Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Bearable Lightness of Scabal

Scabal Summer Cloths

If you're thinking of ordering a summer suit - and congratulations on your optimism UK-based readers - Scabal has brought out some fine new summer-weight cloths.

In the photos we have a jacket in check cloth from their Riviera range. Weighing in at 240g, it's a twill weave in 60% linen and 40% cotton. Very nice.

Their Monterey Bay range offers cloth in 70% Super 100's wool and 30% kid mohair, weighing in at 240g.

I'm not sure if either range is produced in Scabal's British mills, like their Diamond Chip.

Don't Use Heat as an Excuse to be a Scruffbag

At the first sign of sunshine, normally sane people start to think that flip-flops and baseball caps are acceptable to wear in the street. It really isn't necessary to walk around undressed. Heat just requires lighter fabrics and lighter, brighter colours. Just think of our dear long-lost friend Clifford Klenk.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Condensed Madrid #1

As promised, I did a spot of intelligence gathering on my recent trip to Madrid, following the article on shoemaker Carmina. Here I decide where'll you'll stay and where to eat. I might even decide on the company you keep. Think of me as your mother.

Stay in Salamanca

First of all, staying in the Salamanca district is best. Truth be told, you may not want to venture from the area, unless there's a new exhibition or some such. You might want to head to the Chueca district too. More of that later.

Salamanca has everything you need for survival - good restaurants, shirtmakers, tailors, tobacconists and the wonderful Mallorca chain of cafes.

Visit Mallorca

The first Mallorca cafe opened in 1931 in Madrid. In Salamanca, you'll find Mallorcas in Velazquez street and Serrano street filled with unapologetically bourgeois MadrileƱos - all quilted jackets and Cordovan loafers. Do Lavenham sell their classics in Salamanca? They should.

Mallorca makes for an excellent place to take a rest, have a drink and a bite. I'm currently addicted to their tea-infused chocolates. Delicious. And look at the uniforms in the photos below. The men wear suits, with subtle Mallorca branding and colours, just to serve you a sandwich. The sort of civilised world you naturally gravitate towards.

Avoid the Area Around Puerta del Sol

If you're new to Madrid you may want to take a gander at the Plaza Mayor. Fair enough, but I'd say not to linger between there and Puerta del Sol. Think of the area like Oxford Street and Leicester Square in London. Best avoided.

People often say that the edgier parts of a city are more 'real', but I would counter by saying that the nicer parts of town are just as real, but nicer.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Dean Chalkley - The New Mod Faces

Activists in Style

Remember the review of Mod - A Very British Style? Come on, it wasn't that long ago. Well, after you've refreshed your memory, you may be interested to know that the cover of the book used images from photographer and film-maker Dean Chalkley's New Faces project, capturing contemporary "activists in style".

Dean Chalkley sounds like a mod name somehow. Perhaps this was his destiny.

Dean's photos have such great verve. We've picked out some of the clothing detail here, but do take a look at the full collection. And the accompanying film below. You can see why Dean is in such demand as a commercial photographer beyond his art projects.

If you fancy yourself as a bit of a 'face' and you're in London next month, why not catch up with some of the New Faces at the Inner City Soul Club.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Tweed Pig Pin-Up: Alistair Cope

Alistair Cope - Cycling Impresario

How does the sound of dressing in tweeds, cycling through the gentle Devonshire countryside and stopping for afternoon tea grab you? Well head over to Velo Vintage and sign up pretty sharpish, because their next Occasion and Ride is just round the corner - and you can do all of that in the company of like-minded, impeccably polite individuals. Our kind of people. We've added Velo Vintage to our Events page so you don't forget.

Velo Vintage is organised by Devon-cyclist Alistair Cope, with the help of his son Sebastian. He also runs the decidedly more manly adventure cycling and tour company Velo Ventures, for rugged cycling types who enjoy pounding through rough terrain.

About the Photo

Let's find out from Alistair about Velo Vintage and the photo above:

"Having spent a short spell as an officer in the Royal Navy (I think I joined for the uniform & ceremony) and having taken a regular dose of P.G. Wodehouse as a child, I have always irrepressibly hankered after those rather wonderful British times where etiquette and decorum guided you through your daily needs. I am also somewhat addicted to the delights of Devon Cream Teas and bicycles! Most fortunately my eldest son Sebastian shares my passions and we now harness this zeal to create and share some special moments with friends and quite frankly anyone who would like to join us with Velo Vintage.

