. The sound of the cylinders, seemingly out of breath, resembled the irregular beat of my aged heart. Arcadia and I flew the best we could, seeking a ravine we could slip through. But the Owen Stanley Mountains looked down on Arcadia and I, coldly, without stirring in the slightest.

Arcadia and I were beaten in battle in the sky but once in our lives. I had turned back, swallowing my regret, when I chanced to look back. The mountain...the mountain was laughing. Believing that with Arcadia I was in a world where there was no such word as defeat, I kept flying. I kept ten minutes' worth of gasoline, and jettisoned the rest in to the air. The fuselage thus lightened, I staked everything on those ten minutes.

My name is Phantom F. Harlock. My plane, with whom I shared joys and sorrows, is Arcadia of my youth. I kept flying, believing in myself. I have no regrets about my life. Dreams do not vanish, so long as people do not abandon them."

Phantom F. Harlock, Arcadia Of My Youth (1982)

18 October 2010

Boutique Vicomte Arthur

17 October 2010

Madam Butterfly (Malcolm McLaren)

Ars longa, spectatores fugaces

Ace of the Black Cross

"Fate has given each of us the choice to become either a merchant or a soldier, to enjoy life or to forego happiness in favour of the idea that the little vessel of our existence carries out into the eternal stream of history."

Ernst Udet, Ace of the Black Cross (1938)

16 October 2010

15 October 2010

Quilted Jacket Alternative

Do you go quilted? I ask only because my oft-mended Barbour Liddesdale jacket is due to retire any day now and I am in the market for a replacement. Quilted jackets are a light, casual alternative to heavier waxed jackets, barn coats, and polo coats. Pair your quilted jacket with an OCBD, denim trousers, Gucci loafers, and maybe even an Hermès scarf if you are sufficiently daring. Here in Southern California, quilted jackets are ideal for breezy winter days on the beach and cold desert nights by the fire. In the London of my youth Italians and French were identified by their navy quilted jackets, adherents of the French version of Sloane-dom, BCBG, especially so. A white-haired WASP dowager of my acquaintance is known to wear her after-midnight black quilted jacket practically round the clock whilst she potters about her cliff-hugging seaside Laguna Beach mansion sipping glasses of chardonnay, smoking cigarettes, and cursing the Democratic party in cumulatively abusive terms. The synthesised techno-fibre of the quilted jacket means you needn't worry if your garment is christened with spilt wine, slobber from happy hounds, chicken tikka masala, or tossed bacalhau. I plan to acquire my next Barbour quilted jacket from a North American merchant. Where shall you get yours?

Club Berluti

Julien Green

"Our life is a book that writes itself and whose principal themes sometimes escape us. We are like characters in a novel who do not always understand what the author wants of them."

Julien Green, Diary 1928-1957 (1964)

13 October 2010

Berluti Club Warhol

In 1962, Olga was training to be a shoemaker when Andy Warhol first came to the Berluti store. Although he was still unknown to the public at large, Olga realised she was dealing with an exceptional person.

Olga was eager to attend to these shoes personally, being the first ones executed entirely by her. Against her family’s wishes, she selected the hides and designed loafers with a purity and modernism that were unique for the time. They were perfect except for a thick vein which ran across the top of one of the shoes.

In 1963, Andy Warhol returned to collect his loafers. She gingerly presented them to him. Anticipating rejection, she explained that this pair was not exactly like the rest. Indeed, Olga told him that she had deliberately chosen the leather from a wayward cow that liked to rub up against barbed wire fences. Andy Warhol appreciated the fact that this feature gave his pair of shoes their unique character. Amused and seduced by the surrealism of the situation, he replied: “In future, I only want shoes made from the hide of wayward cows.”

This avant-gardist and contemporary model remains today the symbol of the visionary creativity of the House. It is equally the reflection of the client’s creative input at Berluti.

