Wednesday 31 May 2023

REMEMBERING: Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style by Jason Jules (Author, Editor), Graham Marsh (Designer), coming soon...


Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style

by Jason Jules (Author, Editor), Graham Marsh (Designer)

How Black culture reinvented and subverted the Ivy Look


Bruce Boyer Tribute To Charlie Davidson / ALL THAT JAZZ. MILES DAVIS, the Creation of "COOL" and the introduction of the Waspy-Preppy look in Jazz

From the most avant-garde jazz musicians, visual artists and poets to architects, philosophers and writers, Black Ivy: A Revolt in Style charts a period in American history when Black men across the country adopted the clothing of a privileged elite and made it their own. It shows how a generation of men took the classic Ivy Look and made it cool, edgy and unpredictable in ways that continue to influence today's modern menswear.

Here you will see some famous, infamous and not so famous figures in Black culture such as Amiri Baraka, Charles White, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., James Baldwin, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sidney Poitier, and how they reinvented Ivy and Prep fashion―the dominant looks of the time. The real stars of the book―the Oxford cloth button-down shirt, the hand-stitched loafer, the soft shoulder three-button jacket and the perennial repp tie―are all here. What Black Ivy explores is how these clothes are reframed and redefined by a stylish group of men from outside the mainstream, challenging the status quo, struggling for racial equality and civil rights.

Boasting the work of some of America's finest photographers and image-makers, this must-have tome is a celebration of how, regardless of the odds, great style always wins.


BLACK IVY:  A Revolt in Style charges a period in American history when Black men across the country adopted clothing seen by many as the presence of a privileged elite and made it their own.  From the Oxford button-down shirt, the hand-stitched loafer, the soft should three-button jacket, and the perennial military repp tie – these otherwise conventional clothes are instilled with an approach so revolutionary that you’ll never be able to see them in the same way again.  … From the most avant0garde jazz musicians, visual artists and poets to the most influential architects, philosophers, political leaders, and writers, BLACK IVY explores, for the first time ever, the major role this particular style of clothing played during this period of aspiration and upheaval and what these clothes said about the people who wore them.

Miles Davis - Ascenseur pour l'échafaud - Lift to the Gallows (Full Album) / Miles Ahead, a 2015 American biographical-drama film

Ascenseur pour l'échafaud is an album by jazz musician Miles Davis. It was recorded at Le Poste Parisien Studio in Paris on December 4 and 5, 1957. The album features the musical cues for the 1958 Louis Malle film Ascenseur pour l'échafaud.



Jean-Paul Rappeneau, a jazz fan and Malle's assistant at the time, suggested asking Miles Davis to create the film's soundtrack – possibly inspired by the Modern Jazz Quartet's recording for Roger Vadim's Sait-on jamais (Lit: 'Does One Ever Know', released as: No Sun in Venice), released a few months earlier in 1957.


Davis was booked to perform at the Club Saint-Germain in Paris during November 1957. Rappeneau introduced him to Malle, and Davis agreed to record the music after attending a private screening. On December 4, he brought his four sidemen to the recording studio without having had them prepare anything. Davis only gave the musicians a few rudimentary harmonic sequences he had assembled in his hotel room, and, once the plot was explained, the band improvised without any precomposed theme, while edited loops of the musically relevant film sequences were projected in the background.


Release and reception

In Europe, the soundtrack was originally released as a 10 inch LP on the Fontana label. In America it was released by Columbia as side one of the album Jazz Track (CL 1268), with the second side filled by three new tracks recorded with his regular sextet (later to be re-released on the 1958 Miles CD). Jazz Track received a 1960 Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Performance, Solo or Small Group. The CD edition, released internationally by Fontana/Polygram in the late '80s, contains the original soundtrack material, versions of the original album tracks without the reverb that was added to the initial release, and several previously unreleased alternate takes.


In the opinion of Romina Daniele, the musical mood and characteristics of the soundtrack immediately preceded and introduced Miles Davis's subsequent records Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959).


Ascenseur pour l'Échafaud [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] Review by Michael G. Nastos  [-]


Jazz and film noir are perfect bedfellows, as evidenced by the soundtrack of Louis Malle's Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud (Lift to the Scaffold). This dark and seductive tale is wonderfully accentuated by the late-'50s cool or bop music of Miles Davis, played with French jazzmen -- bassist Pierre Michelot, pianist René Urtreger, and tenor saxophonist Barney Wilen -- and American expatriate drummer Kenny Clarke. This recording evokes the sensual nature of a mysterious chanteuse and the contrasting scurrying rat race lifestyle of the times, when the popularity of the automobile, cigarettes, and the late-night bar scene were central figures. Davis had seen a screening of the movie prior to his making of this music, and knew exactly how to portray the smoky hazed or frantic scenes though sonic imagery, dictated by the trumpeter mainly in D-minor and C-seventh chords. Michelot is as important a figure as the trumpeter because he sets the tone, as on the stalking "Visite du Vigile." While the mood of the soundtrack is generally dour and somber, the group collectively picks up the pace exponentially on "Diner au Motel." At times the distinctive Davis trumpet style is echoed into dire straits or death wish motifs, as on "Generique" or "L'Assassinat de Carala," respectively. Clarke is his usual marvelous self, and listeners should pay close attention to the able Urtreger, by no means a virtuoso but a capable and flexible accompanist. This recording can stand proudly alongside Duke Ellington's music from Anatomy of a Murder and the soundtrack of Play Misty for Me as great achievements of artistic excellence in fusing dramatic scenes with equally compelling modern jazz music.

