The Musgrave Manifesto
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Friday, November 30th, 2012
I do enjoy writing for www.billionaire.com, a website dedicated to the good life and a good life. It’s the brainchild of David Leppan, who runs a company called WealthX that is concerned with identifying wealthy individuals around the world. A very nice drinks party was held in central London to celebrate the appearance of the first printed digest of features from the site. This print edition will appear twice a year, but new items are regularly added to the site proper. Have a look and prepare to be impressed. Before I dashed off to a black tie dinner elsewhere, I had chance to compare moustaches with Christian Barker, the airmiles-amassing editor-in-chief of billionaire.com
In Robbie Williams’ wardrobe (sort of)
Thursday, November 29th, 2012
Next Tuesday (December 4) in London in front of an invited audience of about 30 independent menswear retailers, I will be chatting to Robbie Williams about Farrell, the menswear collection that is inspired by his grandfather, Jack Farrell. It’s a very appealing and desirable line of quality goods designed by Ben Dickens, who previously worked for Burberry and John Rocha. I dropped in to see Ben at Farrell’s West London HQ to check out the outfits for AW13 that we will be presenting next week. There is plenty of stuff, especially the very nicely executed outerwear, that could sit very happily in the Musgrave wardrobe. I am looking forward to chewing the fat with Robbie, who has been a bit of a clothes horse since long before he became famous, and the dapper Mr Dickens. www.farrell.com
Seeing clearly at McClintock Eyewear
Wednesday, November 28th, 2012
One of the very few symptoms of ageing I experience (apart from the odd grey hair) is failing eyesight. I started wearing specs about 12 years ago and my go-to man for matters ocular these days is Seamus McClintock.
I can strongly recommend his McClintock Eyewear establishment at 29 Floral Street, Covent Garden to anyone who is seeking glasses out of the ordinary. You can have your eyes tested on the premises, which is not usual in a fashionable eyewear shop.
Seamus sorted me out with my current style: the Ronsir by the American maker Shuron. Developed in 1947 by Jack Rohrbach, a Shuron vice-president, the Browline Ronsir was one of the most influential frame designs of the 20th century, being the first combination frame to featuring plastic tops on metal rims with plastic temples. It started a design trend that ultimately affected almost half of all frames sold in the USA during the 1950s. So now you know. McClintock Eyewear is one of the very few British stockists of these fine spex, but it also has loads of contemporary styles if retro is not your thing.
Anderson & Sheppard’s new shop
Monday, November 26th, 2012
In plenty of time for Christmas, Anderson & Sheppard has opened its accessories shop at 17 Clifford Street, literally round the corner from its main tailoring shop at 32 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair. Officially styled as “our stand-alone haberdashery and trouser shop”, it is superbly done and is awash with highly desirable goodies that will delight any menswear connoisseur. Minding the shop every day is Audie Charles, late of Douglas Hayward, who has worked with A&S’ Anda Rowland to create this very welcome addition to the menswear map in central London. Make sure you visit and take time to linger.
Alexander McQueen on Savile Row
Friday, November 23rd, 2012
Alexander McQueen is intending to offer a full bespoke service at its new menswear-only store at 9 Savile Row. At a drinks evening I was very pleased to see an old chum, Marc Hare, who is putting his best foot forward these days with his footwear brand Mr Hare. www.mrhare.com
The store is a striking retail unit, conceived by McQueen designer Sarah Burton and David Collins Studio. It’s not every store in central London that finds space for an art installation.
Behind the scenes at George Cleverley
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
The Bond Street pre-Christmas shopping night prompted several retailers in the neighbourhood to stay open and offer some liquid refreshments. There was a rare chance to see the tiny workshop above the shop of bespoke shoemaker George Cleverley in The Royal Arcade just off Old Bond Street. Last maker Teemu-Pekka Leppanen and head cutter Adam Law were good company and very open about discussing aspects of their singular craft.
The workshop may be small and pleasingly untidy, but the shoes Cleverley makes are a delight. www.gjcleverley.co.uk
At The Drapers Fashion Awards
Thursday, November 22nd, 2012
The Great Room at Grosvenor House on London’s Park Lane was, as usual, the venue for the Drapers Fashion Awards gala dinner. It was a good event at which to catch up with good friends and to give my new dinner suit from Gieves & Hawkes a run-out. All looking gorgeous were Vicky Ogden of the Pure London fashion show, Danielle de Bie from Bread&Butter Berlin and Escada UK’s Denise Shepherd.
