Jeremy Brett, quintessentially.
Jeremy Brett, quintessentially.
As a follow on to our piece about American carpet manufacturer turned hunting apparel makers C. H. Masland of Pennsylvania, we’d like to share some recent additions. Unlike other outdoor clothing companies, Masland came to it relatively late, and almost by accident. They had a wartime contract for canvases, clothing and tent awnings, but their main business had always been carpet manufacturing.
It is perhaps this difference that makes their hunting clothes so unique, and so unlike the typical brands of the era. You can almost see in the garments that they were testing and creating new design features, zipped pockets, press stud fastenings, suede and leather patches, quite often using up their surplus stock of military grade zips and hardware. Unfortunately their foray into the world of outdoor clothing was short-lived, and production soon turned back to carpets, perhaps due to the bigger competition of such greats as Sears & Roebucks, L L Bean, Penneys etc, or perhaps as a result of some of those off the wall design details! Read the rest of this entry »
Part sailor, part fisherman, part debonair film star, all Dirk Bogarde.
Collection of hunting buttons ‘up close’ and personal depicting foxes, boars heads, deer, horses et al
Again exploiting the microscopic detail that is revealed by a macro lens, tweed cloth starts to look like the surface of the moon. Tiny flecks of colour are revealed that make up the bigger palette, almost like a Sigmar Polke spot painting in miniature.
Small is beautiful, but it’s also a good excuse to try out our new macro lens, hoping to pick up the minutiae of detail otherwise lost to the human eye. First up is a collection of crowns, all bullion hand embroidered in wire thread and velvet, on military broadcloth backings. These all happen to be Queen’s crowns, not the more angular King’s crown found for instance on the Air Ministry stamps of WWII when King George VI was on the throne.
The fineness of stitch and complexity of the design can only be fully appreciated ‘up close’ and makes you realise the skill involved, especially when considering they were hand-sewn probably in a dark basement somewhere just off Savile Row.
This US Navy Mackinaw coat has ’1st Beach Battalion’ stencil stamped on it’s lining – The Beach Battalions being the crack-units which stormed the beaches first, and then controlled the traffic of their ‘pop-up ports’ making it possible for the allies to advance inland – most notably on the beaches of Southern France in 1944. Oddly, there is virtually no official documentation recording the activity and accomplishments of the WWII Beach Battalions. A website, created and maintained by a few surviving members of the battalion, aims at it’s least, to make sure a semi-documented account of activities and achievements reserves it’s place in history. – www.1stbeachbattalion.org
“…but the landings were made and the beachheads established because the men of the “Immortal First” refused to accept temporary setbacks or defeat. When the first wave roared ashore and the boat ramps dropped our battalion was there. And got the job done. Not always according to the book. But done and done well.”
The following text is taken from ‘THE BEACH BOYS – A Narrative History of The First Naval Beach Battalion – Amphibious Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet WWII’ by W.D. Vey and O.J. Elliot (2001). (click here for pdf version of the book).
‘Beach Battalions were a product of World War II. After Dunkirk, Crete and Corregidor, when it was determined that territory lost to the enemy could be regained only by storming the coasts of Europe and Africa, and the island beaches of the Pacific, concepts of modern warfare changed dramatically. High level planners concluded that they could put assault troops ashore from ships and planes, and that, landed in sufficient force, the infantry could fight its way inland. To stay there however, the infantry had to be supplied with food, weapons, clothing, ammunition, artillery, and tank support. Someone had to control the gigantic flow of material across the beaches while and after they had been assaulted, and to that end the concept of Naval Beach Battalions was born. Shore Parties were nothing new to the Navy. They had been around for years. Most were composed of members of the ship’s company, picked to go ashore to put down revolts, fight fires, give aid in time of disaster, etc., but, during a conflict such as the sea-to-land assaults of World War I, ship’s captains simply could not spare men from the crew for such duties. Accordingly, separate organizations, skilled in jobs related to amphibious warfare, were needed. And so, the Naval Beach Battalions were conceived…’
‘Headed by a Beachmaster and his Assistant, each platoon of a Beach Battalion was assigned signalmen, radiomen, medical personnel, hydrographic specialists, and boat repair experts. In a typical beach assault, the personnel of the beach battalion went ashore in one or more of the first three or four assault waves, scattering their equipment over the beach so that a single bomb or artillery shell would not destroy all of it. Digging their own slit trenches and foxholes on the beach, the men prepared as best they could for possible enemy counterattack while still setting up the beach as a simulated port for the onslaught of supplies, equipment and men soon to be landed in support of the initial assault troops already headed inland to their assigned objectives.’
Trying to get our heads round the craze for ugly Christmas jumpers, the best we could come up with are these more tasteful 1950s designs, featuring classic Nordic and festive motifs, such as snowflakes, reindeer and pine trees. If one must wear a Christmas jumper to the office party PLEASE make it a good one!
In 1837 Augustus Siebe, German born but living in England, developed a Diving Helmet which sealed airtight to a rubber suit. The closed suit connected to an air pump on the surface and thus became the first effective standard diving wear of its time. Rewarding Siebe with the moniker “father of deep sea diving”.