Miles Davis: from buttoned-down Ivy League to Issey Miyake flamboyance

New biopic Miles Ahead celebrates the life of one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. But the jazz trumpeter was also a huge style icon, going from birth of cool preppy chic to Gucci-style glasses via a leather jacket that saved his life ...


Alfred Tong

Wed 20 Apr 2016 15.53 BST


Blue is the colour of the sky – and also of cool and melancholy understatement. So naturally, it’s synonymous with jazz, especially through 1959’s A Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, the bestselling jazz album of all time.


According to the 2008 BBC documentary British Style Genius, soon after the release of Milestones in 1958, every cool cat in London, including a young Charlie Watts before he became the Rolling Stones’ drummer, was wearing a green button-down shirt. Back then, jazz album covers (especially those by artists such as the Modern Jazz Quartet, Chet Baker and Miles Davis) doubled up as fashion plates, communicating a new style and attitude to the first generation of London mods.


The improvised, laid-back elegance epitomised by Davis’s new take on jazz was reflected in the way he dressed. Gone was the regal swagger, broad lapels and even broader shoulders of earlier band leaders such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington, and in came the narrow lapelled, soft-shouldered jackets and slim-cut, flat-front trousers of the American Ivy League. These were worn with Bass Weejun loafers and button-down shirts and knit ties from Brooks Brothers. It was a look that combined low-key American conservatism with a comfortable fleet-footedness.


“It was the new culture coming in after the war,” says Simons, a shop that pioneered this look in London. “Visually, it was a uniform that went hand in hand with music and art, particularly abstract art. It was new and interesting and in it’s own way egalitarian. Everyone could avail themselves of this look.”


During a flashback to this period in the forthcoming Davis bio pic, Miles Ahead, starring Don Cheadle, Davis describes himself as dressing “as clean as broke dick dog”.


Today, almost every commercial menswear brand, from J Crew and Uniqlo to Ralph Lauren and Gant, serves up a version of what the original jazz modernists wore in the 50s. The Ivy League look also spread to Japan, where brands such as Beams, Kamakura and United Arrows make clothes to the same exacting specifications as they were in the US.


That alone would have been enough to carve out a place for Davis on the Mount Rushmore of men’s style. But instead, in a move that would appall jazz purists, Davis flew headlong into the late 60s and early 70s with a new sound and look that jettisoned cool modernism in favour of a wildly flamboyant bohemianism, in part inspired by his friend Jimi Hendrix.


The albums Bitches Brew and In a Silent way are emblematic of this era, and his signature look comprised loose Indian shirts, suede pants from the young African-American designer Stephen Burrows and dashikis. Later on, he wore huge bug-eyed sunglasses, optical art for the face that reinforced his otherworldly charisma. All of which can be seen in one form or another on the men’s and women’s Gucci catwalks.


Miles Ahead catches up with Davis in 1979, and the clean-cut elegance of the 50s and 60s seems not only like another time, but from an entirely different planet. However, it is one that is relevant to men’s fashion in 2016.


“We’re seeing men loosen up again after a period of strict conservatism in menswear,” says Timothy Everest, a tailor who counts the Rolling Stones as clients: “The 70s are an easy decade to knock, but lots of what was happening then had very precise historical references but done in a very exaggerated, pimped out way. I like Miles Davis’s look during this period; it’s a kind of dysfunctional tailoring.”


Davis arguably invented hip-hop swagger before Puff Daddy et al were even born. In his 1989 biography, co-written with Quentin Troupe, Davis describes being pulled over by the police outside the Plaza Hotel, ostensibly for not having a registration sticker. However, Davis believes the real reason may have been because: “I was sitting in my red Ferrari, dressed in a turban, cobra-skinned pants and a sheepskin coat, with a real fine woman.”


Davis also survived a drive-by shooting in 1969 in the same red Ferrari. This time he was rocking a loose-fitting suit made out of leather: “If it hadn’t been for that leather jacket and the fact they shot through the door of a well-built Ferrari, I would have been dead.”


Fortunately he lived long enough to make a comeback in the 1980s, dabbling in the nascent hip-hop culture and discovering Japanese designers such as Issey Miyake and Kohshin Satoh, for whom he modelled with Andy Warhol in 1987, before his death in 1991.


Joe Casely-Hayford of the father-and-son design duo Casely Hayford says: “He was always changing and evolving. He was well versed in culture and this enabled him to constantly create and develop different aspects of his persona. I’ve been influenced by his lack of creative boundaries. His album covers or paintings provide as much inspiration as his wardrobe.”


And perhaps it’s this ability to switch it up that is his true legacy and inspiration. “I love the way he could redefine himself for each decade and this is a trait I have aspired to. He will continue to present a new and relevant signature style for each generation. The mark of a true genius.”

Miles Ahead is a 2015 American biographical-drama film directed by Don Cheadle in his feature directorial debut, which Cheadle co-wrote with Steven Baigelman, Stephen J. Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson, which interprets the life and compositions of jazz musician Miles Davis. The film stars Cheadle, Emayatzy Corinealdi, and Ewan McGregor, and closed the New York Film Festival on October 11, 2015. The film takes its title from Davis's 1957 album.


Cheadle took a free-form approach to the film's narrative. Skipping around in time, it depicts Davis' attempts to get his career back on track following a period of inactivity and drug addiction in the 1970s, fictional adventures with a journalist (played by McGregor) who wants to profile him, and his troubled marriage to a former dancer (Corinealdi). The film's score covers, in non-linear fashion, Davis' actual recordings throughout his career, beginning with Agharta (1975) before jumping back and forth in scenes featuring Kind of Blue (1959), Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), Bitches Brew (1970), and We Want Miles (1981), among others.


Miles Ahead received mostly positive reviews from critics. Reviewers generally praised Cheadle's direction and performance, although some were critical of the plot. The film has grossed over $5 million.