"Velo Vintage was dreamed of and realised as an opportunity to dress up, cycle and enjoy teas in Devon last year. I think that “time to cycle, converse, take tea and dress with style” rather sums us up quite well. Our next event in June includes afternoon tea at A la Ronde, a truly unique and charming property belonging to the National Trust. The ride will cover 10 miles.

"Our attire is varied and often quite normal for us, as tweed befits our lifestyle, however, as you can see in the photograph, I seem to have adopted a uniformed approach for our occasions, sporting dress trousers from the Royal Marines and a jacket of unknown origin. The shoes are from Joseph Cheaney & Sons which, I believe are on their third sole! My scarf, has lost its label over the years, but belonged to my grandfather. Sebastian, is dressed in a vintage suit, a Charles Tyrwhitt shirt, Morrows socks, Loake shoes and a Joseph Wilson & Sons bowler. The development of our moustaches in this photograph is far from impressive, however where required they are held in place with Extra Firm Bounder Wax. I should give a little mention to our much loved 1935 Hercules tandem, affectionately known as Herbert." 

More Photos

How could we leave out these extra photo's from Alistair? This one from The Tweed Run is notable for the pipes:

The one below is notable for the beer being drunk from proper dimpled beer mugs. The only way to drink bitter. Insist on this and accept no Frenchified glass for your beer. The landlord of your local pub has a moral obligation to supply dimpled mugs. If it's not a legal requirement, it should be. You can buy The Great British Dimple here.

The charming lady in the fetching gloves is Alistair's daughter Rachel.

Herbert in Action

Monday, 20 May 2013

Universal Works - Summer Fairisle

The gentleman's scoop-neck sweater was a popular casual accessory for many years. The great thing about it was that it could comfortably accommodate a tie underneath, and there was less of a danger of looking like a swot than with a v-neck. Nothing wrong with a tie under a v-neck, but you have to be careful.

Here we see terrific examples of scoop neck sweatering. The one above was worn by Rex Harrison in the superb 1940 film Night Train to Munich [Amazon].The one below was sported by Edward, Duke of Windsor, in the painting by the Irish Royal Academician William Orpen.

Where Can I Get a Scoop Neck Sweater?

After seeing these two fine examples, you're probably seeing yourself in something a little scooped? Pattern aside, Universal Works, based in Nottingham, England, has something not too dissimilar to the Duke's in colour and attitude right now.

Made in Nottingham, the Universal Works Yellow Slipover In Fairisle is a handsome summer scoop neck. It is made of cotton and slim fit, but with plenty of space for shirt and tie.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

British Collaborators: Cherchbi & Amies

Art is a Collaboration

We love a good collaboration at The Tweed Pig. Bing Crosby and David Bowie singing Little Drummer Boy - that was a terrific one, knocking Dietrich's version into a cocked hat. And there's Marty Scorsese and Robert de Niro, a fine pairing.

Perhaps art is always a collaboration in one way or another. Gide had something to say on that.

Shared belief and chemistry between the collaborators might be the key to whether it works or not.

Cherchbi and Hardy Amies

Let's add two fine British companies to our list of collaborations that work, with this year's (not so recent, no excuses but we've been busy) project between Cherchbi and Hardy Amies.

Amies and Cherchbi have a common vision and distinct British ethos. It was a natural collaboration. Cherchbi created the bags to compliment Amies' current winter collection. Despite the tardiness on our part, we can justify mentioning this still because:

a: Winter has a habit of lingering in the UK.
b: The bags are timeless British classics.

The materials used for the bags include a 'Bauhaus tartan' wool check, pony skin and oiled leather. The bags have the solidity and quality you would expect from Cherchbi and are available through Hardy Amies.

Crosby, Bowie, Dietrich, Scorsese and de Niro would all approve, I feel amply qualified to say.

More on Cherchbi.
More on Hardy Amies.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Well & Truly British

Our new friends at shirt people Arthur &  Henry kindly informed us of some neat British-made accessories they're stocking from Well & Truly.

Silk Pocket Squares and Brass Cufflinks

With wheel and helmet designs, the Well & Truly's silk pocket squares and brass cufflinks take the golden age of British motor-sport as inspiration. These accessories could sell well at the Goodwood Revival.

