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Archive for June, 2012

Opened in 2009, together with the Mark Hix-operated restaurant on the ground floor, this is a destination in its own right. It’s a subterranean speakeasy with plenty of style – low zinc bar, tin ceiling panels, comfortable Chesterfields, bar billiards table – but with precious little attitude.

Former Hawksmoor bartender Nick Strangeway celebrates the seasons on his fascinating, history-minded cocktail list; highlights include the Hanky Panky (Beefeater, Fernet Branca and red vermouth), created in the 1930s for Charles Hawtrey by a Savoy bartender, and the Scoff-Law Cocktail, a rye-whisky-based drink from the same period.

There are plenty of appetising alternatives on the 150-strong wine list and
the enlightened beer menu, with pale ales, bitters, stouts and Hix’s own porter all served in gleaming tankards.

The conditions of the licence mean drinkers have to order some food, either selections from the restaurant menu or lovely bar snacks (pork crackling, fennel sausage, posh fish fingers).

The second, Belgravia branch of Mark’s Bar opened in February 2012 within the new Hix Belgravia restaurant.

66 Brewer Street  City of Westminster, London W1F 9, United Kingdom – 020 7292 3518

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This series is to enable the traveler to chose the best possible location to dine, stay or shop during their stay in London during the 2012 Olympic Games.

This comes directly from a site owned by a very good friend who is based in London, he owns one of Great Britain’s largest media agencies, and as such is well practiced in the art of wining and dining.

Hawksmoor is a meat-lover’s paradise, a homage to top-quality British beef. Yet it’s more than a steakhouse. The Covent Garden outpost is quite a different animal from the Spitalfields original, and makes the most of its basement location with a gorgeous bar that feels like an old school chemistry lab, from which palate-dazzling alco-concoctions emerge. (If you are looking for the new Hawksmoor Guidlhall branch in the City, click here).

Starters focus on British fish (Dorset oysters and blue lobster, Poole clams); our crab on toast, a huge mound of brown and white meat served on good crusty bread, was straightforward and delectable. This is a place that chooses its ingredients carefully, then serves them simply. The steaks are a case in point.

All the meat comes from excellent, Yorkshire-based butcher Ginger Pig. The beef is from Longhorn cattle, the meat dry-aged for at least 35 days. Steaks are cooked on a Josper grill, emerging with a crusty black exterior and luxe red interior. We’re fans of the deep-flavoured rump, and were blown away by the ribeye, served medium-rare to melt the fat in the well-marbled meat. Side dishes of bone marrow and two kinds of chips (beef dripping or triple-cooked) complete the feast.

Clued-up staff are keen to advise on the various meat cuts and the lengthy, well-chosen wine list. Make sure you arrive hungry.

11 Langley Street  City of Westminster, WC2H 9JG, United Kingdom – 020 7420 9390

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After fifteen years of US ownership the Norton brand has now been secured by Stuart Garner, UK businessman and owner of Norton Racing Ltd. Garner plans to develop a new 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) Norton factory at Donington Park. The relaunched Norton line includes three new versions of the 961 Commando; the 961 SE, 961 Sport and 961 Café Racer.

What do you think?

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Double Strap Monk Shoe with Cap Two Row Stitch – (MS28)
You can wear them with this:
Cool summer look, that will bring style, refreshment and a little bit of artistic flair to your office, job or casual cocktail party.

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’40mm or 1 5/8″ wide grosgran jaquard ribbon with tan goatskin runner leather ends and hand polished brass fittings.’ – $70.00 US-Dollars

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The Duke of Windsor was a peerage created in Great Britain in 1937, and given to the then Prince Edward, who had abdicated the throne on 11 December 1936. The Prince married American divorcee Wallis Simpson under a storm of controversy.  Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David was born on 23 June, 1894. Having undertaken several foreign tours on behalf of his father, King George the Fifth, Edward was already a popular Royal figure who would become one of the leaders in popular men’s style.

While The Duke’s private assistant, Alan Lascelles reckoned that “for some hereditary or physiological reason his (the Duke’s) normal mental development stopped dead when he reached adolescence,” due to Edward’s constant and often wreckless womanising, he was a popular and well loved figure throughout Britain and around the world.