Sunday 28 May 2023

Riffs: Random Reflections on Jazz, Blues, and Early Rock by G. Bruce Boyer


Riffs: Random Reflections on Jazz, Blues, and Early Rock

by G. Bruce Boyer


In 1938, 30 years before the civil rights movement, Benny Goodman, the legendary White jazz clarinetist, brought on stage at Carnegie Hall in New York City a jazz orchestra that included pianists Teddy Wilson and Count Basie, vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, saxophonist Lester Young, and half a dozen other Black musicians. This outrage to the acceptable that demolished segregation, if only for one night, was the starting point of a phenomenon that could never be undone by legislation because it was caused entirely by music.

The renowned men’s fashion author G. Bruce Boyer had the good fortune to live his teens and his twenties in the 1950s and ‘60s, the thick of a wondrous two decades when musical giants walked the earth (blew the sax, pounded the piano, scatted the ballad, composed the classic), and Boyer brings them all listen-ably, dance-ably, singalong-ably alive in Riffs, Random Reflections on Jazz, Blues and Early Rock. His love of music is unconditional, and he writes about the joy he felt experiencing this musical eruption with an excitement and wit that are contagious.

If you have ears to hear, a heart to feel, feet to bop, there’s a Spotify list at the end of Riffs of recordings of the work of the musicians Boyer brings to life, and I’m taking bets that more than once you’ll put down Riffs, jump up, and dance.

Thursday 25 May 2023

Living: REVIEWS and Official Trailer -


Living review – Bill Nighy tackles life and death in exquisitely sad drama


A gentle and poignant Kazuo Ishiguro-scripted remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru about a man dealing with a terminal diagnosis


Peter Bradshaw


Wed 2 Nov 2022 14.50 GMT


The terrible conversation in the hospital consulting room – that final rite of passage – is the starting point for this deeply felt, beautifully acted movie from screenwriter Kazuo Ishiguro and director Oliver Hermanus: a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru, or To Live.


A buttoned-up civil servant works joylessly in the town planning department; he is a lonely widower estranged from his grasping son and daughter-in-law. In the original, he was Mr Watanabe, played by Takashi Shimura. Now he is Mr Williams, played by Bill Nighy.


Approaching retirement, his supposed reward for a life of pointless tedium, Mr Williams receives a stomach-cancer diagnosis with one year to live. And now he realises that he has been dead until this moment. After a mad and undignified attempt at boozy debauchery in the company of a louche writer (Tom Burke), Mr Williams realises there is one thing he might still achieve: forcing the city authorities to build the modest little children’s playground for which local mothers have been desperately petitioning and which he and his colleagues have been smugly preventing with their bureaucratic inertia.


Through sheer force of will, and astonishing his co-workers with his deeply unbecoming new urgency and baffling desire to help people, Mr Williams is determined to get the playground built before death closes in.


When Kurosawa’s film came out, it was set in the present day: a fiercely contemporary work about modern Japan and very different from his period dramas. Hermanus and Ishiguro have taken the decision to set it in the 1950s as well, and so ingeniously recasting it as a historical piece: Nighy’s melancholy functionary works in the postwar London county council. He is ramrod straight in his pinstripe suit and bowler, an English gentleman through and through, whereas Shimura’s Mr Watanabe in Tokyo was doubled over with the pain of stomach cancer, in a parodic and deepening bow of Japanese respect.


Nighy is heartbreakingly shy and sensitive, his refined, almost birdlike profile presented to the camera in occasional stark and enigmatic closeups. This is a man who has had to suppress a natural wit and affectionate raillery all his life in the service of a dull job which meant nothing. His poignantly damaged rebirth has been caused by his diagnosis, and also his platonic yet nonetheless scandalous infatuation with a female junior: the innocently flirtatious Margaret (Aimee Lou Wood), who entrances him, perhaps chiefly because she is quitting this dull office and trying something new. Meanwhile, a young man just starting there, played by Alex Sharp, intuits Mr Williams’s pain and sees how he himself might wind up the same way, out of unexamined loyalty to this older generation’s self-sacrificial woes.


Ishiguro has jettisoned the enigmatic, almost Capraesque voiceover from Kurosawa’s film, lost also the local gangsters that Watanabe faces down with his new, reckless courage of cancer. Maybe they seemed too Greeneian in 50s Britain. He has found a sweeter, more positive interpretation of the film’s final scenes, and a redemptive love affair among the younger generation, but kept the central structural coup in Ikiru, positioning the moment of the civil servant’s death so that we see all the besuited functionaries bickering and posturing after Mr Williams is gone, like Ivan Ilych’s colleagues in Tolstoy’s story or the people divvying up Scrooge’s bed linen in A Christmas Carol.


I was sorry that Ishiguro removed my favourite moment from Ikiru, when the civil servant, in a flash of existential panic, realises that he cannot think of any specific thing that has happened in his 30 years’ employment. It has all passed like a swift, featureless dream. But Ishiguro makes an inspired adjustment to the children’s playground itself – with Mr Williams noting that though some children are badly behaved and tantrum-prone when they are called away by their mothers, that is better than being one of those children who just hopelessly wait for playtime to end. In Living, the playground is not simply the widow’s-mite gift the civil servant has poignantly handed over to the community before his death. With its humble little swing set and roundabout, it is a symbol of everyone’s brief attempt at living.


This is a film which resonated in my mind, with its perennial question: isn’t it possible to achieve Mr Williams’s passionate dedication without the terminal illness? After all, haven’t we all got that same mortal prognosis? Or is the terrible paradox that you need to be told what you know already but were trying not to think about? A gentle, exquisitely sad film.


