We don’t generally make it our business to recommend apparel or accessories that don’t bear our own name, but we’re happy to make an exception here with these fine Antarctica cufflinks (right, below) that our friend and customer Dr James Townsend has kindly sent us from his chilly (-13.9 C today…) billet that remains the Halley VI Research Station in, yes, Antarctica.
The cufflinks are from the on-site Halley VI shop, which stocks a handsome range of commemorative gifts, including t-shirts, hats and ties. Best check the opening hours before making the trip.
James (bottom, right, demonstrating that Richard James made-to-measure suits are as practical and adaptable in the Antarctic as they are stylish) swapped the everyday challenge of A&E in central London for a stint as medical officer at the furthest British point south in December 2012 and was due back in Blighty next month. But, having got as far as the Falklands, he stoically volunteered to return to Halley VI on hearing that his replacement wasn’t going to be staying for as long as expected and it was likely the whole show would be shut down for the winter without him. So now he’s back where he came from, the first British doctor to ‘double winter’ in the Antarctic for a touch under fifty years. And winter in the Antarctic means 24-hour darkness for 105 consecutive days, lows of -55 C and the company of a colony of penguins.
“The last planes left just the other day,” reports James. “So there’s just the thirteen of us now, starting to get ready for the rapidly approaching ravages of winter and the three months of darkness that come with it.”
Maybe a pair of cashmere socks or two would serve as a suitable thank you for the cufflinks.
A real bit of sun on Savile Row this week for the first time since we unveiled our finely redesigned flagship store at no. 29 last November and the fancy-dan dichroic screen bursts into life.
We were initially under the impression that the screen (which all but dissects the shop, separating our seasonal collection from our year-round classics) possessed almost human qualities, changing in radiance and colour and blossoming or shrinking depending on who was passing by and how hot or not and generally imposing they were.
But no, it’s all down to the intensity of the light and the colours your filter allows through and bounces out.
Here the screen’s fairly luminescent greens and pinks work nicely to set off a superbly crisp, slim-cut, single-button 100% wool navy and white peaked lapel pin dot suit.
Mono-monikered Wilson (Terence Stamp) is knocking on a bit and knows it, but not so much (he likes to think) to keep him from exacting one pressing and unapologetically pitiless act of revenge.
Fresh from the clink, the intensely contemplative and not overly chirpy cockney career criminal makes for Los Angeles to investigate the death of his estranged daughter, Jenny, who, he soon discovers, was romantically intertwined with an ageing record producer and legendary lothario called Valentine (Peter Fonda). “You tell him. You tell him I’m coming!” exclaims Wilson (see the clip) after proudly demonstrating to a trio of Valentine’s associates that advancing years have yet to hinder his ability to handle himself. “Tell him I’m ****ing coming!”
More than a classic tale of payback and salute to films of that ilk (for Wilson think Lee Marvin’s Walker in John Boorman’s 1967 neo-noir Point Blank), Steven Soderbergh’s taut, superbly stylish The Limey (1999) deftly reflects on the passing of time and those moments and opportunities lost to it, not least by neatly using footage of the young Stamp in Poor Cow (1967) as Wilson and dropping references to Fonda’s role in the period defining Easy Rider (1969).
Terence Stamp is Wilson in Steven Soderbergh’s The Limey
Richard James Spring/Summer ’14 navy zip-front cotton blouson
Spring/Summer ’14 navy zip-front blouson at Richard James Online, the Savile Row store and stockists.
Dress-down Friday has never really taken off in the Congo.
The Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elegantes (The Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People) or Les Sapeurs of both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighbouring Brazzaville-Congo have much better things to be getting on with. A civil, peace loving people in a horribly war torn part of the world, this unique body of men offers a dandified masterclass in dignity.
The history of Les Sapeurs can be traced back to the influence of the French colonisation of the Congo in the early part of of the 20th Century and, in particular, 1922 when one Grenard André Matsoua, a native Congolese, returned from a trip to Paris dressed as the nattiest, most outré Frenchman ever. Needless to say, his appearance was greeted with much enthusiasm and quickly copied, and so was born the first Grand Sapeur.
Now, as then, Sapeurs-style is all about flamboyance though, curiously, it is not without constraints: not more than four colours (including white) should be worn at once. And by contrast, while Les Sapeurs of Brazzaville more than like a splash of colour, those of Kinshasa prefer a subtler, more monochrome look.