Posts Tagged ‘british

18
Aug
13

One Guy Recommends: Nigel Cabourn


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I enjoy looking at old family photos. Both of my grandfathers, in their own ways, liked clothes. My father’s father can always be seen in a suit and tie. The suits were always perfectly cut (he had all of his suits made for him, although that was a lot more standard at that time), the ties perfectly tied, always with a dapper hat and clean shaven. My mother’s father was a military man; more casual but also effortlessly cool in his own way. Some of my favourite photos of him were taken during his tour in the Navy during World War 2. Smoking a cigarette in heavy dungarees, grinning at the camera on the deck of a minesweeper in the middle of the Atlantic.   One thing that immediately jumped out to me is the look and fit of the clothing – it appears heavy, well made…. almost indestructible.  In today’s Ikea and H&M society, our clothing tends to be disposable, temporary and forgettable.

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Apparently, I’m not the only one who looked at old photographs and had this thought – Nigel Cabourn, after being Paul Smith’s right-hand, decided that the world needed this type of clothing once again.  Sturdy, epically well-manufactured via classic methods and yet, at the same time, modern.  Inspiration has come primarily from vintage military uniforms and Cabourn’s passion for (and private collection of) vintage men’s clothing.  The fabric used are some of the best in the world – heavy tweeds, incredible jersey cottons from Germany, all of which feel hermetically sealed from another time.

Cabourn’s clothing looks and feels almost like it came out, perfectly preserved, from an archaeological dig of early 20th Century menswear. Stylistically, they resemble a cross between what Steve McQueen would’ve worn on the weekend and what a member of the royal family would wear for a casual walk around their palace in the Scottish highlands.  Best known for his coats, most notably the Cameraman and Airman, I’m even more partial to some of the shirts he makes.  From the heavy, “new old stock” buttons, the reinforced seams and luxurious fabric, it is apparent from even the shortest of glances the thought and attention to detail that goes into each Cabourn piece.  Pick up the sweater pictured below, feel its five pound weight and you’ll walk away a believer.

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In North America, it can be a slightly more difficult brand to find.  Barney’s often has items for sale in-store and on their website, and it’s worth searching locally for a stockist.  There are usually twenty Cabourn pieces on eBay at any given time.  The incredible quality definitely make them worth stalking on the ‘Bay.  Even at full price, these are the type of legacy items that can be passed down to future generations, as cliche as that is to say.  In the same way that my grandfather’s shoes and suits remain in excellent condition after 50 years, Cabourn pieces are built to a similar standard

If you’d like more information on the brand, or to see this season’s items, check out www.cabourn.com.  One important note: there is another line called “Cabourn Utility” that is available but isn’t made to nearly the same standard. I would steer clear and hold out for some “Authentic” Nigel Cabourn.

“They don’t make ’em like they used to” is an oft heard refrain due to the deteriorating quality and temporary nature of just about everything.  I hope Nigel Cabourn never gets the memo.

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06
Dec
10

This Week’s Object of Lust: Dunhill Biometric Wallet


Rarely will I come across something that immediately jumps out as being incredibly cool.  Without question, Dunhill’s Biometric Wallet falls into that category.  I have a few bad habits, but chief amongst them is my tendency to misplace things.  Whether it be jumping out of a cab after a few pints on a Friday night without my wallet, putting my phone down on the counter at the bank, or table at a restaurant, or seat pocket on a plane, or…. well, you get the picture.  Small accessories and I rarely form a lasting bond.  Which makes this wallet seemingly purpose-built for people like me.  First, it requires a brief swipe of the thumb to open, thereby preventing the theft of cash, credit cards, phone numbers or whatever else you keep in your wallet should it ever go missing.  Second, and even more importantly, it offers bluetooth connectivity to your phone and provides audible warning when the two are separated by more than 5 metres (16 feet).  So, you can leave your wallet in a pair of pants across your bedroom without bother, but, if you hop out of a cab with your BlackBerry remaining quietly tucked away on the seat, it’ll sound the alarm.  And vice versa – if you misplace your wallet, your phone will give you the same courteous notification.

Luckily, these features do not come at the expense of style.  The wallet is constructed from beautiful and ultra-lightweight carbon fibre, so you won’t feel like you’re lugging around a computer in your back pocket.  It features places for your credit cards inside, along with a money clip to keep your banknotes safely organized.  And really, this combination of style and ingenuity should be expected from Alfred Dunhill, a British company that many North Americans may not be familiar with.  Originally started in the late 19th century by its namesake founder, it supplied luxury goods meant to accessorize one’s automobile under the slogan “Everything but the Motor”.  Dunhill also became famous as a high-end producer of tobacciana (including their famed pipes with trademark white dot, their rollagas lighters and even custom tobacco blends that they made on request).  Dunhill has long provided accessories for the James Bond movies (including the cigarette lighter used by Bond in Dr. No) and was also featured in the remake of the movie Alfie with Jude Law given how quintessentially British the company is in terms of quality and style.  The company has, over time, branched out into luxury clothing, watches, leather goods, ties and a host of other products, always with a nod to the company’s British heritage, and sometimes with a nod to their automotive roots.  Quite surprisingly for North Americans, Dunhill is the third most popular luxury brand in China, following only Louis Vuitton (and beating out Gucci, Dior, Armani and Hermès).

The only drawback with the Biometric Wallet is its staggering price tag ($825 or £525) – then again, items at the forefront of technology always cost an arm and a leg.  I’m not suggesting that we should all run out and pay retail, as cool as this particular item is (and, I actually just purchased a new wallet anyway).  However, this won’t stop me from trolling eBay, hoping that one of these slips through the cracks for a reasonable sum.  For more info, check out out Dunhill’s website (www.dunhill.com), or the page specific to this wallet, (www.dunhill.com/en-us/…/wallets/biometricwallet-qgk0169).

 

NOTE:  Speak of the devil, there’s one up on eBay right now: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=320629718008&ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:ITOpening bid is £99 (approx $155US), or a £425 reduction from the retail price.  Buy it now is £250 ($395), or more than 50% off retail if anyone is interested.  I’m watching the auction and am very interested how it’ll shake out.




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