Monday 29 January 2018

Handmade: By Royal Appointment 2. John Lobb Shoes BBC Documentary 2016 / VIDEO below

Six months to make a pair of shoes
Neil and Michael explain the craft of last making and why it has kept them at John Lobb for over 30 years.

"In the shadow of St Jamess Palace is the workshop of shoemakers John Lobb. Since the mid-19th century, they have handcrafted shoes for gentlemen and boast royal warrants from both the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Its a rare heritage company still run by the original family and this film follows a day in the life of the shoemakers, who use methods that have barely changed since the company was founded. From pencilled outlines on brown paper to the cutting and stitching of leather, heels hammered on soles to the final polishing, the film follows the meticulous craft process and hears from the shoemakers themselves, many of whom have spent decades working for the company."

John Lobb Bootmaker is a company that manufactures and retails a very exclusive luxury brand of shoes and boots mainly for men, but also for women. It is based near St James's Palace, at 9 St James's Street, London. Founded in 1849, Lobb is one of England's oldest makers of bench-made shoes, worn by clients such as King Edward VII, famous 20th century opera tenor Enrico Caruso, and actor Daniel Day Lewis. John Lobb shoes are also worn by Ian Fleming's fictional character James Bond. At Lobb, special care is taken to select the fine leather skins—with crocodile skin shoes for about USD 8000 at the top of the range.
The original, family-owned Lobb still handmakes shoes one pair at a time, while Hermès who acquired use of the John Lobb name in 1976 broadened the reach of the John Lobb brandname through its ready-to-wear line. The production of each pair of John Lobb ready-to-wear shoes is so time-consuming that only about 100 pairs of shoes are finished per day.
Hermès' John Lobb shoes are available in both ready-to-wear and made-to-measure. Its motto is "The Bare Maximum for a Man".
Hermès' John Lobb shoes are sold in its own boutiques or in luxury department stores such as Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman, Selfridges, Neiman Marcus and Lane Crawford. Hermès' John Lobb also has boutiques in countries around the world, including the United States, Russia, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and several European Union countries.
A pair of bespoke leather shoes costs over £2400. The average price is approximately £2700 (as on 15 January 2009), if ordering from the St James's Street shop.

Prince Charles Vintage bespoke hand made shoes by John Lobb

Vintage cleverley hand made shoes

.... It did occur to me to wonder what the eponymous George Cleverley (pictured, in black and white) would have thought. Born in 1898 into a shoe-making family, he worked for Tuczek in Mayfair for 38 years, before starting his own business in 1958 and rapidly becoming famous for his graceful shoes with the chisel toe, with clients of the calibre of Rudolph Valentino, Humphrey Bogart, John Gielgud and Winston Churchill. Eventually his pupils, John Carnera and George Glasgow (pictured, with Mr Glasgow on the right), became his successors. Mr Cleverley worked right up to his departure from this life, aged 93, in 1991. He had two great interests: shoes and horse-racing. Indeed, it was one of Mr Carnera’s regular duties to take his boss off for the day to the racecourse at Newmarket. I hope that the great man, who clearly enjoyed the good things of life, would have permitted himself a smile at my desire for co-respondent shoes. ( in "Welcome to Brown's Bespoke")

The tradition began after World War I, when George Cleverley worked for Tuczek, the fashionable shoemaker in Clifford Street, Mayfair, where he developed a signature style called the Cleverley shape, famous for its chiselled toe. The Cleverley quickly became popular with Rudolph Valentino, Humphrey Bogart and Sir Lawrence Olivier.
In 1958 Cleverley set up his own business in Cork Street, and continued to fit some of the most famous feet in the world, amassing a diverse client list that ranged from Sir Winston Churchill to Rolling Stone Charlie Watts.
Before his death in 1991 at 93, Cleverley appointed his successors, George Glasgow and John Carnera, current co-owners who carry on Cleverley’s shoemaking reputation. They trade as G.J Cleverley & Co, now located in the Royal Arcade adjacent to Old Bond Street. Today famous clients include David Beckham and Sir Elton John.
The handmade shoemaking process starts – with a style consultation and measurements.
A unique ‘last’ is made for each customer, which is a wooden block from which the shoe is built. The ‘last’ serves to reproduce the dimensions of the client’s feet.
One can approximate that 45-50 hours of work are required to complete a pair of handmade shoes. They will pass through the hands of several craftsmen, each with a specific skill such as cutting, closing or finishing, which means that the new customer can expect to receive the final product some four to six months down the line.
A pair of bespoke brogues cost in the region of £2,000.

