Thursday, 21 August 2014

The return of the Cravat.

An ascot tie, or ascot, is a narrow neckband with wide pointed wings, traditionally made of pale grey patterned silk. This wide, formal tie is usually patterned, folded over, and fastened with a stickpin or tie tack. It is usually reserved for wear with morning dress for formal daytime weddings and worn with a cutaway morning coat and striped grey trousers. This type of dress cravat is made of a thicker, woven type of silk similar to a modern tie and is traditionally either grey or black.

The ascot is descended from the earlier type of cravat widespread in the early 19th century, most notably during the age of Beau Brummell, made of heavily starched linen and elaborately tied around the neck. Later in the 1880s, amongst the upper-middle-class in Europe men began to wear a more loosely tied version for formal daytime events with daytime full dress in frock coats or with morning coats. It remains a feature of morning dress for weddings today. The Royal Ascot race meeting at the Ascot Racecourse gave the ascot its name, although such dress cravats were no longer worn with morning dress at the Royal Ascot races by the Edwardian era. The ascot was still commonly worn for business with morning dress in the late 19th and very early 20th centuries.

In British English the more casual form is referred to as a day cravat to distinguish it from the highly formal dress cravat. It is made from a thinner woven silk that is more comfortable when worn against the skin, often with ornate and colourful printed patterns.

Gentlemen, the cravat is back
The cravat will make you distinguished once more. Go on, pour yourself a stiff Madeira and give it a try
Henry Conway

The BBC’s own stylish grandfather-in-residence, Nicholas Parsons, has a clarion call for all charming gentlemen – it’s time for real men to wear cravats again. The 90-year-old Just a Minute presenter told the Edinburgh book festival that he has recently rediscovered the joys of this natty alternative to a tie. In a push against “Call me Dave” Cameron’s open neck and suit policy, Parsons warns against baring too much – “I’ve seen people with beautifully tailored jackets on, with an open shirt, there with an awful Adam’s apple”. I quite agree, especially for anyone with Cameron’s schoolboy-soft features – look no further than anchoring that cherubic chin with a cravat.

The cravat has been languishing in sartorial purgatory for too long. It has a long and illustrious history – the forerunner to the modern tie, born in 17th century Croatia as a military scarf (“cravat” comes from the French Baroque slang for Croatian), making its way through the courts of Europe, where eventually it was adopted into standard court dress. This was not the cravat we think of today – more a lacy neckpiece – but the macaronis and then Beau Brummell went a long way to convert it, as it was in their variations on tying the cravat that the “tie” was born and named as such.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the cravat went through another transformation – as the two-fold cravat, fastened with a pin, was replaced by the tie for morning dress at Ascot, it slipped inside the shirt collar to become a sports-casual favourite. These golden years are what you should replicate – the Duke of Windsor, Pablo Picasso stylishly combining a dark cravat with Breton top, Rex Harrison and David Niven in silk cravats with just the appropriate balance of charm and seduction. However, it is this velvet-smooth sporting of the cravat where things went wrong for the poor accessory.

During the 1960s and 1970s, it was everywhere – standard Brit-abroad uniform, matched with a brass-buttoned blazer and a glass of Campari. But instead of Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief, we turned to gropey screen idols like Terry Thomas as the archetypical cravat man, and then in the 1970s, the deliciously camp walking man-rug Jason King was master of the seductive neckpiece. Cravats went all shagpile carpet and slowly descended into hammy costume, only worn without irony by suburban golf captains.

Like all good menswear trends in the past few years though, the cravat is a saveable heritage item. Have you noticed how the humble pocket square has journeyed from Jermyn Street to Topman? Or how the tweed three-piece suit is now not seen just as the preserve of the eccentric country squire? Hipsters have already reclaimed the pipe, the fixed-wheel bike and the moustache – it was only a matter of time before the cravat was next. Where they go, commercial fashion is never far behind.