Founded by Augustus Siebe and his son in law Gorman, Siebe Gorman and Co. were a British company that developed diving and breathing equipment designed for commercial diving and marine salvage projects. The Augustus Siebe helmet gained a reputation for safety during its use on the wreck of the Royal George in 1840. The combination of safety and design features became the standard for helmet construction throughout the world, some of which were incorporated into the design of modern-day space suits.
Slightly obsessed with these first generation of deep sea divers – in our minds every bit as courageous as those later men and women that would take on the challenge of Space Travel. It was with great pleasure that a recent buying trip to France uncovered this fine collection of diving wear. Dealing with the bends, poor visibility, restricted movement and the fear of unknown sea monsters and giant squid – the experience of the sheer claustrophobia of a 19th century diving suit was in some small way improved by the matching Submariner knit, scarf, long johns and sea socks – all bearing the Siebe Gorman helmet logo.
A cream silk evening scarf, presumably 1920′s deco era, from glover, hosier and shirtmaker Frederick Noble Jones of Burlington Arcade. We think the centered embroidered monogram spells out RON, but it could be the initials ‘R.N’ with an non-functional embroidered hole in the middle.
The Burlington Arcade is a fantastic relic of regency London. Built in 1819, the arcade is lined with tiny shops under a high glass ceiling/roof and connects Piccadilly and Burlington Gardens. Still to this day patrolled by THE BEADLES (commissioned by Lord Cavendish as the smallest recognised police force) in full Edwardian costume whom are responsible for enforcing the ancient by-laws of the arcade – No whistling, no singing, no hurrying, no carrying large parcel or packages and certainly no opening of umbrellas.
The term ‘California styling’ refers to a certain aesthetic, and conjurs up iconic, hip images from the history of the golden state. Starting in the post-War boom of the affluent and secure 1950s it seems California developed it’s own distinctive style, part Hollywood part pioneer, perhaps in some way due to it’s own unique weather or geography, or it’s proud independent history. Advertisers were quick to realise the mere word ‘California’ had connotations of space, freedom, sunshine and modernity. Add to this the element of cool, the California of Big Sur Beats, West Coast Monterey Jazz, and The Beach Boys and you have era defining style.
Towns like Anaheim, Tracy, and Glendale are instantly imbued with a faraway Romanticism, American Graffiti and E.T. capture on celluloid some of it’s golden glow, and the folklore of Laurel canyon provides a soundtrack, a synthesis of music, style and sunshine that has created a Universal sun-kissed style still felt today, and seen in everything from Van Dorens, early Stussy and Dogtown and the Z Boys.
We are pleased to announce that we are now stocking a selection of the SAINT JAMES collection in our Earlham Street shop.
“Around 1850, Saint-James, a commune in Lower Normandy, located 20 kilometers from Mont Saint-Michel experienced a real industrial adventure. The Legallais family started to spin and dye locally produced wool. This was then resold as skeins and balls of wool to the haberdasheries of Brittany and Normandy, later as underwear : real woolen shirts which gave birth to the fisherman’s sweater. In 1950, Julien-BONTE, from Roubaix (France), took control of the Company and gave up the traditional activity to concentrate on the manufacture of cardigans, sweaters, including the famous “Real Breton Fisherman’s Sweater” knitted in Pure Wool. With such thick and tight knitwear, they are considered almost waterproof… Knitted very close to the body, this sweater becomes “the seafarers’ second skin”.“
To be brutally honest, we were ever-so just slightly stumped when it came to these. They look like slippers, but hard leather heel and soles didn’t seem right – who would wear hard leather soles around the house? Well, having consulted our historical shoe oracle and stylist phenomenonata David Nolan, it would appear the Greeks are who wear their hard-soled slippers around the σπίτι (house). These are indeed house shoes, also known as a ‘Grecian’ slipper, and a nice example in tan too. £poa.
Every August for over 100 years Hobos from all over America have gathered in Britt, Iowa for the National Hobo Convention and the annual crowning of a new Hobo King and Queen. And every year since 1987, Leanne Castillo has been there to paint their portraits.
A self-taught painter who has been painting portraits since she was 12 years old, in the 1980s she was asked to revive a tradition, the Britt Hobo Days Art Show. She began to see these free-spirited people with an artist’s eye, and quickly became fascinated with the rail-riders and their stories. Since then she has immortalised these transient and fanciful characters in all their tender pride and regalia, celebrating a marginalised and misunderstood subculture which is an integral and romantic thread firmly woven into the great American narrative. “So much of their life is in their faces. They are really interesting faces.”
81 year old folk artist Castillo, is the official portrait artist to the American Hobo. Working from photographs that she collected from newspapers dating back to 1910, Castillo has completed the history of Hobo royalty in portraiture, and so far has produced more than 60 large portraits – a mission she admits has become “kind of an obsession.” We are very honoured that 30 of her most enigmatic portraits will be on display at the horse hospital for the whole of December.
The Hobo community is tight knit, with their own culture, language of symbols, code of ethics and loyalties. When a Hobo passes away, it is said that they have “caught the Westbound.” The names of the royal Hobos are as evocative and vivid as their stories – Hobo Lump, Pennsylvania Kid, Minneapolis Jewel, Mountain Dew, Cinderbox Cindy and Iowa Blackie, each wears a crown fashioned from a can of Folgers Coffee that celebrates them as King or Queen of the Hobos.
