Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Xmas lists are not just for the ladies ...

ISN’T IT funny how the fairer sex always compile lists for Christmas presents, while the archetypal comment for men is; 'What would you buy the man who already has everything?'

Well, I actually do have practically everything, but the requirement for new clothes is always prescient and along with replenishing the drinks cabinet, cocktail menu and of course those continually vanishing butlers, yes I do have a very high turn over of them.

Anyway I digress, I Skylon am making a stand for men this Christmas and its starts with a quick ‘must have’ Xmas list.

In a bid to sound something like Jessie’s diet from that TV comedy The Fast Show, I will be mostly talking about Armani Jeans jumpers, Pendleton jumpers, some superb Adidas and Volta footwear plus a rather nice Barbour bag.

The Armani AW12 range is a good combination practical and stylish, the Maglia Melange sweater, which comes with a delicious use of button fastening (placket), in grey with black, or grey with cream, which is the Maglia Grigio.

This is a jumper, which smacks of working clothing, as well having an old school tie feel about it, combines a chest pocket, elbow patches and is frankly lovely with high quarter collars.

Going for a Christmas/winter style jumper is no longer the arena of Seventies TV celebrities, in fact I made the jump last year with a superb YMC jumper which I must say looked particularly fetching in our drunken reenactment of the Heroes of Telemark, I of course played Kirk Douglas. 

It is worth paying attention to the dimple chinned ones wardrobe during certain scenes in this classic movie, many of the looks and lines can be seen either in your wardrobe or in the design houses ranges you treasure today.

And although it may be correct to say the halls at King’s College, Oxford  may have been more Harry Potter than WWII Norway, that surely is a tale for another time.

The Pendleton Woollen Mills Shetland Fair Isle, which comes in blue or charcoal utilizes a shawl neck with stunning two button placket.

The pure wool chunky 3-gauge knit jumper sports the ‘classic’ traditional snowflake Fair Isle pattern.

Drop your Germans, as The Colonel would say, into a pair of the Pendleton Aztec gloves

These water repellent, fleece lined, leather palmed gloves are nothing if not stand out. 

The combination of wool and leather make these gloves a perfect winter warming winner.

Next up check out the Adidas Originals Quilt navy boots, which come in oak colour have been one of my favourites for a long time, but the new oak colour is a great winter addition.

These sheep fur lined canvas upper boots have a gripping rubber sole and are a limited edition, so hurry.

I was also very taken by the Volta platform grey napa boot. Designed for loggers these cold weather durable boots are a definite winner for these coming months. 

The handmade nubuck leather boots and sport the Vibran sole synonymous with Volta footwear.

The boot also comes in the red calf Mendocino boot, which sports the same styles in cowhide leather.

There is one bag that caught my ever roving eye, the Barbour striped wool Taras classic bag.
The embossed Barbour logo bag, which has leather fasteners and a webbing shoulder strap, also sports leather trims.

The striped colourways of the bag, means that every bag varys in design, making it somewhat unique.
That so far is the nuts and bolts of a great starting look for the winter season, all you have to do is drop in a nice pair of trousers, jeans, coat and hat and you are practically there. 

But there is plenty more time til the festive season comes, so plenty more lists to make, even if you have been good or bad.

Take cover in true London style ... 'Four'

WAS IT Flanagan and Allen who sang Umbrella Man? I think it was. I remember the good old musical hall days, the Royal Festival and Royal Albert Halls and the Hollywood Bowl were all once part of the Skylon family empire, even though the of course the state believed it owned the big old hall in London and of course, commoners like Flanagan and Allen would never have stepped foot in there.
Well, not with out my families permission. 

You see it was always such, we had the same problems with Kent, can you believe some people think the Garden of England is not private land, some even want to live there!!! With those that do, thinking they actually own their houses.

The cheek of some people.

As my old friend the colonel would say: ‘MORE NECK THAN A SWAN’. 

I don’t really know what he means by that as I also own all the swans in the country, despite what Her Maj says, I think she has a bloody cheek as well, but it's all in a good cause letting the old girl think she has ownership you know.
Anyway, the point I am getting at my pedigree chums is that when walking around my backyard of Kent it is sometimes preferable, especially at this time of the year.