My advice is to wear them knowingly – they are a statement. Think more Roger Moore than Alan Partridge, add a dash of Michael Caine and look to Edward Fox in Day of the Jackal, resplendent in burgundy polka dots while practising his rifle skills. Assassination never was so stylish. I started wearing them a while ago; they make great regency bow ties, but only attempt this if you’re playing the dandy. Whatever you do, do not be tempted to tie them like a regular tie. There’s no excuse for fat, shiny, vulgar monstrosities at your neck. Stick to a classic paisley or go bold on pattern, but keep it inside the shirt a la Jeremy Piven, a contemporary cravat hero.

Earlier in the summer, I attended the Henley regatta, to which I wore one of my grandfather’s cravats (he loved them and they made him look slightly like Alan Whicker). Whilst everyone was sweltering in button and tie, my neck was cool as a cucumber, I passed all of Henley’s sartorial rules and got stopped twice for compliments.

Be it a rock-style Alexander McQueen skull scarf a la Jamie Hince, or worn properly with a silk dressing gown like Robert Downey Jr, the cravat will bring you back to being distinguished. Go on, pour yourself a stiff Madeira and give it a try.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

La mode des années 50 exposée au musée Galliera / LES ANNÉES 50 / La Mode en France 1947-1957. (VIDEO Bellow).


From July 12th to November 2nd, 2014
Basques, petticoats, corolla skirts, pointed shoes, bright-coloured floral and striped prints, wasp-waist suits with straight skirts, strapless sheath dresses, cocktail dresses, rock crystal embroidery: such was the couture of the fifties. At the same time, though, a more relaxed style – close-fitting pullovers, pedal pushers, jeans – was being adopted by the baby boom generation.

Early in 1947, Christian Dior launched his fashion house's first collection. The war had come to an end and with it the image of the 'soldier girl with a boxer's build'. In her place came Dior's 'woman-flower', with prominent bust, cinched waist, flat stomach, rounded hips and very full skirt. Immediately dubbed the 'New Look" by Harper’s Bazaar editor in chief Carmel Snow, the "hourglass" figure and its extravagant demand for fabric created a furore – but also met with the instant, dazzling success that made it the emblem of the decade.
Other competing styles were just as remarkable: Balenciaga's 'barrel' line with its flared back and waist; and, at the opposite pole from the New Look, the dramatically innovative Chanel line of 1954 with its simple, straight suits.
The 1950s were a decisive period for French haute couture, which had suffered badly in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash and the war and was now reborn and made eternal. The list of names says it all: Jacques Heim, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, Jacques Fath making up the old guard; followed by newcomers Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Jacques Griffe, Hubert de Givenchy and Pierre Cardin. Paradoxically the dominance of French fashion hinged not only on the prestige of names that spelled luxury, elegance and originality, but also on the profession's willingness to make the revolutionary move into ready-to-wear. In 1954 the 'Couturiers Associés' – Jacques Fath, Robert Piguet, Paquin, Carven, Jean Dessès – founded the first haute couture ready-to-wear licensing company .
Drawn from the Palais Galliera collection and sporting the labels of the most famous couturiers as well as others now forgotten (Jean Dessès, Madeleine Vramant, Lola Prusac), the remarkable pieces making up this exhibition – some 100 models and accessories – retrace the evolution of the female form through the decade 1947–1957: from the birth of the New Look to the death of Christian Dior and the advent of Yves Saint Laurent.
In the 1950s haute couture and ready-to-wear were one of France's major economic sectors and a veritable fashion breeding ground. This was haute couture's golden age, when Paris regained its title of world fashion capital.

Full 8 € / Reduced 6 € / Ages 14-26 4 € / Free up to age 13
[New rates from September 1st, 2014 : Full 8 € / Reduced 6 € / Free up to age 18]

10 avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, 75116 Paris - Phone : + 33 (0)1 56 52 86 00

Opening hours :
Open on Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6pm
Closed on Mondays and public holidays*
Late openings on Thursdays until 9 pm
Last access to the exhibition at 5:15 pm (and at 8:15 pm for the late openings on Thursdays)

* During this exhibition, the Palais Galliera will be closed on July 14th, August 15th and November 1st.

