Monday, 30 April 2012

Aventus from the House of Creed

Creed's Aventus Smells Really Nice

I've a confession readers. I get a little stuck when I try and describe the smell of perfumes. The scent goes into the nose, the mind goes blank. But, rest assured, I know what I like and I don't allow any perfumes on these pages that don't smell bloody nice, even if I have a job describing what I'm smelling and the review comes out something akin to a a wine tasting.

We make the job easier for me by homing in on the brands we respect in this field. Certainly no giant corporate perfume houses that churn out 'celebuscents'. Beckham begone. One such brand we allow into our medicine cabinet is Creed.

House of Creed 1760

Creed was established as the English tailors House of Creed in 1760. A move to France, a couple of hundred years and a migration into perfume house brings us to present day Creed.

Celebrating 250 Years - Aventus

To celebrate 250 years of the Creed name's association with grooming, the company released Aventus in 2010 - a fragrance produced by hand, as scents were manufactured in the 18th century.

Aventus was created by the current father and son ‘noses’, Olivier and Erwin Creed. Olivier Creed is a sixth-generation master perfumer.

Perfume description (wish me luck) ...

One to be worn all year, I'd say. When the scent goes on it is a fresh bowl of fruit, with the fresh zing of blackcurrant and pineapple. As it settles and dries on the skin out come the florals and a creamy woodiness envelopes the fruit. Very distinctive and seductive.

No, I'm not sure if my description does it justice either. A lovely scent nonetheless.

Hope for Aquascutum - Attention Private White

Mancunian Heroes Step into the Breach

When we covered Private White we were impressed with their attitude to protecting the heritage and preserving the manufacture of authentic British clothing. It's fantastic that they are bidding to take ownership of Aquascutum. We couldn't think of a company that we would prefer more to keep the name alive.

We hope the bid is successful and the famous Aquascutum check stays with us in the UK. The reputation of the company for quality and timeless style remained up to the end. My old red leather Aquascutum bag (shown above with Aquascutum trench) is 10 years old and there's not a broken stitch.

Let's remember Aquascutum's glorious history, from miltary outfitters in the Crimean war to the windcheaters and scarves beloved of football casuals in the 80s and 90s. If Private White takes the helm, we may just be seeing the start of a new era for this fine British heritage brand.

Friday, 27 April 2012

An Absolute Gentleman - Mrs White's at Roullier White

Roullier White - The East Dulwich Connection

Lordship Lane is a bustling high street in East Dulwich, South London. Amongst the interesting collection of independent shops, bars and restaurants you'll find Roullier White.

Owner Lawrence Roullier-White’s family has lived in the area for almost 300 years – he is a descendent of John Alphonse Ferdinand Roullier, a renowned French painter who came to the UK in 1780. Many of his descendents remain in the area to this day.

Lawrence has been a buyer and product development director for many of London’s most creative emporia for the last twenty years. Training at the late, great, Covent Garden General Store in the mid-1980s, he developed a passion for practical design with a strong visual aesthetic.

Lawrence sources products from far and wide, each with a history behind it. At Roullier White you'll find interesting homewares, bedding, perfumes and beauty products, as well as Lawrence's signature collection, Mrs White's - a range of cleaning and grooming products made of all-natural ingredients. And entirely made in the UK. Huzzah.

Old Mrs White's Journal

Mrs White, Lawrence Roullier White’s great grandmother, worked for 30 years in domestic service in some of London’s grandest homes. In that time she penned journal of tips and recipes. The journal forms the basis of the products offered under the Mrs White's label.

Mrs White's Absolute Gentleman

Rummage in the Gentlemen's Cabinet & Dressing Room of our dear friends at Roullier White and you'll find Mrs White's preparations for men.

I've been slapping on Mrs White's Absolute Gentleman Moisturiser for Men for some time and can vouch for its efficacy in keeping my cheeks - grizzled from manly pursuits - kissable.

