Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Night on the Med

The Timeless Values in our Daily Experiences

Tired from all the outdoor activity, the swimming and the indulgence at the restaurant? It's time to turn in for the night.

After a final shower, talcum powder is perfect for keeping fresh in a hot climate. Yardley English Lavender combines lavender, neroli and clary sage, with notes of sandalwood and tonka bean. We can't let Miss Marple keep this stuff for herself.

All set, you're ready for that gin and tonic on the veranda.

Yardley - Lavender Talcum Powder

Derek Rose - Short Pyjamas

Cormia - Travel Slippers in Grizzly Leather

Bruichladdich - The Botanist Dry Gin

Once we discover how to appreciate the timeless values in our daily experiences, we can enjoy the best things in life.
Jerome K. Jerome.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Summer Evening Promenade

La Passeggiata

We've spent a lovely day on the beach, swimming out to the raft and diving in to look for octopus. We've now freshened up, so let's join the locals for an early evening stroll along the promenade, the intoxicating smell of orange blossom, pine and honeysuckle hanging heavy in the warm Mediterranean air. Take that sweater though. It's been getting cooler around midnight and you don't want to have to walk back to the hotel to fetch it.

Incotex - Linen and Cotton Trousers

Vineyard Vines - Canvas D-Ring Belt

N. Peal - Summer-weight Cashmere/Silk Cardigan

John Smedley - Sea Island Cotton Shirt

Chatham - Deck Shoes

Guerlain - Eau de Cologne Imperiale

Monday, 29 July 2013

Day at the Seaside

Coming to the Seaside?

The forecast is good today. Come, let's take a Bedford bus to the coast. We can stroll along the sand and then sit on the rocks to eat peaches. Don't worry, I've brought some. They're ripe and ready to eat.

Whatever happens next, let's just blame it on the sea air.

Oliver Goldsmith - Sunglasses

CHUCS - Bermuda Shorts

Anderson's - Woven Suede Belt

Orlebar Brown - Short-Sleeved Towelling Polo Shirt

Drake's London - Summer Scarf

John Lobb (UK) - Bespoke Sandals

Bill Amberg - North South Tote Bag

Thomas Lyte - Currency Wallet

Taylor's Eye Witness - Gentlemen's Clip Point Knife


Saturday, 27 July 2013

Stillman's Barcelona - Preppy Interlopers

Who ever tires of watching the first three dialogue-driven films of American writer-director Whit Stilllman? If you do, then we must accept this irreconcilable difference with good grace. I'm sure we'll find other things in common.

We've covered his delightful first film Metropolitan and now let's remind ourselves of his Latin-tinged comedy of cultures, Barcelona.

Christopher Eigeman and Taylor Nichols, who both acted in Metropolitan, return to play similar but different characters. This time they are American brothers Ted and Fred Boynton. And once more it is a delight to see them deliver Stillman's droll and subtly mischief-making lines, loaded with social observation. Whitman considered the setting of Barcelona as a way of "studying Americans by finding them in isolation."

Mild-mannered Ted (Taylor) is working for a U.S. company in their Barcelona office. Fred is a spiky naval officer and comes to Barcelona as an attaché in preparation for the arrival of a U.S. Navy fleet. Ted acquiesces to the cultural and political rhythms of his host city, as much as an outsider can, but his brother Fred is a little more disruptive, leading a one-man crusade against - and being a target for - the constant anti-American hum. At one point he tries to change graffito on a wall from 'Yankee pigs go home' to 'Yankee deers go home' with a felt-tip pen.

Despite the friction, the brothers make attempts to engage with the city as much as their characters will allow, and against all odds they actually find romance.

The Wardrobe

I was reminded of this film when I took out a Madras jacket for a recent picnic. (I think I'm getting picnicker's knee.) Eigeman's character Fred wears one at the famous 'ants at the picnic' scene in the film (top).

The wardrobes of the American characters in the film are fittingly preppy. The preppy credentials are reinforced by acknowledgements for Hickey-Freeman and our not-yet-friends Alden, the New England shoemakers, at the end of the film.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

John Lobb - But Which One?

A Tale of Two Lobbs

Do you know the story of the two Lobbs? John Lobb founded his boot-making business in London in 1866. He opened a branch in Paris in 1902.

