A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mackintosh for J. Crew: The Duncan Coat

As the unseasonably warm weather continues to grace our presence here on the East Coast, it looks like I may be able to break out some of recently acquired foul weather gear. With rain on the forecast and temperatures likely to reach 60 degrees, it seems like the perfect time to try out my new Duncan raincoat, made for J. Crew by Mackintosh.

A nice collaboration.

The brown horn buttons are nice to look at.

J. Crew's recent collaborations have involved some of the more prestigious names in men's clothing, most notably Alden, Barracuta, and, of course, Mackintosh.

While Burberry and Aquascutum are names more commonly associated with rain or trench coats, Charles Macintosh actually patented his rubberised waterproof cloth in 1823 and began manufacturing the first Mackintosh coats in the family's textile factory, Charles Macintosh and Co. of Glasgow.

Partially tartan-lined: a little bit of Scotland . . .

Almost 200 years later, J. Crew partnered with the celebrated company to create this classically simple, yet elegant, coat. Made from water resistant cotton, the coat is partially lined which probably limits its utility to the fall and spring seasons, although it has been said that the coat retains warmth quite well.

Underarm grommets for added comfort.

Interior patch pockets and interior insulation on the fabric seams to enhance the waterproofing.

Interestingly, when I dropped into the J. Crew Men's Shop at 79th Street and Madison Avenue in New York City, I asked about the Mackintosh coats but none were available. I was told by a sales associate that the rumor was that the coats were being phased out because customers were not fond of the roomy fit of the coat. While I have no reason to discount the veracity of that statement, I thought it strange that, if the aim was to unload the remaining supply, the Mackintosh coats were excluded from the seasonal sales and were still selling on J. Crew's website for the full $800 retail price.

In any event, forewarned is forearmed. Coupled with my navy blue Swims and Briggs umbrella, I look forward to the coming deluge.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Edward Green for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label: The Brooksville

Known in the United States as "English" brogues and in the United Kingdom as "American" brogues, the longwing is a derby style shoe characterized by a pointed toe cap with wings that extend the full length of the shoe and meet at a center seam at the heel.

The extended wings of the longwing brogue . . .

. . .extending to the broguing along the heel seam.

While the style has been around for some time, much of its prominence in the United States is probably due to the popularity of Florsheim's "Kenmoor" model. The original models were stunning examples of American craftsmanship, from the double soles to the "v-cleat" or cat's paw heel.  More recently, the longwing brogue has been enjoying something of a renaissance, primarily because of Alden of New England's collaborations with J. Crew and Brooks Brothers. Although I'm not a fan of that company's rather bulbous lasts, not many would argue that Alden is one of the last domestic shoe-makers still producing the celebrated American longwing "gunboat" - i.e. a clunky, chunky, well-made shoe that is built to last.

While trying to take care of some last minute holiday shopping last month, I dropped into Ralph Lauren's Rhinelander Mansion to peruse the Edward Green and Gaziano and Girling selections. Much to my surprise, one of the Edward Green models on display was the Brooksville, the Northamptonshire company's answer to the longwing.

To my eye, one has to be careful with the longwing - because of the horizontal line of broguing that runs almost the entire length of the shoe from the toe cap to the heel seam, the shoe can appear longer or more elongated it actually is. If the shoe has also been made on an elongated last, such as Crockett & Jones' 337, one can go from sleek to ridiculously long pretty quickly. 

A bit more of the details on Edward Green's Brooksville for Ralph Lauren's Purple Label.

A phallic medallion?

The patina at the toe box is sublime.

One rarely sees the brown sole waist treatment - its usually black - although it works perfectly here.

A detailed picture of the channeled sole.

A full picture of the sole, which shows off the contours of Edward Green's 888 last.

