Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bow ties galore—Laurent Desgrange

The bow tie, once regulated to strict preppies and conservative college professors, has exploded into a men’s fashion staple over the past few years…and it shows no sign of waning. This simple rectangle of fabric, tied into a bowknot, can add a jolt of personality to any gentlemen’s wardrobe.

Above: A playful display of Laurent Desgrange’s exuberant bow ties in a smorgasbord of colors, shapes and sizes.

French designer, Laurent Desgrange, has been pushing the boundaries of the traditional bow tie (albeit the clip on bow tie) with some wit and panache for the past few years...and he doesn’t disappoint with his look book for Spring/Summer 2011.

Mr. Desgrange playfully experiments with the scale of the bow tie.

And he even elevates a sneaker with playful bows.

Of course Mr. Peacock adores the toile shirt (which will be available in blue and red).

You don’t have to wait until next spring to wear one of Mr. Desgrange's hand made bow ties.

This dark blue satin tie, with tiny bead detailing, would be chic for summer weddings.

And I love this black & white houndstooth “origami” tie.

Each tie comes with satin ribbon and a clip—so you can wear it however you prefer. They’re not just for the gents either; the ladies can wear them as a belt, headband, or hair clip.

Admittedly, Mr. Desgranges daring use of bow ties might not suit every gentleman peacock, however, his exquisite shapes and fabrics will seduce even the most conservative of old-school bow tie aficionados.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Crazy for khaki!

(click image above to enlarge)
After a weekend of rainbow colors, khaki seems like a nice respite. Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Peacock loves colors, but I also like a nice khaki too. The color khaki comes from the Persian word khak which means dust. Many armies around the world have used the color khaki for their uniforms and camouflage. To many gents, Khakis have become synonymous for meaning casual pants (think chinos), but don’t limit your wardrobe to just khaki colored pants. Here’s some of Mr. Peacock’s favorite khaki colored items:

1) Mr. Peacock adores this cotton khaki tuxedo with contrasting black silk twill detailing and notched collar. The underside of the collar lining is embroidered with tiny contrasting skull-and-cross bones. The pants have black silk twill taping down the legs, with unfinished cuffs (to either roll or have hemmed).

2) This khaki tie is unlined and has selvage at both ends and made with fabric from Japan.

3) I’ve worn out many pairs of checkered Vans, and blue or white Keds over the years…but I’ve never had a pair of khaki canvas Keds like these!

4) A khaki colored twill briefcase, with chocolate leather trim, that is seasonably chic and utilitarian too!

5) This military inspired khaki hat would be great while reading a book at the beach, or just running errands.

6) This mid-century inspired chair is upholstered in a khaki colored army duck fabric—similar to what was used by armies for tents and uniforms. I think the khaki fabric gives it a warm masculine touch and would integrate well with most interiors. It's on sale here.

7) This khaki and black color blocked button down shirt would look great addition to any wardrobe—and would be a great year-round piece.

8) I also like these khaki canvas sneakers with an espadrille inspired jute detailing, and a leather detail in the back. They’re made of canvas, leather, hemp, and rubber.

Khaki, beige, tan, dust...whatever you want to call the color, is a great addition to any gentleman’s wardrobe. Do you have any khaki colored items, besides pants, in your wardrobe?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sewing for Men and Boys…

Mr. Peacock found this 1970’s sewing publication, Sewing for Men and Boys, at the flea market. The title made me chuckle. This 1973 publication showcases menswear trends and sewing techniques, while promoting Simplicity sewing patterns, in a magazine format.

The topics of this magazine cover fabric types, measurements and tailoring techniques. Much of the advice and tips are timeless, such as the importance of a properly fitted garment.

It has a “Sewing Illustrated “ section with step-by-step photos and diagrams. To quote their “Ties” section, “….the nostalgic bow tie is now enjoying popularity.”

Sewing for Men and Boys was meant to inspire home seamstresses to make contemporary clothes for the men in their families. I don’t think many moms or grandmothers sew clothing for the men in their families anymore.

This magazine also highlights seasonal clothing for men and boys, including "Summer in the Sun."

The high-waisted tennis shorts look dated, but many of the trends they touch on are still relevant today.

You get your own copy of this seventies menswear magazine here. I have my copy of Sewing for Men and Boys next to my Charles Hix book collection.

Sewing for Men and Boys begins with a section on “Self Image” and breaks menswear into 4 categories: tailored traditionalist, active casual, now generation, and young executive. What category are you? Mr. Peacock would categorize himself as a "casual-traditionalist." What category are you?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dishes stacked to the roof...

Mr. Peacock is swooning over these modular porcelain Italian “Palace” tableware pieces by Seletti. They would compliment my dish collection nicely, and you may already know I like dishes that stack!

Each Florentine-inspired “building” is comprised of six individual pieces, plus a serving dish as the roof.

Even the interior of each dish has “architectural” detailing.

The clever Palace collection includes 4 “buildings”
• a dinner plate building (each plate is 8.6” x 8.6” x 1.1”),
• a dessert/fruit bowl building (each bowl is 6” x 6” x .8” ),
• a small bowl building (each bowl is 4.3” x 4.3’ x 2”),
• a soup dish building (each dish is 7” x 7” x 1.6”).

