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The Prince of Wales’ full name was Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David Windsor but he went by David until he was crowned Edward VIII in 1936.

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“If there were no God,” said Voltaire some little time before he embraced Catholicism, “it would be necessary to invent Him.” Today the apparel industry echoes with religious fervor, “If there were no Prince of Wales, it would be necessary to invent him.” The National Association of Clothiers and Furnishers, during their meeting in Atlantic City in February of 1932, unanimously agreed that, of all the men in the world, England’s gallant Edward Albert alone deserved the title “Beau Brummel.” The one other male, it was naively recorded, who approached the Prince even remotely in the matter of influence was insouciant Mayor James Walker. And their report neglected to state whether the power exerted by this blithe individual should be praised as beneficial or condemned as corrupting and evil because of its jazzy sausage-causing lines and Broadway eccentricities.

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From “Apparel Arts”, 1933 via Dandyism

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No one has ever looked as good on the golf course as the legendary Bobby Jones.

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The highest degree of excellence typically carries with it a high price. Even a casual glance at Jones’ achievements in golf might give the impression that he must have done little else with his time. Actually, quite the opposite was true. Even when he was playing his best golf at the pinnacle of his career, Jones never regarded golf as anything more than what it was-just a game. Later in life he would reflect on his priorities saying, “My wife and my children came first; then my profession (by this he meant his legal profession, not golf); finally, and never in a life by itself, came golf.”

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“Competitive golf is played mainly on a
5 1/2″ course, the space between your ears.”  –Bobby Jones

 

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His sporting clothes brought out the peacock in him. ”I believe in bright checks for sportsmen,” he once wrote. ”The louder they are, the better I like them.”

The Duke practically invented comfortable clothes.  As Kerry Taylor, the Sotheby’s specialist who has spent seven years preparing for this sale, explained, ”He was reacting to his buttoned-up and old-fashioned childhood.”

Ms. Taylor said the Duke so disliked suspenders that he invented pants with elastic in the waist.  He didn’t like buttons on pants, so insisted on zippers, which were large and primitive in the 1930’s.  He preferred buttons on the sleeves of his jackets — four, to be precise.  He always wore cuffs on his trousers, which infuriated his father.  After World War II broke out, he had his pants made in the United States because textiles were rationed in England and cuffs required extra fabric.

 

Duke of Windsor Country suit

 Prince of Wales check sports suit.  Jacket by Scholte of London and stalking trousers (modified plus-fours) by Forster & Sons, 1923.  Altered in the mid 1930s when a zip was inserted.  Came with the removable blue cotton plus-four linings (more below).

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Kenneth Jay Lane, the jewelry designer, and a friend, said he never paid too much attention to the Duke’s wardrobe when he saw him, which he considers a great compliment.  ”When you see a perfectly dressed man, you don’t think about it,” he said.  But he recalled that the Duke was very aware of fashion.

”Once when I went to dinner at their house,” Mr. Lane said, ”I was wearing one of the first black velvet tuxedos, and he commented on my ensemble right away.”

Duke of Windsor Wedding Suit

The morning coat and trousers worn to his wedding, with a different waistcoat. Jacket by Scholte is a herringbone cashmere weave and is marked H.M. The King, 25.1.36. Waistcoat matches the jacket and marked same. The morning trousers are by Forster & Son and marked 9.6.32

This was bought by the CEO of Kiton for $27,600.  Mr. Paone, who also purchased several other items from the Duke’s wardrobe, knew the Duke of Windsor and admired his style. He plans to exhibit the suit and other items in his Kiton stores and in other stores that carry his clothing around the world.

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brad_1245723cI knew there was a reason I loved the wardrobe so much–

 

Belstaff, which was founded in Longton, Staffordshire, in 1924, opened up its 85-year-old archives to West and supplied original, classic designs for Pitt-as-Button’s screen wardrobe.

When Benjamin Button is riding his vintage Indian motorcycle through Louisiana he is wearing the Belstaff ‘Panther’ jacket in dark-brown leather, a timeless classic as popular today as it was 50 years ago. At another pivotal point in his life, Button takes off on his Triumph motorbike wearing the Belstaff ‘Button’ blouson in black leather, a ‘new’ classic based on an original design. In another key scene, opposite Tilda Swinton who plays diplomat’s wife, Elizabeth Abbott, Button is in a vintage Belstaff shearling jacket in black leather with cream collar.

Link to Belstaff/Button story

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Kim Jones, Dunhill’s creative director, will put his vision of a modern Dunhill on the Paris menswear catwalk at the Maison de l’Architecture on Sunday. (Chris Moore/Karl Prouse)

It is England, 1914. Imagine Alfred Dunhill dashing along in his motor vehicle at a daring 12 miles an hour, his eyes flicking to his rose gold stopwatch, tooting his four-note horn, the entrepreneur in a leather coat with matching goggles. And all these magnificent pieces designed by himself.

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The heritage of Dunhill is so broad and so British: from its beginnings with the birth of the car to creating luxury accessories for motorcycling, aviation and the oh-so-fashionable smokers in the Roaring Twenties.

“This is from the 1920s – from the collaboration with Japan,” says Kim Jones, 32, Dunhill’s creative director, who will put his vision of a modern Dunhill on the Paris menswear catwalk at the Maison de l’Architecture on Sunday.

Jones was referring to a dynamic and ergonomic range of travel bags in wood-grain leather. But it would be a stretch to guess that a pen case from the 1920s had been the inspiration. (more…)

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TARTAN Romancing the Plaid by Jeffrey Banks & Doria De La Chapelle

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Tartan makes me feel like no other fabric.  I can’t say it any better than the book, a must read- “Whenever the word tartan is mentioned, scores of exuberant images abound.  Like a flag, tartan evokes the Scottish nation and its colorful kilted clans.  It resonates with the wail of bagpipes.  It snaps to attention with its smart, symmetrical design.

But tartan is more than a design, it is a sign; and while it signifies kinship (real or imagined), country, and celebration of the Scots, its subtext is dignity, distinctiveness. and a sense of belonging- qualities that possess universal appeal. That is perhaps the reason why tartan, a textile indigenous to the Highlands, has evolved into one of the world’s most popular fabrics, beloved by just about everyone. Scot or not.”

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The impeccable Jeffrey Banks

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Knowing Jeffrey Banks, I can tell you that writing this book was a passionate labor of love for him.  An avid collector of all things tartan, particularly Black Watch, Jeffrey is the tartan authority and owns some of the greatest pieces I’ve seen– apparel, accessories, home furnishings, tartanware– you name it.  Jeffrey- I want that Black Watch toggle coat when you die!  No hurry, chap.

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Jeffrey Banks’ personal collection of tartanware. Photo by Thom Gilbert.

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Jeffrey Banks is one of those guys that seems to have been born with impeccable style.  As a high-schooler working at the legendary shop Britches, he was tapped by Ralph to come work for him.  Ralph became very fond of Jeffrey– he even lent him his own personal tuxedo and pumps for his Senior Prom.  Polo was a small company back then, so he worked directly with Ralph as his design assistant, and they are still close today.

Jeffrey, passionate about design, made the decision to leave Polo and finish his studies at Pratt Institute and Parsons.  Jeffrey later designed for Calvin, and Merona Sportswear, among others.  He launched his own menswear collection in 1977 to much acclaim, and is among the “who’s who” of fashion.  Jeffrey is one of the most dapper guys going, and a two-time winner of the Coty American Fashion Critics award.

I have a great story for you about Jeffrey in a kilt- but that’s for another time.

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