Living screened at the Sundance film festival and is released in the UK on 4 November.

Living review: Bill Nighy delivers an almost startling transformation in this beautiful period drama


In a performance tipped for Oscar attention, the British actor sheds his trademark, twinkling charisma like snakeskin


Clarisse Loughrey

Wednesday 02 November 2022 16:41


Dir: Oliver Hermanus. Starring: Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharp, Tom Burke. 12A, 102 minutes.


Ikiru, in its plaintive modernity, may not be the most widely recognisable of Akira Kurosawa’s films. It can’t be slotted so neatly beside the savage violence and heroic ideals of his historical films, Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957) or Ran (1985). But the 1952 drama’s message, that a worthy legacy can be built from the tiniest and most fleeting of things, has endured. It’s encapsulated in the single image of a dying bureaucrat (played by Takashi Shimura) singing to himself as he sits on the swingset of the playground he helped build. Decades later, it’s an image that’s been reframed but barely rethought by South African director Oliver Hermanus, Nobel Prize-winning screenwriter Ishiguro Kazuo and actor Bill Nighy with Living. But, like the bureaucrat’s cherished swingset, that vague feeling of inconsequence shouldn’t make much difference. What does it matter if a film isn’t necessarily built to last? Living still has its compelling beauty.


Hermanus’s film is set in the Fifties, making it a period piece rather than a contemporary portrait as Ikiru was. It also takes place halfway around the world in London. Nighy’s bureaucrat, Mr Williams, is dying of stomach cancer. He’s spent the majority of his life in the same job at London County Hall, its monotony as constant as the piles of paperwork that pen him into his desk. It’s a necessary bit of mess, his young employee Ms Harris (Aimee Lou Wood) warns him, since without them “people suspect you of not having anything very important to do”.


Following his diagnosis, Mr Williams seeks existential comfort not from his own son, who he insists “has his own life”, but from a Brighton louche (Tom Burke) and the cheery Ms Harris. He invites the latter out to the movies and then for a drink, while confessing that he doesn’t feel able to go home (read: be alone) quite yet. She worries he’s developed a strange infatuation. But in reality, Mr Williams seems convinced that proximity to youth might be able to stave off his own mortality. “I have no special quality,” Ms Harris insists. He will have to seek meaning elsewhere.


Much of the artfulness of Living does, in part, feel borrowed from Ikiru. Here the chaotic symphony of city life is rendered not through car horns but the steady beat of commuter footsteps, surging back and forth along the same daily paths. Those towering paper stacks slice through frames, isolating its characters, who are sometimes made to look as small and crushable as ants. Hermanus ruminates on these images a little more than Kurosawa might. He already knows their power, and allows cinematographer Jamie D Ramsay to bathe them in a soft, milky light.


Crucially, we are not told of Mr Williams’s condition up front, as Ikiru does through its introductory narration. Instead, we’re introduced to him through the eyes of Mr Wakeling (Alex Sharp), a new hire at the office – specifically, in a shot of Mr Williams as seen through a train window, appropriately framed by a circle of morning frost. Nighy, too, has shed his trademark, twinkling charisma like snakeskin. What lies beneath is something almost spectral in its stillness, a man already half-dead and certainly deserving of Ms Harris’s secret nickname of “Mr Zombie”. It’s an almost startling transformation for the actor, a standout performance of an already much-lauded career. His contributions help guide Living on its muted but no less emotive journey to that singular image of a man, renewed, alone on a swingset. Hermanus is more than happy for his film to live in the shadows of Kurosawa’s. There’s still much to savour.


‘Living’ is in cinemas from 4 November

Wednesday 24 May 2023

Andrew: The Problem Prince on Channel 4 Reviews / VIDEO: Emily Maitlis reveals what happened immediately after the Prince Andrew ...

‘Set up for failure’: the wild story behind the car crash interview which destroyed Prince Andrew


From Beatrice attending his meetings to proposing cinema get-togethers at Buckingham Palace, a new documentary digs into how the Newsnight debacle happened


Rachel Aroesti

Thu 27 Apr 2023 06.00 BST


A Pizza Express in Woking. The inability to sweat. A tendency to be “too honourable”. Prince Andrew’s 2019 Newsnight interview was a bonanza of bizarre excuses – in which he disastrously tried to defend himself from allegations that he had sex with a 17-year-old girl trafficked by his friend Jeffrey Epstein. Greeted with a riot of disbelief, anger and meme-making by the public, it was the most explosive royal interview of the decade. But how on Earth did it happen in the first place?


A new documentary, airing as part of Channel 4’s alternative coronation coverage, is lifting the lid on this remarkably misguided interview. But Andrew: The Problem Prince kicks off with an entirely different TV appearance. It’s 1985 and the prince is primarily known as a pin-up, playboy and the Falklands hero who risked his life for his country. He is also known as Randy Andy, a nickname referenced by his interviewer on this occasion, a giggling Selina Scott. Andrew shrugs it off with remarkably easy charm and humour. The audience howls in approval. “It was a badge of honour then – the idea of this young prince cutting a swathe through the aristocratic women of London was something to be admired,” says James Goldston, former president of ABC News and one of the documentary’s producers. “There was zero conversation at the time about: are there ethical or moral issues involved in this?”


Fast-forward three decades and Sam McAlister, a guest booker on Newsnight, receives an email from a PR company offering an interview with Prince Andrew about his charity work. She declines on the grounds that it sounds like a puff piece, but the exchange prompts months of negotiations about a more wide-ranging interview, which is again rejected by McAlister because the palace has a single stipulation: all questions about convicted paedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein are off the table.