A Hobo is essentially a professional traveller, favouring freight train boxcars, who works for their survival. With the end of the American Civil War in the 1860s, many discharged veterans returning home began hopping freight trains. Others looking for work on the American frontier followed the railways west aboard freight trains in the late 19th century. The number of Hobos increased greatly during the Great Depression era of the 1930s. With no work and no prospects at home, many decided to travel for free by freight train and try their luck elsewhere.
PART OF ’20 HORSE YEARS’, A PROGRAMME CELEBRATING THE HORSE HOSPITAL’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY. FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK HERE
Our first publication ‘Vintage Menswear – A Collection By The Vintage Showroom’ just won the Lifestyle Illustrated Award at the recent British Book Design and Production Awards for 2013. We are more than thrilled to receive such an accolade for something that was essentially a project of passion which gives an insight into what we do, and a team effort by like minded individuals. The fact it has been so well received Internationally is beyond our original expectations, and has inspired us to contemplate taking up the pen again…
Thank you to everyone who has bought a copy and helped make it such a success.
The Earlham Street shop recently underwent somewhat of a refurbishment. Here are some snaps…
The second installment of our limited edition annual publication is out today. You can order a copy here… http://www.thevintageshowroom.com/online-store/
Photo by Nic Shonfeld.
OK, so here we are. Showroom volume II has just been delivered and is now available to pre-order HERE.
The official launch date is 24th October.
You can find out more info about the publication on the newly re-vamped website – www.showroom-publication.com
Please take a moment to head over to the FB page and help spread the word by ‘liking’ us, if you don’t already. We are really proud of this new volume, we hope we inspire you.
What can be more appropriate at this time of year than the autumnal shades of a Harris Tweed two-piece gamekeeper suit. A traditional Scottish design it features distinctive styling such as the cut away front, a shorter body length and the scalloped and glove stitched pocket flaps. Partnered with a kilt and sporran it conjures up images from the film Mrs. Brown or The Shooting Party.
Interestingly the jacket shape is not too dissimilar to some of Vivienne Westwoods House of Mud designs, even some of Christopher Nemeth’s creations. Very Buffalo!
Pop Up Flea, the one-weekend-at-a-time menswear shopping event based in New York is heading to London for the first time ever this October. The Vintage Showroom will be en présence for this event so please come down and say hello. We will have a good selection of archive pieces with us. Read on for more details…
“The Pop Up Flea is the creation of New Yorkers Michael Williams and Randy Goldberg. Each year Michael and Randy invite their favorite brands to participate in the event, creating a dream store full of an overwhelming amount of handsomeness. The event will take place on Piccadilly Street in Central London on the weekend of 10/11-10/13 and will include a mix of U.S. and U.K. brands not often seen together under one roof.
The event is open to the public.
More information can be seen here: www.thepopupflea.com.
St James’s, London, W1
Friday, Oct 11th: 3pm to 8pm
Saturday, Oct 12th: 11am to 7pm
Sunday Oct 13th: 12pm to 6pm
Vendors for this year’s event include the following U.S. and European brands: Aether, Field Notes, Filson, General Knot & Co.,Levi’s Made & Crafted, Levi’s Vintage Clothing, London Undercover, Man of the World, Marwood, Red Wing Heritage, Shinola, Tanner Goods, Tellason, The Bread Collective, The Good Flock, Todd Snyder.
Further to our recent delves into the archive of SHOWROOM Vol.I, here is a wonderful insight and example of resistance through style penned by regular contributor and ‘antiquous oracle-ius’ Simon Andrews.
FRENCH RESISTANCE – IMPOVISED STYLE IN OCCUPIED FRANCE – by Simon Andrews.
New York, August 1939, and Time magazine, reporting on the Parisian autumn collections, somewhat prosaically notes that, “whoever runs the world, Paris intends to go on making his wife’s clothes”. However, within a few months, as German forces hovered on the perimeters of France, it was clearly evident that no European city would be able to boldly claim such influence. What was to evolve, by contrast, was a hybrid yet distinct style borne from necessity and infused with covert and symbolic aspects of a defiant national identity.
‘FTPF FFI’ Communist Résistance brassard, white cotton and embroidery, with Phrygian bonnet motif, France, c.1943-1944.
Paris, May 1940, the eve of the invasion, and Lucien François, editor of Votre Beauté magazine, observes that “every woman in Paris is a living propaganda poster”, acknowledging the proliferation of cheerful summer colours, patriotic silk scarves and the use of popular Gallic imagery. However, such buoyant optimism masked the practical realities that necessitated the stockpiling of many materials now deemed necessary for the war effort, and the sober consciousness that fashion, or rather clothing, should now bring considerations of practicality to the fore. Although the Parisian couture houses were to remain operative, supplying a wealthy elite throughout the duration of the war, the humble reality was that most materials – silk, leather, and even wood were rationed by 1941. Prompted by a paucity of materials, the fashion-conscious Parisienne, now obliged to improvise, personalized a distinctive silhouette of high hemlines, towering headdress, and clattering wooden- soled platform shoes – the latter jauntily celebrated in Maurice Chevalier’s `La Symphonie des Semelles de Bois’.