I am not one for golf umbrellas, the last time I used one was when I played my last round of Shotgun Golf with HST, old cracker arse Jack Nicholson, Bill Murray and a few other ‘crazed ether driven animals’ as the Good Doctor would describe us all and of course Le Colonel himself, who took the sport a little too seriously bringing along a machine gun.

But that surely is a tale for another time?

Well what better way to protect myself whilst parading around the Garden, than with one of the superb London Undercover brollies? There are several on offer, but I will be sporting the YMC X Internal Navajo print umbrella this weekend, although to be honest the entire range looks pretty impressive.

The return of the brollie as part of the ‘quintessentially’ British look has in many ways been down to the aptly named Jamie Milestone, who launched his company LU four years ago, so it would also seem apt, that one of the countries newest and most progressive fashion labels YMC (found in 1995 by Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins) should team up to produce a cultured and slightly American leaning umbrella for the range.

The Navajo print piece uses two Navajo style prints on the the inside and out of the cover of the umbrella, with a special wooden tag marking the production of the item.
The poly cotton cover comes in a dark navy, with the handle and shaft being crafted form one single piece of dark brown maple wood.

It uses a one piece cover and is quite beautiful when opened and stylish when closed.
Also available in the range is the Lifesaver range, which utilizes the colours sported by the British life Boat rescue. The dark, navy and bright orange has a malacca wood hand, beech wood shaft with gunmetal tip cup and spokes. Of course the tip can come in very handy when having quaffed several bottles of poo at Kettner’s one attempts to become d’artagnan.

The item is nothing if not English man about town, or countryside as it were in may case and if big enough to cover any size bottle and glass combination safely from the falling rain. The City Gent range also comes in green on the main cover or olive as it is described really gives a superb colour range.

The more simplistic black & white Houndstooth is a classic umbrella, using maple wood handles and shaft combo again, with London Undercover etched into it. The fully wind proof brolly does not have the curved handle of the others, preferring a straight finish and is made from recycled products, which should give the user a nice feeling as they are shielding themselves from the falling acid rain. 

Only joking.

The range is the perfect look for many of the superb winter designs such as the Gibson London Twill or Herringbone Sage blazers, the YMC multi-knitted wool jumper and of course looks like it is related to the Pointer Shoes Pointer x Porter Yoshida & Co rucksack.

I also think it’s the perfect accompaniment to the Common People NEP wool burgundy parka or the delicious Lacoste live duck down Escardon jacket, why not drop in one of the Pendleton woollen mills Fireside Virgin wool shirts. All stunning stuff, but before I pop my cork, I am off for a quick memorial round of Shotgun golf.

And for the uninitiated, here is the Good Doctors incredible sport, best played when fueled by several quarts of tequila.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Boot on the right foot with Volta

BEFORE you judge a man walk a mile in his shoes they say, I prefer to be carried by my butler or to use my Lear jet, but I am sure I wouldn’t mind walking a fair few miles in the new Volta Special Jacquard Hamawi mids or Special Pack Jacquard Low.

Using ancient Italian textile patterns that make this shoe even more stand out than the ordinary Volta designs.

The blue tone jacquard pattern runs along the main of this dual fabric design.
The classic zig zag sole by Vibram, which is in lighter blue sets off the boots perfectly against the brown leather heel end.

These boots are a superb move on from the hiking boot stylings from which it hails and nice winter addition to any wardrobe and come in mid-boot and low Atuami brown or shoe, which comes with a brown sole, brown tone jacquard pattern and darker brown leather.

The zig zag design covers more of the shoe than with the boot, but one thing both designs share is that they are limited editions, so hurry as they won’t be hanging around for long, just like this cocktail.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

To protect and to serve: Victorinox

DURING my last trip to Switzerland, I was struck by two things, one the amount of alcohol I managed to drink without expiring, then again I was out with my old boozing pal the late Dickie Burton.