But then Epstein is found dead in his New York prison cell. Until that point, the man Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis describes as “America’s Jimmy Savile” had been a peripheral figure in the public consciousness: now he is centre stage, and the prince’s friendship with him is under the media’s microscope. Eventually, Andrew’s team change their minds. McAlister – whose book Scoops: The BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews from Steven Seagal to Prince Andrew, was the inspiration for this documentary – can barely believe her luck.


It only gets weirder from there. Andrew brings his daughter Beatrice to a meeting with McAlister and Maitlis. He seems delighted after the interview, inviting the Newsnight team to stick around for a cinema night at Buckingham Palace. It’s only when the Queen receives the transcript, and Andrew receives a “tap on the shoulder” from the palace (according to Maitlis), that the catastrophe becomes clear to him. The interview then prompts Virginia Giuffre – who claims the prince had sex with her on several occasions when she was 17 – to pursue Andrew legally. The lawyers interviewed for the documentary “are very specific”, says Goldston. “What he said opened the door to bringing that legal action which ultimately destroyed him.” In 2022, Andrew settled out of court.


Andrew: The Problem Prince is expressly not a “hatchet job”, says Sheldon Lazarus, another of the programme’s producers. Instead, it’s an attempt to anchor Andrew’s behaviour and decisions within the broader context of his life: despite his status and knack for making headlines, Lazarus believes there has never been an in-depth documentary about him before. We hear how the Queen indulged him as a child, and how Andrew’s finances meant he could never afford the lavish life he had become accustomed to. While Charles had an annual income of £20m, Andrew had to make do with a yearly allowance of £249,000 from the Queen. “By most standards that’s a lot of money, but to live a royal lifestyle, it’s obviously not enough. You feel that he’s being set up for failure,” says Goldston.


One of the most notorious moments in the Newsnight interview sees Maitlis ask Andrew whether he regrets consorting with Epstein. No, he replies, because the opportunities he got from it “were actually very useful”. According to Lazarus, the producers found themselves asking a question: “If he had been wealthier, would he have made better decisions, and not got into this crowd in order to keep up with the Joneses – or the Windsors?”


Tonally, the documentary team had to tread carefully. While the Newsnight interview was inescapably comic in content, its subject was a set of extremely serious and disturbing crimes. “I think you can use humour in the most serious of circumstances, as long as it’s done appropriately,” says Goldston, whose other job at the time was overseeing the coverage of the January 6 committee hearings in Washington DC.


After all, much of what goes on with the royals veers between farce and something far more troubling. One of the standout moments from the documentary is an interview with the former – yet still palpably annoyed – deputy British ambassador in Bahrain, who recounts Andrew’s freewheeling and ultimately very damaging input as a trade envoy in the early 2000s. “I love the line that ultimately his boss is the Queen – there was just no accountability,” says Lazarus. The diplomat also tells of how the prince refused to stay in ambassadorial residences, instead hiring out luxury hotels to house his thank-you letter-writer and valet.


The Problem Prince isn’t just about the titular royal, however. It’s “a celebration of the power of journalism,” says Goldston, who admits to feeling “kind of jealous” about the Newsnight scoop at the time. It’s also an insight into a rather mysterious job: that of the celebrity booker. “I’ve worked in journalism for 30 years and been involved in a lot of big gets: presidents, prime ministers, celebrities,” he says. “The art of the booking has always fascinated me – how does that happen?” Goldston ran Good Morning America “at the height of the morning wars and watched these bookers go after these things every day. It’s a phenomenal feat of endurance.”


It’s a world Lazarus is also familiar with, having started his career booking guests for Paula Yates’s On the Bed segment on Channel 4’s The Big Breakfast – a job he admits wasn’t beholden to the same journalistic ethics as Newsnight. “I definitely wouldn’t have said no to Andrew,” he says. “He could have come and juggled – he could have done whatever he wanted!”


The documentary provides an intimate insight into the big-name interview, but its headline question – why Andrew decided to appear on Newsnight in the first place – is ultimately left unanswered. Maitlis suggests it may have been an attempt to clear his name for his daughters’ sake, while Goldston thinks the media pressure meant “he was going to have to confront it head on and that’s how they end up saying yes”. That, however, doesn’t explain why he went against the guidance of trusted advisers, including media lawyer Paul Tweed, who claims in the documentary that he warned Andrew not to do it.


Instead, you come away with the sense that it was driven by a heady cocktail of yes-men-powered delusion and extreme naivety (he was “not intellectual”, according to royal biographer Andrew Lownie, while Tina Brown’s The Palace Papers claims that Epstein called the prince “an idiot”). Yet this cluelessness wasn’t limited to Andrew himself. Goldston recalls McAlister telling him that as the interview concluded, a member of the prince’s staff leaned over to her and muttered, “‘Isn’t he marvellous?’ That lack of understanding of what had just happened was pretty profound.”


The documentary ends with a portrait of an underemployed Andrew living in the shadows. And yet Tweed, who appears in the documentary with the blessing of the prince and his family, suggests something that seems currently unthinkable: the idea that the prince might make a return to public life. Is there any world in which this could happen?


“I think they live in hope that they can still turn this round, which is actually a very interesting idea,” says Goldston. “[Tweed] has seen a lot of these cases. Who knows?” Never say never, but if the royal family wants to survive until the next coronation, it seems that Andrew – utterly tone-deaf, entitled beyond belief and morally dubious, at best – is everything it must leave behind.


 Andrew: The Problem Prince airs on Channel 4 on 1 May at 9pm.