Here are some mobile snaps taken whilst at Aldgate Press in Whitechapel. We went to see the latest volume of SHOWROOM rolling off the print line. It feels like only yesterday when we were last there having a sneaky peek (getting in the way) at Vol.I. A year later, here are some sample spreads of Vol.II , to be launched on 24th Octobber 2013. The publication will be available to pre-order online in the next week or so, more details to follow…
Whilst it Our recent attentions have temporarily turned in favour of preparing to launch the SHOWROOM Publication Vol.II. Yep, it’s with the printers and will be in stores in the not too distant future. For those unfamiliar with this, last year we published a ‘conceptual mood and reference’ project packed full of moody style shoots, obscure scribings and curious doodlings. Such was the fantastic reception, we did it again.
Alas!, more on that later as we gather momentum by revisiting the archive of Lawrence W Dagger. Dubious 1920s New York detective/Steak House owner Larry Dagger first came to our attention when Douglas Gunn returned from a buying trip to America. In a grubby plastic bag buried at the bottom of a heap in a junk shop, he found an extensive, seemingly autobiographical, scrapbook detailing the extraordinary life and times of a quite remarkable character. Douglas’ account of the file is prominently featured in SHOWROOM Vol.II. (Vol.I is available to order here).
Here is a closer look at the mugshots and criminal identity cards that made up such an interesting part of the archive.
Here is a snippet of some unique jewellery and other adornments we currently have stocked in the showroom. The cabinets in the Earlham street shop are pretty well stocked too. Please contact us for more information.
WWII Silver Sweetheart Bracelets. £poa
Rumour has it, when Francis Ford Coppola was looking for a new film to make back in 1982, it was his daughter Sophia who recommended S.E. Hinton’s teen classic ‘The Outsiders’. Her recommendation was a winner, the all star cast and the coming of age theme, along with a classic wardrobe made it an instant hit.
As with West Side Story, gangs and stylised youth sub-culture never looked so good, in this case it’s the privileged ‘Soc’s’ in their Sta-Prest and Madras checks, versus the white-trash ‘Greasers’ in dirty denim, hooded sweats and cut-off Mickey Mouse tees.
Kicking off our final boots triptych, here is something for the ladies. A pair of womens ATS ( Auxiliary Territorial Service) pebble grain short lace up boots, featuring the distinctive War Department Broad Arrow, or ‘Crows Foot’, stitched into the toe. Very similar in style to our Broad Arrow’d John White boots dated 1941, these have no discernible makers name, but are War Department stamped at the ankle.
The ranks of the ATS swelled dramatically during World War Two as women took over the military roles that were vacated by men sent off to fight. By the end of the war there were over 190,000 members of the ATS, not including the Royal Navy equivalent the WRNS, or the Air Force WAAF.
As a follow on from the Nikolaus Tuczek spats, here are another pair, this time by Anton Penk. It would be rude not to mention the character namesake ‘Spats’ Colombo from Billy Wilder’s inspired comedy Some Like It Hot, played by real-life debonair bad-boy George Raft.
The Donkey jacket comes and goes, but only in trend. We saw a fair few Dalston Donkeys last winter (and only the lord knows what will be next over in the ephemeral East) but, to our knowledge, nobody has quite celebrated these hard-wearing British staples in quite the same manner as the seminal Tuf Work Boot Fashion Show of 1974.
‘Chamois’ and ‘knees’ – two words you don’t often see together, but start to make sense when in a Jodphur-y riding kinda context.
Just in, for all you Flintstones fans, a University of Bedrock sweatshirt. Team it with Converse sneakers and a sabre tooth tiger loincloth for the perfect Summer look! Available now at the Earlham St. shop.
As a follow on from our post about the Hussars tunics we’d like to recommend watching this little known gem from Ridley Scott, his first feature film in fact, based on the novel The Duel by Joseph Conrad. The film revolves around two Napoleonic French officers who pursue a protracted grudge through a series of duels lasting two decades. Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel play the stubborn duellists of the title, beautifully shot and historically accurate, The Duellists is an enigmatic and stunning visual treat.
Less Harry Hope’s Greenwich village flea-pit booze can and more The Vikings x Seven Samurai.
This new addition to the archive is a hardcore piece. Deadstock cotton canvas shell with leather belt fastening, comes complete with original cutters tag and stencil bearing the legend “Cape Axeman 1942″ with distinctive War Department broad arrow – the wearer of which would not be someone you would want to meet on a dark night axe in hand…
May 29th marked the 60th anniversary of Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay’s historic ascent of Everest in 1953. The expedition’s physical achievements are well-known and well documented, no more so than in a beautiful new book The Conquest of Everest : Original Photographs From The Legendary First Ascent by expedition photographer George Lowe, capturing every stage of the attempt on the summit in detail, and notably in colour. In fashion and design terms these photographs are an amazing archive that still serves to inspire in a remarkably contemporary way. The army surplus, Norwegian knit patterns, Sherpa’s traditional garb, and the revolutionary, at the time, new technology of the cotton/nylon windproof suits and oxygen equipment, in sharp contrast with the primitive tweeds worn on the doomed earlier 1924 expedition led by George Mallory and Andrew Irvine.
