Brotherhood of Traveling Pants and Shoes

image


The brotherhood of traveling pants and shoes are in San Francisco this week. Until the end of today, Salvatore Ambrosi and Philip Car are holding trunk shows at The Wingtip. I stopped by yesterday morning to see them.

This is Ambrosi’s first trip to San Francisco in seven years. After what seemed like a meteoric rise at The London Lounge and StyleForum, the bespoke trouser maker ran into problems with the same clients who originally sang his praises. I don’t know if those issues were ever resolved, but current clients are happy, so I decided to try a couple of pairs for myself. Bespoke trousers, of course, are a lot more straightforward than bespoke jackets – as they have less internal construction – but there are subtle nuances in the ways that the legs and waist are cut that can affect the silhouette. I’m looking forward to seeing what Salvatore makes, as the other stuff I’ve seen online and in person have been beautiful.

Read More

Going By Eye

image


I got to see Edwin and Matthew from Steed Tailors this Sunday, as they stopped by San Francisco for part of their US tour. While we were flipping through fabric books, I asked Edwin if he cuts jackets differently depending on his client’s body type. There’s been so much written about how certain silhouettes are better for certain builds (even down to the shape and width of the lapels). I was curious to hear Edwin’s view on this, since he’s actually the one cutting and fitting bespoke suits for customers.

Edwin said he mostly works with customers to achieve what they want. One of his clients likes a much fuller chest than what he customarily cuts, so he provides that. Others might want something less drape-y. Some of his bodybuilding customers have big drops (meaning there’s a large difference between the shoulder width and waist size), so on their jackets, he has to put in two darts instead of his usual one. (For me, a skinny man with narrow shoulders and an expanding waistline, I imagine my jackets have a negative number of darts, but I haven’t checked). 

Read More

End’s Mid-Season Sale

image


End is having a great sale right now, where you can take 20% off (almost) everything in their store with the checkout code AUTUMN14. Included are lots of year-round items and things that don’t normally get discounted. Some things that I think are notable:

Read More

Old Leather and Foster & Son’s Tour

image


W.S. Foster & Son is in San Francisco this week, holding a trunk show at The Wingtip, which is a move from their regular location at The Fairmont Hotel. I was able to make it out yesterday to meet Andrew Murphy and Jon Spencer, who serve as the company’s retail manager and lastmaker respectively. With them were some samples from their ready-to-wear and bespoke range, as well as some vintage shoes that have been sitting in their archive for God knows how long.

Everything looked lovely, but there were a couple of models in particular that caught my eye. One was a uniquely designed wingtip, with a swooping line from the shoe’s eyelets to the quarters, and then a winged cap toe to balance everything out. Apparently, it was modeled after an old design by Alan McAfee, who was a bespoke shoemaker on London’s Dover Street before going out of business sometime in the 1980s. And, among the ready-to-wear range, there was a side zip boot, which was modeled after something Foster & Son once made for a Sultan. His had a bright gold zipper and a taller heel, which accommodated some silver spurs. This RTW model is a bit more discreet, with a black tonal zipper, a regular heel, and no spurs. It’s perhaps better suited to someone who’s … um … not a Sultan.

Read More

Anderson & Sheppard’s New Online Shop

image


For those who can’t make it to London, Anderson & Sheppard just opened a new online shop. As an extension of their Clifford Street haberdashery, it features almost everything in the company’s ready-to-wear line. There are seemingly hundreds of designs for pocket squares, scarves, and ties, and possibly the biggest selection of knitwear you’ll find anywhere. Smaller sections are also available for shorts, swimwear, and coats

The site does seem to have some kinks at the moment. I confirmed with them that customers in the United States will be able to shop, but I wasn’t able to checkout with anything in my cart. We can probably assume those will be worked out in the coming days. Additionally, the trouser section seems to still be in development. Along with the impressive knitwear, that might be one of the site’s best sections, as their Clifford Street shop was originally built with a strong focus on ready-to-wear trousers.

Read More

M the Civilized Man

image


I was cleaning up my apartment over the weekend when I came across a stack of old, forgotten issues from the now defunct M Magazine. A Fairchild Publication, M was launched in September of 1983 with a special issue on Prince Philip and navy blazers. It lasted just seven short years under the title of M the Civilized Man before it was changed to M Inc (Manhattan Inc) in 1990. About two years later, the magazine folded completely, with subscribers receiving GQ for the remainder of their subscriptions. 

