As early visitors to my blog will know, I am a big fan of Steve McQueen.
He had a natural, every man, approach to dressing well. Picking the brands and clothes that met his lifestyle needs, rather than the trademarks that paid his way (unlike most celebs today).
One of his most iconic outfits came from Bullitt:
The jacket was a bespoke wool herringbone tweed creation by Theadora van Runkle, the costume designer for the film.
It was a soft cut, 3 roll 2 button design - like those from Boglioli and Caruso, with suede elbow patches. So, it has more of a modern day, unstructured Italian feel, rather than the American preppy heritage it originates from.
Worn with a shirt and tie, this could have been a staid outfit; however, thanks to the beautiful pairing of cashmere rollneck, charcoal trousers and suede chukkas it was the perfect outfit for his action led character.
It was recently announced that the original jacket was going up for auction (again) at Bonhams this January:
However, when this was originally auctioned in July 2013, it achieved a selling price of $720, 000, but the sale never completed - hence the second attempt via Bonhams.
With the original being quite a bit out of reach for you and me, how can we replicate this great outfit?
For the jacket, you can trawl eBay like I have done unsuccessfully for the last few months, but vintage tweed can be quite hit and miss for quality and fit.
Therefore, I would start with this nice Magee Brown and Black Herringbone Jacket:
Next, the rollneck jumper is a little more difficult, due to the thickness and colour match. So, have a look at this Bullett inspired Merino Wool rollneck from Sunspel:
The trousers are a bit easier; go for a classic pair of Incotex slim fit brushed cotton blend pair from Mr Porter:
Finally, pick up an authentic pair of the Sanders Joel boots worn by McQueen in the film:
At £180, they are a tad more affordable than that iconic jacket!
A painful start to today, thanks to my kids waking me up at 5.45 am.
I’ve stumbled downstairs in need of a little help. Once they are distracted by the cat I get a chance to get the kettle on and some coffee on the go. But, disaster - we have only got instant decaff!
Thank goodness for my Bialetti stovetop then.
I picked this up a few years ago for less than £20 and has been one of the best investments we made for our kitchen.
Stovetop coffee makers have been around for some time, but thanks to their popularity, the quality is variable at best, so when I looking for some inspiration I came across Bialetti.
Their iconic Moka Express design was created in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti and it’s art deco style quickly became the standard that others would follow.
The clever design incorporated a simple safety valve and soft touch, heat resistant, handle and knob. Each pot is decorated with their ‘Little man with a moustache’ trademark, created in the 1950’s by Paul Campani and used ever since as the company’s trademark.
These are robust little machines too. Made from solid aluminium, their longevity extends beyond their design as most of the major parts - from the filters and O-rings, to the handle, are replaceable and affordable.
What I really like, though, is the little ritual you need to go through to make your cup of expresso or coffee. It makes you part of the process, rather than the beneficiary of the output.
As for the quality of coffee it produces? For me these make the most flavourful and enjoyable cups of coffee I have in the week.
A friend in the Tea and Coffee team at work gave me one of those pod machines a year or two back. While it was quick and clean, the coffee it made was insipid and uninspiring. The machine was large and noisy.
It went back the next week. Proof that newer and easier is not always better.
Now that J Crew have moved in down the road, time for a lick of paint and new signage for one of the best shops on Lamb’s Conduit Street:
Looking forward to a visit to see how it’s shaping up!
Having been at university in Manchester between 1992 - 1995, it is no surprise that I lost … sorry, spent many glorious nights at The Hacienda.
Friday nights at Shine, on the stage throwing my best moves; trying to be brave enough to turn up on a Flesh gay night (because that’s where the girls went) or getting tickets to a Sasha or Mike Pickering set.
They were amazing nights.
Last week I picked up a copy of Peter Hook’s ‘The Hacienda: How not to run a club’ and it has started to rekindle some great memories of my time there; along with the gang trouble and infamous incident where a gun was pulled on Mike Pickering - I’m sure I was there.
Apart from being a great read, it reminded me of the great work by Peter Saville in creating the distinctive industrial feel to the place:
His bold and urban approach to the mix of workplace symbolism and colours was taken up by Ben Kelly, the designer who created the influential layout and interior of the club, as highlighted by Hooky below:
Saville’s style also set the standard for record sleeves, thanks to his role at Factory records, from OMD and Joy Division, through to the infamous New Order ‘Blue Monday’ first edition die-cut sleeve which meant that it lost Factory records 10p per copy sold.
But to be honest, who cares when his work is this good, enjoy!
If you enjoy these, pop over to Flyer Goodness for more epic Saville design work.
I’ve been doing a little research into a little idea I have been brewing recently and came across these brilliant cufflinks from Osprey:
Framed in hand beaten silver, each pair is unique at at just £95, a bargain to boot!
Having been in retail for many, many, years, one of the most sobering things is hearing direct from customers.
While you might at times be dismayed, confused or down right aghast at what they say - the customer is (almost) always right. A company that is led by customers will have longevity and success.
However, not all in a business take time to listen, then act, on what customers tell them.
So, this recent article in Forbes caught my eye. Having written to a typically anonymous corporate customer service address, the author’s wife had shared her disappointment at a clothing preview she had received, explaining that the company was just not offering the styles she had come to rely on from them.
So, imagine her surprise when she had a call from the company in question - J Crew; and not just from a call centre flunky, but from superstar CEO Mickey Drexler.
The resulting conversation is better read on Forbes, but I took away a few things.
Firstly, the attention to detail showed by Drexler is indicative of a business that is putting the customer first. Getting out and hearing from customer direct is the only way to know if you are going in the right direction.
Secondly, J Crew has more than likely secured a customer for life, probably more, once word of mouth kicks in.
Finally, Drexler has secured thousands of dollars worth of positive PR for his business for the price of a phone call. Something I’m sure he was not blind to while making the call.
This is a genius idea, and one that builds on those of the past.
An Australian company, Shark Attack Mitigation Systems, has developed two wetsuit designs that could deter shark attacks.
Based on the premise that sharks have difficulty in seeing some disruptive colour patterns, while recognising some ‘stay away’ messages that groups of fish give off, it’s suggested that these will give the surfer or diver vital moments to escape from their personal Jaws moment.
For me, the neat bit is how it harks back to the old WW1/2 disruptive camouflage paint effects that were used for ships:
Or HMS Belfast:
Just goes to show the old ideas are often the best!