Thursday, 25 September 2014

Roll neck jumpers: The icon's choice

IT IS making a come back, but as it never really went away, come back may be too strong a term. Let’s just say the roll neck is standing proud again and why wouldn’t it having been a part of the wardrobe of some of coolest men on the planet.

You might put it this way: The roll neck: Then, Now, Always.

A must have for silver screen icons the jumper has been worn alongside suits, leather jackets, or just not its own, often with a gun holster slung around the shoulder as it was sported in cult films from James Bond, old eye brow twitching king Roger Moore, or hard hitting no prisoner taking king of cool Steve McQueen or the man once described as ‘Never knowingly underdressed’ James Coburn and like the rangy star’s Bond pastiche, a roll neck addition should be In Like Flint in any wardrobe with modern cult heroes such as Brad Pitt being known to follow suit.

An array of colours and finishes are around currently, but if it’s a proper biker look or even following in the footsteps of the Heroes of Telemark the Levi's Ecru cable roll neck, coming in sheer white is a must.

This slim fit Raglan sleeve jumper sports the iconic cable knit pattern, with soft ribbed cuffs and waistband, and really rolls back the years, all the way back to the 1950s, when it was first introduced.

Hugo Boss offer two dark blue or charcoal jumpers with a soft knit metal logo on the hem and ribbed cuffs and waistband.
A much softer finish this is a bit more Bond than the Brando feel of the Ecru.

Uniform For The Dedicated Canyon dark navy jumper is a corker, with tipped neck and cuffs, in straight fit, it a Merino wool masterpiece.

A nice cross between all of the above, the Farah Vintage Hartwell black roll neck comes in a ribbed construction in slim fit, with a yellow embroidered logo on the left hand side of the chest.

All offer something different, all offer the same thing: true style.

If it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for us.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Making a splash about Aquascutum

IN LIFE if you are going to do something, you might as well do it the best and attaining the highest standards is something that is synonymous with Aquascutum, especially when it comes to the label’s coats.

That standard has been maintained since the brand’s launch in 1851, collecting Royal seals, clients and warrants, (six in all, the first coming from King Edward VII in 1997 and the last from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1952), being the first producer of waterproof wool, along with providing coats for officers during both world wars and the Crimean War. A staple for stars and screen, politics, and anyone with a liking for the finer things. The name Aquascutum I am told is Latin for 'Watershield'. For all the irrelevant fact kings among you.

That hasn’t changed anyone who anyone knows of the brand and still holds the brand in the highest esteem and rightly so.

The Broadgate trench coat, in either camel or navy, is perfection in look and design, the hidden button through single breasted coat, with the iconic brown, blue and white checked lining, which is called The Club Check, with satin sleeve lining, is delightfully ‘Crafted in England’, it has two side pockets and just drips, no pun intended, with a beauty and class, which has been missing for far too long.

In the upcoming Q3 edition of S.L.M. Mehmet Ali, design director for other famous London brand Hardy Amies, talks about designs having more to them than meets the eye and the same can be said for the Aquascutum navy Harrington jacket.

This little beauty is reversible, sporting a delightful (Club pattern) blue, great and black check pattern throughout the one side and of course pure navy on the other.

Zip through, with two hand pockets, with neat collars coming a straight fit rather than tailored like the trench.
All zip fasteners are branded and all in all this is another little beauty, with all three signalling a mighty and welcome return for this icon of labels.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Skylon's school days are Matchless

HAVING LOST contact with Skylon a while back, it was an unfathomable pleasure to stumble across a well worn handwritten leather bound notebook, which is jam-packed with tales of the old scallywags formative school days at a place called Thruston Manor School for Boys aged six-16 and Beauty School Drop Outs, in deepest darkest Luddinton, Gloucestershire.

I will leave you to read an excerpt of the great man’s scribblings.

Originally held as a mental asylum for extravert artists and musical hall acts, Thruston Manor for Boys School had been selected by my late father for me to attend as a result of a wayward law darts incident, which left him with a perforated scrotum, due to my emptying his drinks cabinet and taking on the gardener at the game one spring afternoon.

