Archive for May, 2011


At the Gate of the Sun, Bagdad, in olden time

Away, for we are ready to a man!
Our camels sniff the evening and are glad.
Lead on, O Master of the Caravan:
Lead on the Merchant-Princes of Bagdad.

Have we not Indian carpets dark as wine,
Turbans and sashes, gowns and bows and veils,
And broideries of intricate design,
And printed hangings in enormous bales?

We have rose-candy, we have spikenard,
Mastic and terebinth and oil and spice,
And such sweet jams meticulously jarred
As God’s own Prophet eats in Paradise.

And we have manuscripts in peacock styles
By Ali of Damascus; we have swords
Engraved with storks and apes and crocodiles,
And heavy beaten necklaces, for Lords.

But you are nothing but a lot of Jews.

Sir, even dogs have daylight, and we pay.

But who are ye in rags and rotten shoes,
You dirty-bearded, blocking up the way?

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,
White on a throne or guarded in a cave
There lives a prophet who can understand
Why men were born: but surely we are brave,
Who make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

We gnaw the nail of hurry. Master, away!

O turn your eyes to where your children stand.
Is not Bagdad the beautiful? O stay!

THE MERCHANTS in chorus :
We take the Golden Road to Samarkand.

Have you not girls and garlands in your homes,
Eunuchs and Syrian boys at your command?
Seek not excess: God hateth him who roams!

We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

Sweet to ride forth at evening from the wells
When shadows pass gigantic on the sand,
And softly through the silence beat the bells
Along the Golden Road to Samarkand.

We travel not for trafficking alone:
By hotter winds our fiery hearts are fanned:
For lust of knowing what should not be known
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

Open the gate, O watchman of the night!

Ho, travellers, I open. For what land
Leave you the dim-moon city of delight?

THE MERCHANTS with a shout
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.

The Caravan passes through the gate

THE WATCHMAN consoling the women
What would ye, ladies? It was ever thus.
Men are unwise and curiously planned.

They have their dreams, and do not think of us.

VOICES OF THE CARAVAN : in the distance, singing
We make the Golden Journey to Samarkand.


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Anyone shoot water fowl? I do. I use a side-by-side SKB and a U/O H&H Royal. I love my guns, use the best oil, after all they are hand me downs for the next generation of Pearsons. What do I keep them in? There is one maker of custom built cases, and he’s based in the UK.

Here are some examples of his work

If you’re in New Zealand, shoot us an email and we’ll get you a quote. Allow weeks for delivery and supply is very very limited.

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What is bespoke tailoring?

The term is far older than anyone, probably, ever thought. It dates from the seventeenth century. Tailors would keep full lengths of cloth in their workshops. A client would choose a length of cloth, and that cloth was then said to, ‘be spoken for.’ Made-to-measure, a term that is often used interchangeably with bespoke, means a suit is created from a pre-existing pattern.

Dozens of measurements are taken of a tailor’s client. A personal pattern is then hand-crafted and cut completely from scratch.

Be careful when choosing your bespoke garment!

The act of Pattern Making –


– Creating a Bespoke shirt

“The image you see above is a commonly seen image. Bespoke tailoring is all about precision work. You take your client’s measurements, note them down, and then, according to your set of drafting rules start calculating the exact pattern pieces. Most English systems use a combination of a few direct measurements, combined with a working scale, which is most commonly the chest measurement divided by a number.”

– The Ruben Bakker guide

– Creating a Bespoke suit

The first appointment – choosing fabric and measuring

“When ordering a fully bespoke suit you are measured in great detail taking into account all the idiosyncrasies of your posture. You are measured by a bespoke cutter who has years of experience on Savile Row. It’s important that the person measuring you is the same person who will be doing the cutting. He will need to see a picture of you in his mind whilst he analyses the measurements and creates a unique pattern for you. If necessary the cutter will take a photo of the client at the first appointment.

The suit is then hand cut to your specific measurements and then hand stitched on Savile Row, but only up to the ‘baste’ stage.

