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.
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!
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.
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…
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…
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
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Hard to find but well worth seeking out is this Japanese publication of photographs of John Lydon’s post Pistols incarnation, P.i.L., by Dennis Morris. It documents an interesting period in Punk chronology, when key figures were attempting to shake off earlier incarnations. It also sheds light on their Jamaican influences, early publicity shots from the 1st album and the legendary ‘Metal Box’ 2nd album, their creative London base, and of course Lydon’s distinctive ad hoc dress style.
Dimitri Omersa and his wife Inge arrived in England in 1955 settling in a sanctuary for refugees in Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Dimitri a Yugoslav by birth had been a naval officer and political prisoner, imprisoned by Tito after the Second World War. On arriving in England Dimitri entered the leather trade representing a small leather company in Hitchin, during this time he met a leather goods designer at Liberty’s of London known as ‘Old Bill’.
According to the Omersa website it seems that the first pig came into being almost by accident when ‘Old Bill’, who worked for Liberty’s of London making hand luggage from pigskin, experimented with leather left overs. He came up with the idea of a stuffed leather pig footstool which was sold through Liberty’s in 1927 and became an instant success.
‘Old Bill’ was due to retire and a deal was struck for Dimitri Omersa to take over the business and continue the supply of pigs to Liberty’s. The business was brought to Hitchin in 1958 and before long Omersa began work on other animals. His first new piece was an elephant, followed by a donkey and rhinocerous, and sold exclusively in the UK through Liberty’s up until the mid 1970′s, with a tell tale Liberty’s of London stamp under the ear.
In the 1960′s Dimitri took his menagerie of leather goods to the Unites States, where in 1963 he won a Gold medal at the Californian State Fair for the donkey design shown here. The animals were sold through the original Abercrombie and Fitch during the 1960′s. They developed a significant following in the USA, where of course ones preference for the donkey or elephant had a much greater symbolism than in the UK.
For more information on the the history of Omersa who are still making these leather animals go to:
Liberty are still stockists:
So called because they were bought from tailors shops in the far east whilst on liberty, shore leave, by US Navy personnel. These non-regulation additions are stitched on the inside of the jumpers, in particular the cuffs, hidden except to the wearer. The following phoenix and smiling dragon both look very friendly.
Much in the manner of ‘Here hare here’, here is a stash of our new lookbooks. There is something inherently sharp about the regimented clean lines of freshly printed paper stock. The lines of repetition, all neatly tied in bundles and boxed. Hot off the press.
‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’, or so the saying goes. Well, when in Covent Garden we recommend you try Monmouth Coffee, just round the corner from the Earlham St. shop, it’s our preferred brew. They have been roasting coffees from around the globe since 1978, so know a thing or two about your daily cup of java.
Credibility, dependability and loyalty…
From the earliest times of the British monarchy and court, the most skilled and talented trades people in the country were rewarded for their loyal service to the crown. The first rewards for this service were Royal Charters granted to the trade guilds and livery companies. The earliest recorded Royal Charter was granted by Henry II to the Weavers’ Company in 1155. In 1394 Dick Whittington helped obtain a Royal Charter for his own Company, the Mercers, who traded in luxury fabrics. By the 15th century Royal tradesmen were recognised with a Royal Warrant of Appointment. To this day the Royal Appointment is seen as a mark of quality and rightly so. So with the Royal family in the Nations thoughts and hearts…..
2011, back from another buying trip and an extension to the showroom with a second room now open. Exciting times ahead! The new space is being used primarily to accommodate our vintage denim and old workwear collections.
Although it felt like hoodie weather today where I was, and my thoughts, and recent purchasing has been focused longingly at the amazing A/W showing we are going to be throwing down in a couple of months, I am conscious that Spring is in the air! So as we think of antique shearlings, WWII aviation gear, Edwardian explorers and all the amazing pieces we have been hoarding for the showrooms winter offerings, it is good to stay in the present and think on the next few months and some sun on our faces. It feels like a good balance to have the Earlham street shop as well as the showroom, it keeps us having to think day to day about what people are wanting on there backs here and now rather than what they will want to be rocking in 6/12/18 months time. So with that said, and a tanqueray and tonic in hand (inspiration only), here is a look at some of what we are saying for Spring/Summer at the showroom and Covent Garden store.
With thoughts of Bobby Moore/’66 and dreams waiting to be crushed on hold, we went looking to the banks of Henley, the lawns of Wimbledon, and the halls of Cambridge for inspiration, and took the clock back a little further to when most of the world maps were pink…
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