As well as the renowned bespoke business, GJ Cleverley offer a semi-bespoke shoe service along with a readymade range that is very much influenced by the firm’s handmade products.
Their finest semi-bespoke and ready to wear collection is named after shoemaker Anthony Cleverley. This unique collection is styled from shoes once designed for Anthony’s clients, Baron de Rede, Count Visconti, Monsieur de Givenchy and the Rothschild family.
This collection is available as ready to wear from UK 6 to UK 12 sized shoes with half size increments. And also as a made-to-order Anthony Cleverley, for clients who will only wish to make slight modifications. These shoes will take between 12-14 weeks to produce. All shoes come with a lasted beachwood shoes tree .(in Toffsmen)

Handmade: By Royal Appointment -2. John Lobb Shoes BBC Documentary 2016

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Sundance 2018: Keira Knightley and the new wave of progressive costume drama / Colette review – Keira Knightley is on top form in exhilarating literary biopic

 Daisy Ridley in Ophelia, Rupert Everett in The Happy Prince and Keira Knightley in Colette.

Sundance 2018: Keira Knightley and the new wave of progressive costume drama

With Knightley starring as Colette – alongside Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde biopic and Daisy Ridley as Hamlet’s Ophelia – the period drama has never looked so interesting

Andrew Pulver
Sat 20 Jan 2018 06.00 GMT Last modified on Sat 20 Jan 2018 06.03 GMT

The Sundance film festival has sold itself for 40 years as the champion of cutting-edge, radical independent cinema; not a natural habitat for the stiffly costumed and perfectly spoken habits of the literary-inflected costume drama. But this year a choice selection of such films have found their way to Sundance, at a time when the period film has gained considerable currency as an illuminator of contemporary social issues. The Happy Prince, Rupert Everett’s Oscar Wilde biopic about the writer’s final years will be joined at the festival by Ophelia, a reworking of the Hamlet story starring Star Wars’ Daisy Ridley, and Colette, a biopic of the transgressive French literary icon that stars costume-pic veteran Keira Knightley.

All three can claim to be part of a new wave of socially conscious period films: The Happy Prince examines Wilde’s years in exile after his release from jail in 1897, as he struggled with impoverishment and social disgrace, before dying in 1900. Everett, who directs as well as stars as Wilde, said the writer was his “patron saint” and that Wilde “is a kind of Christ figure in a way for every LGBT person now on their journey”. An adaptation of the young-adult novel by American writer Lisa Klein, Ophelia puts the celebrated “mad” Shakespeare character centre stage, in a reimagining that will clearly strike a chord with the #MeToo generation. And Colette, which emerges from the same production stable as the groundbreaking lesbian romance Carol, focusses on the French author and sexual boundary-pusher, best known for the boarding school Claudine series as well as Gigi, the 1944 novel about a convention-defying young woman who is trained to be a “courtesan”.

Stephen Woolley, the British producer of such films as The Crying Game and Made in Dagenham, is part of the team behind Colette (as well as Carol), and says that “period films can often be more persuasive on contemporary issues – political, gender, sociological”. He adds: “Despite its turn of the last century setting, Colette feels as up to the minute as any movie made last year. Its themes, including female empowerment, could be snatched from today’s headlines.” Its star, Keira Knightley, has already made waves criticising contemporary cinema’s obsession with rape, saying she found historical characters “inspiring” and that she avoids films set in the modern day as “the female characters nearly always get raped”.