The colour plates, in tone, and their silvery grey paleness are reminiscent of the technicolour cinematography of Jack Cardiff on the 1947 Powell & Pressburger film Black Narcissus, set in the high Himalaya’s.
A St John Ambulance Association triangular bandage [circa 1910s] printed with diagrams of how to use in an emergency, for various breaks and sprains, in differing degrees of seriousness. Trying to replicate some of the origami-like knots and ties, under pressure, would make quite an entertaining challenge. A practical as well as graphic piece of printed ephemera from the early 20th century.
‘TROY’ blanket linings in old American chore jackets, fade and fall apart in interesting ways. Made using re-processed wool they were a cheap and durable way of adding extra warmth to denim workwear. They invoke a spirit of the Old West, Americana, Okies on the move, bedroll campfires, but also chain-gangs, Shawshank and Jailhouse Rock. Here’s a selection of stripes…
I met a man with seven wives… So the rhyme goes, but I suggest if you are going to St. Ives in Cornwall you should definitely check out the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. These are a few snaps I took of her studio when I was last there. The studio itself is a beautiful space and it has been preserved for visitors to see ‘as it was left’. We have long been fans of her work, and fellow sculptor Henry Moore, and her taste in salmon windcheaters!
French vs English Hussars ‘pelisse’ tunics, although very similar in style, exhibit little continental differences, an extra swirl in the braid, astrakan trim, different buttons and intricate frogging. Our cross Channel cousins example has a certain panache, originally all black (of course) some of the braid has now faded to green, and the back calligraphy would make even Jimi Hendrix* jealous. The English version, an 11th Hussar’s Lieutenants tunic, tailored by Stohwasser & Co., exudes a certain ceremonial swagger, replete with heavy wire gold braid, in knots and swags, and a regal red satin lining.
* French Hussars Tunic.
Both however share the same genetic traits of 18th century Hussars jackets from middle Europe, when Prussian and Austro-Hungarian cavalry wore these distinctive short Dolman jackets, usually trimmed with fur and decorated with Tyrolean braid knots. Friendly rivalries aside these subtle design differences betray a long and lethal history, but are still undeniably beautiful.
“Now, I’m liberal, but to a degree
I want ev’rybody to be free
But if you think that I’ll let Barry Goldwater
Move in next door and marry my daughter
You must think I’m crazy!
I wouldn’t let him do it for all the farms in Cuba”
From Another Side of Bob Dylan 1964, copyright Special Rider Music
We have just received our latest printed matter, the 2013 Vintage Showroom lookbook. There is something inherently pleasing about opening up the boxes and being hit by the smell of repetitive stacks of fresh print on high quality stock. A nod to our printer at Aldgate Press for another fantastic job, we cant wait for them to get cracking on our next project – SHOWROOM PUBLICATION VOL II.
photos – NS
A recent Vintage Showroom find – A 1940s running vest and wool warm-up sweatshirt from the University of Washington.
The bad news is we produced such a fantastic book that we completely sold out. BOOOOOOOOOO. Good news is that we have just taken delivery of a fresh consignment. HUURRRRAAAHHH!
Available in our shop, all good book stores and online HERE.
Shining a light on recurring design details. A reinforced shoulder is an obvious functional thing that has uses in work clothing, sports, miltary and motorcycle clothing, either to protect the shoulder or the garment (areas of stress and wear) or simply from the elements, sometimes all of these.
So the rap goes in Salt N Pepa’s eponymous 1987 hit Push It. What we have here is an altogether different condiment though, salt and pepper fabrics from around the globe. Similar either just in colour, or in their workwear usage. Their global reach is interesting and show it’s International pedigree. For instance we have black flecked chambray from France, grey Italian prison issue, two melange fisherman knits from these shores, and the unique fleecy flecked weave known as Brown’s Beach Cloth* from across the Atlantic.
Just unearthed a cache of Little League (literally) team baseball tops. Seems we got the whole team’s jerseys, all chain stitched numbers, woven labels, cat eye buttons etc. The title of course refers to the 1976 comedy film starring Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal, about a hapless bunch of teenage reprobates cobbled together to make an unlikely Little League baseball team.
What is it with this logo? We, and countless others agree it’s a modern classic. What better illustration of the home-made PUNK do-it-yourself aesthetic than a handmade t-shirt, scribbled on in marker pen. The best thing about it… the spelling mistake of Images rather than Image. ‘Doh!’
Words Simon/photos Nic Shonfeld
A consignment of tie-clips. Silver, gold, initialed and bejeweled – all and each perfect for blinging up your kipper. In the Earlham Street shop as of the morning.
A wolf in sheepskin clothing, well almost in the case of the painted A-2′s below, but a sheepskin flight jacket in any other fabric, just wouldn’t be the same. 1940s design and functionality in perfect chrome tanned, veg dyed, leather seamed harmony. Designed to keep high altitude bomber crews warm at near freezing temperatures, this was the best performance pedigree fabric available at the time, until the introduction of lightweight quilted and nylon fabrics in the late forties superseded the days of sheepskin flight clothing, and some of the romance of the early days of flying disappeared forever.