Andrew: The Problem Prince on Channel 4 review - same old, same old gets you no closer to understanding


This documentary explores the story behind the Newsnight interview - while leaving juicier stones unturned


By Robbie Smith

01 May 2023


Who would be a prince? Apart from the glamour, the riches, the fast cars, and the fame, that is. Well, you might end up as Prince Andrew. Disgraced, detested, and derided the world over – doesn’t sound so fun now.


The Problem Prince indeed. This two-hander from Channel 4 claims it “tells you everything you need to know about that interview”.


Yet it emerges that what we need to know about that Newsnight interview is not what we learn from this documentary. The central mystery of it is why on earth Andrew gave it and what it is about him that led him to that point.


Sadly for every illuminating minute spent on Prince Andrew’s character, it feels as if we have two minutes exploring the genesis of Newsnight’s interview – and from the less interesting perspective.


Presenter Emily Maitlis and producer Sam McAlister (who has already written a book touching on the interview) dominate proceedings. We learn that McAlister comes from “market people” (and duly see her duly pictured in a market). We hear about how she was “relentless” and charm is “my superpower”. We see the star power of Emily Maitlis and what a presence she is. No doubt all of these things are useful in securing top guests. But as it turns out, they were not needed here.


It was Prince Andrew’s people who came to Newsnight. The BBC show said no. Andrew’s people tried again and eventually, thanks to their persistence, Newsnight said yes. The driving force behind the trainwreck interview – both in its setup and then in its contents – was not especially clever or charming work from Maitlis and McAlister, but Andrew himself. Andrew is the author of his destruction, as are brave women like Virginia Giuffre who came forward to allege sexual abuse (Andrew and Giuffre settled out of court, despite Andrew denying the allegations).


Why the logistics of the Newsnight interview from their side take up so much space in this documentary is, as a result, a real puzzle.


Far more interesting are the insights from those who had to work with Andrew. Simon Wilson, then our deputy ambassador in Bahrain, describes Andrew as having a “split personality”.


Wilson had seen Andrew, who was acting as a trade ambassador for the government, ruin the government’s own sales pitch for the military hardware he was supposed to be flogging. Wilson despaired: “he was completely unaccountable… was his line manager?”. That, more than the Newsnight team taking photos in Buckingham Palace, is genuinely intriguing.


Excellent archive footage early in the first part of the documentary shows a child showered with gifts (including a miniature James Bond Aston Martin, complete with toy guns behind the headlights) and adored by Britain. The film opens with what is now, in retrospect, deeply cringeworthy but enlightening footage of a flirtatious Andrew charming the socks off a female interviewer, asking him about his “Randy Andy” moniker as the audience giggle and cheer along.


Andrew was the freewheeling second son. Where Charles was made prematurely old by the weight of his future responsibility, Andrew was the opposite. A sort of permanent, Peter Pan boyhood afflicted him, his development and life frozen in the dazzling brilliance of youth, at the moment when he still had a ‘purpose’ and before the line of succession moved away from him with the birth of Prince William.


Andrew could have grown out of this. Instead, as the documentary shows, he embraced a playboy lifestyle he could not afford (despite a yearly allowance of £250,000 from the Queen) and was unsuited to. His disastrous association (even friendship) with the paedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein continued even after Epstein’s convictions for sexual offences. What a dreadful decision – and series of decisions. And yet, as Simon Wilson had asked, who was Andrew accountable to? Who told him no? And would he listen?


This documentary fails to pursue Wilson’s question. Instead it feels as if the McAlister/Maitlis story (which itself is soon to be dramatised by Netflix) takes up much of the focus. It is Andrew, not them, who is interesting. How did the problem prince get made? After watching this, I can’t say I’m much the wiser.


Episode 1 will air Monday May 1 at 9pm on Channel 4; Episode 2 will air the following week


Andrew: The Problem Prince review – a deliciously vicious reminder of the dire state of the monarchy


This gripping documentary unpacks the dodgy truth about the king’s paedophile-affiliated brother. Is this really the sort of thing you want to pledge allegiance to?


Lucy Mangan


Mon 1 May 2023 22.00 BST


Context is all, they say. And when you broadcast a documentary about the king’s paedophile-affiliated brother five days before the former’s coronation, they may be right. Context is certainly the greatest ally of Channel 4’s Andrew: The Problem Prince. It is based on an anatomisation of the before, during and after of the now and probably for ever infamous interview that Prince Andrew gave to Emily Maitlis on Newsnight in 2019. I know. Four years ago. And still the memory of him claiming to be unable to sweat as a result of trauma in the Falklands, and taking the kids to Pizza Express in Woking on the evening he was alleged to be having sex with a trafficked 17-year-old, is as crystal-clear as it ever was. Time has not done its gentle work. If it catches you unawares, you still jack-knife unstoppably in horror as it unleashes all the rest of its vicarious humiliation. “It was a convenient place to stay.” “A very ordinary shooting weekend.” “I’m too honourable.” Amazing.


The same disbelief clearly still attends the even more extensive recollections of Maitlis and her producer, Sam McAlister. The latter received the first approach from Amanda Thirsk, the prince’s chief of staff, in 2018, which was before Jeffrey Epstein – though by then a convicted sex offender – had come into UK public consciousness. When Newsnight declined the offer of what was essentially a puff piece, word came back that they were open to “a wider discussion”. He would talk about anything except his friendship with Epstein. Newsnight didn’t fancy being dictated to, so declined again. “Best decision ever,” says McAlister. It is clear that, quite rightly, the joy will never leave her. The prince and the “playboy” – AKA man-arrested-for-20-years-of-sex-trafficking-in-plain-sight – became headline news and Andrew became determined to use the interview to clear his name. It is not overtly stated but it is obvious that from then on, the main task of McAlister and Maitlis was to tread softly and not shatter the man’s illusions.


