Bond’s Best – Hermès Cavale Medium Seat Jumping Saddle

Ever since founder Thierry Hermès first began producing some of the finest harnesses and bridles for the carriage trade in Paris, comfort has reigned supreme in the brand’s equestrian collections.

For it’s latest piece, the Cavale saddle priced at £5,500, the French luxury brand asked champion show jumper Simon Delestre to help with the ergonomics. Meanwhile, a single craftsman works to the exact measurements of both horse and rider to ensure the perfect fit.

And don’t worry if you and your trusty steed are not quite showground ready. This seamless calfskin seat also makes an excellent general-purpose saddle. To choose, test and fit yours, contact one of the Hermès specialists in store.

Hermès, 155 New Bond Street

SHOP TACTICS WITH SAMUEL BAIL AND ABEL SAMET

Samuel Bail and Abel Samet are the creative duo behind London-based leather goods label, Troubadour. They first met whilst working at Mayfair financial advisory firm, Lazard, where, after lamenting about the lack of durable business bags, they decided to embark on a journey to create their own. Today, to the delight of globetrotters everywhere, their exquisite handcrafted designs are sold around the world. And for those shopping on Bond Street, a selection of pieces can also be found at Thom Sweeney on Bruton Place.

Vegetable-tanned leather, derived from the finest tanneries in the Italian region of Tuscany, underpins each unique piece. As Abel notes: “This tanning method is an all-natural process that creates exceptional leather, so that our products wear beautifully, last for years, and actually look better with age. We work with highly skilled artisans, whose leather-working techniques have been around for generations and therefore stand the test of time.” Samuel is also quick to note a blend of old-meets-new. “By combining these techniques with many modern innovations, each piece is more functional and technical than the bags our grandfathers once carried,” he adds.

Meanwhile, several of Troubadour’s existing products have proven to be much more popular with women than initially expected. This pleasant surprise inspired Samuel and Abel to develop a line of women’s bags, which will launch this summer.

Work aside, this sporty pair are gluttons for long distance races – running, swimming and cycling – and have both completed Ironman triathlons. Samuel, who just happens to be a former professional Canadian cyclist, also swam the English Channel last year. Here, they take a breather and share some of their favourite Mayfair addresses:

Raw Press at Wolf & Badger, 32 Dover Street

This is the place for mouth watering and healthy breakfast bowls. Make them yourself with soaked oats, coconut yoghurt, fresh berries, quinoa cereal and lots of toppings. The coffee is great as well. We suggest adding some coconut yoghurt and almond butter on top.

Brown’s Hotel, 33 Albemarle Street

Brown’s is ideal for a morning meeting. We especially like the comfortable chairs and its relaxed, quiet setting. The tea is always good and is served beautifully.

Rapha, 85 Brewer Street

We have a very active team and enjoy a morning ride around Richmond Park and a weekend ride into Kent. Rapha, though not in Mayfair, is where we pick up most of our cycling kit. The clothing is thoughtfully designed, comfortable, wears well and looks good.

28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, Maddox Street

Many of the early Troubadour discussions were held over dinners here. It provides consistently great food and great wine in a casual setting.

Thom Sweeney, 33a Bruton Place

This is one of our favourite tailors in London. It boasts a great team and a super strong ready-to-wear collection, featuring everything from suits and sweaters, to ties and a selection of our latest Troubadour bags.

 

THE Q&A: Harvy Santos, milliner

Harvy Santos pink pom pom hat £930 exclusive to Fenwick Bond Street

No doubt visitors to the Fenwick hat department will have been tickled pink by the latest offering from London-based milliner, Harvy Santos. In particular, his aptly named ‘Fizzy Pop’ collection features raffia boaters, netted pillboxes and wide-brimmed Audrey Hepburn styles. But it is his playful use of colourful baubles, ruched silks and fluffy pompoms, which makes them so memorable.

“I probably drank too many fizzy drinks as a child and probably still do, since I can never say ‘no’ to champagne,” says Harvy. “There’s a certain crazy joy that comes from a sugar rush. I think most of us can remember that feeling, the thrill of which I wanted to capture in the form of a hat.” Indeed, his latest collection has both a graphic and comic sensibility mixed with a sense of childlike fun – hence the pompoms suspended on wires.

Photo courtesy of Harvy Santos

Born in the Philippines, Harvy started out as a ballet dancer in Hong Kong before going on to study millinery in London. Prior to launching his own label, he created hats for The Royal Opera House and worked with top British hatter, Stephen Jones. Today, Harvy fuses traditional millinery techniques with new materials in couture and hat collections from an atelier in North London.

Harvy Santos in his North London studio

With the British summer season nearly upon us, we ask the merry milliner who for the second year running is part of the Fenwick/Royal Ascot Millinery Collective, to share his tips on how best to impress at the most prestigious events on the social calendar. Here’s what he said:

BSN: How would you advise someone buying a special occasion hat for the first time?