My journey to the school was made by bus, train and an excruciating tuktuk journey of some 250 miles around in a circle, due in no small part to my driver being blind in one eye, and not really coming to terms with the string of roundabouts which welcomed all visitors to the nearby market town of Ballknacker-on-the-Weld.

Despite my awful initiation into school life, the driveway up to the imposing cylindrical shape school was quite picturesque with fields capped in a crisp snow, despite the September school term opening date. 
Laid in the snow were crying boys and travel bags and boxes strewn around, with every visible window in the school filled with baying older pupils letting off what appeared to be fireworks and mooning to those below.

Inside the five story building a madness prevailed, high excitement abound, and as I lugged my ‘coffin’ case to my dormitory, my ears were filled with the screams of the school’s head boy known as Sir Cadian: “RUN IN THE CORRIDORS, ALWAYS RUN IN THE CORRIDORS” .

Looking out onto the main courtyard and sports pitches of the school, I noticed what was to become known to me as Prig Day, which saw new pupils being used as naked human sleds harshly ridden by two or more older pupils and teachers alike across the fields and head first into the opposing wall.
A group of older pupils had also been rounded up, members, so I would later be told, of Miss Havershambles Theatre Arts and Drama classes, their fate was deemed as a ‘necessary cull’ by the school’s headmaster.
The chaos below was roared and loudly welcomed by the school’s automotive teacher affectionately known as Ton Up Treadshaw.

As the teacher most admired for his daring do, his choice of biking jackets seemed obvious and in the eyes of his doting and equally terrified pupils, who scattered for safety and tasted the painted walls of the school’s corridors, as he would perform wheelies around them, simply had to be Matchless.

The iconic London bike manufacturer, was the perfect fit for Treadshaw and he would mix and match his jacket’s throughout the school semester, when he really meant business, taking out a few pupils along the way he would sport the Silverstone Antique leather jacket.

This piece has the classic neck strap styling, full treated calf leather, is Italian manufactured and became part of the make up of famous biking venues such as London’s Ace CafĂ©, with the Ton Up Boys, from which pupils garnered his name. Where Treadwell would spend his down time, so legend had it often relaxing in his Charley Blouson jacket.

Treadwell, would always hurl the jacket across his desk after strolling into his class and pupils would fawn over the leather covered button masterpiece (the buttons are covered to avoid scratching a bike’s petrol tank).

Ageing gracefully is not something Treadwell intended to do, but the jacket’s tough yet supple leather acquires its own specific looks as the material dates. Plus the tartan lining looks lovely.
Utilising the same basic body shape, the Kensington wax antique boasts the neck strap closure, tartan lining, two chest pocket and zip closed hand pockets, only minus the leather. 
It also comes in a mid-length jacket and Antique.

The padded shoulder and elbows Paddington black jacket was Treadwell’s outdoors look, when he would ride across the school’s sports pitches on his track bike, which also comes in a long version.
The nylon, cotton mix jacket, also has the tartan inner, brass buttons and has button wrist fastening, unlike the Kensington that sports zips.

My contact with Tredwell sadly lasted only one short year, when, during the opening Prig Day of my second year at Thruston, by which time I I was sporting a bum fluff tash to emulate the great man himself’s handlebar moustache, Treadwell had crane winched his bike of choice onto the rafters of the school and rode wall of death-esque fashion around the school’s roof, cheering on the chaos below.

This display annually ended with the sounding of the school’s tower mounted bell with a dexterous underarm delivery of his crash helmet.
A simple miscalculation of distance and speed and several quarts of rum, during one such delivery saw the helmet bounce back off the bell striking Treadwell in the head, causing him to fall head first over his handle bars, where he suffered the ignominious end of riding over his own head.

A senseless waste of human life, although his jackets still proudly adorn the walls of the school, with the Marlon Johnny leather jacket, worn on that fateful day, taking pride of place. Just like the man himself: Matchless.