It's made in England and all natural - like old Tweedy himself. The delicious-sounding ingredients include "patchouli, frankincense and fennel, rich apricot oil, raw English beeswax, antibacterial organic English lavender and the very best rose absolute". I know, it sounds good enough to eat and smells it too. If you're used to applying beeswax to your moustache, you'll guess that it feels terrific on the fizzog, particularly after shaving.

Beau Brummel Recommends Washing

Mrs White's Absolute Gentleman Moisturiser for Men is inspired by Beau Brummell, the Regency dandy who was radically well-groomed for his day.

As the Beau Brummell character played by James Purefoy in the 2006 BBC film Beau Brummel: This Charming Man attests: "the dandy washes, the dandy is clean, the dandy is neat..." And might we add the dandy ought to splash on a bit of Mrs White's Absolute Gentleman Moisturiser for Men to keep the face in tip-top condition for carousing.

Are you an Interesting High Street?

Are you an interesting high street or an independent shop or tea room that's likely to tickle our fancy? You don't have to be in the UK. If so, do get in touch and we'll put you on the Tweed Map and hook you into our growing tweed-clad network.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Daines & Hathaway - Q & A on Leather Goods

Daines and Hathaway - A Survivor

Remember when we covered the Daines and Hathaway Military Wet Pack? It's still putting in fine service. As is Daines and Hathaway, which has been manufacturing since the early 1920s.

With the sad news of Tweed Pig favourite Aquascutum going into administration, and its Corby factory closing, how was Daines and Hathaway managing to stay competitive and relevant as a British heritage brand? We thought we'd ask them.

Young Mrs Tweed prepared tea in her Royal Albert Old Country Roses teapot, sliced some ginger cake, and sat down with Daines and Hathaway Marketing Director Kim George for the following Q & A. Thanks to Kim for providing the answers.

Q & A Kim George, Marketing Director of Daines and Hathaway

How is Daines and Hathway surviving against low-cost imports in the 21st century?
Attention to detail and quality is essential. Maintaining our made in the UK manufacturing base - our authenticity - is something people are actively seeking out. Constant innovation is also a must for survival, especially with new technological advances. Hence our new iPad case.

What could you tell us about your design and pattern archive?
We have an extensive collection of old patterns and designs going right back to the 1920s. We are slowly going through it to resurrect some of the old designs with a view to making some limited editions.

Tweedy's Thought: I'm looking forward to seeing some of these old designs re-surface.

Where do your source your leather from? What do you look for when choosing the leather? What types of leathers do you use?
Pretty much all our leather comes from our parent company, Pittards, based in Yeovil, Somerset. They are one of the oldest tanneries in the country. The leather for small leather goods tends to be bovine and sheepskin for our wallets.

Talk us through the process involved from receiving the leather until the finished product. 
The leather comes to us processed and ready to use. We cut it to shape using a pattern and knives, and it will then go through a number of different processes: cutting, splitting, skiving, embossing, preparing and machining. Pieces are hand assembled by the girls and ready to be inspected before being sent out.

Where do you look for inspiration to introduce new products?
We tend to look at upcoming technology and our archive. Another thing we like to do is collaborate with up-and-coming designers.

Where is your customer base?
We have a big fan base in the UK, but we do very well in the USA, Europe, Australia and Japan. We have an agent in New York and are looking for distributors in other countries.

Have you seen a change in the preferences of your male customers?
Not really. Our male customers tend to enjoy the traditional designs. The cufflink boxes and watch boxes are very popular and, of course, one of our best selling products is the Military Wet Pack, which is one of our oldest designs. But we do try to keep up with men's changing requirements. We introduced products like the Oyster Card Holder and the the Bridle Tan Luxury iPad Case (below)

What plans do you have for the future?
Expand our export market. Our products are doing particularly well in the Far East, where there is a real desire for British luxury goods.

British classic?
British Classic - The Military Wet Pack is the most iconic and I would say the cufflink boxes. The Duke of Gloucester has one!

Hidden Gem?
Personally I love the valet boxes (above). They hark back to a different era and conjure evocative images of country houses in pre-war Britain, camomile lawns and tennis courts. Think Brideshead Revisited and you've got it.

