It’s a fine line between being “authentic” and simply playing dress up. Yet, if there’s ever been a label that’s hit that golden sweet spot between these two concepts it’s England’s North Sea Clothing. While we’ve followed and worn North Sea for some time, we got another chance to marvel at the brand’s bullet proof collection first hand in London a few weeks back at the Pop Up Flea and it was a reminder as to just how good this stuff is.
Walk into Timberland’s Soho flagship and you’ll instantly realize that the storied workwear brand isn’t just selling boots anymore, they’re about the total package. Creating a stylish yet rugged footwear collection has always been Timberland’s bread and butter, but the shop on Broadway in SoHo also houses the brand’s complete collection, covering everything from their iconic yellow boots, to their more contemporary street-ready pieces. Well-crafted leather coats, forest green backpacks, and military style field jackets grace the tabletops, while Timberland’s line of legendary shoes and boots is prominently displayed along the expansive shoe wall. This includes the handcrafted Timberland Boot Company collection, the Timberland classic boots that have become a symbol of the company and all the other good stuff like the Abington Collection, and the Earthkeepers line. The space is a fitting flagship for a storied brand with style, ruggedness and a distinct point of view.
Earlier this fall, Alfonso Cuaron’s space epic Gravity landed on movie screens worldwide, propelling the audience into the final frontier with one of the most renowned cinematic experiences of the past decade. While Gravity, in my opinion, lives up to the hype and then some, it is impossible to watch any sort of intergalactic movie and not think of Stanley Kubrick’s 1967 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. While Gravity from frame one is about the unending solitude of space, 2001 is more concerned with the complexities of space exploration, making it as visually stunning as Gravity, but for different reasons. Gravity’s strength lies in its 3-D shots and extended sequences capturing the incomparable vastness of outer space, while 2001 presents space as more of a futuristic playground, complete with these immense colorful sets and modernist costumes designed by none other than Hardy Amies.
In the late sixties Amies was at the top of his game, guiding his unique eponymous label to become both a traditional Savile Row powerhouse, and a forward thinking fashion brand. It was these two minds that made Amies perfect for the role of costume designer on Kubrick’s film, as 2001 presented both the refined corporate side of space exploration, as well as the more visionary angle of astronauts floating in unchartered territory. Amies essentially developed two separate collections for this film – one of Anglo-fied office ready outfits, and one of avant-garde cosmic costumes.
Harry’s, the internet-spawned close-shave-loving German-made razor-blade-kingpins have gotten into the barber shop game with its awesome new outpost on MacDougal Street in SoHo. The question is: does New York need another barber shop? And actually, the answer is: yes, yes it does. While barber shops seem to be appearing on the daily in New York these days (Fellow Barber, the Barbershop on Rivington Street), judging from the massive lines at all of these shops it looks like there is no shortage of customers either. And thankfully, Harry’s has a plan for that too. Word is that this new shop hopes to thwart all that line standing with an online appointment system, something the competition can’t yet offer.
Not content with just making great razors (and other nice shaving gear) and having a great editorial vehicle with the Hotchkiss-helmed Five O’Clock, Harry’s appears to have opened the best merchandised barber in New York and potentially on the planet. In addition to all of the great grooming product from guys like Imperial, Baxter of California and Proraso, there’s also a tightly edited collection of small items like notebooks from Public Supply, footballs from Leatherhead, vintage knives and all stripe of other manly trinket worth owning. There’s even boxers on offer from Sleepy Jones should you (oddly) need to resupply while you get your haircut. It’s a well done affair over there at Harry’s. Not that we were expecting anything less from good guys like them.
London’s James Purdey & Sons, the “King of Gunmakers” is a company best known for beautifully hand-engraved shotguns and gentlemanly hunting attire. This autumn though, the brand turned out an astonishingly handsome collection of footwear that rivals anything see anywhere, hunting-centric or otherwise. The entirety of the footwear collection is made in Northampton, England by an endeared and respected maker (we’ll let you take a guess who that is, should be obvious from the shapes seen here). This collection of upland-focused shoes and boots is especially great because Purdey put its touch on these otherwise classic styles. If you figured out who the manufacturer is, then you know how conservative they can be with the materials and shapes. That was the first thing we though of upon our initial encounter with these boots in London. We knew the make and appreciate the style. Not to mention the fact that both Purdey and said shoemaker weren’t going out of their way to herald this as the new new collaboration du jour — it was a discovery made the old fashioned way, with a visit to Audley House.
One of the most interesting stories of the past couple years has been the unexpected marriage of streetwear and workwear, two once disparate styles that now seem to butt up against each other at every possible opportunity. This relationship has lead to many unlikely collaborations and collections, but few, if any, have been executed as masterfully as Carhartt Work in Progresses’ new Over All Master Cloth line. The collection, which was conceived by Carhartt’s well-known European licensee, and designed by a former head designer of Supreme, takes the centurion workwear brand into uncharted territory.
You won’t find any camel colored zip-ups here, as those signature duck canvas jackets have been replaced by Harris Tweed chore jackets, and Loro Piana suits. The traditional workwear look remains, if only as the foundation for O.A.M.C., which uses Carhartt classics as a starting point before delving into the world of high-end streetwear. The result is a collection in which thick-soled derby’s are constructed out of Bison leather, chore jackets are crafted in dark canvas colors, oxfords are affixed with contrasting shooting patches, and sport coats are cut from duck camo wools.
When people think about the food in Italy, it’s probably safe to say that steak is not the first thing people would call out. Though, the pleasure of Bistecca Fiorentina and a bottle of Super Tuscan are rarely out shined.
The massively thick chunk of rare meat paired with a delicious wine is a meal that I enjoy roughly twice a year in Florence if I am lucky. And while I only get to enjoy this meal a handful of times, it’s something I constantly crave it throughout the year. Every New York steak house is blunted by my desire for super thick and rare beef with crispy edges. No matter how good the steakhouse, no matter how delicious the bottle, nothing compares to having the real thing in Italy.
On my most recent trip to Italy, I decided that the best way to spend my last day would be to make the roughly hour drive from Florence to Chianti Classico near the town of Panzano to spend the day at the Fontodi winery with its owner Giovanni Manetti. A visit to Fontodi was a recommendation by the respected Italy-based food writer Faith Willinger. She extolled Fontodi as both an excellent producer and also an estate that is known to be extremely beautiful. Both of these facts were quickly confirmed. Looking back, Faith couldn’t have suggested a better place to visit and it would be difficult to find a vineyard that is more hospitable.
Situated in some of the best grape growing land in Tuscany, the area is referred to as “Conca d’Oro” (the golden shell), due to the way it is situated to receive extended exposure to the sun. Fontodi is best known for Flaccianello, its excellent Super Tuscan. The flagship wine is made using a delicate process that has been refined and masted over several generations by the Manetti family. The family is also a long-time maker of terra cotta and many of the orange tiled roofs of Florence have been made by the family for hundreds of years.