The silk squares are printed and made in Maccelesfield, England - the traditional silk-making town. Macclesfield was once the world's biggest producer of finished silk and the name is still synonymous with fine silk products. The pocket squares have hand-rolled and stitched edges, which is a requirement for any self-respecting pocket square.

The brass cufflinks are cast and hand-finished in England. The more earthy brass probably looks better than gold poking out of the sleeve of a tweed jacket.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Crombie Rainmac

Crombie Rainmac

It's Spring and thoughts are now turning to the warmer rainfall we'll be experiencing here in the UK. We Britishers still need to be waterproof, but with fewer layers.

I'm drawn to this raincoat from Crombie. The Crombie Rainmac has a timeless look about it, constructed in a short length typical of the Crombie coats worn by The Beatles in the 60s, before they turned into hippy scruffbags. The coat has a single layer of double-faced cotton, with taped seams and a resin coating to make it fully waterproof. Corozzo buttons finish the piece.

The red inside is like the famous Crombie overcoat. Crombie holds a sample of this colour combination from 1865. And it's still fresh. Maybe we should call it 'Crombie red'? Didn't old friend of The Tweed Pig, Timothy Everest, call a similar red lining 'skinhead red'?

This is a serious contender for the highly regarded The Tweed Pig Raincoat of the Year award.

Crombie Silk and Cotton White Shirt - Made in England

I'm having a bit of a white shirts-only phase at the moment. As you'll know, the standard of ready-to-wear shirts varies widely in terms of fit and shirting material. Caveat emptor. But with the Crombie name behind these English-made silk and cotton summer-weight shirts, I think we're on firm ground, gents. Note the proper mother of pearl buttons. Made in England.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Sounds of The Great Gatsby

Tech Foray Shock at The Tweed Pig

We've never strayed into the 'tech sector' at The Tweed Pig, but I wanted to draw your attention to the radio above and a radio station for it below. Join the two together and you enter the soundscape of The Great Gatsby.

Revo Radio - Made in Scotland

The radio is a Heritage, made in Scotland by our soon-to-be chums at Revo. You read that right - Scotland. Not South Korea, not China, but our very own Scotland. And a splendid thing it is too. Very easy on the eye, fashioned of anodised aluminium and wood veneer, with rubber on top. Perhaps a bit of tweed wouldn't have gone amiss. You can listen to thousands of internet radio stations on it. It has 5 preset buttons for your favourite stations at the front, but you can add more through a Favourites menu.

Radio Dismuke

So far, only two stations have garnered a coveted front button position on the Heritage. The excellent Bossa Nova Breakfast, which I play compliantly at breakfast, and Radio Dismuke, our subject today. And the great thing with these stations is that you get none of the tedious news items and self-promotion you get every five minutes on the BBC stations.

Radio Dismuke plays 1920s and 30s jazz and dance band music, the perfect thing for getting you into a Gatsby frame of mind. With my marketing head on, it would have made great sense for someone to have thrown a little sponsorship at this wonderful little station to tie in with the film. They deserve support and recognition for keeping this kind of music alive.

Tweedy's Buttons: If you're a cracking radio station and you think you deserve a button, get in touch. I want constant, quality music - see music for an idea of what's played at Tweed Towers - and no news interruptions. Can you deliver? Is there a 'Radio Counter-Tenor'? Maybe our recent good friend Iestyn Davies would know?

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Smell Like The Great Gatsby

How to smell like Jay Gatsby? Well, he had a few choices in the 1920s that are still around today. Let's consider three possibilities.

Blenheim Bouquet

A scent from Penhaligon's makes sense. Understated, elegant and very English. Something jazz-age Anglo-Americans would naturally gravitate towards, I'm imagining.

Created in 1902, I can see Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet jostling for space in Gatsby's bathroom. A classic scent - as they all are here - of citrus, pine and gentlemanly discretion.

Knize Ten

A scent of Habsburgian splendour, Knize Ten was created in Vienna in 1925 by Joseph Knize for his family's business. Knize is still going strong in the heart of Vienna, its oldest branch at Graben 13 retaining an original Art Nouveau exterior and interior.