H.S: Firstly, try on as many hats as you can. If you are matching a hat with a dress or another accessory (bag or shoes) bring them with you. In terms of face shape, if you have an oval and/or heart-shaped face, you could wear almost anything. If you have a round face, avoid wearing wide-brimmed hats on a horizontal, tilt it if you can – it’s usually flattering. Lastly, depending on what event you are wearing your hat to, I would suggest you think comfort. If you’re going to Royal Ascot, you will be there all day. You wouldn’t want to fumble and worry about your hat — you are there to have fun so comfort is key.

BSN: How important is hair and make-up when wearing a statement headpiece?

H.S: Hair and make-up also complete the entire look. I suggest getting a good hairdresser involved, especially if you have opted for a headpiece that has fiddly headbands or wires. The hairdresser can make those disappear, which would make your hat float on your head magically.

BSN: Britain is renowned for its hat-wearing culture. How does this influence your work?

H.S: A lot! I think the fact that the UK has a hat wearing culture inspires me more to create a new way of wearing tradition. In the UK, a lot of women dare to be different and some are naturally quirky and a bit eccentric and I love that. This then makes me push the boundaries a little without losing being stylish and elegant.

BSN: If you had to pick any fashion brands on Bond Street that would compliment your hats – what would they be?

H.S: A MaxMara jumpsuit would dress-up my ‘Nicole’ coolie hat. If you choose to wear a dress from Prada, then my ‘Sabrina’ beret would look fun and elegant and suit any special/formal occasion. Anything from the ‘Fizzy Pop’ collection would look fun paired with a trouser suit from La Perla, or even with their lingerie/nightdresses if you are going for the underwear-as-outerwear look of course!

 

 

Inner Beauty – Chris Levine’s new portrait series at The Fine Art Society’s London gallery, puts celebrities in a whole new light.

Sir Paul Smith (Dichroic 3)

Sir Paul Smith, image courtesy of Chris Levine and The Fine Art Society 

Canadian born Chris Levine is best described as a pioneer in the field of light art. In recent years, his distinguished subjects have ranged from the Dali Lama to Grace Jones. But there is one standout piece for which he is perhaps best known – Her Majesty the Queen, ‘Lightness of Being’. Taken in 2012 and featured in The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘The Queen Art and Image’ exhibit, it has been described by some critics as one of the most iconic images of a royal taken by any artist this century. High praise indeed!

TheDiamondQueen

Photo courtesy of Chris Levine

Levine, who now lives and works in Northamptonshire, graduated from Central Saint Martin’s School of Art in the 80s with an MA in computer graphics. Since then, he has worked extensively with laser light, exploring its capacity to both produce illusions and elicit a subliminal response in the viewer and has pioneered new mediums such as light boxes, holograms, and lenticular lenses, creating new mechanisms and technologies to express his ideas.

It is this marriage of art and photography, which sets Levine apart. Look a little closer at each familiar face staring back at you in his current show Who are wE_+ at The Fine Art Society’s Bond Street space and you will see the painstaking detail into which the artist goes to unlock each sitter’s ‘inner light’. For instance, a colour portrait of Kate Moss (print, £9,000) or light box (£42,000) is composed entirely of small dot matrices filtered to represent the particles of energy that make up her body. A series of Naomi Campbell images, also available to purchase as a lenticular light box (£42,000) or as inkjet prints (£3,000), is the result of interlacing multiple images taken on a track and motion camera, from a variety of angles, to create the illusion of depth and dimension.

Images courtesy of Chris Levine and The Fine Art Society

Personally, I find the large holographic image of Sir Ranulph Fiennes – the sheer scale of the celebrated British explorer’s face, which beams out at you in 3-D effect, a little unnerving. In contrast, there are more jovial portraits of Sir Paul Smith. Available as a black and white lenticular print (£11,400) or as a light box (£33,600), Levine captures the inner glow of another of our national treasures spectacularly well.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, image courtesy of The Fine Art Society

Of his latest headshots Levine says: “Increasingly the direction and enquiry of my work is leading me to the ultimate realisation that we are beings of energy. The question of who we are is a mystery I feel is beyond our bandwidth of perception. My objective in creating a portrait is to get closer to the soul and in so doing express the Truth of who we really are.”

Who are wE_+runs until May 19th at The Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street

 

SHOP TACTICS WITH TOM CHAMBERLIN


Tom Chamberlin killing time while having a suit measured in Kent, Haste & Lachter
– Photography by Foxall Studio & Elodie Nizon

Tom Chamberlin is the editor of men’s style bible, The Rake. Impeccably dressed and perfectly coiffed, Tom started out in television working on The X Factor, where he says: “I basically made tea and was an all-round dogsbody, even though it was a pretty amazing and dysfunctional entry into working life.”