This stage is what makes a bespoke suit bespoke. If your tailor claims to be making you a bespoke suit but there is no baste stage then it is not a bespoke suit. Without this stage it can only be semi-bespoke or made to measure.

A baste is a half-made suit that is not properly finished and only temporarily held together with white baste stitching. This allows it to be easily taken apart and remade.

The basted garment has unfinished lapels, no buttons and no buttonholes”

The second appointment – first fitting

“At this stage you will have your first fitting and the cutter will assess the accuracy of his measurements.

The basted suit is a blueprint or ‘first draft’ of the final version and can be radically altered if necessary.

The cutter will make notes and usually chalk several marks on the suit to instruct the tailors on how the suit is to be altered.

The fact that the suit is only basted together allows you the opportunity to dramatically change the style if you wish. For example there are no buttonholes on this garment so if you want to raise or lower the buttoning position this is easily possible. You also have the opportunity to narrow or widen the lapels or shoulders if you wish.

These options would not be possible on a made to measure or semi bespoke suit.”

The third appointment – second fitting

“At this point the suit will be at a more advanced stage of tailoring and may be almost completely finished (depending on the complexity of your shape).

All of the alterations carried out by the specialist bespoke adjustment tailor will be assessed and scrutinised by the cutter.

The final adjustments will be marked up and then carried out by the tailors.”

The fourth/final appointment – third fitting

“Depending on your shape, this may be your final fitting. If so the cutter will check that the adjustments have been done correctly and if you are happy with the suit you can take it home.

If further adjustments are required it will be returned to the tailors until it is perfect. Cutters are perfectionists by nature and a good cutter will not rest until the suit is perfect.

After all he has a reputation to protect.

All in all this process involves 80 to 100 hours of manual work by skilled craftsmen. This is one of the reasons why fully bespoke suits are so much more expensive than made to measure suits.”

Jasper Littman fully bespoke suits start from £2500 for a 2-piece.

Photographs and information kindly provided by Ruben Bakker of the Netherlands and Jasper Littman of London.

RJB in Auckland is the only store able to provide a full bespoke service in New Zealand. Why not have a suit or shirt made by the men who presented the Prime Minister of New Zealand to the world at The Royal Wedding?

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RJB in Auckland city has recently created a new suit for the Prime Minister – only one of many they have made for Mr Key. However, this suit was worn at the Royal Wedding, the result? Pure Kiwi inspired class

“John Key will wear a bespoke New Zealand-made suit at the royal wedding woven from merino and washed with pounamu (greenstone).

The Prime Minister had his final fitting for the two-piece dark navy suit at RJB Design in High St yesterday morning.

Mr Key said the suit was a great example of New Zealand technology and admitted “it’s looking very good”.

The suit is made with merino wool fabric by Dormeuil, with greenstone “washed into the weave”.

“You can’t see it [the greenstone]. It looks like a normal fabric. It’s their top of the range fabric produced out of New Zealand,” Mr Key said.

RJB Design had been making suits for him since before he was elected.

The store’s owner, Ronald Biddick, said he was very proud that he could count the Prime Minister among his list of clients.

“It’s a huge honour to make suits for him, and we’re especially excited about this one. We can’t wait to see him at the wedding in it.”

Mr Biddick was coy about the details of the suit and said he could not reveal what colour tie Mr Key would wear or how much it cost – all he could say was that it was between $2500 and $6000.

“Though for luxury items like that, you’re more looking at the higher end of that scale.”

The suit was made from Super 160 fabric which means it has a very high thread count so was very light.

He said Mr Key came to him about two months ago to discuss what he should wear and together they came up with the design.

“He will look very sartorially elegant, which is the look we were going for.”‘


You can meet Ronald and have a suit designed just for you at:

42b High Street

or email him at : rjbdesign@xtra.co.nz

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Let’s compare the wedding of Prince Charles and the late Lady Diana Spencer. When they were hitched, there was a hint of awkwardness, a fairy-tale that would end sadly when the two divorced in 1996, although there was always speculation; Lady Di – she was wonderful, but was she royalty material?