The rise of progressive-minded historical dramas – as opposed to the sunlit Laura Ashley-style period films of the 1980s and 90s (think Room with a View to Shakespeare in Love), and the likes of TV’s Downton Abbey – goes back to films such as Andrea Arnold’s radical adaptation of Wuthering Heights, which cast mixed-race actor James Howson as Heathcliff, and the Amma Asante-directed Belle, the 18th-century-set biopic of Dido Belle, who went from childhood among slaves on a West Indian plantation to frilled frocks in Kenwood House.

The best known recent example of the style is the low-budget Lady Macbeth, which again tackled race issues in a more apparently-conventional period: here, in an adaptation of the Russian story Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, Florence Pugh’s genteel Katherine, trapped in a loveless marriage, embarks on a Lady Chatterley style love affair with an estate worker, played by another mixed-race actor, Cosmo Jarvis. Its director, William Oldroyd, told the Guardian “That area of England was far more diverse than we have been led to believe. A lot of people make assumptions, and those assumptions are usually based on films they’ve seen already.”

Verdicts have not yet come in for these films, which all receive their world premieres in Sundance. But they represent a laudable next step in breaking down the fustiness and irrelevance of the traditional costume drama, and that is surely something to be welcomed.

Colette screens on 20 January, The Happy Prince on 21 January, and Ophelia on 22 January at the Sundance film festival.

Colette review – Keira Knightley is on top form in exhilarating literary biopic
4 / 5 stars    
The life of Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette makes for fascinating drama in a nuanced and inspiring film with a luminous central performance

Jordan Hoffman
Mon 22 Jan 2018 01.21 GMT Last modified on Mon 22 Jan 2018 01.35 GMT

No, not another biopic about a writer! Ugh, Keira Knightley’s in a corset again! Get all of that out of your system now because I’m here to tell you that Wash Westmoreland’s Colette is exhilarating, funny, inspiring and (remember: corsets!) gorgeous, too.

The first third of this story is pretty traditional. Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (Knightley) is a country girl waiting to get whisked away into marriage by the worldly literary “entrepreneur” known simply as Willy (Dominic West). When the new bride is presented at the salons, Parisian gossips are stunned. The notorious libertine Willy is to settle down?

While his admiration of his new bride is sincere, his desires are not entirely stunted. But Colette (as she is not yet known) doesn’t exactly sit idly when she learns of his infidelity. She demands honesty in their marriage and, for a time, she gets it. She also saves the family’s finances when her book that Willy initially rejected for publication is reworked, branded “a Willy novel” and becomes the talk of all Paris.

Much of what makes this film so fascinating is the not-quite-villain-but-certainly-not-hero role Willy plays. It’s a very juicy role for Dominic West, and undoubtedly the best film performance he’s ever given. (I’ve never in my life seen a man look dashing even while flatulating.) The obvious read is that Willy exploited Colette in ways bordering on cruelty. (He even locks her in a room and shouts “write!” when her initial Claudine novel demands a follow-up.) Westmoreland’s film doesn’t exactly excuse him, but does offer context about his contributions to Colette’s initial success as well as a realistic portrayal of how women writers were perceived at the time.

That doesn’t make it any easier for Colette as her husband steals all her glory. Luckily, they each have activities that keep them busy – for a stretch, the activity is sleeping with the same woman. Willy encourages Colette to link up with a bored Louisiana millionaire, but he doesn’t tell her that he’s visiting her apartment on alternating days.

This leads to a kind of understanding, or at least a delay for the inevitable reckoning. Willy’s indulgences lead to a depletion of funds, but what ultimately bankrupts him is producing a play featuring Colette and her new lover (the transgender pioneer “Missy”, the Marquise de Belbeuf). This failure forces Willy to sell the rights to the extremely popular Claudine character, and kickstarts Colette’s career as a vaudevillian.

There’s no shortage of domestic drama (and Knightley and West do fine work with the sharp screenplay Westmoreland co-wrote with Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz) but the delay in building to a final knockout row is something of a revelation. We so often look to the lives of artists for meaning, but when dramatized they regularly end up being just another bit of soap opera. Colette’s life is deserving of nuance and care, and that’s what she gets in this film.

She also gets Keira Knightley is top form: luminous, clever, sexy and sympathetic. The scenes of physical intimacy are tasteful and few, but have quite an impact. Much of what drove Colette was a need to be recognized. Knightley will not suffer the same fate when this film is viewed by wider audiences.

