Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January 5th, 2009

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

*

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.”

*

The impeccable Jeffrey Banks

*

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.

*

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

*

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.

*

*

Read Full Post »

The Belstaff Sheep M.C. JacketI’ve been looking for the perfect shearling jacket.  Call off the hounds.  The search is over- the Belstaff M.C. Jacket.  Founded in England 1924, Belstaff was the first company in the world to use the fabric that is now commonly known as “waxed cotton”.  The fabric was woven from a very fine Egyptian cotton that is treated with natural oils, making it totally waterproof (well, the only thing totally waterproof is a duck…) yet still breathable and comfortable.  Belstaff became specialists at crafting the finest-quality technical apparel, footwear and accessories for motorcyclists, aviators, the military and outdoorsmen alike.  

Their legendary “Trialmaster” jacket has been worn by serious motorcyclists for generations, and popularized by cultural icons like Steve McQueen and Che Guevara.  Belstaff continues to lead innovation in technical fabric and garment technologies.  In 1970 they introduced the “XL500” jacket, which continues to be their top seller, made of Belflex– a highly durable and totally waterproof fabric.  In 1999 Belstaff introduced Ironguard– a fabric that protected against impact, tearing, high and low temperature, and radiation.  Like that isn’t enough- in 2003 they collaborated with an Italian textile company to create Balistic fabric.  Unbelievable.  Like their logo, they truly are a Phoenix rising that constantly evolves, innovates and inspires.

Read Full Post »