Sometimes the medium IS the message….
USAAF A-2 leather jackets, ‘El Lobo II’ belonging to B-17 pilot Richard E Fitzhugh of the 457th Bomb Group, and the 1st Glider Provisional Group patch, both featuring Disney-esque wolves.
Blanket wool tassels make an interesting textural landscape, not a million miles away from the Komondor dog on the cover of the 1996 Beck album Odelay. These belong to a stack of Scottish wool tartan blankets currently in the Showroom, we also have a nice selection in the Earlham St. shop (look under the table!).
Before the expression Type II became fashionable, denim afficionado’s and those in the know simply referred to this classic Levi’s 507XX jacket as a Number Two. Number One being the first model and having one pocket, Number Two being the second and having, you guessed it, two pockets.
Simple as that, 1,2, 3, bish bosh.*
Not dissimilar looking to a Victorian torture device, we recently stumbled across this leather coursing leash. The device is designed to quick-release sight-hunting canines (as opposed to scent-hunters) to capture and kill ‘game’. It is, oddly, rather intriguing and a perversely attractive form.
The collars of the leash are held in place by a split-pin attached to a length of cord which runs through the main leash, out the other end and attached to handle. Pulling the handle will pull the split-pin out of the fitting and thus releasing the two dog-collars (photo illustrations below), freeing the dogs to go off and do their worst.
Everest pictures and Yetis, what more could you want from a post! Some two years before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first (confirmed for all you Mallory enthusiasts) climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, a small team including Hillary in the party made a Reconnaisance Expedition to Everest. Captured here in this recent find from a Times Special Supplement in 1951 we thought we should share…
Autumn 1951, The Himalayan Committee of The Royal Geographical Society and the Alpine Club sent a small party to investigate the south-western aspect of Mount Everest. As a side of the mountains that can only be approached through Nepal, this had meant rare privilege for the team to be granted access by the government.
Whilst the idea of looking for a way to approach to south-western face was not new, how far it had been entertained by the earlier expeditions of the 1920s is unclear but after the discovery in 1921 by Mallory and his companions of what appeared to be a relatively straight forward route to the summit from the East Rongbuk glacier, little serious thought seems to have been recorded in finding another line of approach. Step by step, as the Mount Everest Reconnaissance Expedition thrust and cut it its way towards the ramparts of the most impregnable fortress on earth, Mr Eric Shipton, the leader, sent back his progress reports for publication in The Times.
It was never the intention of Shipton’s party, of four English climbers and two New Zealanders, to attempt to climb the great peak itself. Everest is the ‘inner keep’, or donjon, of a gigantic system of fortifications, in which each ward beyond ward, has to be successfully overcome. Even the outermost ramparts have to be approached through many miles of rugged and trackless country, so that any attack must be planned with strategic elaboration parallel to a great military operation – and with the same impossibility of precision since the opponents dispositions are imperfectly unknown. Victory cannot be expected in a single campaign…
Greys, black, indigo, violet, like a good bruise.
Established in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 1866 by Civil War veteren Charles Masland – the business was making carpets, including, throughout the 1920s, carpets for the groundbraking Model T Ford cars. Carpeting remained the primary business until 1940, a year before the US joined WWII, when its mills were turned over to the war effort and the production of various canvases and foul weather gear for military use. For this, it even scooped the Board of the Army and Navy’s Excellence Award.
Post-war production eventually returned to carpeting (mid-1950s) but not before Masland successfully turned his looms to the making of outdoorswear, a continuation from the war featuring military touches – the cotton duck fabric is reinforced using leather and suede patches on all the usual ‘heavy-wear’ area’s (cuffs, knees, elbows etc). The mid-1950s saw the company start to trade outdoors-wear under the name of Wood + Stream.
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is part of the Natural Environment Research Council based in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It has a long and distinguished history, for over 60 years, undertaking the majority of Britain’s scientific research on and around the Antarctic continent.
The UK’s interest in the region goes back some 200 years in which it has been a leader in Antarctic science and exploration since Captain James Cook became the first person to sail around the continent in the 1770’s. The most famous British expeditions to the Antarctic took place during the so-called “heroic age” at the start of the 20th Century.
Primarily remembered for their extraordinary feats of courage and endurance, the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton had important scientific goals. During the southern winter before the fateful push for the pole, Scott’s expedition gathered large amounts of scientific data. Undoubtedly the most hard won were five emperor penguin eggs, which three men travelled for more than a month in the middle of the Antarctic winter to collect, in the hope they would shed light on the evolutionary links between reptiles and birds.
Recognise your brands, marques to be reckoned with, some instantly recognisable, some a little more obscure. First up is the Harris Tweed Orb logo.
Button up against the wind with a concealed throat latch, collar tab, whatever you wanna call it…
This recent cache of the complete volumes of The West End System of Cutting offers a fascinating insight into the ins and outs, the do’s and dont’s, and pitfalls of late Victorian tailoring. Informative engravings guide you through the difficulties of cutting for ‘disproportionate figures’, the corpulent body and those of a ‘large seat’!