I immediately thought of Piero Fornasetti when I first saw the Palace dishes. A Fornasetti tea set would nicely compliment Seletti’s modular tableware pieces.

These beech wood cutlery sets are packaged in a printed brown paper bag and would look great with these dishes…or for a picnic.

The Palace tableware collection would look chic displayed on this red Ming console.

The table is set…now what’s for dinner?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mr. P's favorite T's

The weather is heating up and it's time for flip-flops, shorts and t-shirts. "A picture speaks a thousand words"…and so can a t-shirt. T-shirts can become very sentimental possessions referencing a special event or time in your life. Here's some of Mr. Peacock's current favorite t-shirts, maybe one of these will become your favorite too.

Mr. Peacock loves the Danish label Wood Wood, created in 2002. This Wood Wood tee is a pie chart showing the religions of the world.

There's a plethora of t-shirts that give homage to The Smiths.

You either love or hate The Smiths….

These Laurent Desgrange t-shirts are made from collages.

Is your head is in the clouds…or do you feel like a sad cloud?

American Apparel has created a series of "Library" t-shirts using historical images such as juveniles dispersing from the Los Angeles police on Sunset Strip in 1966, or a pair at a Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood in1984. It will be interesting to see if they continue this series of t-shirts.

Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Hound of the Baskervilles (see my homage to Sherlock Holmes). It's immortalized as a t-shirt here. This lady cop t-shirt is by Patrick Nagel (remember the Duran Duran Rio cover?).

This double trouble t-shirt will make anyone smile. Mr. Peacock likes the "tennis tail" on this iconic number tee.

Opposites attract. This love/hate t-shirt weighs in on timely issues. "Okay is not okay"…..references the Berlin dj duo, but it could be a mantra for anyone.

Mr. Peacock likes this architectural mustache man t-shirt. It reminds me of the interior of my kitchen cabinets. The bearded man t-shirt looks like an illustration from a fable.

This scientific illustration of mushrooms looks striking on this tee.

Color block t-shirts always look good. I like the combination of red, yellow, ivory and blue of this t-shirt.

Even if you don't party at The Chateau Marmont, you can still own a souvenir t-shirt.

You can peek at my previous favorite t-shirts here. What's going to be your favorite t-shirt this summer?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Birthday Salute to Bunny Roger

Neil Munroe “Bunny” Roger was the epitomy of a gentleman peacock. This phenomenon of energy possessed wit, good taste and enormous courage. He was famous as a couturier for wealthy women, and had a reputation for throwing some of the most extravagant parties of the last century. His colorful persona can be considered an acquired taste for some folks, however, his original flair and joy for life can’t be denied.

Above: Bunny Roger with his younger brother, Alexander, "Sandy" in 1962.

This eccentric socialite (and fellow Gemini) was born on June 9, 1911—the middle of 3 boys. His father was a self-made business tycoon, and his mother was a natural beauty who liked culture and fashion, which undoubtedly rubbed off on Bunny (a nickname from infancy given to him from a nanny). Bunny, along with his brothers, Sandy and Alan, were life-long bachelors and remained close their entire lives.

During the Second World War he saw active duty in Italy and North Africa. He claimed to have advanced through enemy lines wearing a chiffon scarf and carrying a copy of Vogue.

Above: Neil "Bunny" Roger photographed in London in 1954 by fellow peacock, Norman Parkinson.

This dandy had many notable bon mots including: “When in doubt…powder.” One of his favored colors was “menopausal mauve.” Beneath his flamboyant exterior was an encyclopedic and formidably well-read mind, and courteous man.

After the war he opened his own shop, Neil Roger, with a £1000 backing from his father. His clients included Vivien Leigh and Princess Marina.

Each year he would purchase 15 custom Savile Row suits, of his own designs, in the best fabrics and colors—including lilac, cerulean, and canary yellow (above from his estate auction catalog 1998). He often had several pairs of the same shoe made when he found a favorite leather color or type.

Above: A peek in one of Bunny Roger's closets. It reminds Mr. Peacock of Tartan Scot's closet.

In the last decades of his life, during his routine walks to lunch at Fortnum & Mason, he enjoyed people staring at his neo-Edwardian inspired attire and signature silhouette—broad shoulders (40” chest), narrow waist (29”), and small feet (size 7)!

Above: The living room of Roger's house on Addison Road in London.

Bunny and his brothers hosted many fabulous parties and balls over the decades at their homes. In their day, these extravaganzas were outrageous and very eccentric. His “Fetish” party in 1956 made the gossip pages of the newspaper.

At his “Amethyst” Ball, celebrating his 70th birthday in 1981, Bunny wore a catsuit with an egret feather headdress (above). A decade later, he made an entrance at his “Ball of Fire” 80th birthday ball, emerging through fire and smoke to the applause of 400 friends!

Above: A sampling of Mr. Roger's wardrobe from the auction catalog of his estate, 1998.

Quoting Bunny’s obituary (April 1997) written by Clive Fisher in The Independent, “… He was true: beneath his mauve mannerisms he was stalwart, frank, dependable and undeceived; to onlookers a passing peacock, to intimates a life enhancer and exemplary friend.”

Mr. Peacock tips his bowler in salutation to Neil “Bunny” Roger for living his life with his own conviction and style.