Monday, 23 April 2012

St George's Day - Fairest Isle

Happy St George's Day

We run a loose ship here at Tweed Towers, but sometimes we take notice of dates. And today we remembered it was St. George's day, so a happy St. George's day to all our English readers.

We'll recommend a rose martini, as usual.

England - Fairest Isle

John Dryden's lyrics for Purcell's Fairest Isle are written as if intended for a lover. Why not then we look at England as a lover today - one that needs a bit of extra pampering on her special day.

Fairest isle, all isles excelling,
Seat of pleasure and of love
Venus here will choose her dwelling,
And forsake her Cyprian grove.
Cupid from his fav'rite nation
Care and envy will remove;
Jealousy, that poisons passion,
And despair, that dies for love.

Gentle murmurs, sweet complaining,
Sighs that blow the fire of love
Soft repulses, kind disdaining,
Shall be all the pains you prove.
Ev'ry swain shall pay his duty,
Grateful ev'ry nymph shall prove;
And as these excel in beauty,
Those shall be renown'd for love.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

War on Savile Row - Ditch Abercrombie & Fitch

The Chap is Miffed

Good luck to our dear friends at The Chap tomorrow. In case you hadn't heard, they've organised a St. George's Day protest in Savile Row against the proposed opening of an Abercrombie & Fitch children's shop. Heaven forfend.

We have a policy of studiously ignoring all manner of protest, but we can't ignore this showdown as the cultural well-being of this country is at stake. If you're properly attired, why not head along and give The Chap your support between 9 11 am, and help fight back the tide of flip-flops and logo-emblazoned t-shirts.

Warning: Expect some brolly waving and pipe pointing. Your suit might get rumpled in the melee.

Tweedy's Request: If any reader does attend and captures any photos from the heat of battle, we'd be happy to reproduce them.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Mod in England - Sartorial Kicks

Weller - New Album and New Collaboration

Paul Weller's multi-stylistic new album Sonik Kicks is a critical and commercial success. It's taken a couple of weeks for me to get used to its aural adventures in sounds, but it has really started to grow on me. And this is from someone who most prefers Paul's Style Council period.

Paul, whose energy seemingly knows no bounds, has also announced that he will be collaborating with mod heir apparent Miles Kane. I'm looking forward to hearing what comes out of that meeting of minds.

Look at the Shoes

Paul and Miles are sporting fabulous shoes above. Classic black brogue and tassel loafer. Remember what Foster and Son were saying about black shoes? What with this and Coxon in Cordings, no self-respecting British band could dress like scruffbags and hope to be taken seriously.

Tweedy's Thought: Here at Tweed Towers we admire the intelligence and thought that Paul applies to his music, but also his dress. He has stated that clothes are a hobby for him. As a hobbyist, he shows tremendous knowledge. It's obvious that he considers every detail of what he wears. Let's hope we can rope him in to be a Pin-Up or to discuss clothes in more depth some time. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Cup That Cheers - Williamson Teas 1869

Williamson Teas - Tea Growers and Blenders

Williamson Teas is a family-owned business that has been involved in the production of tea for over 140 years. They have their own farms in Kenya from which they can control the quality and sustainability of their tea at source. This raw material is put into the hands of their master blenders to create Williamson's unique teas.

A Williamson Elephant Never Forgets

Williamson Teas are famous for their elephant logo, and to commemorate the London Olympics and Queen's Jubilee they have added two new elephant caddies to their collection. A Williamson elephant never forgets a celebration. They're proving very popular.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Racing Ahead - Royal Ascot Rules

Horses and Hats for Courses

How did you fare in the Grand National? My ante-post triple didn't quite come off. However, I had a 'feeling' in the turf accountants and put a last-minute wager on the eventual winner, the Paul Nicholls-trained (below) grey Neptune Collonges. It made for quite an exciting finish. And riveting to watch all the tweed, the covert coats and the brown trilby hats on the TV for the three hours of coverage. It's the Epsom Derby next, then Royal Ascot, when flat caps and trilby hats are exchanged for top hats.