In 1976, Hermès bought the non-UK rights to the John Lobb name and the Paris branch. The original Lobb shop in St James's, London, however remains family-owned and distinct from the Hermès Lobb.

Hermès has steadily built the ready-to-wear side of its business, but still makes bespoke Lobb shoes. The UK Lobb is bespoke only and holds royal warrants for the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales.

The two Lobbs remain supportive of each other's work. And so should we.

My Brush with Lobb

I bought a pair of the (Hermès) Lobb Truro loafers last year. Made in England. Brown calf leather and fully leather-lined (see images). I thought they fitted well when I tried them on. In the box they went till this summer. Thrilled, I was so much looking forward to wearing them. Sadly, dear reader, I have to inform you that they are no longer with us.

I come to try them on again and they're slipping at the ankles. Disaster! (I think this might be the first exclamation mark on The Tweed Pig. I find them a bit loud for my taste, but I think we need one here to convey the appropriate level of disappointment.)

The perils of buying ready-to-wear. Can feet shrink? I certainly blame my feet. Anyway, I did the decent thing and made sure they found a loving new home.

Beautiful things as well. Shame. But that brief moment we had together was special and has made me long for more Lobb.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Marlborough World Decanter - A Picnic Tradition

Every Day is Picnic Day

The Marlborough World coffee and cognac decanter I revealed back in spring has been used a lot this summer, as anticipated. Perhaps more than anticipated with this run of fine weather. Too much? Never. We won't be getting picnic fatigue at Tweed Towers, because we're well aware of the long, cold months that lie ahead. Let's enjoy our Madras and seersucker right now. Soon we'll be back to tweeds and Melton cloth.

Finishing off a picnic with coffee and brandy, and the odd cigar, whilst lazily contemplating the beauty of cloud formations, is now a welcome part of the picnicking ritual. A new tradition is born.

The Construction of the Decanter

The leather decanter container is hand-made. Four people are involved in the construction process over eight hours.
  1. First, vegetable tanned leather is cut to size and then split and skived to make it thinner and easier to work with. The leather is sourced from a supplier in England.
  2. The edges are stained, then turned and stitched together to form the shape of the container.
  3. The bottom and internal parts are then assembled and attached to hold the glass decanters and flask. The shoulders of the decanters are finished in chrome-plated solid brass.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Midsummer Madras

Wear at 30 Degrees

I dug out the old Madras patch jacket for a family picnic this weekend. The British Isles are having some fairly Mediterranean temperatures right now. It had to be the Madras. And it had to be jugs of Pimm's. I fell into a Pimm's-induced torpor, truth be told. The jacket makes for a good picnicking jacket - not too formal and hides stains.

Madras cloth, a lightweight cotton fabric that originates from the Indian city and gained popularity in Empire days, seemed to fade out of public consciousness in Britain after the 1960s, when mods were lapping up its loudest manifestations.

A general aversion to Madras followed, although it might be seen on an elderly old colonial dowager out walking her retrievers or the contrary Dexys Midnight Runners giving it full-on preppy.

Long identifiable as a typical summer Ivy look, our Anglo-American cousins kept the faith and appreciation for the cloth was never in danger of disappearing.

It's nice to see interest in the cloth blossoming in the UK again. Trousers by Hackett below.

Be it jacket, belt, tie or trousers, add a little Madras to your wardrobe. Don't go head to toe in it though. That would be silly.

Turn Up the Volume

That's one hell of a jacket above. Conservative and punch-in-face rebellious by equal measure. Something of an ideal to strive towards perhaps. It's the idea of subversive conservatism and edgy gentility we've talked about before, pushing against a mass culture of vests and flip-flops and letting it all hang out.

The jacket was shown at Ivy Style, an exhibition at The Museum at FIT (The Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York earlier this year. It was made in the 1970s by Chipp, an imprint of the classic men's label J. Press, now owned by Japanese company Onward Kashiyama. Chipp specialized in a "go-to-hell look" of bold colours.