Access :
Métro : Alma-Marceau (line 9), Iéna (line 9), Boissière (line 6)
RER C Pont de l'Alma station
Bus : 32, 42, 63, 72, 80, 82, 92
Vélib' : 4 rue de Longchamp, 1 rue Bassano, 2 avenue Marceau
Autolib' : 1 avenue Marceau, 33 avenue Pierre Ier de Serbie, 24 avenue d'Iéna

Around this exhibition :
From July 18th till October 31st, 2014, the Grand Action cinema presents a cycle dedicated to the cinema of the 50s. The sessions take place every Friday at 8 pm.
- See more at:

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


The World of Paul Stuart

"Our goal has never been to be the biggest, only the best."
Since 1938 Paul Stuart has been the leading arbiter of taste, style, and fashion for luxury menswear in the United States.

Founded by Ralph Ostrove and named after his son, the store has dressed world leaders, dignitaries, celebrities, titans of business, and anyone who expects the highest quality clothing and superior service, for over 70 years.

All the clothing Paul Stuart stocks, both men’s and women’s, bears the unique Paul Stuart label. To create the exclusive and unique collection for its worldly, discerning and stylish patrons, Paul Stuart buyers and designers scour the globe searching for the best fabrications and the most innovative clothing designs and details. Since Paul Stuart clothing can only be found at a Paul Stuart store, of which there are only three in the United States, or online, a Paul Stuart customer stands apart from the crowd. He knows that he’s not wearing the same suit as everyone else.
In the fall of 2007, Paul Stuart launched Phineas Cole, the first new brand in the luxury clothier’s 70-year history. The Phineas Cole brand is firmly rooted in the heritage and tradition of Paul Stuart, but it offers a reinterpretation with a slimmer, more contemporary silhouette. Phineas Cole embodies an aesthetic that brings the dramatic side of Paul Stuart into sharper focus.

The Paul Stuart Point of View

Paul Stuart’s roots are in soft shoulder clothing, over the years the store and the brand have been influential in helping to redefine the American tailored look into the slimmer more international silhouettes of today. In fact, Paul Stuart has a long history of bringing innovations and new styles into American menswear. For example, Paul Stuart was the first U.S. retailer to introduce side vents and three-button suits.

While the Paul Stuart collection has evolved and transformed over time, Paul Stuart’s unique point of view on style has remained the same: A man should feel comfortable and relaxed in his clothes, he should be unique, and he should care about the details.
The Closest Thing to a Savile Row Experience Outside of London

At Paul Stuart, tailored clothing is an art—a craft of quarter inches. The attention to detail is unparalleled in the United States and rivals any luxury clothier throughout the world. Details ranging from the width and shape of Paul Stuart ties to the shape of its shirt collars and even the button positioning on its shirts are all considered to fit a myriad of shapes and sizes. In fact, Paul Stuart offers half-sizes on all of its shirt and suit options, a grand tradition that has long been abandoned by most. Paul Stuart garments are all hand-sewn, using state of the art interlinings and canvas so that the suit molds to the body. The final touches to every tailored garment are completed in Paul Stuart’s in-store tailor shops.

Paul Stuart, Inc. is headquartered in New York, and has remained in its original location since opening in 1938. Though a much larger store now than when it first opened, the Paul Stuart flagship, which has expanded to 60,000 square feet, is located within the heart of New York’s most fashionable shopping district at the landmark corner of Madison Avenue and 45th Street. In addition, Paul Stuart’s “Townhouse” resides in one of Chicago’s premier luxury shopping destinations on East Oak Street, and in 2011 a second location opened in The Loop (Chicago’s financial district) at the corner of LaSalle and Adams Streets. Paul Stuart also has numerous locations throughout Asia.

Paul Stuart Store Locations

New York
Madison Avenue at 45th Street
New York, NY 10017

Store Hours
Monday–Friday: 8:00am–7:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am–6:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Chicago (Oak Street)
107 East Oak Street
Chicago, IL 60611

Store Hours
Monday–Saturday: 10:00am–6:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Chicago (LaSalle Street)
208 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604

Store Hours
Monday–Friday: 8:30am–6:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am–5:00pm
Sunday: Closed

Washington, D.C.
Coming Soon.
Click for more information.