No doubt you'll be dusting off your topper for Royal Ascot in June. They've just released the dress rules for this year's event. It makes interesting reading. There has been talk of Ascot letting dress standards slip, and Glorious Goodwood quietly becoming the best-dressed horse event. Judging by the instructions this year, there doesn't appear to be any loosening up from Ascot. No doubt you'll be heading for the Royal Enclosure, so I'll re-produce the rules for gentlemen here.

Dress Rules for the Royal Enclosure

Black or grey morning dress which must include:
  • A waistcoat and tie [no cravats]
  • A black or grey top hat
  • Black shoes
A gentleman may remove his top hat within a restaurant, a private box, a private club or that facility’s terrace, balcony or garden. Hats may also be removed within any enclosed external seating area within the Royal Enclosure Garden.

The customisation of top hats [with, for example, coloured ribbons or bands] is not permitted in the Royal Enclosure.

Ascot provides examples of acceptable dress in a style guide. Taken from the style guide, the model above wears a Morning suit by Gieves and Hawkes, shoes by Crockett and Jones and hat from Bates Hatter.

Where to Park Your Topper - Firmin House 1655

Thinking ahead at The Tweed Pig, we've investigated where to park your top hat in-between weddings and Ascots. Patey Hats might have the solution. Patey are now part of the Kashket Group of ceremonial and military tailors, hat makers and medalists. The oldest part of the group, Firmin and Sons, who manufacture and supply military buttons, badges and insignia, dates back to 1655. Kashket and Partners are tailors-in-residence at Sandhurst Royal Military Academy.

Patey's Leather Top Hat Case has a wooden frame construction, covered in leather externally with a suede interior available in three colours.

Tweedy's Thought: Interesting collection of companies in the Kashket Group, with an incredible history.  I'll send young Mrs Tweed on a recce for more intelligence. 

Olympics Spot

As part of our occasional Olympics coverage, we can tell you that Patey is the official supplier of top hats and hunt caps to the Senior British Eventing & Dressage Teams.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Foster & Son - Black is Back

Foster & Son 1840

Foster & Son of Jermyn Street, London is an English maker of bespoke and ready-to-wear shoes that was established in 1840. It is the oldest bespoke English shoemaker in London.

Foster & Son's house style is known as West End - described as a "relaxed yet refined look", exemplified by the famous chisel toe that was created for a bespoke order by Foster's master last maker Terry Moore in the 1960s; the decade when Foster & Son also introduced ready-to-wear to their bespoke line.

Foster's bespoke shoes are hand crafted using the finest leathers above the Jermyn Street shop. A precise process that involves rigorous attention to detail.

Black or Brown? Let's Ask Foster & Son

Influenced by a trip to Madrid in my youth, I went a bit mad on brown shoes for a while. They like a brown shoe in Madrid, even with navy suits. Was the expression "never wear brown in town" about suits or shoes or both? No matter, it means nothing to the stylish Madrileño chap, brimming with Latin rodomontade, hair shining with gomina.

In recent years the brown shoe has gained popularity as a formal choice in the UK. Was it a sign we were starting to lose our natural reservation and go a little continental? Perhaps, but in these uncertain times it seems the wearing of black shoes is back. I asked our friends at Foster & Son for their thoughts. What they told me confirmed my suspicion:

"What we are seeing at Foster & Son is a noticeable move back towards 1950's styles. Young men want to dress like their grandfathers. Smart, conservative even. 

The classic black calf Oxford has always been an essential feature of any well-stocked wardrobe and today we are seeing renewed interest in that more restrained and subtle styling.

Overall we sell 2 or 3 pairs of black shoes for every one in the other colours, so black is definitely the most popular choice." 

Conclusive proof.

Tweedy's Thought: When in doubt it's better to dress like your grandfather. Infinitely better, if you want to be taken seriously, than dressing like a three-year-old Californian boy - hoodie, baseball cap, shorts, Converse pumps and so on.