Later, whilst having his hair cut at the barbers, he picked up a copy of Finch’s Quarterly Review and instinctively knew he wanted to work there. “It was witty, intelligent, beautiful and took the kind of irreverent tone that I like,” says Tom who was taken under the wing of its then editor-in-chief, Nick Foulkes. “No one has had a greater impact on how I work, dress and look at life today,” he says of his former editor and mentor.

 

In 2014 Tom joined The Rake. The renowned gentleman’s magazine had just moved from its home in Singapore to offices on London’s Upper Brook Street. As editor, Tom and his team have successfully built the brand, predominantly using front covers and interviews mixed with rich content and a good online strategy to become a leader in the field of men’s luxury publications. As for being slap bang in the middle of town, Tom adds: “Mayfair is at the epicentre of what The Rake is all about. I am very lucky to have my favourite places on my office doorstep.”

Meanwhile, the newlywed is gearing up for his next big challenge, fatherhood. And with a baby boy due any day now, Tom is already planning shopping expeditions to Mayfair, just as his father did with him. “My father taught me everything there is to know about the longevity of classic style from an early age,” he adds before taking us through his favourite addresses below:

 

Kent, Haste & Lachter, 7 Sackville Street

Terry Haste is my tailor, my mentor Nick Foulkes introduced me to him in 2010 and no experience since has been more thrilling or rewarding than having a bespoke suit made with him. He is to my mind the finest tailor in the world. Terry’s style mixes structured and unstructured tailoring which somehow takes into account both my psychological and physical needs. After all, clothes are meant to be an expression of self.  It also helps that he, John Kent and Stephen Lachter are tremendous fun to work with.

 

G.J. Cleverley, 13 Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street

Shoes are a small (large) obsession of mine. I have big feet and that causes problems because you can ruin a look with clumsy, large shoes. When you go somewhere like Cleverley, a company that my father took me to when I was 16 to buy my first pair of proper shoes, you get every tradition of British craftsmanship at its best. I was hooked from then and have since been on a mission to trick people, through footwear, into thinking I am halfway elegant. Cleverley’s ‘Hague II’ loafers are, as far as I am concerned, as good as it gets.

 

Ralph Lauren, 1 New Bond Street

Ralph Lauren is a genius and a master of the Mise-en-scène. Here you will find my two favoured labels of the Ralph Lauren family. The sartorially led Purple Label which has the most wearable ready-to-wear suits for someone my size (and frankly most other sizes too). Then we have RRL, which could hitherto be found on Mount Street but has its own section in the store. I absolutely love the nostalgia for any of the many eras it is inspired by, Twenties Chicago, the Old West, Fifties Americana, the designs are imaginative and evocative and easy to chew up the day looking around.

 

Bellamy’s 18, Bruton Place

This is my favourite restaurant in London, or anywhere else. Gavin Rankin is the patron mange ici proprietor and knows how to run an establishment properly. He cut his teeth as the general manager of Annabel’s when it was actually good and he was also Mark Birley’s right-hand man. My wife has dreams about the smoked eel mousse but I recommend the fish fingers, not joking.

 

Davidoff of London, 35 St. James’s Street

Another vice that Nick Foulkes got me into is cigars. Nowhere is there a better riposte to anti-smoking legislation than Davidoff of London. Father and son team Edward and Eddie Sahakian, are two of the most generous and kind men in any industry I work with. They give very freely of their time and have encouraged a loyalty so engrained in me that even buying a cigar in a foreign country fills me with guilt. I do not drink, so cigars are my one vice, one that has become my most dedicated hobby.

 

CABINETS OF CURIOSITY

When British outerwear brand Belstaff decided to build its archive from scratch, it enlisted the help of Doug Gunn, co-founder of The Vintage Showroom.

These days, every good fashion brand knows the importance of a sharp edit.  And while it counts to have a well-curated shop floor, it also makes good sense to put the company’s design archives in order. Cue the rise of the fashion archivist. These experts plunder the company vaults to find valuable pieces and scour the globe in search of missing treasures. Such is the job of Doug Gunn. As co-founder of The Vintage Showroom – an Aladdin’s cave of menswear pieces spanning most of the 20th Century based in Covent Garden – he is charged with chronicling Belstaff’s past.

“There are few brands globally with such a rich history and Belstaff’s 90-plus years have seen countless cultural and geographical changes which have reflected in the company’s evolution,” says Gunn. “For a costume historian such as myself, it is a real honour to work for such an iconic British brand.”

