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.

 

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THE Q&A: Johnstons of Elgin’s Creative Director, Alan Scott

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As the nights draw in, the notion of curling up with a good book and the crackle of a log fire hold a certain allure. The Danes even have a name for this – ‘Hygge’. And while the term has become all too familiar in the mainstream, in fashion, there’s still something to be said for the feel of a luxurious knit. On that front, Scottish cashmere brand Johnstons of Elgin have this season all wrapped up.

Alan Scott, who took over the creative reins earlier this year, can be credited with putting a more fashion-forward spin on things. With an impressive design pedigree spanning 27 years, he successfully launched Donna Karan menswear in the early Nineties.  Other career highlights include consulting for Italy’s Loro Piana and for Barbour here at home.

Next year, the family-owned business celebrates it 220th anniversary so what better time to quiz Scott on what makes him tick and how he intends to drive this historic brand into the future.

BSN: Where does Johnstons of Elgin sit in the international luxury landscape?

A.S: Johnston of Elgin is an incredibly important player in the luxury market, currently producing private label collections for many British, Italian and Paris-based luxury brands. We are also keen to develop the Johnstons of Elgin own brand and keep our social responsibility in our manufacturing sites healthy. It is vital to keep British knitwear alive and on the map by having a broad business model.

BSN: Please describe the current A/W 2016 collection. 

A.S: The A/W 2016 collection takes inspiration from nature, landscapes and foliage and colour combinations that are very ‘Scottish’ in style. Figurative accents in jacquards are presented next to traditional tartans using colours such as fern, granite, Bordeaux and navy.

BSN: Are there any upcoming collaborations or exciting new projects that you can share with us?

A.S: We are looking at showcasing our interior collection in Liberty this Christmas and are currently working with Lock Hatters as well as many private label collaborations with designers and department stores that help to grow our brand awareness.

BSN: Where is home for you these days?

A.S: I live in Scotland, on the snow line up on Ben Aigen. My home is 500 metres above the River Spey with the most incredible view down the valley and is about 15 minutes from our Elgin mill.

BSN: You are also an accomplished artist. What do you paint? 

A.S: I have always drawn since I was a child and have used this gift throughout my fashion career. I still need to draw everything even today. It’s a great way to give original communication and illustrate ideas and concepts.  At home, I love to relax and paint in oil. My subjects are usually equine and my paintings are always hyper-realistic. I love to create paintings that make people look twice.

BSN: How will you steer the brand into the future? 

A.S: This is a very special opportunity for me to fuse all of my experience with this fantastic company. I intend to develop and drive new business and customers by moving the brand forward using our heritage and history to inspire new technology and innovation in all products within the collection.

Shop Tactics with Giacomo Maccioni

Along with delectable Northern Italian cuisine, Cecconi’s fabled Mayfair restaurant boasts one of the most likable restaurant managers in town – Giacomo Maccioni. Originally from Sardinia, Giacomo moved to London in 1979 and started his career at the Vendome Restaurant on Dover Street. Two years into the job, he was forced to do an about-turn and enlist for National Service with a Sardinian tank regiment.

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Having climbed the ranks to corporal major, Giacomo returned to London in 1982, becoming headwaiter at Scott’s on Mount Street. In 1990, he joined the team at Cecconi’s, first as chef de rang and then as assistant general manager. After Soho House & Co acquired Cecconi’s in 2004, Giacomo was promoted to general manager and has held the role ever since.

Away from the buzz of Cecconi’s, you’ll find Giacomo zipping about on his Honda Fireblade motorbike in the Hertfordshire countryside where he resides with his wife and two children. On vacation in Italy, he enjoys climbing the Sardinian mountains with friends. Back in Mayfair, his attention turns to chocolate, shoes and other coveted pieces from his favourite haunts, which he reveals below:

Charbonnel et Walker, 1 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street 

Charbonnel et Walker’s chocolates are fabulous! When I want to spoil my wife, I always pop in here to choose a good selection of chocolates for her. I also like to buy Charbonnel et Walker chocolates as a ‘thank you’ gift. The staff at Cecconi’s will verify this!

Mulberry, 50 New Bond Street

Mulberry products are such high quality, I find its bags rather hard to resist. They are also practical – you can tell that each design is well thought-through. I own a few Mulberry bags, and my wife is also a fan of its handbags. The latest addition to her collection is the classic black Bayswater, which goes with everything.

Richard James, 29 Savile Row

I am a big fan of contemporary British tailor Richard James. I have several suits from him, made-to-measure as well as off the peg, and scores of fitted shirts. Richard’s style of tailoring is timeless yet contemporary and Andrew Black who manages the Savile Row store is a top guy. I’d say he’s one of the nicest people I have ever met!

Camper, 8-11 The Royal Arcade, 28 Old Bond Street

I love this shop. I have about ten pairs of shoes from Camper and I wear them constantly. I just love the simplicity and the originality of Camper’s designs, not to mention how comfortable the shoes are to wear.