Some of these late Victorian styles of cutaway jackets are now making a comeback thanks to Mister Freedom and the Victorian Gaucho-cum-street urchin look, riding on the tail coat of Steam Punk.
(Look out for an Oscar Wilde lookalike in Engraving V looking particularly Aesthetic in a double breasted lounge suit type affair).
A few fresh key clips have just arrived at the Earlham St. shop in time for Christmas. Made using vintage leather, antique buttons and assorted curios. Once we’ve unwrapped them they make a good accompaniment to our selection of vintage watches, watch straps and jewellry.
We have just had these leather boots beautifully restored to an exceptional standard by our master craftsman cobbler. WWII military officers boots, dispatch riders, country stouts and walking shoes with upgraded leather soles and polished patinas. Unique, weatherproof and thoroughly wearable boots and shoes available at 14 Earlham Street as of the beginning of December, with more additions widening the selection in the up-coming months.
Albeit already tried by A.P.C. Surplus in the golden heyday of ‘doursoux’ finds. These are things we just like and we think merit a second look and more appreciation, in keeping with the shop’s aesthetic and previous life, sometimes modified, sometimes simply re-discovered, appropriated and brought to the fore.
The Picker House & Collection – A Late 1960s Home for Art and Design.
Philip Wilson Publishers, 2012.
Contributors – Jonathon Black, David Falkner, Fiona Fisher, Fran Lloyd, Rebecca Preston, Penny Sparke.
Nothing like a white linen suit better evokes images of Graham Greene’s Our Man In Havana, keeping sartorially sharp under a fierce colonial sun, Jay Gatsby and Jake Gittes, or even the multiple cover images from the 1979 Led Zeppelin album, In Through The Out Door.
Or, the funny little patterns that emerge in old Indian blankets if you stare at them long enough. A colourful cornucopia of squares, crosses, zig-zags, and triangles in bold graduated colourways that make these so graphically appealing, and sometimes mesmeric.
Virtually a Ralph trademark for years, others are now latching on to their beauty, and they still provide inspiration for many designers, even Dr Martens have recently collaborated with Pendleton Woolen Mills.
In the right interior setting they seem to evoke a nostalgia for a bygone era of pioneers, settlers, traders and tribes, a Romanticism of the American Old West, of bedroll campfires, cosy log cabins, even the decor of the Overlook Hotel.*
Here’s a nice Sealed Pattern Royal navy jumper, smock, crackerjack top dating from the First World War, or to give it it’s proper name ‘Jumper, Duck’, referring to the heavy linen sail cloth it is made from. This is the garment template, the quality standard from which issued items had to adhere to, and seems to originate from ‘Experimental Establishments, Woolwich and Shoeburyness’. It bears the large linen labels and wax seals of the Clothing Inspection Department and judging by the dates it stayed in War Department stores from 1920 to 1961.
Founded in 1791 by Samuel Peal, Peal & Co. were shoemakers of great repute with a far reaching global client list that included crowned heads of Europe, Presidents and Hollywood royalty, such as Rudolph Valentino, Fred Astaire, Mr & Mrs Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant and Steve McQueen amongst others.
These Second World War private purchase officers boots have the original Peal’s “S.P.” shoe trees, gold foil blocked logo inside and hobnail soles, and have taken on the patina of polished prize-winning conkers.
We came across this old article about the demise of the High Street, with a young looking Paul Smith standing in front of a “shop that radiates individuality”. Hopefully this is still the case with the same shop as it looks now, ‘My how some things NEVER change!’
We found the article on Paul Gormans blog. You can read more of the original article by clicking here : http://www.paulgormanis.com/?p=1272#more-1272
Photograph taken by Graham Turner for The Guardian Weekend supplement, Dec 3-4, 1988.
The 14 Earlham Street shop as it is now.
In an age of computer trickery and retouching at the click of a mouse, here is a reminder of how it used to be done, by hand, lovingly darned, patched and donkey stitched.
Some are more photogenic than others, the tonal landscape of the pin-prick grid pattern, or the Frankenstein-esque clumsy hospital stitches, both display the patient charm of garments that have been cared for and maintained throughout their life, displaying their history in the repair work.
Words Simon/photos Nic Shonfeld
The Rolex Explorer is significant in the world of wristwatches. It’s pared down simplicity hides it’s unique design details; the clean readable dial, no date indicator, ‘Mercedes’ style hands, Arabic numerals and markers, the 36mm case, non-hacking* movement and 18,000 beats per hour.
It is known as a ‘tool’ type watch and was specifically developed for explorers, most famously used by Sir Edmund Hillary and other members of the successful 1953 Everest Expedition, in addition to numerous expeditions after 1953.
Left to right : model 6150 Explorer (1956) with gilt dial, and the model 1016 Explorer (1966)
Another famous patron was Ian Fleming who wore an Explorer whilst writing ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1963) hence it appears in the novel as Bond’s timepiece cum occasional knuckle-duster. Interestingly, in the film of the novel George Lazenby sported a Submariner rather than an Explorer, pictured below.