Others tried to – notably Andrew’s lawyer Paul Tweed, a twitchy man quick to affirm his advice to the prince to say nothing to no one about nothing, nothing at all – but the hubristic heart wants what it wants. Andrew went on telly and told everyone everything about all of it.


Various talking heads explain the man and his decision, first to become close to Epstein and then to chat about it on national television. The former press secretary to the queen Dicky Arbiter and the royal correspondent Valentine Low limn the extra-privileged childhood as the queen’s favourite, the inescapable resentment at being the spare not the heir, and the compensatory pleasures of being a handsome young prince about town (“Girls on tap,” explains Dickie, succinctly) without having to worry about his reputation too much.


The most powerful testimony, though, is wordless and comes from contemporary footage of him in interviews. The easy charm (if you allow for 80s social mores) of the twentysomething prince being interviewed by/flirting with Selina Scott curdles into something more smug over the years until you can see the monstrous entitlement lurking beneath, threatening at any moment to break the bounds of decorum. The trade envoy years showed there was no beginning to his talents, and when he was stripped of his titles by the queen after pictures of him strolling through Central Park with a post-conviction Epstein hit the papers, Low (deliciously viciously) points out that this is bound to hit a man “without a hinterland … no rich inner life” particularly hard. Whatever judgment or willingness to take advice he might have had was eroded further, and his loss was Maitlis’s gain.


This is not a documentary in which Epstein’s victims are central, and the claims of Virginia Giuffre about having to have sex on three occasions with the prince are only just given enough attention here, most of it in the second episode. What saves Andrew: The Problem Prince – although it’s still a close-run thing – from being an unforgivable media masturbatory session, allowing the people involved with the interview to cover themselves in further glory and pontificate about the power of journalism to hold the privileged and protected to account, is the proximity of its broadcast to the coronation. It reminds us all that the monarchy contains and tolerates the likes of the Duke of York. He isn’t the first dodgy royal and he won’t be the last. That’s how they roll, and Charles would like us to pledge public allegiance to it. Good luck with that, fella. Good luck with that.


Tuesday 23 May 2023

Hugo Boss: Hitler's Tailor? / VIDEO: Hugo Boss - Tailor to the Third Reich Documentary

Hugo Ferdinand Boss (8 July 1885 – 9 August 1948)[1] was a German businessman. He was the founder of the fashion house Hugo Boss AG.


He was an active member of the Nazi Party from 1931, and remained so until Nazi Germany's capitulation. His clothing company also utilized forced labour drawn from German-occupied territories and POW camps, to manufacture uniforms for the SS and later the Wehrmacht.


Early life

Boss was born in Metzingen, Kingdom of Württemberg, to Luise (née Münzenmayer) and Heinrich Boss, the youngest of five children. He apprenticed as a merchant, did his military service from 1903 to 1905, and then worked in a weaving mill in Konstanz. He took over his parents' lingerie shop in Metzingen in 1908, as heir. In 1914, he was mobilized into the army and served through World War I, ending it as a corporal.


Hugo Boss company

Boss founded his own clothing company in Metzingen in 1923 and then opened a factory in 1924, initially with two partners. The company produced shirts and jackets and later work clothing, sportswear, and raincoats. In the 1930s, it produced uniforms for the SA, the SS, the Hitler Youth, the postal service, the national railroad, and later the Wehrmacht.


Support of Nazism

Boss joined the Nazi Party in 1931, two years before Adolf Hitler came to power. By the third quarter of 1932, the all-black SS uniform (to replace the SA brown shirts) was designed by SS-Oberführer Prof. Karl Diebitsch, and graphic designer Walter Heck, who had no affiliation with the company.The Hugo Boss company produced these black uniforms along with the brown SA shirts and the black-and-brown uniforms of the Hitler Youth.Some workers were French and Polish prisoners of war forced into labour. In 1999, US lawyers acting on behalf of Holocaust survivors started legal proceedings against the Hugo Boss company over the use of slave labour during the war. The misuse of 140 Polish and 40 French forced workers led to an apology by the company.


After World War II, the denazification process saw Boss initially labeled as an "activist, supporter and beneficiary" of national-socialism, which resulted in a heavy fine, also stripping him of his voting rights and capacity to run a business.[citation needed] However, this initial ruling was appealed, and Boss was re-labeled as a "follower", a category with a less severe punishment.[4] Nevertheless, the effects of the ban led to Boss's son-in-law, Eugen Holy, taking over both the ownership and the running of the company.



Boss died in 1948 of a tooth abscess[13] in Württemberg-Hohenzollern, Allied-occupied Germany. He was 63.



Hugo Boss: Hitler's Tailor? German Fashion House Tries To Quiet Wartime Rumors

Was Hugo Boss Hitler's Tailor? German Fashion House Tries To Quiet Wartime Rumors


Sep 27, 2011, 11:58 AM EDT

Updated Dec 6, 2017


The top German fashion house that bears the name of famed designer Hugo Boss has commissioned a study to try to clarify his role during the Nazi regime. The study says Boss was not Hitler's personal tailor, though his company did produce SS uniforms with forced labor.


The rumors that Hugo Ferdinand Boss designed uniforms for the Nazis, and was even Hitler’s tailor, have circulated for years in the press inside and outside of Germany. And that was an image problem for the company he founded, now an international brand of men’s and women’s clothing with an annual turnover of nearly 2 billion euros.


So the Boss Group commissioned a report on the company’s past from the University of Münster – a study that was not published because, a company spokesperson said, it lacked “historical context.” The firm then commissioned a second study that has just been published.