Paul Stuart Japan

7-20, Jingumae 5-Chome,
Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo

9F 8-9, Ginza 8-Chome,
Chuo-Ku, Tokyo

“Our goal has never been being the biggest, only the best”. Paul Stuart‘s goal, arbirter elegantiae of American classic man style since 1938, has been reached.

Only three stores between New York and Chicago, an e-commerce to buy menswear and womenswear items, and a wide choice of clothes and custom-made new looks to satisfy customers from all over the world.

Since 1938, Paul Stuart has dressed world leaders, dignitaries, celebrities, titans of business, and those who love bespoke quality, elegance, style hunters, searching for the best fabrics and the most innovative clothing designs and details.

Paul Stuart’s story came from Mr. Ralph Ostrove and his son, who gave the name of the brand.

A story that was also good at looking at the contemporaneity.

In winter 2007, in fact, Paul Stuart launched the new collection Phineas Cole, the first after 70 years of brand’s history.

With the slimmest fitting ever realized in U.S. (an icon for Paul Stuart), the Phineas Cole’s mood is made by side vents and three-button suits.

So, this is the spring summer collection 2014. If the story of Paul Stuart has grown, its philosophy is still the same: “A man should feel comfortable and relaxed in his clothes, he should be unique, and he should care about the details”.

Paul Stuart New York Manhattan ポール・スチュアート ニューヨーク

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Clothes Make the Mob in 'Casino'

AMC Wardrobe Notes:
The costume budget for Casino was $1 million.
The costume department had to dress more than 7,000 extras for Casino.
Stone had about 40 costume changes and De Niro had 52.

Clothes Make the Mob in 'Casino' : Director Scorsese Sought an Authentic Look That Required Lots of Bad Rags From the '70s and an Army of Minor Players From N.Y. Streets

During the opening credits of "Casino," Martin Scorsese serves up an image of Robert De Niro nearly as memorable as the car bomb that hurls his character, Sam (Ace) Rothstein, into the air moments later. Decked out in a coral jacket with matching apricot shirt, tie and socks, the Vegas mobster fairly radiates "cocky" and "flamboyant."

From costumes to casting, the look of "Casino" was crucial to Scorsese, a director renowned for his dazzling visual sense. For this three-hour portrait of the underbelly of Las Vegas, he hired more non-actors--regular folks--than he had for any previous film. Casting directors combed the streets of New York and New Jersey to round up background players and secondary characters--each of whom had to be outfitted. And since no one thinks of the 1970s as "period," says costume designer Rita Ryack, the challenge was greater than anyone had assumed.

"It was triage," recalls Ryack, whose credits also include "Apollo 13" and Scorsese's "Cape Fear." "The first three weeks we shot in the casino from midnight to 10:30 a.m. and shopped and fitted the rest of the time. We were really punchy, crying a lot and quitting several times a day. Though things got a lot more civilized by the time the set moved to Sam's house, we still went violently over budget."

More than 7,000 extras--from go-go girls to hotel clerks--had to be clothed at a cost of $150 to $200 each, much higher than the Hollywood norm. And, though the 30-plus outfits worn by hustler-turned-trophy-wife Ginger McKenna (Sharon Stone) were a mix of vintage and custom-made, all of Rothstein's 70 costumes--not to mention those worn by Joe Pesci, Don Rickles, Alan King, Kevin Pollak and James Woods--had to be "built" from scratch. Long, pointed, locked collars separated the older, more traditional Wise Guys from the up-and-comers. Solid ties conveyed a sense of slickness. White or light beige clothing provided visual counterpoint to the brutality of certain scenes.

"These characters, for the most part, were low-life people who worked their way up the gambling hierarchy," observes co-costume designer John Dunn. "Presentation was more important than ability when it came to reinventing themselves."

Authenticity was heightened by casting real-life veterans of the Strip. Ffolliott ("Fluff") LeCoque, company manager of the "Jubilee Show" at Bally's for 22 years, displayed the necessary toughness to land the $522-a-day part of a real estate investor trying to strong-arm the mob. A slot manager at Caesars Palace and a shift manager at the Golden Nugget portrayed two of De Niro's henchmen. And John Bloom, who played the none-too-swift relative of a local politician, is a Dallas-born, Arkansas-raised writer who made his name as the syndicated columnist/cable TV movie host Joe Bob Briggs.