Model 5513 Submariner (early 60s) with gilt dial and large indexes on the tracking (1966)
With such a pedigree of heritage, style and performance, it’s hardly surprising the allure of the Explorer continues today with renewed vigour among collectors and fashionistas alike. These days they are not worn so much by explorers on mountains, but rather for strolling along smart Mayfair avenues.
* Hacking/Non-Hacking refers to the feature of a movement whereby the second hand can be stopped for the exact setting of the time. Originally a military term, a hacking movement is one that stops the second hand when you pull the crown to the time setting position. A non-hacking movement doesn’t do this.
Words Roy Luckett / photos Nic Shonfeld
Jacket’s, Jungle 1945. This British Army womens WWII jungle shirt is eerily reminiscent of the McLaren Westwood ‘Seditionaries‘ parachute shirt, even down to the rubber buttons. The belt looped through the epaulette, the removable sleeves, and the stamped ‘GAS FLAP’ all add to it’s Punk ‘bondage-like’ appearance. The shirt also features wrist buckles, pleated chest pockets, and reinforced shoulders. Completely mint and unissued it’s a great example of the humble origins of some of Punk’s iconic DNA.
* Vintage Seditionaries / Sex Parachute Shirt with iconic silk Karl Marx patch by Malcolm Mclaren and Vivien Westwood & Only Ararchists Are Pretty – image sources unknown.
Words Simon/ ATP Shirt photos Nic Shonfeld
Here are a few snaps of our limited edition cover edition book by photographer Nic Shonfeld, whom we commissioned to shoot the book for us. Nic has been working closely with us for over a couple of years now and we think the images in the publication are a credit to his understanding of ‘us’ and what we ‘do’ within our industry. You can see more of Nic’s photos on his website here: nicshonfeld.com
You can order a copy of our limited edition collectable cover by clicking the link here:
We have now restocked North Sea Clothing knitwear to our Earlham Street shop. This seasons range features several of the new styles including ‘The Engineer’, seen below with it’s rather attractive collar. You can see more photos of the collection by heading over to our facebook page here:
We have just taken delivery of our special cover edition of our book Vintage Menswear. Limited to 500 now in stock.
NOW IN STOCK – ORDER ONLINE
Size label in the back neck of a French army mackintosh.
Worthy of closer inspection are these two Dunn & Co. suits from the early 1960s, which are prime examples of the ‘bum freezer’ style, so called because of their shorter silhouette. These are a very British interpretation of Continental styles, particularly Italian, of the late 50s and early 60s, that helped form the basis of the modernist, or ‘mod’ look.
“Now observe the Dean in the modernist number’s version. College-boy smooth crop hair with burned-in parting, neat white Italian rounded-collared shirt, short Roman jacket very tailored (two little vents, three buttons), no-turn-up narrow trousers with 17-inch bottoms, absolute maximum, pointed-toe shoes, and a white mac…” *
Fastidious detail fetishists, Mods cultivated the aspects of cut that defined these so-called ‘Roman’ jackets, the things to look out for are the slim lapels, covered buttons, and two inch side vents seen here. Just the sort of thing the anti-hero of Absolute Beginners would be seen wearing zipping around Soho on a borrowed Vespa.
By Josh Sims, Roy Luckett and Douglas Gunn / Photography: Nic Shonfeld.
We have talked it up (quietly) for a couple of years and now we have our first copy fresh of the press. Out in September, our first book release “VINTAGE MENSWEAR – A Collection From The Vintage Showroom” is available now, to pre-order please CLICK HERE
In the manner of Swiss Biker gang maestro Karlheinz Weinberger here are some more one-off key clips. Available now from the Earlham Street shop.
Cashing in on the topicality of the film release of the seminal Beat book On The Road, here is a ‘Hobo’ Beatnik classic. Based on the wartime Royal Navy short shawl collared duffle coats, this civilian ladies version dates from the 1950s and has a very aptly named label. Often seen sported by Soho Beats, Sorbonne students, poetry reading peaceniks, CND marchers et al…
A nice 1930s stripe blazer, hard to find with wide candy coloured stripes. Definitely a touch of Bertie Wooster meets Bertie Bassett liquorice allsorts kind of vibe going on.
New to the Seven Dials shop is this small silver stash of sweetheart jewellry, rings, bracelets and charms. The perfect addition to our vintage watches and reclaimed key clips, we’ve been collecting these for a while. Not as expensive as a Saxon hoard, but shiny and jolly nice all the same.
All pieces shown are available from The Vintage Showroom, 14 Earlham Street, Covent Garden.
For enquiries please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org / +44 (0)207-836-3964
Introducing George Weeden who was finally honoured today as Olympic torch bearer…
This just washed up on our shores, a 1943 dated Royal Navy Seaman’s Protective Suit by the Dunlop Rubber Company. Looking as good as the day it was made, we particularly love the ingenious functionality of the carrying bag that reverses into the hood of the jacket.
Some accidental patterns have emerged again out of the woodwork, so to speak. Unintentional but still beautiful, strange how these patterns seem to attract each other, whether it’s the pinked leather edged heel of a work boot on the spiky pattern of an Indian runner, or 1930s geometric fair-isles, or even Adidas stripes through wire mesh.
Seek and ye shall find…
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