Black Beauty - The Aston

Take a look at that beauty at the top. It's Foster & Son's Aston, a penny loafer with chisel toe that's  based on a 1960s bespoke shoe design that Terry Moore was involved in from his time at Peal and Co. It's been reworked and is now available ready-to-wear. I'm almost salivating.

Tweedy's Fact: Peal and Co. was a London shoemaker founded in 1741. The business closed in 1965, after which Terry Moore and the old Peal 'Fox and Boot' logo were incorporated into Foster & Son.

Foster & Son - Luggage and Accessories

Foster & Son also produce leather luggage and accessories. The example briefcase above is made with bridle leather, all stress points reinforced with hand stitching. I'm sure it's available in black.

Friday, 13 April 2012

London Remembered - Elizabeth Taylor and John Barry

Taylor Comes Home
You wouldn't think there were hidden gems to be unearthed that are connected to Elizabeth Taylor. Even before social networking her every movement seemed fit for public scrutiny. Consider, however, Elizabeth Taylor in London. A soundtrack album derived from a sixty-minute TV special made in 1963 in which Elizabeth was filmed on location in London reciting famous English poetry and prose to the accompaniment of music by Tweed Towers favourite John Barry.

The film and album present a rather romantic and engaging image of London and England. The album was available through El Records, an imprint of Cherry Red Records. Not sure if it's still being distributed. Sadly, the film has no current distribution.

Against the elegiac strings of the musical score, Elizabeth's recitations are beautifully expressed and endearingly earnest. Of its time, but refreshing for the lack of tiresome knowingness and insincerity that might accompany such a project today.

Set your alarm to wake up to her beautiful voice on London at Dawn, based on Wordsworth's poem Composed upon Westminster Bridge, and you can't help but start the day feeling more kindly disposed to the world.

Composed Upon Westminster Bridge

Earth hath not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! The very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Athenaeum and Bettys Bag Tea Awards

Afternoon Tea News

We don't try and keep up with the news of the day at The Tweed Pig. Exhausting. And the news doesn't have a habit of being genteel. But with afternoon tea it's different. Priorities.

Today we bring surprisingly fresh news. The Tea Guild of the UK Tea Council has recently announced its winners of the Tea Awards 2012. The Athenaeum Hotel won this year's Tea Guild award for Top London Afternoon Tea 2012. That grand northern institution Bettys Tea Rooms won Top Tea Place for its Northallerton cafe.

The Athenaeum Hotel - Evergreen Tea

The Athenaeum's Evergreen Tea includes finger sandwiches, cakes, pastries, orange blossom scones and toasted crumpets. Phwoar. You can have it with a glass of champagne too. An alternative is their Honey Tea with cakes and sweetmeats made with Regent's Park honey, including lavender and honey macaroons and honey cheesecake.

You rock n' rollers will be pleased to know that you can order afternoon tea up to 7pm. At that hour we're in high tea territory.

Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms - Northallerton

Bettys Tea Rooms in Northallerton, Yorkshire, England impressed with their selection of cakes and teas. The tea rooms are situated in a Georgian building on the main high street and you can enjoy your tea in the cafe or Palm Room, or outside in the courtyard if the weather's clement.

Tweedy's Thought: For the Tweed Pig Index of Civilised Cities, a town or city would be awared 10 points for having a Bettys Tea Rooms. Obviously, minus 100 for a Starbucks, KFC, Mcdonalds...Bettys - please come to the West Country. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Say No to Plastic Bags - Dunhill Document Case

Alfred Dunhill Tradition Double Document Case

Tired of carrying your important documents around in a Morrison's shopping bag? It doesn't look so good against your bespoke suit does it? I know you've been meaning to do something about it, so might we suggest you make the giant leap to the Dunhill Tradition Double Document Case. A wonderful thing.

Handmade in Dunhill's east London leather workshop, the quality speaks for itself in the video below. And that quality bespeaks value. "How so?", you ask, swirling your early morning cup of tea/early evening gin and tonic.

Okay, the cost might sting a little now, but how much would you expect to pay for a leather case that is handmade in England 20 years from now, with inflation, collateralized debt obligations and whatnot? This case will still be putting in good service in 20 years and looking even better. That's value, my good friend. And think of all those Morrison's shopping bags you would require over 20 years. Wow, you never thought of yourself as an environmentalist did you?

