Inside the Modern Gentry
During a moment of madness I decided to venture in to Central London to do a spot of Christmas shopping. I have to confess that rather than buying gifts for loved ones and friends, I had myself in mind but I have been a good boy all year so I deserve the odd treat, right? The scenes on Oxford and Regent Street were as I feared. Busy and chaotic. I escaped the manic scenes and found myself on the sanctuary that is Savile Row. After perusing the well stocked racks at bstore I navigated myself past the mind boggling queue outside of Abercrombie and Fitch and was drawn to the Alma Showroom. I needed to restore my faith in consumerism. I needed to explore the Modern Gentry. So armed with my camera I ventured inside...
E. Tautz bow ties and handkerchiefs.
I introduced the pop up store on Thursday but I've not had a chance to marvel at the space until this weekend. I missed out on the launch party last week after being struck down with wisdom tooth pain (one day in the New Year, I'll be getting them removed...gulp) and I had no intention of missing out on examing the luxury goods in person. Jewellery designer Hannah Martin, sporting and military tailors E. Tautz and shoe maker Lodger have come together in the wonderful setting of the Alma Showroom on Vigo Street. This pop up store offers Christmas shopping opportunities that I'd only ever dreamed about before now.
A trunk of E. Tautz goodies.
After walking off the busy street and on to the leather flooring (yes, leather flooring!) of the Alma Showroom I felt at home. I'd certainly love to have these designs at my fingertips each morning and who wouldn't want an Electric Angel light installation by Yorgo Lykouria in their hallway!? I only expected to stay long enough to take a few interior shots but in the end I spent over an hour in this snug, welcoming store.
As mentioned last week, representatives from each brand were on hand to explain the detailed processes involved in creating each of these unique products. I certainly borrowed their ears and learnt so much, including information about the sheep used for E. Tautz's alpaca wool and Hannah Martin's design inspiration.
Ever since I first learned about the resurrection of E. Tautz I have been a strong supporter of Patrick Grant's vision for the historic sporting and military tailors. I need only the smallest excuse to marvel over the quality of the designs and the luxury of the cloths and wools used. E. Tautz is a label which champions the notion of dressing properly and of men taking pride in what they wear.
E. Tautz knitwear by the fire.
After speaking to Patrick back in March I was taken by his belief that provenance is key. On the relaunch of the label for AW09 he had built up a strong network of local supplies. Aside from the sweaters which were knitted in Shetland, everything else could be picked up by bicycle. The British facet of the brand is certainly not a gimmick because Patrick and his team are striving for the best. It is refreshing to hear that brands do not need to scour the earth for the best, sometimes it can be found or even nurtured on ones doorstep.
Hannah Martin sparkles
Out of the three Hannah Martin is the brand I am least familiar with. Of course I have heard so much about this hugely successful CSM graduate but this store visit provided my first opportunity to inspect her designs in person. I was blown away. Her luxurious and decadent collections are described as ‘jewellery for men, that girlfriends will steal’ and if I had a piece in my possession I'd certainly have to sleep with one eye open from fear of Susie removing it from my tight grasp.
Hannah Martin's jewels including Vincent’s Empty Sovereign Ring
In an interview with Elliott earlier this year the fine jewellery designer mentioned her belief that "the craft of Hatton Garden and the traditions it still has, sit perfectly alongside those of say, Savile Row, and the art of tailoring." This space confirms her belief and in the process has redefined my understanding of luxury men's jewellery.
My favourite piece. A bracelet by Hannah Martin
Like E. Tautz, Lodger is a brand that we have vocally supported for some time. Nathan Brown and his team at Lodger have an irrational passion for beautiful shoes and this has been infectious in recent months. In fact, I have seen my shoe collection grow and my bank balance fall all because of this footwear brand. The mix of continuous design, in combination with cutting edge technology and traditional craftsmanship makes it a truly unique shoe company.
Lodger...reminded that I'll soon have a pair of Kudu boots on my feet.
The display of shoes provided further flirtatious galnces and I only just managed to control the temptations because I was reminded of the impending delivery of my Kudu boots. My feet only have a couple of weeks to wait until they find themselves protected from the winter elements by that reformed strong hide.
More temptation from Lodger
Upon first reading about this one off collaboration I was somewhat surprised by the trio of names. However, after seeing their designs side by side it is clear that these are brands united. United by a dedication to luxury in men's attire. Each have core values of exclusivity, attention to detail, and timelessness. Each one is a brand which deserves to be celebrated. To further nail home this point I point you in the direction of Showstudio. Here you will find an exclusive video project which best demonstrates their individual aesthetics and collective role in catering for a Modern Gentry. I will finish off with some good news. In my previous post, I expressed my wish that the store would be around for longer (it was due to close on the 5th December)...well it seems my prayers have been answered. It will be open for an additional week (so until the 12th December).