Sunday, 14 March 2010

Suit Yourself

After seeing the wonderful A Single Man, I turned my mind to other besuited men on screen. Presented here, a shortlist of the most dapper:

Roger Thornhill - Cary Grant

I'd always believed the suit to be Norton and Sons, the softer drape around the shoulder and chest suggestive of their house style. But after glancing through R. Torregrossa's authoritative tome in the subject, it is apparently Kilgour.

Whatever its provenance, it remains iconic. The light grey wool, the three button front rolling to two, the ventless back (a rarity amongst the single breasted, have a gander next time you're out), the trousers falling away from the line of the jacket so perfectly...the epitome of elegance to which every gentleman should aspire.

John Steed - Patrick MacNee

Once Dr. David Keel left the Avengers, Steed got his act together working both the traditional and Modish with ease.

Bowler? Check. Buttonhole? Check. Bentley? Why obviously. Bravo, Steed.

That blue is tremendous, as are the slanted pockets. And what are those I spy peeping under the trousers? A pair of Chelseas. Suited and booted.

James Bond – Pierce Brosnan

I would never dream of saying a word against the effulgent Tom Ford, but since he took over suiting 007, I do sometimes miss the timeless Italian lines of his predecessors, Brioni, that Brosnan wore so well. Come to think of it, he looked equally smashing in Cappelli's clothes as Thomas Crown.

Elliot Ness - Kevin Costner

Looking sharp, Mr. Ness. What's that you're wearing? Armani you say? On a policeman's salary? But surely Georgio didn't found his fashion house until the mid seventies? Oh arse to such trifling anachronisms, you look gorgeous. Chin chin.

Marty Hopkirk – Kenneth Cope

If you die in your suit, you will always look fabulous in the afterlife. Especially as your ectoplasmic threads will never require the necessary care that those earthbound ones will, and they will always remain a perfect ethereal white. Hello vicar.

Bertram Cooper – Robert Morse

While many are drawn to the sharp, cut to the bone suits of Draper (centre) its the luxuriant soft suitings of Cooper (right) that catch my eye. Is that a silk handkerchief I spy, Bertram? Far groovier than the white squares Draper wears perpetually. And the bow tie…I salute you.

No shoes? No problem.

Might I recommend...

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The Scissors of Navarone

The man with the blades looks like Anthony Quinn in the Guns of Navarone. I'm pretty sure he's killed a man. With his bare hands. He wears a loose denim shirt buttoned to his sternum. Thick chest hair sprouts above. His trousers are secured by a belt of worn tan leather the end of which sways serpentine. He has narrow eyes, tobacco stained hands and big pair of scissors.

There are at least two people in the world a man should be able to trust absolutely. His mother and his barber. Question is, would I trust Anthony Quinn?

Studying in London, but having my home up north, I generally plan my protein purge around trips back where my hair is cut in a small room behind a garage by one of three men -- leather jerkin, pipe-smoking marathon runner or ex-teddy boy. All of whom think my name is Alexander. I am not sure why. They cut my hair considerately, neatly and cheaply. They have my trust.

Quinn orders me to hang my coat up and directs me to a chair. I can handle a certain brusqueness if the service stands for itself. The cut is a little too quick, and the odd hair is plucked rather than cut from my head. Sharper scissors would solve that problem. When he thinks he has finished he whips the mirror from the shelf in front of us and holds it behind my head. Oh, the back of my head. A delightful thing to behold, I shall never tire of it. I request a little more off the top. Quinn asks me how much; 'A centimetre? Half an inch in your English?'. This sceptered isle has been on metric for some time, but I'm a sucker for imperial measurements so I let it slide. I have no idea how much more. I just want it thinning out. Leather jerkin would just get on with it. Pipe-smoking marathon runner would get it right first time. I ask for half an inch in my English.

I emerge an all too short time later with a cut that should do. I trust Quinn to destroy gun emplacements of the Axis, but not to cut my hair. My search continues.