Broadcaster Lauren Laverne looked very nice too in her lacy dress. She did a great job keeping the rowdy crowd under control. Having had to do it myself in my days as Drapers’ editor, I can confirm that it is not easy. Well done, Lauren.
I was especially pleased to see two contacts of mine picking up awards in the independent retailing categories, which I had helped judge this year. Mats Klingberg runs a superb menswear store called Trunk Clothiers at 8 Chiltern Street in London’s Marylebone and it was very deserving of being named Premium Independent of the Year. www.trunkclothiers.com
Named independent womenswear retailer of the year was Javelin, which has shops in Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury, Suffolk. Husband and wife Jeremy and Joanna Clayton have done a great job creating a multi-brand, multi-channel business. www.javelinonline.co.uk
They are seen here enjoying their triumph with their colleagues Natalie Fowler and Jane Lord.
The whole experience proved to be a bit too much for Jane, Joanna and Natalie…
Going with the Mo
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
While researching my recent piece on moustaches for the London Standard‘s ES Magazine, top barber Brent Pankhurst advised me that the correct route to follow was to grow a full beard, then consult a good barber about what shape of ‘tache would suit your face, before trimming back the beard. I decided this was an excellent plan and so I dropped in on Brent’s salon within the Nick Tentis tailor’s shop at 37 Savile Row to see what he recommended for me.
My three-week old beard gave me a look that varied between “aristocratic” and “homeless”, depending on which angle you viewed it from. Once we had decided which moustache shape would best complement my beard growth, shape of face, specs, haircut etc, Brent passed me over to his creative director Stefan Avanzato who set to work on the transformation.
Happily for me, the process included one of Stefan’s excellent wet shaves, the best part of which involved me reclining with a soothing hot towel wrapped around my face to soften up the beard. Very therapeutic in more ways than one.
The result of Brent’s advice and Stefan’s labours is a dashing mouser that I shall enjoy developing. Yes indeed, the mo must go on. Stefan completed my mini make-over with a much needed hair trim and a slicked-back look. What a splendid way to pass part of a Wednesday afternoon.
www.pankhurstlondon.com Pankhurst Barber at Nick Tentis, 37 Savile Row, London W1S 3QD Telephone: 020 7287 9955
With Scabal in Saarbrucken
Tuesday, November 20th, 2012
While too many producers were closing down European production plants and racing to some low-cost country or other, the luxury cloth brand Scabal decided to maintain its factory in Saarbrucken, which it has controlled since 1989. The unit, originally known as Tailor Hoff, now produces more than 40,000 sleeved garments a year (that is suits, jackets and coats), plus about 6,000 additional pairs of trousers and however many waistcoats are ordered. The factory makes all Scabal’s made-to-measure orders, other special orders and a large part of its main ready-to-wear tailoring collection.
The guides for my tour of this impressive factory were Jerome Stefanski, who looks after Scabal’s communications, and Mario Arcuri, the company’s technical director. Some 180 people work at the site and 60% of the manufacturing staff are French women who cross the border into Germany every day, a practice that started in the 1970s when the deutschemark pay rates were better than those of the franc.
What’s remarkable about the unit is that it handles a huge variety of different tailoring challenges, rather than just producing the same item over and over. Scabal’s made-to-measure programme offers an amazing 200 style and personalisation options across an astounding 4,000 cloths from Scabal’s range.
A computer-based system issues a separate docket for every stage of every order. The jacket and their sleeves are made separately.
The jacket interiors (linings, pockets etc) go down one line, while trousers are sewn on another, and waistcoats in another area. Given that there are probably more than 100 separate components in a suit, the organisational skills at Saarbrucken are mightily impressive.
All the elements are moved round the site on a hanging trolley system, which includes a series of jaws that clutch the cut cloth, linings, trimmings etc.
Scabal does produce some fused jackets for a few private label clients, but most of the high-quality production is with sewn canvases. A higher-grade make will also be offered from early in 2013. www.scabal.us
At Scabal’s Brussels flagship
Monday, November 19th, 2012
I have been writing for Bespoken, the twice-yearly magazine for luxury cloth merchant Scabal, for a few years, but I had never been to its HQ in Brussels until this week. I took the opportunity to visit the brand’s very impressive new flagship store at 32 Boulevard de Waterloo, the Belgian capital’s smartest retail address. The leather-and-wood interior is ideally suited to the ready-to-wear and made-to-measure offer and it is going to be the template for subsequent stores. The London flagship at 12 Savile Row will be converted to this format next year. In the first photo I am seen with Scabal’s Jerome Stefanski, who had the good sense to hire me to write for Bespoken. Thanks, Jerome! www.scabal.us
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