On this model, Edward Green's 888 last works perfectly - the sleek elegance of the longwing is evident in all its splendor here. So much so that I have to admit, when I first saw these shoes on the display shelf, the last configuration and leather patina led me to believe that these were a pair of shoes made by Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling. But the tell-tale signs of Edward Green craftsmanship are all to evident: from the burnished calf to the chestnut antique color, which of course only succeed in augmenting the brilliance of the Brooksville.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rake Incarnate: Mayor Jimmy Walker

I originally posted this in November when this short Jimmy Walker piece appeared in The Rake - here it is again, with the actual article included below. Of course, you can read more about His Honor here at An Uptown Dandy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Layover: Anthony Bourdain Drops Into Cleverley

If you're home flipping through the channels this week, you may want to check out Anthony Bourdain's new show, The Layover. In the London episode, he drops into Cleverley for a quick fitting with Mr. Glasgow.

The episode recap shows a short portion of the segment at about the 2:00 minute mark of this video (you can view it here).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Walking Tour (Part Seven): Berluti

I'm generally pretty conservative when it comes to my shoes, as anyone dropping by An Uptown Dandy can probably tell. A nice shade of brown and a little bit of broguing, and I'm sitting pretty in the catbird seat.

But that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate some of the more fashion forward, or "exotic," footwear crafted by some of the well-renowned European craftsmen. Berluti, a French shoe company, has a reputation for using quality leathers and creating unique finishes for their sleek lasts. Some models also include distinct hieroglyphics (for lack of a better term).

Based in Paris in the Rue Marbeuf, the company was founded in 1895 by an Italian, Alessandro Berluti. The firm is currently managed by his descendant, Olga Berluti. While distribution is limited, Berluti footwear is available in the United States at their brick and mortar shop on Madison Avenue in New York City (pictured here), as well as Barneys New York.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What We're Ogling: Men's Ex - The World of High-End Shoes Vol. 5

I recently picked up Volume 5 of Men's Ex' World of High-End Shoes, and, as always, I was not disappointed. A lot of great photos of shoes from a wide range of makers, including Edward Green, Gaziano & Girling, John Lobb, Carmina, etc.

As I've said in the past, the only downside for shoe connoisseurs (English-speaking, that is) is that this is a Japanese-language magazine. But recently, the Style Forum member Nutcracker has been kind enough to post translations of entire pages  - a truly noble undertaking, which we cannot thank him/her enough for undertaking (you can see the SF thread here). This is truly a wonderful resource to have available.

Of course, Volume 5 also has plenty of the pages that I've grown to love and hate - the shoe connoisseur spreads with well-dressed gentlemen posing suavely while surrounded by legions of
lovely shoes.

I love these spreads because its always enjoyable to see the collections that have been amassed over the years.

Unfortunately, it also means another volume has gone by without the editors of Men's Ex to tell me my time has come. I wait patiently for the call . . .

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ah, Finally Some Classic Style at Pitti

Photo by Tommy Ton for GQ

Now, I'm normally not one for re-blogging street-style photos, but this may be the first photo I've ever seen from Pitti that is just classic men's style. Period. Of course, I'm referring to the gentleman on the right in the overcoat and pinstriped double-breasted suit, and fedora.

Also, unless I'm mistaken, that appears to be a pair of leather gloves in the chest pocket, a look which I've tried with some of the Saratoga outfits - it's a nice change of pace from the pocketsquare.

Very nice.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Walking Tour Continues: Turnbull & Asser (Part Six)

Turnbull & Asser had a lovely window display installed for the holidays. Located at 57th street between Park and Madison Avenues, its always worth a trip just to meander around the shop and peruse the colorful dress shirts, ties, and silk knots.

I'm not aware of a winter sale at the moment - although it would certainly be hard-pressed to meet the high standard set by the summer sale in June, when bold stripe shirts from seasons past were selling for an astonishingly low $25 per shirt.

The smoking jacket in forest green is reminiscent of something Sir Winston Churchill might have lounged about in, or perhaps even held a cabinet meeting in. In this day and age, though, it takes a bold man to wear a dark green velvet jacket. 

Case in point: "Shy" and "R. Kelly" are generally two things that rarely go together - but when "The Pied Piper of Rhyme" recently appeared on stage to perform a duet on the X-Factor, the normally, ahem, extroverted Kelly chose a more conservatively-colored smoking jacket.  

Indeed, Mr. Kelly further distinguishes himself from his Hip-Hop/R&B brethren  by displaying some shirt cuff in the photo below. 

Why, it could have come straight from the T&A window display.

No doubt Sir Winston would have approved.