The new Duchess of Cambridge on the other hand is fine princess material. She’s low-key, she seems to love, or at least respect the press – something that lady Di couldn’t abide when she was married to HRH the Prince of Wales.

The wedding began right on time, Friday (New Zealand time) at 2110 exactly Princes William and Harry departed Clarence House bound for Westminster Abbey. They looked dashing in their military uniforms, both current serving members of the British armed forces.

The Princes arrival at Westminster Abbey was met with a deafening applause from the thousands of people who had waited hours in anticipation


“This past Friday, the world finally experienced the fanfare of a royal wedding, this latest one between the late Princess Diana’s son, Prince William, and his long-time girlfriend Catherine Middleton.

The media and the public haven’t been this obsessed with a wedding since the 1981 wedding between Diana and Prince Charles.

Although Kate and William’s wedding lived up to its expectations of grandeur, it still seemed demure compared to media predictions. Nonetheless, they were married with hundreds of millions of viewers around the world watching, packed crowds lining the streets of London and a guest list featuring celebrities, royals and women in wonderfully strange and colorful hats.

Among the 1,900 guests invited were David and Victoria Beckham (dressed in a strangely somber black dress she designed herself); Elton John with partner David Furnish; English Prime Minister David Cameron and Australian Olympian Ian Thorpe.

Some female guests nearly outshone the new bride with their extravagant, elegant and, for a few select guests, ostentatious outfits. For example, guest of the wedding and English socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson donned a bright blue dress that fit her like a piece of art, and her hat looked like a rowboat with a flower in the middle.

The real surprise outfit of the wedding, however, came from Middleton herself.

The bride had kept the designer of her a dress a secret until the day of the wedding. Middleton first showed the dress to the public and press when she stepped out of the car in front of Westminster Abbey, revealing a dress designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen.

Although not as grand a dress as worn by Princess Di, whose dress was beautiful, yet dated, Middleton’s dress was simple, yet elegant and timeless, with lace sleeves, a bodice, a V-neck and a long train running behind.

As for the ceremony itself, the wedding was beautiful and symbolic, filled with classical choral and instrumental music as well as religious scripture, singing and traditional ceremony.

And the crowd finally got what it was waiting for when the married couple had its first kiss. After hours of antagonizing the press and throngs of fans, it was well worth the wait. On the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the newlyweds gave fans not one, but two kisses, much to the squeals and roars of news commentators and about one million fans watching from outside the palace.

William and Kate, now also known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, have regained a favor and love from the public that has not been seen since Princess Diana’s time, and that relationship with the public has only been strengthened with a modern fairy tale wedding.”

What does this really mean for the future of the Royal family? The tradition will continue. At least it will for the entirety of my lifetime. The constitutional monarchy that currently exists is a stable one. It has support from most world leaders and is a shining example of diplomatic excellence.

For those people worried about the cost, the Monarchy is a money-making institution. It provides the world with a chance to experience a system that has remained unchanged for almost a thousand years.

Long Live the Monarchy!

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Originally worn by British Naval officers, the double breasted peacoat has become synonymous with military inspired fashion for men.

The above jacket is inspired by the very cool peacoat design, commissioned by the Royal Navy in World War 1. This particular jacket is called the Classic Duster, by Marni.

In general, the middle right button should always be kept buttoned, while the lower right button can be left unbuttoned to subtly mitigate some of the suit’s formality.

Indeed, the double-breasted suit, while formal, is still amenable to personal touches of flair. The Duke of Kent started the trend of leaving the top right button of his six-by-four unfastened, but fastening the bottom right button. This practice, now aptly known as the Kent style, was adopted and popularized by Prince Edward, the Duke of Windsor.

Our take on Double Breasted jackets. I recently had my Zegna Couture jacket re-buttoned with the New Zealand coat of arms. Ronald at RJB on High Street, Auckland had this carried out for me at a very reasonable cost of about 175 dollars. Now I can wear the jacket with anything, from a tailored darkish grey jean or a light grey prince of wales check pattern non-pleated pant by Crane Brothers.

The double-breasted jacket or suit is a must-have for any sartorialist. Wear it wisely, and with fore-thought.

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