Colette is showing at the Sundance film festival

Sunday 21 January 2018

The trilby by Lock & Co. Hatters / VIDEO: HATS AND HAT ETIQUETTE

 A trilby is a narrow-brimmed type of hat. The trilby was once viewed as the rich man's favored hat; it is sometimes called the "brown trilby" in Britain and was frequently seen at the horse races. The London hat company Lock and Co. describes the trilby as having a "shorter brim which is angled down at the front and slightly turned up at the back" versus the fedora's "wider brim which is more level". The trilby also has a slightly shorter crown than a typical fedora design.

The hat's name derives from the stage adaptation of George du Maurier's 1894 novel Trilby. A hat of this style was worn in the first London production of the play, and promptly came to be called "a Trilby hat".

Traditionally it was made from rabbit hair felt, but now is usually made from other materials, such as tweed, straw, wool and wool/nylon blends. The hat reached its zenith of common popularity in the 1960s; the lower head clearance in American automobiles made it impractical to wear a hat with a tall crown while driving. It faded from popularity in the 1970s when any type of men's headwear went out of fashion, and men's fashion instead began focusing on highly maintained hairstyles.

The hat saw a resurgence in popularity in the early 1980s, when it was marketed to both men and women in an attempt to capitalise on a retro fashion trend.

Lock & Co. Hatters (formally James Lock and Company Limited) is the world's oldest hat shop, the world's 34th oldest family-owned business and is a Royal warrant holder. Its shop is located at 6 St James's Street, London and is a Grade II* listed building.

The company was founded in 1676 by Robert Davis. His son Charles continued the business and took James Lock (1731–1806) on as an apprentice in 1747. James later married Charles Davis's only child, Mary. When Davis died in 1759, James Lock inherited the company from his former master, and the Lock family, James's descendants, still own and run the company today. The shop has been in its current location since 1765.

The company is responsible for the origination of the bowler hat. In 1849, Edward Coke, nephew of Thomas Coke, 1st Earl of Leicester and the younger brother of Thomas Coke, 2nd Earl of Leicester, requested a hat to solve the problem of gamekeepers' headgear. Traditional top hats were too fragile and too tall (often getting knocked off by low branches) for the job. The company commissioned London hat-makers William and Thomas Bowler to solve the problem. Anecdotally, when Coke returned for his new hat, he dropped it on the floor and stamped on it twice to test its strength before paying 12 shillings and leaving satisfied.

Admiral Lord Nelson wore a bicorne of the brand’s into the Battle of Trafalgar complete with eye-shade. The eternally rakish Beau Brummell procured its hats as part of his sartorial arsenal. Winston Churchill adopted their Cambridge and Homburg hats as sartorial signatures and Anthony Eden was never without his trusty Lock Homburg.

Located in the eaves of the building is a workroom from which seasonal women's couture collections are conjured up. The resident milliners also oversee the customisation of men's hats including band and bow changes and brim trimming.

At the back of the shop is a hard-hat fitting room which is adorned with framed and signed head shapes, taken from Lock's unique conformateur, of famous customers past and present, from Admiral Lord Nelson, Oscar Wilde and Douglas Fairbanks Jr (who lived in a flat above the shop)[3] to Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin, Jackie Chan, Cecil Beaton, Michael Palin, Alec Guinness, Jeremy Irons, Donald Sinden, Marc Sinden, Jackie Onassis, Eric Clapton, Duke of Windsor, Gary Oldman, Pierce Brosnan, Jon Voight, Victor Borge, Peter O'Toole and David Beckham who is often photographed wearing their 'Baker-Boy' style caps. Also in the room is a lit-cabinet displaying the original order (ledger) for Admiral Lord Nelson's hat, the very first bowler hat, the order for the velvet and ermine fur to re-line Elizabeth II's Coronation Crown and a photograph of Winston Churchill in a Lock silk top hat on his wedding day.

Lock & Co. is a Royal warrant holder as Hatter to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Charles, Prince of Wales