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Monthly archive

October 2010

new beau brummel phase begins

Been double busy with various style engagements of late, hence lack of posts. Let me review the situation, for myself as much as anybody else.

Worked very intensely for a month or two on a new men’s magazine as Style Director. Its all about news, with some style. We launched a sample this week. A British style weekly for men that has a number in the title. Pretty, pretty cool, no?  Gaz7etta came out inside its sibling publication Grazia. You can still buy one on Monday if you pull your finger out.

Other publications recently out, or about to be, include an FT How To Spend It feature on new tailors, (to provide web link to my site early this week) which is essential viewing/reading  if you are remotely interested in style and tailoring, even a little bit. Also The Quarterly main fash’ (not out),  The Spectator (not finished), and a piece in forth coming title Sapienza (not thoroughly invented).

Also been conspiring to make my highest profile client the best dressed bloke in Europe, nay the world. Particularly on Saturday and Sunday evenings, on the tele. Have a look. Nous sommes arrives, as we say down Chatsworth Road on a Friday night. (We do actually say that too).

During the week I am a Style Consigliere, advising , composing and commenting on men’s style. At the weekend now however, I am a style butler. A different and supportive role that involves measures of styling, pressing, testing desserts, defluffing, opening bottles and speaking in mock German accents. It’s very rewarding work all round.

Thursday was particularly pivotal when the tailors of Thom Sweeney (Luke and Thom), and my shirt maker Nash Masood of Emmett shirts fitted their work on to Mr. O’Leary. Am going to document their exquisite creations properly  as soon as I get mo’ this week. We all went up a level. The man came laden with wares from Patisserie Valerie to make the whole  occasion even more exciting, (if not precarious on a cream vs. bespoke tailoring level). This lot are the new style A team and Dermot looked  utterly brilliant. See last night’s X for evidence.

So as my weekends now belong to Earl Cowell, and my role as style butler is mapped out till Christmas, a new period of freedom during  the week shall begin. I am being measured for various suits and tailoring at five or six different style establishments. I plan to acquire the mid century  furniture from Maurice’s gaff and others that would befit my place. I am also summoning my Mother and Sister to visit the metropolis and stay at Lavinia Villa, (on different occasions), to get involved on various levels . It shall be a era defined by both rarified style, much cavorting and loud hooting.

Beau Brummel will have nothing on me by the time Christmas comes, except perhaps syphilis.


Boris Bikes and Free Love

Hailing active dwellers of the metropolis, I trust you’ve all lost your Boris Bike virginity by now.  Right? I couldn’t wait to ditch mine. Enrolled on line, got granted a little Barclays Cycle Hire stick and now for a pound a day I’m bang into the scheme. It’s radically changed my M.O. between meetings and engagements. Boris Bikes are perfect to eliminate those numerous pesky 10 and 15 minute hurried walks, transforming them into an angst and helmet free slalom through central London.

The bikes are allegedly heavy, but they’re not too bad, (unless you’re dedicated to your blessed stripped down  “Fixie”). You can ride side saddle, sort of, as there’s no cross bar. They’re not the most stylish looking affairs, but the juxtaposition of your own garb should get you through. Consider delivering large bunches of lilies, bespoke suiting or multiple umbrella packages as diversions (all three have worked admirably for me).

I’m waiting for my man.

Docking is particularly gratifying. One thrusts one’s machine firmly into the female stocks of the rank. In no time I’d mastered the ‘rolling dock’, lining up the slot on approach and entering the dock without even stopping. Clunk, bump, done. ‘Clunk and breeze’ I call it. After copulating your bike with the rank, the satisfying moment is after seeing the green light flick on; that you’re free again, to turn on your heel and breeze off. It’s the instant crossover that’s brilliant. Cruising along: I’m a cyclist, I’m a cyclist, I’m a cyclist, then clunk, step, turn, I’m a pedestrian, with zero cycling paraphernalia. No helmet, location to remember, worry of theft, or concern over impending ride home. Nothing. It’s like having the transport equivalent of casual sex in a utopic free-love society. Boris’s Clunk and Breeze scheme is marvellous.

Jean Pierre Bragazna- Flamming cyclists.