"After I got the part and flew out to Vegas, I went to the mall to buy some shoes," recalls Bloom, who was called in to read after the director spotted him on the Movie Channel's "Joe Bob's Drive-In Theater." " 'What are you doing out here?' this salesman, a guy with a really great face, asked me. I told him I was in 'Casino'--and he said he was in it, too. Scorsese's talent is taking people off the street with a certain kind of energy and look."

Secondary parts were cast with the likes of Rickles, King and Dick Smothers--Vegas performers who had played the Sands and the Dunes. For the Midwest mobsters, the filmmakers scouted out New York-area churches and put out feelers to the Italian Seaman's Club, the Italian Actors Union and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Assn. Joe Rigano, a New York City borough coordinator who plays mobster Vincent Borelli, heard of the tryouts from a friend at the Sons of Italy. Pasquale Cajano, who plays mobster Remo Gaggi, was an announcer for Italian television for 28 years and hosted a Little Italy festival when Scorsese was a child.

Someone who utters one word is as important as any in the film, maintains casting director Ellen Lewis ("GoodFellas," "The Age of Innocence"), who had 120 speaking parts to fill. Rather than looking for some "John Gotti/mob boss" stereotypes, they kept an eye out for nondescript "neighborhood" sorts. "If it doesn't feel real, it throws off the balance," she says. "There was a story behind nearly every person in the movie which added to the performance."

Dressing them up, however, was a double-edged sword. Costumes are least effective when calling attention to themselves--a definite risk when conjuring up that time and place.

"It was a gaudy, trashy period--a time of great excess," Dunn says. "The fashion world was trying to foist the idea of better-living-through-chemistry fabrics on us. We paid a fortune to rent bad '70s clothing--shiny Qiana material, platform shoes, bell bottoms--things we all donated to the Salvation Army. We actually reveled in the horribleness of it all."

 rita ryack
A native of Massachusetts, Ryack has worked extensively in film, theatre and television. On the big screen, her affiliation with director Martin Scorsese encompasses work on Casino and Cape Fear.
 Ryack received Tony, Drama Desk and Los Angeles Drama Critics Award nominations for her designs on the hit stage musical, My One and Only, starring Tommy Tune and Twiggy. She also designed costumes for the Broadway staging of The Human Comedy as well as the off-Broadway productions of Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, Hunting Cockroaches, The Vampires, The Foreigner, Anteroom, The Loman Family Picnic and It’s Only A Play, for which she earned an American Theatre Wing nomination. Her talents were recognized with the 1986 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Costume Design. She was principal costume designer at Robert Brustein’s American Repertory Theatre at Harvard.

Ryack is also an award-winning cartoon illustrator and film animator, and in May 2000, was honored by the New York chapter of Women in Film for her creative achievement in costume design. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama (MFA) and Brandeis University, Ryack was awarded a teaching fellowship in Costume Design at Bennington College.

q&a with costume designer rita ryack

August 4, 2011 in costume party by editor /

Throughout a career that spans over thirty years, Hollywood costume designer Rita Ryack has dressed some of the most celebrated names on the big and small screens. In Casino, she decked out Sharon Stone and Robert De Niro in seventies-era Sin City finery, fit John Travolta in a series of house dresses for Hairspray, and turned Mike Myers into a striped top hat wearing feline in The Cat and the Hat.

This summer, her leading man is more animated than usual as it was her duty to turn the brilliantly funny Hank Azaria into Saturday morning cartoons’ most notorious super villain, Gargamel in The Smurfs movie. We recently spoke to Rita and got the skinny on working with little blue CGI characters, time travel shopping, and acid-washed jeans in music videos.
The Smurfs is a live-action movie with animation worked in 3-D. Is this your first 3-D movie and did you have to take any special considerations knowing the film would be worked in this medium?