Claridge’s Hotel, Brook St

Claridge’s is housed in such an iconic building. The stunning Art Deco touches make this hotel so special. I do like going for the odd afternoon tea there. The finger sandwiches are so light and delicious.

Highly Spun: Johnstons of Elgin

Johnstons of Elgin’s fabric archive is nestled deep in the Scottish countryside. Its shelves bear the weight of heavy leather-bound tomes, the kind of books you could imagine a wizened sorceress dusting off in search of a potent cure-all. Instead, the weathered pages appear to contain swatches of tweed and handwritten notes stretching back to when this celebrated cashmere and fine wool producer was first established as a family business in 1797. Since then, it has only ever been owned by two families; the Johnstons, and current owners the Harrisons.

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Today, with increasing numbers of British designers and international luxury fashion houses relying on it for their cashmere, Johnstons is as much about innovation as it is heritage. Last month saw the opening of a new London flagship – its first ever store outside Scotland – at 77 New Bond Street. Set over five levels, the 230 square metre space houses its womenswear and menswear collections, as well as its home and interior line. Company CEO Simon Cotton couldn’t be happier with the current location. “Bond Street is a destination known and understood throughout the world. Buyers and consumers come here looking for top British brands,” he says.

There are more reasons to be optimistic. Scotland’s cashmere and woollen industry has been on an upward trajectory for some time now, with luxury manufacturers driving significant growth. As a result, Scottish manufacturers such as Johnstons, along with Hawick Cashmere and Barrie (the latter is owned by Chanel) are enjoying somewhat of a renaissance.

“We are very much part of the ‘Made in the UK’ trend in luxury goods although Scotland has its own specialities, particularly around cashmere and other fine fibres,” says Cotton. “I feel that some Scottish companies are gaining in confidence and ambition and have realised they can sit comfortably amongst the very best in the world,” he adds.

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Scottish cloth is undoubtedly a unique product, which many attribute to the soft spring waters used in the manufacturing process. This natural liquid asset is said to help the yarns hold their texture. Incidentally, the same water goes into the world’s most celebrated whiskies. Scottish textile producers also have a knack of weaving in the soft muted tones of the Scottish landscape into each and every fabric. Johnstons Spring/Summer 2016 collection for instance is awash with faded blues and cool graphite greys. Lightweight Guernsey knits with exaggerated rib detailing and two-tone waffle knits also feature throughout.

Looking at the year ahead, the company will continue to invest in the latest generation of knitting equipment to meet increasing demand for its woven jacquards. Says Cotton: “Our focus is on continuing to build on our expertise and make even more beautiful and innovative products. Every year our teams surprise me by raising the bar even further and I am extremely excited about the collections we are working on, both for ourselves and other people.”

Whichever way you spin it, this forward-thinking cashmere brand is on a roll!


Bond’s Best 

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Berluti’s Toys For Boys

From the Rio Olympics to Euro 2016 it promises to be quite a year for major sporting events. Furthermore, if the style pundits are right, menswear’s recently coined ‘athleisure’ trend will continue to make the leap from track and field, to next season’s runways.

As for the pursuit of the body beautiful, what better way to kick-start your New Year’s exercise regime than with Berluti’s luxury fitness kit? The Paris-based menswear brand has teamed up with German high-end fitness manufacturer Hock Design, to create this set of minimalist dumbbells (£860) and lightweight skipping rope (£340). One glance at the oiled walnut handles and vegetable-tanned leather rope is enough to set your pulse racing.

Berluti, 43 Conduit Street

The Q&A: Mauro Ravizza Krieger, Pal Zileri’s Creative Director

Like most luxury Italian menswear labels, Pal Zileri prides itself on its rich heritage and native, homespun fabrics. It has been defining casual and elegant wardrobe essentials since the 1980s and in July it showed its first ever runway show under new creative director Mauro Ravizza Krieger. Together with a newly revamped Bond Street flagship, change is afoot. Below, Ravizza Krieger’s opines on taking the brand forward and the makings of a great suit.

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How are you making your mark on Pal Zileri?

Since joining Pal Zileri, I have been involved in creating a new Pal Zileri identity and updating the brand’s DNA. This new direction – in the product, as well as the campaigns and brand message – follows a unique concept we call ‘Avant-Craft.’ It describes an experimental approach to a timeless tradition and is a synthesis of skilled craftsmanship, attention to detail and loyalty to the brand’s cultural roots.

Tell us about the new look Bond Street store.

We are delighted to be here in such an important neighbourhood for fashion. The repositioning and the opening of new stores in strategic locations in major cities around the world is a central issue in the rebranding strategy of Pal Zileri. In London, we were lucky enough to already have a great location. We only had to give the space a new ‘soul’ to reflect the new brand philosophy. An interesting ‘Made to Measure’ project and monogramming service on bags and other accessories will soon be implemented in all our flagship stores.
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How would you describe a contemporary Pal Zileri suit?