The Duke of Windsor and wife Wallis Simpson were especially popular in the United States, where they resided and subsequently toured. They were well known in elite social circles, and were recieved on a regular basis by Gore Vidal, Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Kennedy family. The focus of this short insight into the life of this great man should remain rested on the Duke of Windsor’s incredible affinity with style. He would become well known for inventing the usage of the modern tuxedo, the slim-cut double breasted suit and his keen eye for detail, preferring British made cloth – especially Harris Tweed and Fair Isle sweaters.

This Rothesay Hunting tartan lounge suit with shaw collar, pictured above was particularly like the Duke and apparently triggered a vogue in tartan in the USA in the 50s. Made in 1897 apparently for his father, George V. re-tailored to fit the Duke with a Talon zip added in place of the button fly. He didn’t like buttons on pants, so insisted on zippers, which were large and primitive in those days.

The Duke was undoubtedly a very wealthy man, having been born into British Royalty and marrying into American Royalty. However, his wardrobe spanned over 60 years, and subsequently contains many hundreds of different items. He never lost his trim figure (his waist went from 29 inches to 31 inches over a half century) and it seems he never threw anything out. A 1960 inventory of the Duke of Windsor’s closet recorded 15 evening suits, 55 lounge suits and 3 formal suits (and 2 pairs of trousers for each), along with more than 100 pairs of shoes including a fabulous collection of velvet slippers by Peal & Co.

”Not since his forebear King George IV in the 1820′s had a monarch lavished so much care and expense on his own personal appearance,” Ms. Taylor, the Sotheby’s specialist who has spent seven years preparing for this sale.  ”He bought clothes of the finest quality but literally expected them to last a lifetime, which in fairness, many of them did.”

The Duke used the same tailor, Scholte of Savile Row in London, to make his jackets from 1919 to 1959.  Ms. Taylor said, ”Scholte was the snobby tailor who refused to make suits for the riffraff; he even turned down Fred Astaire.”

Long live the Monarchy.

I’d like to thank the many thousands of people that view my blog monthly, and the many hundreds that currently follow me. It is a true honor to have some sort of impact in a world that seems so sartorially askew in its views.

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I’ve noticed this topic floating around on Facebook almost on a daily basis. Is tweed acceptable city wear, what is the best way to wear tweed and who can I turn to for style advice? All of these questions are not-easily answered. For some, such as the Briton of old, Tweed is serious country wear and for good reason. It is hard wearing, it is particularly good at repelling water and it fits like a glove when properly tailored – ensuring the wearer stays warm and dry at all times. Today, however, members of the Royal family, such as HRH The Prince of Wales, have found a place for tweed in the city. Here are two excellent examples of Tweed in the city.

An example by Zegna

A good example by Gant

Without being an economic powerhouse, is it possible to perfect this look? Of course it is. Like any fabric, marque or style – this look is achievable without breaking the bank. There are several sites that specialise in vintage Tweed; or just eBay the look!

Carrying on…

Tweed as city wear is a relatively new phenomenon. When looking around the streets of Auckland, New Zealand – for example – one hardly sees tweed in use at all. Perhaps this is a reflection of the growing jean and blazer attitude toward dressing down, perhaps not – who knows? For now, one should be content in knowing that tweed is perfectly appropriate for use in the urban setting.

What is the best way to wear it…

I hate suggesting to people that there is a right AND wrong way to wear different forms of clothing. Firstly, wear it with confidence as a full suit made of tweed is bound to attract attention. Secondly, three-piece suits are most definitely in. Derbies (in contrast to the snob’s opinion on style) are perfectly appropriate to wear with a tweed suit, particular dark brown with a lighter green or blue Harris Tweed fabric. Do wear Brogues, particularly brown brogues, and brown distressed monk-straps are also perfectly accepted and sexy. Think Lobb or Loake.

Who can I turn to for style advice… The Prince of Wales. The Duke of Windsor. Prince Michael of Kent. Easy.

As a final note, don’t worry too much about what people consider right, or wrong. Especially when it comes to a specialist piece of clothing and tailoring like a tweed suit. Wear it proudly and with confidence, knowing you are partaking in the use of a garment that has been traditional British wear for hundreds of years.

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