The second thing was the noises played at the airport or basically any large area of cows mooing noises.

Now having arrived at the airport 100% proof with cocktails, I was in need of apparel to keep myself warm after we went on commander activities with Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and a litany of other Hollywood a-listers, firing off shotgun shells at anything that looked vaguely alive.

The thinning of my blood after 48 hours solid drinking and shooting led me to begin to drop body temperature, so I sent my butler to find me some suitable clothing, having taken all of his and burned them as part of a bonfire, designed to keep me warm.

It is always pleasing when a good idea becomes a better one, and returning with the stunning range of Victorinox jackets, led me to open another bottle of vodka, before slipping on the ice and firing some shot into said butler who was last seen grabbing his behind and running off up the Jura Mountains, I believe being the humanitarian that he is Richard Harris put the man out of his misery.

All heart the big fella.

I must say the first x Christopher Raeburn parka/bag issue is something that was near perfect for the occasion.

The olive fishtail parka, which sports two front chest and hand pockets, with some serious Primaloft Eco insulation, making the bonfire rather unnecessary in the end, with the full-length coat, transforming into a back pack in ‘six easy’ steps. 

This is really taking things to another level, but what do you expect with the Swiss all perfect timing and construction.

The Guard heritage jacket has a more military feel to it, the lightweight coat that comes in green, is slim fit with two chest pockets and two hand ones,it also sports a hood with zip closure, with zip fastening.

Following along the ‘back pack’ idea the packable x Christopher Raeburn olive vest, which doffs it’s hat, as did the parka to the iconic Swiss Army knife and field jacket.

The hooded, water repellent ‘body warmer’ shape vest, can be transformed into a packed bag.
Seeing is believing, so have a peak at the pictures, they show something really special indeed and comes in black as well.

Needless to say I was perfectly warm and also given plenty to keep me busy with the packing and unpacking of said jackets.

The remainder of the visit went slightly wrong if memory serves when Liz Taylor arrived to find us all naked running around with cuckoo clocks hanging in delicate places, with a shot of vodka and gin being imbibed every five minutes and cuckoo sounding and a shot cartridge fired into the roof of Burton manor …

But that’s a tale for another time …

Saturday, 3 November 2012

A right load of balls, well boots actually

I’VE NEVER been one for basketball, if truth be known. Far too much running around, wooden courts are not conducive to spilling cocktails, makes for very dangerous conditions.

Another aspect is they are so bloody tall, my attempts to ‘shoot a hoop’ on the shoulders of my childhood butler Schevaliar, himself a French Polynesian man mountain was both ill thought out and clumsy, to say the least, all dropped balls, cocktail umbrellas and ice cubes all over Schevas golf fish bowl size head plus a score line of ‘nil point’. 

Not exactly the Dream Team.

There has always been one aspect to the sport that I have liked it’s cult fashions, making strutting around the Empire wing of Skylon Manor like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Damon Bailey a lot easier, cocktail friendly you might say.

In that area things have just got a lot easier with the release of two superb pieces of footwear with the Basket Profi OG boot being the first out of the blocks.

My first view of the Adidas Originals boot reminds me of the old Seventies comic book adverts for the Harlem Globetrotters.

The soft leather nubuck boots which come in white and uses shades of the colour, with a greyish white on the shoes body, an off white gum rubber vintage sole and pure white three stripes, laces and ankle.
The white sole remains on the black boot version, and uses similar colour tones in the main colour choice.

The perforated toe boot is a real trip down memory lane Harlem style, gone are the carbunkle ankle protectors of later boots, just a streamlined finish that works wonders.

Coming out of the New World stable the Hi Action boot from Nike using similar archive stylings to its German counterpart, the suede upper, rubber sole lace up boot, sports the cult Swoosh symbol with Nike lettering on the heel.

It makes a welcome addition to the Nike mid-boot range. You can also check out the Hi Team, that comes in a dark red.

Now if only Scheva was alive, that champagne cork incident in the halls at Eton college was a tad unfortunate, I could have thrown a few hoops.

Oh well it must be l’heure de l’apĂ©ritif instead then.