Elegance and function are the keywords that describe a modern Pal Zileri suit. Proportions are classic but updated with clean lines and impeccable details. The silhouette is becoming more and more important. Our clients want to see their body shape shown in a modern way, that´s why we are working hard to create slim-fit shapes with softer fabrics. You have to feel comfortable in a suit and only then will it look chic and elegant.


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What can we expect to see in the Autumn/Winter 2015 collection?

As previously mentioned, the brand is evolving and having somewhat of a rebirth. This season sees an innovative take on sartorial proportions and techniques, which are executed by the hands of Italian craftsmen. New pieces will maintain a classical, less formal, contemporary attitude. For autumn we have presented biker jackets, which can be worn over a tailored white shirt and parkas paired with a classic slim-fit suit.

Shop Tactics with Anthony Lee

Anthony Lee was appointed General Manager of Hotel Café Royal in January 2014, bringing with him over 40 years of experience and a comprehensive understanding of London’s luxury hotel scene.

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Image by Ruth Ward

The Café Royal, once a Bohemian home-from-home for the likes of Wilde, Whistler and Coward, is thriving again under the careful watch of Anthony Lee. The amiable GM knows exactly what to do should summer hay fever or an unexpected heat wave strike. Simple. Head straight to the celebrated Green Bar where the perfect tonic, courtesy of head mixologist, Antonio Catapano, is administered. No prescription required!

“I have always said, cancel your appointment at the doctors and come see Antonio! If you are one of those that also enjoy the finer things in life but still want fun, then join our member’s club at the Café Royal and enjoy a drink in our library bar. The photo which hangs there is evidence of my shopping indulgence and frankly, I plead guilty!

Prior to the Café Royal, Anthony spent nearly 31 years at the Connaught. As General Manager there, he has plenty of tales to tell. These include carrying Grace Kelly’s bags to the hotel’s penthouse, sipping a martini with Cary Grant and walking Lauren Bacall’s dog Sophie.

Anthony describes himself as “a man who loves to shop” adding: “I don’t shop that often, but when I do, I do. Then like all good shoppers that eventually return to their lair, I spread out my ‘kill’ and admire the fruits of the day’s hunt. Then I might hide all the evidence claiming that I’ve had “this little old thing” for years and blame others for not noticing it before!”

The eclectic hunter-gatherer shares his favourite haunts below:

Hermès

The part I love most about Hermès, aside from the leather goods, is its ties. Now, we men can be a bit staid and boring compared to most women when it comes to fashion but we are catching up fast. Just look at the success of the London Collections Men. When we (men) have to wear a suit, our splash of colour comes by way of a beautiful tie. My favourite shades include a really intense light green, which helps me think ‘cool’ on hot summer days. I once owned a huge collection of Hermès ties but five years ago, I had a clear out and donated around 50 of them to charity. Now I regret it but at least they went to a good cause. I have been lucky to receive many wonderful comments on my ties. As for the rest, I’m still working on it!

Hermès, 155 New Bond Street

William & Son

There is only one William & Son and it sits here on the corner of Bond Street. This family business has been uncompromising in its pursuit of quality and individuality. There are many wonderful shops for jewellery, fine clothing, hunting guns and pieces which make a home truly individual to reflect its owner. But here, all of this sits under one roof. The last gift I received from William & Son was the most beautiful iPad holder. It is crafted in a gorgeous duck egg blue coloured leather and has become a much admired accessory.

The team that work with William and his father are amazing. They guide you through a minefield of choices to find the perfect present. My wife has had her eyes on a pair of earrings for some time and I’m not sure how much longer I can holdout!

William & Son, 34-36 Bruton Street

Jo Malone

The two scents I adore are Pomegranate Noir, which for me is more of a winter cologne, and Vetyver for the summer. I could drink the stuff!

Now for the bad news. The brand dropped Vetyver from its range a year or so ago and I immediately went into mourning. I could not believe it, as it was my absolute favourite. Luckily, I have one bottle left in my office, which I keep for special occasions. Once that is gone, well… I caught up with Jo recently, and as usual admired her achievements – from buying back the shop from where she began her business all those years ago, to launching Jo Loves. Good for you Jo and for being the best of British!

Jo Malone, 23 Brook Street

Smythson

There is nothing quite like this quintessentially British brand anywhere in the world. No other stationer offers the quality and several hundred years of experience as Smythson. It has lifestyle written all over it! I am not normally a writer of letters but when they produce your own personalised stationery in practically any colour and style, you suddenly become more socially outgoing. You’ll find any excuse to drop a little note to anyone you can think of just because you feel the need to tell him or her about your new stationery. Have fun and enjoy this wonderful store and be sure to look into its history to fully appreciate what you are buying into.

Smythson, 40 New Bond Street 

Hackett

Hackett, one of my preferred menswear stores, is located just minutes from where I hide out at work during the day. It has an amazing range of casual clothes and a knack for producing cool and relaxed pieces. Currently, my favourite buys include fabulous jackets, which you can pair with jeans and great casual shirts. Slip on a pair of sunglasses (they have to be Persol!) and together with a chilled glass of wine, you are ready to watch the world go by.

Hackett, 87 Jermyn Street