For the time it lasted, however, the publication was great. Especially during those early years. Although it wasn’t a fashion publication, per se, it was loosely centered on style. Every issue had a fashion spread, a feature on stylish men or places, and the occasional story on handsome items you might want to buy that month. There was also always a column at the end that would pose a rhetorical “why not?” As in, why not buy some fancy pajamas, or a three-piece suit, or a sweater with a big pheasant on it? (The last was a real, honest-to-God question posed by the magazine’s editors).

Read More

New Standards

image


One of the nice things about writing a menswear blog is that I get to meet people who actually make things. Bespoke cordwainers, tailors, and even the occasional fashion designer – people who produce the things that many of us love. A few years ago, I met Bellanie – the co-founder and craftswoman behind Chester Mox – when I was searching for a leather card case online. Since then, we’ve become friends, and I’ve had the fortune of seeing her skills as a leather worker develop. 

Recently, Bellanie graduated from an apprenticeship with a master craftsperson, and her whole line has undergone an overhaul. She sent me couple of pieces (on loan) to check out, and I can genuinely say: I think she’s setting new standards for what men can expect for their money. The last time I’ve been this impressed with a brand was with Meermin – that Spanish shoe company that, I believe, has redefined affordable footwear. I think Chester Mox is now doing the same, except for high-end leather goods. 

Read More

That Japanese-Italian Style

image


The term “timeless style” can feel like such a cliché nowadays, but it’s genuinely amazing how little — and how awesome — Yukio Akamine’s style has changed since I first saw him on The Sartorialist nearly ten years ago. Granted, ten years is hardly timeless, but with how quickly fashion moves on the internet, that almost feels like a lifetime ago.

Akamine has described his style as being traditionally British, but I actually think of it as a Japanese-Italian interpretation of British clothes. The fabrics are heavy, but the tailoring — save for a few sharply cut double breasted jackets — mostly looks soft and rounded. The shoulders are unconstructed and sloping, the lapels slightly extended, and the quarters gently curved. His shirt collars also look soft and unfused, and the points are long in a way that you almost only see in Southern Italy nowadays. For casualwear, he seems to favor the kind of slim fitting suede A-1 blousons that Valstar made famous in the 1960s, and like many Italians, pairs them with tailored trousers.

Read More

A Second Wave

image


No Man Walks Alone recently convinced Stephan Schneider to re-release his Merino Coat, which was originally part of his FW11 Frozen Waves collection. I’ve been wanting one for years. It’s the stuff of legends, and heavily sought after by style enthusiasts, but frustratingly hard to find.

Schneider, for those unfamiliar, is a Belgian designer with a strong background in textiles, and works not only as a designer for his own label, but also as a professor at one of the fine arts universities in Berlin. His work is a breath of fresh air in men’s fashion, which nowadays seems to operate on two polar ends. There’s the heavy reliance on traditionalism and archival material on the one hand (e.g. traditional tailoring and old-timey workwear), and dark colors and aggressive silhouettes on the other (e.g. gothninja and its increasing number of derivatives).

Read More

Tailor’s Tips


My friend Gianluca, who directed the films O’Mast and I Colori di Antonio, just released a new project in collaboration with Italy’s oldest mill, Vitale Barberis Caonico. Titled Tailor’s Tips, it features VBC’s master tailor, Giovanni Barberis Organista, talking about how he makes a classic Ulster — a heavy piece of English outerwear defined by its half-belted back, patch pockets, and unique collar style. Hard to find off-the-rack nowadays, as fewer and fewer men wear “dress coats” (or dress anything, for that matter). The closest we really get to them in the United States are polo coats, although they don’t really have the same rustic feel. 

In any case, I’m told that this is a twelve-part series, and that a new episode will be released once a month. Just note that you may have to turn on closed captions in the control panel, which will pop up when you hover your mouse over the video (Mr. Organista speaks in Italian). As always, it’s a pleasure to see Gianluca’s work, as he’s one of the few directors doing work on the craft of custom tailoring.