Friday, 6 April 2012

Town and Country Idler

Being Idle in the Country

After winter storage of man and bike, I dusted off the old Pashley Sovereign and took it for a leisurely spin around the lower part of the Cotswolds in Somerset. Destination: nice little village called Wellow.

The village pub is called the Fox and Badger. One pub would seem adequate for a population of 511, but the village used to have five pubs. The pub is a 16th century building, with open fires and flagstone floors inside, and a rarity - a traditional skittle alley (from which ten-pin bowling derives my Anglo-American chums). Horse brasses hang on the walls inside. You know you're in safe territory. Time was when most pubs had horse brasses hanging, along with all manner of 'pubinalia' accumulated over the centuries. Where have they all gone?

The Idler in Print

I parked myself outside the Fox and Badger with a half-pint of Cornish Doom Bar bitter from Sharps Brewery and a copy of the latest The Idler, half-reading and half-watching the world go by.

"The Idler?", you say. Yes, The Idler, founded in 1993 - a now annual magazine that "campaigns against the work ethic".

Tom Hodgkinson, editor, says, "Victims of the Protestant work ethic would like all work to be unpleasant. They feel that work is a curse, that we must suffer on this earth to earn our place in the next. The Idler, on the other hand, sees no reason not to use his brain to organise a life for himself where his play is his work, and so attempt to create his own little paradise in the here and now."

To this end, I heartily recommend Tom's books such as How to be Idle and The Book of Idle Pleasures, written with Dan Kieran, which offer great tips for the idler-to-be.

Supping in Wellow an idea was born. I thought about writing this post. As Tom says, "A lot of the idler’s work is performed when he is apparently doing nothing, when he is staring out of the window, dawdling around the house or going for a ramble."

All in a day's idling.

Being Idle in Town

The people behind The Idler magazine also run lectures and events at The Idler Academy of Philosophy, Husbandry and Merriment. The Idler Academy is a bookshop and café situated in West London. I took a detour to be nosy the last time I was in town and enjoyed a cup of tea and a cake there.

They have an interesting roster of lecturers on Wednesday nights. Just missed the recent performed reading by Brian Sewell of Hogarth the Compassionate Satirist. Written by the fearless art critic and national treasure himself, Sewell was accompanied by actor Sir Timothy Ackroyd.

Sewell Merchandise: Brian's wonderful voice can be heard on an audiobook version of Hogarth the Compassionate Satirist, released by Saland Publishing in 2006. Not sure if it's still in print, as it were, but I've spotted MP3 recordings being sold.

Of course, you can be idle anywhere, but The Idler Academy is literally made for idleness when in town.

Sewell Fact: I saw Brian Sewell do a talk on life and art in Taunton a few years back. He has a very strong handshake. Took me by surprise.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Trouser Trouble - Top Marks for Spencers Trousers

Spencers Trousers - The English Trouser Specialist

Having trouser trouble? You can get hold of decent shirts and sweaters, but you're being let down in the trouser department? All you see are flimsy trousers in uninspiring material? Have no fear, because today we bring trouser specialist Spencers Trousers, based in the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, England. Spencers Trousers manufacture all their trousers in-house, which are hand-cut and assembled by a single operative. The company was founded by R. E. Spencer in the 1920's and is still family-owned.

The majority of their customers are from the UK, but they also have customers in the USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, South Africa and all over Europe especially the Scandinavian countries.

The Right Cloth

You can order trousers in every kind of suitable fabric, from the finest lightweight wool cashmere to the heaviest Yorkshire tweed. Regular customers receive a seasonal mailing containing samples of fabric suitable for that season.

All of Spencers' cloths are sourced in the UK and they have a close association with their neighbours Brisbane Moss who are one of the last remaining producers of corduroy and moleskin in the UK.

I have a set of samples with me now. A lovely selection of corduroys, woollens and tweeds.