A sample of Doug’s findings can be seen at Belstaff’s Bond Street store. The mini exhibit stems from a broader 150-piece archive created to coincide with the brand’s centenary in 2024. The glass display cabinets hold a variety of items from a 1930s tent – a reminder of Belstaff’s early days as a producer of protective fabrics – to the moto-culture of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s. One section is specifically dedicated to Belstaff’s coloured and striped leathers, which along with the seminal 1971 film “On Any Sunday” starring Steve McQueen, is part of the inspiration for its latest men’s collection. Other retro elements can also be seen in the current women’s capsule line inspired by Belstaff’s latest brand ambassador, Liv Tyler.

Meanwhile, there have been some lucky finds along the way, including a wax trail master jacket which was purchased at the auction of Steve McQueen’s estate. A heavy gabardine rider’s coat, which George Formby gave to a dancer one night in Manchester, also made its way into Doug’s hands. It came with a handwritten note in one of its pockets from the lady in question to say she had been working in a theatre production with Formby and having stepped out without a coat, he gave her this.

“I look for the romance behind the brand stories,” adds Doug. “Luckily I have been buying vintage clothing for twenty years, so I knew that a lot of the Belstaff pieces that we wanted existed and where to find them. There were also pieces that I didn’t know about such as a leather rider’s coat from the 1930s and that’s pretty amazing.”

In addition to discovering early Belstaff logos, Doug would use slanted pockets, zips and rivets to date each piece accurately and form a timeline. The 1960’s saw the start of the first real injection of colour. This is evident in a ladies’ turquoise rubberised Scooterjack jacket from the same era. Of course the leather has also come a long way since Belstaff’s beginnings. As Doug says: “The leather in the 1940s and ’50s was really aimed at motorcyclists whereas obviously now, as the brand has progressed, the leather quality has improved greatly. It has much more of a luxury hand to suit a more refined silhouette.” And with that he is off, no doubt in search of more unique finds.

Belstaff, 135 -137 New Bond Street – belstaff.co.uk

 

ART OF THE REVOLUTION

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Royal Academy’s latest exhibition, Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932, showcases great works from this turbulent, yet dynamic period in Russia’s history.

In an age when mass demonstrations and slogans prevail, it’s rather fitting that an exhibition showcasing early Soviet art should march boldly into town. Such is the case of the Royal Academy’s latest exhibit; Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932

The show commemorates the centenary of the Russian Revolution and is arranged thematically, beginning with the revolutionaries. Boris Mikailovich Kustodiev, Bolshevik, 1920 for instance depicts a giant figure of a freedom fighter holding a red banner and striding high above the spires of a town. Fantasy, 1925 by the celebrated Soviet painter and poet Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin meanwhile, shows a man astride a red-coloured horse – its coat the colour of the revolution, its message one of hope, of galloping into the future.

Alexander Deineka, Textile Workers, 1927
Oil on canvas, 161.5 x 185 cm
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Photo © 2016, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
© DACS 2016

Marc Chagall, Promenade, 1917-18
Oil on canvas, 175.2 x 168.4 cm
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Photo © 2016, State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
© DACS 2016

Boris Mikailovich Kustodiev, Bolshevik, 1920
Oil on canvas, 101 x 140.5 cm
State Tretyakov Gallery
Photo © State Tretyakov Gallery

Russia’s proletarian worker heroes are celebrated in a section labelled ‘Man and Machine’. This series of posters, paintings, films and textiles boast of industrial strength and prowess. Textile Workers, 1927 by Alexander Deineka shows women in simple slip dresses going about their business in a bobbin factory. I’m struck by the way in which this scene has been painted, the stark interior and the women’s understated clothes looks almost of the now. Elsewhere, Lyudmila Protopopova’s A Cup for Serving Tea carries a jaunty cogwheel print that you can imagine finding at Heals.

Paintings in the designated peasant category are also sublimely minimal and abstract. Here, farmworkers as exemplified by the Russian painter Kazimir Malevich, lack facial features to symbolise a sense a loss of identity. Malevich was himself an early pioneer of geometric abstract art. There are also works by more familiar heavyweight artists dotted around the rooms. These include Marc Chagall’s Promenade 1917-18 and Wassily Kandinsky’s famous Blue Crest painted in 1917.

Lyudmila Protopopova, A Cup for Serving Tea, 1931
Porcelain, height 6.4 cm
The Petr Aven Collection
Photo © The Petr Aven Collection

For me though, the ultimate jaw-dropping moment occurs in one of the gallery’s smaller rooms – home to Vladimir Tatlin’s glider. Suspended from the ceiling and crafted from steamed and bent ash wood, it plays to the artist’s fascination with bird skeletons and insect wings. As the piece gently revolved around the room casting ethereal shadows onto a white canvas backdrop, I was utterly transfixed; so much so, I could have watched it silently rotate for hours. Instead, I drift back out into the real world intent on keeping this newfound sense of calm for as long as possible.

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 runs until Monday 17th April at the Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House Piccadilly.

Posted in Art