Small Faces, Big Checks

I can't help being reminded of The Small Faces in their 60s heyday when I think about Madras. They had something of a penchant for bold checks in their jackets. And look at the one worn by Ronnie Lane in the photo at the bottom. Similar to the Chipp jacket.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Judy R. Clark - Tweed is Born

Tweed Jacket Prototypes

Good news on the Judy Clark front everyone. We've been sent some photos so that you can follow the progress of Judy's Fashion a Frock Coat project.

The tweed jackets we showed the initial sketches for have now moved into prototype stage and, as you can see, they're starting to take shape.

Photos courtesy of David Stanton

Monday, 15 July 2013

Bespoke Germany

Tailoring Tips for Germany

A friend of The Tweed Pig got in touch a while back and provided some excellent intelligence on bespoke Germany gathered from his frequent ops in that country. So that he can continue operating, we'll keep him anonymous. I can now move that scrap of paper from the mantelpiece reminding me to do something about this, as we're reproducing his tips here. Thanks Mr. Anonymous.

You can investigate the shops further when you're visiting the cities mentioned. Do get in touch if you have anything made or you're the shop itself, so we can drill down a bit further.

And a reminder for all you peacocks, whilst we're at it, that our pending Pin-ups list is running low.


Purwen and Radczun
Purwen and Radczun is a Berlin tailor and shirtmaker. The cutter was trained at Anderson and Sheppard.


Heinz-Josef Radermacher
Heinz-Josef Radermacher is a Düsseldorf tailor and shirtmaker.
Our friend's top tip: he regards them as the best tailors in Germany.

Frankfurt am Main

Atelier Bechtloff
Atelier Bechtloff is a bespoke shirtmaker in Frankfurt. Fine attention to detail.


Vickermann and Stoya
Vickermann and Stoya is a Baden-Baden shoemaker. Some nice leather choices: eel, crocodile, ostrich, water buffalo, kangaroo and the wonderful shagreen or stingray leather, which is very difficult to work with apparently. The best shoemaker in Germany, says our dear friend.


Here's a bonus tip for German-speaking Vienna, one of Tweedy's favourite cities.
Viennese tailor and shirtmaker Netousek make all the clothes for the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

Tweedy's Outrageous Request: I wouldn't mind a list of German cabaret venues next. Places to wear these clothes. Do you have a book of splendid addresses for your home town that you know our readers would appreciate? Do the decent thing and pop it in an envelope and send it to Tweed Towers so we can spread the message. It's okay, the addresses won't fall into the wrong hands. The Tweed Pig readers are a bloody decent lot. You'd be proud to see them patronising your cherished establishments.  

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Whicker Leaves this World

Alan Whicker

Sad to hear of the death of Alan Whicker. An epithet that can be applied to few, he was a true gentleman. He brought charm, suavity and erudition to our TV screens.

Always well turned out too. I've pulled out a photo I have of him at a book signing for Whicker's War, an account of his time serving in the British Army during the Second World War, when he was stationed in Italy. As the photo attests, he could do the eccentrically English pattern and colour matching that shouldn't work but does.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Purple Noon - Mr Ripley's Talents Revealed

Ripley's Style

We all have our favourite film version of Tom Ripley - you've got your Damons, your Malkoviches, then there's Delon and Hopper to name most of them. But, as promised, we'll look at one of the better adaptations of Patricia Highsmith's novels featuring that smooth and amoral character.

Purple Noon was a French adaptation of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Released in 1960 as Plein Soleil [Amazon] in France, it stars a monstrously handsome Alain Delon in his first starring role as Tom Ripley, before he goes on to become a welcome 60s ubiquity. It was directed by René Clément, who also directed the fairly good Rider on the Rain (Le Passager de la Pluie), which is nice if you like films with a lot of rain, as I do. We'll return to that film later.

We all know the story of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Tom Ripley is sent to Italy by a wealthy American magnate to bring his loafing trust fund son home. When Tom arrives in Italy, he has very different ideas about his objectives, and his talent for re-shaping his destiny slowly emerges.

Highsmith described the adaptation as "very beautiful to the eye and interesting for the intellect". The film also has style.

Ripley's Wardrobe

I've homed in on a few choice pieces worn in the film here. If you packed for a summer holiday using Ripley's wardrobe as a template, you would not go far wrong. Basically, a cream and blue palette. But don't go murdering people, okay?

Of the deep leather bag, I've been looking for one like that for the last ten years.

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