The Right Length

Spencers have a niche market supplying plus fours, plus twos and breeks to golfers and fieldsports enthusiasts. They can satisfy any specialist trouser requirement.

Problem Solved

Your trouser trouble may now be over. Standard details for all made-to-measure trousers are 7 belt loops, single pleat front, two side pocket and hip pocket. When you place your order you can choose such details as brace buttons, button fly, moleskin pockets.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Tweed Pig Pin-Up - Tom Stephenson

Tom Stephenson - Blogger About Town

It's been almost like summer here in the UK, then winter again, then back to summer. Changeable should we say? Anyway I think it's now cooling once more, so we'll sneak in another picture of an overcoat in our Pin-Up series before spring starts in earnest. I have been having a bit of an obsession with raglan-sleeved overcoats recently (here and here), and then I spotted the one above out of the corner of my eye. We had to capture this.

I pushed young Mrs Tweed forward to take particulars and get snapping. She's better at those sorts of things.

About the Photo

Young Mrs Tweed introduced herself to Tom Stephenson, looking something like how you might draw a Poet Laureate.

Tom explains -
"My shoes are made by Crockett & Jones of Northampton, and are the last of the hand-made shoes made in any quantity there. I have two pairs...  
The trousers are made of Donegal tweed which was sent to China, turned into trousers and shipped to the USA where they were altered to my size and then sent to a depot in Britain, and from there to Orvis in Bath (England), where I picked them up. I am not proud of the air miles that went into them... 
The coat was bought second-hand, but was originally tailored by Carl Stewart of Leeds, specifically for a Mr Finlay."
How about that? I'm pleased to report that Carl Stewart of Leeds is still in operation and making bespoke suits. Perhaps Mr Finlay isn't, but his coat lives on splendidly.

Tom went the extra mile and sent us a photo of a hat he had made for the coat (below). It was made by Lisa Burrows who is based in Taunton, Somerset, England. Nice touch.

This is good Pin-up. Thanks Tom. Speaking of which...

Are You pin-up Material?

Do you dream of becoming a Tweed Pig Pin-Up? (Unlikely) Does something in your wardrobe demand a larger audience? (Possibly) If you're a regular reader, you'll know what we like by now. So take a snap and send it in. You can cut your head off if you want to remain anonymous. As someone once said, "Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy." Of course, that was said before Oprah Winfrey and Facebook.

Bond is Back - Anthony Sinclair and the Conduit Cut

Cut, Conduit Cut

Let's remind ourselves of some of the earlier Bond suits.

All Connery-era suits. Is it that Connery just wore them well or is it the cut? The Conduit Cut to be precise.

The Conduit Cut was developed by Mayfair (Conduit Street) tailor Anthony Sinclair. The cut was used in Bond's suits from Dr No to You Only Live Twice and became synonymous with the style of James Bond. Serendipitous that Sinclair was the tailor of the director of the first Bond film, Terence Young. What came out of this was a template that remains classic Bond: Savile Row style, conservative, even minimalist, suits in lightweight cloths and a restrained colour palette of blues, whites and greys. This pared-down look incorporates the (literarily-correct) plain knitted ties of Bond and the use of waist-adjusters ('Daks tops') on the trousers rather than belt or braces.

Anthony Sinclair retired in the 80s and is sadly no longer with us, but the style he developed remains a classic. The name is back and so is the Conduit Cut.

Anthony Sinclair is Back

Anthony Sinclair is back under the aegis of British designer David Mason with a "commitment to preserve the founder's philosophy, maintain his standards and continue to produce timeless, classic clothing for a new generation of modern men."

The tailors and outfitters supply suits in the Conduit Cut as a 'Special Order' (with two fittings) or fully bespoke, which involves over 50 hours of hand tailoring.

The jacket has "a firm but natural shoulder, roped sleeve head, full chest, suppressed waist and slightly flared skirt [to] create a subtle hourglass silhouette which traces the body with a peerless purity of line".

Let's hope we see Daniel Craig in something similar in the forthcoming Skyfall.

Anthony Sinclair
No. 6 Sackville Street
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