Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Mail on Sunday - Covers the famous Baracuta

Harrington jacket - the G9 Slim fit.

As covered in the Mail on Sunday - This iconic jacket has become very much part of the fashion scene once more. There are many colours available to to buy at http://www.stuartslondon.com/ and the new Spring collection will be instock from End January 2009.

Sunday NewsPapers wrote:

" The Harrington, is one of the most iconic jackets ever designed,” proclaims the singer Paul Weller. “ It played such a huge part in my youth and is something I still wear today it’s the perfect jacket- a real classic –it will never go out of style”. Indeed, the jackets popularity has not waned since it was first designed by John Miller in Manchester in 1937. Sam Preston of the Ordinary boys chose to step into the Big Brother limelight wearing one in beige, Thierry Henry sported his in the new Renault ad, Pete Docherty favours the item in blue while the Gallagher Brothers, Damon Albarn and Suggs of Madness have been dutiful aficionados for years.
“It is just so right for now,” says Esquire fashion director Catherine Hayward.“ Clued up men of all ages are going for this much neater, much sharper almost vintage Ivy League silhouette and the Baracuta Harrington is the perfect answer.”

Initially christened the G9, the garment was principally created for the golfing fraternity and - just like many other great timeless garments - was a purely functional design that worked.
In the early fifties it was exported to the US only for celebrity golfers such as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Ronnie Reagan to lap it up while the Ivy League Fraternity- who seemed in a terrible rush to look like their golf loving dads – made it their own. But it wasn’t until 1954, when Elvis Presley teamed the item with brilliantine and attitude in the movie King Creole that it crossed over into Main Street to become a much copied American staple.“ Elvis always floated between Ivy League and fashion,” attests John Simon-the man responsible for popularising the item in the UK. “ He would have regular stuff in bright colours and the Baracuta, because it was a golfing staple, came in some great colours. What Elvis was doing was called it Jivey Ivy which was Ivy League with a twist.”

The term Ivy League alludes not only to a North American athletic association comprising eight private colleges - such as Yale, Harvard and Cornell - but also refers to the social groups distinctive style of dress. Enormously rigid, the look comprises heavy wingtip brogues, button down collared shirts, cardigans and flat fronted trousers and is a direct reflection of the Leagues legendary conservatism. But curiously in the late fifties, it was this conformity that made the look as hot as a blacksmiths poker when, a group of quite radical and predominantly bugged out jazz musicians (such as Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Milt Jackson) chose the style to distance themselves from the carnival antics and gregarious fashions of the previous generation of jump and jive jazz entertainers. And as night follows day, the once conservative style, became the epitome of hip on both sides of the Atlantic.

Craig (James Bond) showing
off his G9 Harrington

“You had a lot of cool jazz guys such as Jimmy Heath, Art Pepper and Miles Davis wearing the jacket,” continues Simon.“ But the real explosion came when Steve McQueen wore it on the cover of Life Magazine in 1963. He was such a huge modernist and mod icon that anything he wore caught on.”

Mc Queen’s appearance in the jacket pre-empted a wave of classic Americana in the UK as many original Mods, appalled by the antics of their younger more violent counterparts at the Mods and Rocker riots at Brighton over the Whitsun Bank Holiday of 1964, turned back to the less accessible Ivy League style that they had purloined from the US jazz guys in the early sixties and the Baracuta G9 was a vital component.

“We were the first to stock the jacket as a style item in the UK in late 1966,” states Simon. “ At the time the programme Peyton Place was on TV and Ryan O’Neal wore one in the show so I put one in the window of my shop, The Ivy Shop in Richmond with a ticket saying, The Harrington Jacket, and the name stuck .The first to buy the jacket listened to jazz and soul wore really sharp mohair suits and based themselves on McQueen in the film Love with a Proper Stranger.”

“ The Harrington was part of a style that was so subversive because it was so Ivy League and so conservative compared with all the hippy fashions that were around at the time, ” says Dexy’s Midnight Runners singer Kevin Rowland.“ The hair was like a short back and sides like an American astronauts, the shoes were these thick soled Gibson’s and the Harrington was the jacket.”

Since the ‘Harrington’ has been prominent feature of almost every British youth movement- a hardy perennial in the annals of UK sartoria “Paul Simonon wore one as a punk with the Clash while Chas Smash wore his in his band Madness,” says Paul Gorman author of, The Look -the universally acknowledged last word on street fashion, “A jazzer could wear it as well as a rude boy, rockabilly or a Mod and all the Brit Pop guys love it. Of late the Baracuta original has been picked up by a whole new generation of stylish thirty and forty some things that just want to look sharp.”

But why should a simple zip up jacket designed primarily for golfers some seventy year ago still rule the roost? “ Because It’s got street credentials for connoisseurs”’ states Maxim fashion editor Tom Stubbs the “ It’s classic Americana that slots in differently into the British likely lad look as we have our own way of wearing it. It is such a great shape and one can put your hands in the pockets and posture quite easily. It looks as good with jeans, chino’s or slacks and on everyone from 8 to 80 – it is an essential.”

“We stock it now because it has an important feature of British Fashion Heritage,” says Ravi Grewal, the owner of StuartsLondon, who now sells the full slim line range. “We started with just the basic colours and now we enjoy the full collection.”

And now that high fashion is commonplace there has never been a better time to turn back to the classics and look as if your not trying too hard.“ The Baracuta Harrington supersedes fashion ,” says tailor and designer Mark Powell. “ It is a purely stylish garment and even when the fashion fizzles out it will still remain. It is a true icon and probably the world’s most copied zip up jacket.”

Its available to buy online today with a free delivery at StuartsLondon.com don't miss out on the chance to get the most iconic jacket of fashion history.