In any film, you have to consider the body in three dimensions. You never know where the camera will be, so you have to be very careful about every detail. It is interesting, though, to think about what silhouettes will have 3D impact- how a garment will move, what details will come forward. we have to be careful about hanging bits, like ribbons , fringes, and fur, which require additional digital attention.

How familiar were you with the Smurfs before the project and what kind of research was involved? Did you have to watch many old episodes of the series?

To be honest, I’m not of the Smurfs generation. But I did enjoy watching some old episodes. I particularly like the original books on which the series was based. The drawing has great energy. I’ve done films based on illustrations before- it’s difficult to capture that energy in three dimensions!

As the designer, were there any kind of challenges working with animated characters who weren’t actual living beings on set? Or was that mostly an issue for the actors who had to talk to invisible creatures?

It’s more an issue for the actors. For the Smurfs, I chose fabrics to scan for surfacing- applying color and texture to the Smurfs’ clothes. But I didn’t design anything too different from the cartoon, except new dresses for Smurfette, including a dance dress.

Your credits include Charlotte’s Web, Cat in the Hat, The Grinch, and now Smurfs. What is the appeal of working on films where a great portion of the audience is children?

I think I can channel children’s vision pretty easily, never having grown out of childhood.. It’s fun to give children things to discover. I have so many indelible memories of costumes that I saw in theatre and movies when I was a kid. Maybe I can give kids iconic costumes to fantasize about, the way I did- I will never forget “wicked queen” in Snow White. Not every dress in Gone with the Wind, nor West Side Story. The first time I went to the theatre, I was four years’ old. We saw Oklahoma, and the thing that made the greatest impression was the costumes. The actors were wearing clothes that turned them into DIFFERENT PEOPLE. MAGIC!!!!

You have done a lot of stage work, what are some of the differences/ limitations between stage costumes and those for film (for instance, adjusting for quick-changes for the stage or camera close-ups in film)

You’re creating characters in both mediums, so the process is pretty much the same. Costume designers are story tellers- it’s the most important part of the job. Lately, we’re adjusting to HD . For the stage, you see the whole actor all the time, and the silhouette is critical- like long shots in film. In both cases, the clothes have to tell the audience who the characters are the minute they enter, even if the understanding is subliminal. In film, the visual interest is often shoulders up, so what’s around the face is what usually fills 2/3 of the frame.
Your first movie was After Hours, was it a bit intimidating working with Scorsese on your film debut?

A little, at first. But Scorsese was very approachable and very funny, and we had a great time. and it led to Cape Fear and Casino, two of my favorite films.

It was through Martin Scorsese that you ended up costuming Michael Jackson’s “Bad” since he directed that as well. Michael’s outfit in that video became incredibly iconic.

That video was also beyond fun. I confess that Michael brought his own costume, he was into buckles. We wanted to give the dancers the b-boy, bicycle messenger look, which was very tough at the time. Acid wash jeans debuted in that video- they hadn’t been brought to the market yet. I loved dressing the 9 minute black and white film at the beginning of the video, which features a young Wesley Snipes. I don’t think everyone has seen that movie- it explains the concept of the dance, and is hyper realistic.

If you got to use that machine for a day, where would you head for a shopping spree?

I think I’d take the time machine to the Dior atelier in the late 40′s/early 50′s. I do some drooling over the New Look shape- which Marc Jacobs has brought back for Louis Vuitton. Women will have waists again! I love the hourglass- so feminine and strong.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Return of MADRAS.

Madras is a lightweight cotton fabric with typically patterned texture and plaid design, used primarily for summer clothing such as pants, shorts, dresses, and jackets. The fabric takes its name from the former name of the city of Chennai, India. This cloth also was identified by the colloquial name, "Madrasi checks."

Madras today is available as plaid patterns in regular cotton, seersucker and as patchwork madras. Patchwork madras is fabric that is derived from cutting several madras plaid fabrics into strips, and sewing them back together as squares of 3 inch sizes, that form a mixed pattern of various plaids crisscrossing. As a fabric, it is notable because the front and back of the fabric are indistinguishable.

Klick to enlarge and read