There is a drawback however. It was hammered home at a most inconvenient juncture. Show one, first thing on Men’s day of LFW, the much vaunted and highly exciting Topman Design show. I was reporting for Grazia Daily and copy needed to be posted immediately after. Making up lost minutes from Holborn to the Royal Opera House in the bright sunshine of the last day of summer, I boarded my cyan and navy blue liveried charge, thinking I would just make the show, (a dash of adrenaline is always a bonus). A Ferragamo blazer, maroon suede Guccis and oversized liver spot Persol 009’s were working well as a momentary cycle chic.  Having checked dock locations before hand, I had two options to park for my Bow Street destination. Drury Lane the nearest, was full. Nay bother. A swift pedal round the corner to Tavistock Street, and dagnabbit, another full rack. You can tell in a heart beat the rank is full, but still I rode slowly past, disbelieving the full capacity. The bottom of Bow Street was full too, and even had anxious people prowling, encumbered with bikes, scanning for prospective takers.  There’s nothing you can do. I couldn’t ditch the contraption or park it in the Opera House foyer. One’s plan was well and truly scuppered. I thought of my bike and a vacant dock and the words of Harry Flowers in Performance rang true. “United we stand, divided we’re lumbered”. Properly lumbered.

Harry Flowers, social commentator and philosopher.

The Topman show was excellent. I’m told, as I never saw it. I spent the duration orbiting the Opera House hoping in vain that a slot would come good, like a nonce looking to snag a drunken straggler at a wedding.  As a fashion bod, there’s nothing worse than missing a show.  Everyone knows what happened moments ago, except you, and it is never to be repeated. I was forced to watch the video with the IT nerds and to pretend have seen it. I think I got away with it by interviewing the creative director and getting him to fill in the blanks. Blogging, eh? Who’d have thought it’d be such a graft.

Militant bicycle liberationists of 1966.

Although my love affair with Boris bikes continues, it is without that first innocent flush of thinking had discovered true West End freedom, completely without the bind of responsibility. The spectre of not being able to jettison your ride lurks, adding to the rush one gets from weaving and speeding through heavy traffic in Savile Row bespoke laden with a cache of important footwear or confectionary. Docking is still a guilty metaphor I enjoy whenever I can get it. Sometimes I go out and dock just for the sake of it, without a reason for the journey. Sometimes at night when slightly inebriated. There’s always the risk factor though, and yet more poignant lyrics from Mr. Flowers ring true. What’s that thing you say Harry? The other thing?
“At the death, who’s left holding the sodding baby?”


Tour de Prance.


More sunlit diversions: our recent shoot in Epping. The location is picturesque, yet with a seedy and hilarious overtone provided by the constant stream of tentatively cruising homosexual men patrolling  the area looking for daytime action in the bushes. Dozens of them. I didn’t film them, as it didn’t seem fair, but the walk is very specific: casual but with intent, holding down the adrenalin that is clearly coursing through the veins.

The other factor that is not immediately apparent about the place is that every ten yards are absolutely punctuated by piles of dog pony. Literally everywhere. My nimble Hunter clad and spacially aware fashion team made it through the shoot unscathed. Not so the photography lot. Jake rolled through pony in his Armani bomber, digi-op’ Neil knelt in pony and finally photographic assistant Chris dropped the light meter in pony, didn’t notice, picked it up and got pony all over himself. They were the pony club. To recap, the shoot was about dogs and British traditional outerwear, not pony. The Dogs are Hungarian Vislas, and didn’t pony once on camera. A pleasant yet treacherous way to spend one’s working Thursday. Time for a re-boot soon perhaps.


postcard from the past from Italy

This is probably not of interest to many people. My sister Julie might like it, and my Mum when she gets the internet (this is going to happen. Christ.).  I’m putting it up as a reminder of what I was doing a month ago, particularly as the weather is being sporadically foul.

Last night I went to a wedding party. My mother had suggested that I do not get ‘pie-eyed’ and do anything I regret. From an inspection this morning it appears someone has rolled about in filthy water in my DAKS cashmere overcoat. Its too bad to even hurt.

I do remember trying a new food called Moimoi at the party, but I don’t remember the end of the evening. Stretch has just  called to confirm that it was in fact me that lay in a puddle when I spilled out of the cab on Urswick Road.

This video postcard has no puddles, cashmere overcoats or wedding parties within. It does feature custard pie, baroque, panama hat and sunshine.

The confusing bit is which do I prefer?  Doing it all live or the memory.



I’m all up for aspiration and keeping up appearances, especially if you’re in reduced circumstances. The whole look was working, the bag she was knelt on was Bottega, and the choice of vehicle to sit against, a black Rangie Sport, was ideal.  I wondered later if she took credits cards. Big up the Fendi Beggar!

NB. I did give her a quid for her efforts.

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