I can’t necessarily tell you what Le Corbusier looked like, but I can damn well tell what he wore. The straight pipe. The oval glasses. The dark bow tie. The double breasted suit. The white pocket square. Like one of the fifty-eight buildings he designed throughout his five-plus decade career as an architect, Le Corbusier’s style was a careful construct, stringing together a stringent set of elements in an altogether unique manner. For as much as it has become a tired adage, it was not the pieces that Le Corbusier (born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris) wore, but rather the way in which he wore them.
There’s an unwritten rule on ACL where I try and make a point of not doing overtly obnoxious blogger things – though I’m sure some find me overtly obnoxious nonetheless. I attempt to avoid posting pictures of myself on this site and I don’t actively post any sort of press coverage that I am fortunate enough to get. Part of the reason I avoid this stuff is because I don’t want this site to be about me per se, I want the focus to be on the truly interesting and deserving people, places and stories that are out in the world. Though recently I have been struggling internally about going against my self-prescribed code to post a video that involves me in a roundabout way. Ultimately, I decided that the benefits for the subject of the video outweigh the possibilities an appearance of a self-congratulatory blogger parade.
Chris Hughes from Omaha, Nebraska struggled himself, though in a much more real way. He grappled with the recession spending the better part of a year being unemployed or underemployed. During this troubling time of his life he started to focus energy making leather goods, bags and aprons on the side. He hoped to transform his hobby into a business and take a massive leap of faith to leave his job with health insurance to work on his company Artifact Bag Co. full time. In December of 2010 he did just that and has been building Artifact ever since. In a TEDx talk in Omaha he recently gave a speech (see video above) about a tweet and our brief encounter that changed his life.
Things I have been lusting after on eBay but will not buy: this old L.L. Bean duffle. Apparently it is from the 1930s/1940s according to the seller, and judging from the markings of its original owner, the bag was used for scouting and a lot of other scouts had similar bags.
All of these L.L. Bean canvas bags have aged so well, they seem to only get better looking with all of those years of wear and tear. For $650, it’s going to make someone else happy, but it’s still interesting to see these old things and enjoy how they look when they grow old. It’s surprising that something this old (if it is real) can last so long? Will the stuff we buy today hold up just as well? That is the eternal question. By the time I am able to take my son (which I haven’t had yet) to the flea market it’s going to be like combing through a garbage dump of race-to-the-botttom cheap clothing.
We New York shoppers are a spoiled sort. It seems that at least once a month a brand new store opens its doors, adding their name to the ever-growing list of boutiques that run from Wall Street to Washington Heights. And yet, it’s never enough. As New Yorkers we constantly clamor for more. More stores. More brands. More, more, more.
The Armoury New York is a store good enough to silence all of these cries.
Positioned on a fittingly tranquil street in TriBeCa, a neighborhood that is more often associated with Scorcese than shopping, TANY is the brand’s first outpost outside of Hong Kong. Although, to simply describe the shop as a New York location for a Chinese-based label would be too elementary. The Armoury is not distinguished by where they’re from, they’re distinguished by where their products are from.
As the story goes on the night of November 3, 1953 poet Dylan Thomas stumbled up from the White Horse Tavern to The Chelsea Hotel where he was staying, reached the doorstep, declared “I’ve had 18 straight whiskies. I think that’s the record!” and promptly collapsed. A few days later, only after another visit to the White Horse, Thomas was dead.
Whether or not you believe Thomas super-human, or should I say sub-human, level of consumption, it is quite fitting that the West Village’s most iconic beatnik bar played such an integral role in the Welsh poet’s demise. For, it was the beats of the fifties and sixties that would come to define the White Horse’s history by drinking their nights (and quite often their days) in this bohemian haven on Hudson Street.
Creativity is spurred by uncertainty. That’s the Ledbury way.
In 2007, as the international economy teetered on total collapse, friends Paul Trible and Paul Watson found themselves in a precarious position. At the time the pair was well on their way to receiving masters degrees in business from the University of Oxford, but they began to worry that their chosen careers might be over before they even began. So, the two Pauls hit the reset button, finding the inspiration for their next move in their mutual admiration of English tailoring, as they traded in stocks for shirts.
Paul and Paul went straight to the source – London’s legendary Jermyn Street, where they worked they way into an apprenticeship under one of the block’s storied shirt makers. For about a year the duo studied and sewed their way into a shirt production process, until they were ready to venture out on their own. In a fitting nod to their infatuation with British craftsmanship, Paul squared founded their shirt brand in a Notting Hill pub, pulling their name from the street sign which read Ledbury Road.
At this point it seems that the only reason anyone ever mentions the adage “no white after Labor Day” is to demonstrate just how outdated it has become. If anything, the pendulum has now swung in the opposite direction and the notion of “winter whites” has become as prevalent as anything in those months post September 1st. While some may advocate for white denim, the thought of wearing jeans with a sport coat is a bit too much for many, and so I personally favor pale-toned flannels this time of year.
As these sketches from Apparel Arts show, cream and ivory flannel were incredibly popular trouser options throughout the thirties and forties back, when men were getting their clothes made for them as opposed to buying them off the rack. Thanks to the rise of ready to wear though, snowy flannels fell out of favor because for most men they were far too ostentatious and so you’d be hard pressed to find a pair of white flannels in any post-mid century menswear collection.
Contemporarily though, as designers have looked to the dirty thirties for inspiration, lighter colored flannel trousers have made their way into collections once again. Traditionally white pants are associated with warmer months, but a heavier weight flannel trouser plays quite nicely off the colorfully patterned tweed and houndstooth sport coats that are common in these cooler months. So go ahead, be bold, and go for blank.