Excerpt from Berluti website
© Berluti

Soulier Berluti

British Falcons & Hawks Club

12 October 2010

J.Press Bowtie

Merci à notre correspondant à New York


The Duke of Wolfenbüttel, imprisoned by Napoleon, revived the Order of the Death's Head (Totenkopf), founded in 1652 by the Duke of Württemberg-Oels. The revival of this order apparently was realised in the rising of the Black Legion of Germany that defeated Napoleon. The Death's Head was on the headgear of all the Brunswick Hussars. Knights and ladies of the Order had to devote their life to contemplation on the "secrets of God and Nature" and the meaning of life in accordance with the maxim of "Memento mori" (translation: 'remember you will die' or 'be mindful of death'). Religious insignia consisted of a silver or white enamel totenkopf, suspended with a black neck ribbon with silver embroidered words "Memento mori" and a silver ring with a skull worn on the left hand. The Order expired upon the death of the prince Sylwiusz in 1664. It was revived by his granddaughter Elizabeth Luiza Fr. Saksonii-Merseburga in 1709 as a sisterhood, only to expire again after her death. The spirit of this order has lived on, and has been used by many more generations of armies. The Totenkopf is an eternal reminder that death is certain.

10 October 2010

To Stay Alive (Michel Houellebecq)

"Given the characteristics of the modern era, love can scarcely manifest itself anymore. Yet the ideal of love has not diminished. Being, like all ideals, fundamentally atemporal, it can neither diminish nor disappear."

Michel Houellebecq, Rester vivant (1999)

Patrick Leigh Fermor

"I found my mind wandering at games; loved boxing and was good at it; and in summer, having chosen rowing instead of cricket, lay peacefully by the Stour, well upstream of the rhythmic creaking and the exhortation, reading Lily Christine and Gibbon and gossiping with kindred lotus-eaters under the willow-branches."

Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time Of Gifts (1977)


09 October 2010

Morris of Stockholm

Nassau Club Days

08 October 2010

Admiral Cod On Tour: Beverly Hills

See You (Depeche Mode)

Chelsea Farmer's Club

Chelsea Farmer’s Club
Bleibtreustraße 40
10623 Berlin

Chelsea Farmer’s Club
Kasernenstraße 23
40213 Düsseldorf

Email: info@chelseafarmersclub.de


Brioni 1963-1964

Kill Your TV !

07 October 2010

The White Lady Cocktail

Northumberland Beagling Festival

06 October 2010

New Rose (The Damned)

Play at maximum volume

Tea Revives You !

Sensation (Arthur Rimbaud)

Par les soirs bleus d'été, j'irai dans les sentiers,
Picoté par les blés, fouler l'herbe menue:
Rêveur, j'en sentirai la fraîcheur à mes pieds.
Je laisserai le vent baigner ma tête nue.

Je ne parlerai pas, je ne penserai rien,
Mais l'amour infini me montera dans l'âme;
Et j'irai loin, bien loin, comme un bohémien,
Par la Nature, heureux--comme avec une femme.

Well-Heeled: LA versus NYC

Los Angeles versus New York City.

A rivalry imagined rather than experienced. Both cities occupy top billing in the 'pop' culture and both are known for attracting social-climbers, provincials, rubes, frauds, and aspiring sharks.

But there is an important difference that immediately distinguishes itself to those interested in details of style.

The latest issue of The Rake (Issue 11 Volume 5) contains a brief article on my favourite bespoke shoe maker, Cleverley, in which is repeated the old saying:

How do you tell the difference between a man from NYC and a fellow from LA?

The New Yorker has laces in his shoes.

How amusing. Although it is true I am not from LA and have actually lived in both this area and NYC for an equal number of years, I am close enough to LA today to feel an obligation to respond to this jibe.

Is there some truth in it? Yes, I think so. Certainly in my business and social dealings here in Southern California I notice that most of the other chaps wear loafers and other slip-on shoes.

And when I analyse my own collection, the numbers indicate that currently 67% of my shoes are of the slip-on variety. This number is set to increase, as I gradually replace my older oxfords and brogues with newly-acquired bespoke and MTO slip-on shoes.

Do you prefer loafers and slip-ons? If so, say it loud and proud!

After all, the New Yorker, living in the dangerous crime-infested environment for which his city is famous, has a very good reason to stick to laces.

The laces deter urban street thugs from stealing his shoes.


05 October 2010

Corto Maltese: A Tribute - "The Sailor Without A Ship"


Hackett Autumn 2010