Knize 10 is named after the top rating for a polo player. It's a bit of an acquired smell, truth be told. But, to my nose, glorious - with the scent of soap with tobacco and leather. The right era, but the date's a little late for Gatsby. I'm convinced he would have enjoyed it though. We may have more on this hidden gem later. Splendid, no nonsense bottle.

[Old posts on Vienna here. One of Tweedy's favourite cities.]

Acqua di Parma

The original Acqua di Parma Colonia was created in 1916 (in Parma, Italy, of course) and sold in local gent's outfitters. It came to be highly-regarded by the right people in the right places, of which we can assume Jay Gatsby was one. Cary Grant was another.

Rightly regarded as a classic, the scent is distilled by hand and has a light, clean citrus and rose smell. The packaging is wonderful, with the paper 'hatbox' in the distinctive Parma yellow and the Art Deco bottle and Bakelite lid.

Tweedy's Grooming Squad 2012

That's my grooming squad for 2012 above. Acqua di Parma always makes any starting line-up, Colonia is the Lionel Messi of scents. I might transfer one or two players in and out each year, but you will always want 180ml of dependable Colonia in your team.

Actually, there's not much here that Gatsby couldn't have used.

For England/UK:

Daines and Hathaway Military Wet Pack
Kent Brushes
Truefitt and Hill Limes Cologne and Styling Paste
Yardley Citrus & Wood and Lavender Brilliantine
Floris Santal
Trumper's Lime Skin Food and Almond Shaving Cream
Penhaligon's Castile
Mrs White's Absolute Gentleman
Brylcreem Original Light Glossy Hold
D. R. Harris Crystal Hair Cream

For Italy:

Acqua di Parma Colonia
Prep Cream

Colonies & Rest of the World:

Ralph Lauren Polo 

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Brooks Brothers - Gatsby Wears Moon

Abraham Moon for Brooks Brothers

What happened to the film release of The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio? We were heralding its arrival last year and then nothing happened. No matter, it looks like it's happening now.

We have more clothing detail, gents. Brooks Brothers have released a tie-in collection of jazz-age accessories, which includes the jacket above. The White and Navy Stripe Regatta Blazer is made of fine English cloth, a wool and cotton blend, from our dear Yorkshire friends at Abraham Moon. One to tuck away for Henley in July too.

Peal and Co Shoes

The English theme continues in the collection with the White Buck Wingtip (brogue) above. The Peal & Co. shoe (see here for thrilling mystery starring Peal & Co.) is in white nubuck leather with a Vibram sole, so you won't slip on spilt mint julep.

Video of Brooks Brothers Collaboration on The Great Gatsby

Here's a nice little film with the costume designer for The Great Gatsby, Catherine Marton, discussing the very well-fitted and natural collaboration with Brooks to create the men's clothes for the film.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Wolf People Don't Bite - Fain

Wolf People Sound Like Where They Come From

They may play songs that are a bit noisier than our usual music fare, but let's not be scared off - Wolf People don't bite.

The English folk-rockers sing with genuine British accents and use real instruments. The fashion for this appears to ebb and flow. British pop music seems cod-American in style and substance at the moment. And it's largely style (and over-production) over substance. Is there a guitar in the top 40? Who's to blame? Simon Cowell? Champion gurner Robbie Williams? You? Me? No, it can't be you or me.

As artisans of hand-crafted British music, with genuine provenance, Wolf People stitched together every little note and chord to produce this extraordinary piece of ready-to-hear music, All Returns, from their album Fain [Amazon: CD& MP3]on the Indiana-based Jagjagjaguwar label.

You could jolly well imagine Wolf People supporting Cream or Fairport Convention with this sort of stuff.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Tracklements Fig Relish

Stunning Fig Relish

Picnic season is almost upon us. So much more genteel than a barbecue - they're for savages, surely? And if you're thinking of  loading up on soft cheeses for your picnic, chaps, then you'll need some of this stuff:  Fig Chutney from Tracklements of Wiltshire, England. A sterling piece of work, a relish to cherish. Try this award-winning relish it with goat's cheese and you will never be the same again. As Thackeray once said, "Next to excellence is the appreciation of it."

Napkins Prevent Tragedies

For any picnic, you will need a decent napkin to stop the relish dropping on your cream linen suit. Perhaps a pure linen buttonhole napkin that fastens to your shirt? Purple and Fine, another Wiltshire company, sell just the thing.
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