The German-language book, Hugo Boss, 1924-1945, sums up the company’s role in Nazi Germany as follows: founded in 1924, the company made uniforms for the Wehrmacht (armed forces), SS (security forces) and Hitler Youth. According to Roman Köster, the Munich historian of economics who wrote the book, the firm “derived demonstrable economic benefit” from National Socialism. Some 40 French prisoners of war and 140 forced laborers fabricated Nazi uniforms in Metzingen. Many of them were intimidated but, Koster says, Hugo Boss was not personally involved. There is however indication that Boss, who died in 1948, took action so that the laborers were given more food.


The book goes on to say that the Swabian entrepreneur was not Hitler’s tailor, did not design the uniforms, and was one of several manufacturers of Nazi uniforms, and not the leading producer. Much of what Köster writes already appeared in the unpublished first study, Hugo Ferdinand Boss (1885-1948) und die Firma Hugo Boss that was posted on the Internet by its author, ethnologist Elisabeth Timm. She mentions a slightly higher number of forced laborers working at the factory.


Roman Köster stresses that while the Boss company financed the book, it did not try to influence him. "My impression is that they are genuinely interested in working the issue through,” he says. The company, a majority share of which is owned by the British Permira group of financial investors, also apologizes for the past on its website. “Out of respect to everyone involved, the Group has published this new study with the aim of adding clarity and objectivity to the discussion. It also wishes to express its profound regret to those who suffered harm or hardship at the factory run by Hugo Ferdinand Boss under National Socialist rule.”

Sunday 21 May 2023

The Discriminating Guide to London: Exceptional Streets / James Sherwood’s Discriminating Guide to London

The discerning traveler's guide to the very finest experiences that London has to offer


James Sherwood, author of a number of definitive publications on English sartorial style, is the quintessential man-about-town. In this witty, opinionated, and discerning guide to London, he draws on many years of partaking in the very best that the metropolis has to offer. Whether you want to breakfast like a king, drink cocktails in the company of sophisticated British personalities, or shop for antique jewelry, this handy volume will take you there.


Beautifully packaged and produced, with stylish line illustrations, James Sherwood’s Discriminating Guide to London includes information, advice, and a sardonic wit not to be found elsewhere. Sherwood’s supreme taste coupled with his firsthand knowledge of some of the most exclusive, exciting spots in London makes this guide a must-have for city slickers and jet setters alike.


James Sherwood’s Discriminating Guide to London is inspired by a 1970s publication of the same name by another James Sherwood (no relation) who is today the owner of the Orient-Simplon Express and luxury hotels and restaurants around the world. The older Sherwood contributes a foreword to this new guide.

JUNE 2016 May 28, 2016

Man Of British Style – James Sherwood

by Georgette Gouveia


Headed to London this season, perhaps for the official celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday June 10 through 12? Why not take James Sherwood along? Well, not literally, of course, as he’s already there. But rather, why not slip his new “Discriminating Guide to London” (Thames & Hudson, 432 pages, $29.95) into your Louis Vuitton overnighter or Birkin bag?


If anyone should know the city, it’s this style guru – the archivist at the bespoke tailor Henry Poole & Co. and a consultant for the Savile Row company Anderson & Sheppard as well as The Savoy hotel.


Editor-at-large for The Rake, Sherwood contributes to The Daily Telegraph and The World of Interiors magazine. He was the BBC fashion critic at Royal Ascot for eight years and regularly appears as a royal style and fashion critic on British and American TV. His previous books include “Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke, “Fashion at Royal Ascot” and “The Perfect Gentleman: The Pursuit of Timeless Elegance and Style in London,” all of which have established him as a witty writer.


Here he is on J Sheekey Oyster Bar: “Marilyn Monroe, who wasn’t dumb and wasn’t blonde, observed astutely that ‘glamour cannot be manufactured.’ This applies to restaurants as well as to the most fabulous 1950s blonde: you either have it or you’ve had it….So it is with huge respect, a standing ovation and a rush of endorphins that we applaud the perennial glamour puss opened by Josef Sheekey in 1896, when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.”


And it is with respectful endorphins that WAG poses these 10 questions:


1. Your guide is subtitled “An unabashed companion to the very finest experiences in the world’s most cosmopolitan city.” What makes London different from the other great cities of the world?

“Without wishing to offend New York, Beijing, Paris or Moscow, I think London is the most consistent of all the candidates for ‘world’s most cosmopolitan city.’ The population has always welcomed those wishing to settle here from foreign countries and contribute to the richness – both literal and metaphorical – of life in London. Similarly, the city has for the most part been a safe and open destination for the world’s wealthiest travelers for many centuries. Paris, Moscow and Beijing may be comparable in age and perhaps in beauty to London, but France, Russia and China did have a propensity to cut their emperors’ heads off or assassinate them, making these cities no-go areas time after time. London was and is a place of greater safety.


“In the year that we celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday, I think it appropriate to say that the British monarchy has been a stabilizing force in London and a great attraction for visitors. There is something reassuring for Londoners and visitors that the city’s palaces are still occupied by a royal family. This isn’t a dead city like St. Petersburg where the history is frozen in aspic.


London’s history has been turbulent, too. The Great Fire in 1666, the Blitz of 1940-41 and the present epidemic of demolition and redevelopment have all changed the architectural face of London. And yet, enough of historic London has survived to make it a familiar destination even for people who have never visited. London does not wallow in nostalgia either. It is a city constantly looking to the future like New York. For fans of ‘Downton Abbey,’ if New York is a debutante, then London is the Dowager Countess.


2. The real New York offers a contrast to movie New York. How does the real London compare to the media view of the city?

“I think the beauty of London is that it doesn’t contrast with the ‘movie London.’ ‘Red London’ will never fail to please visitors – the scarlet pillar boxes and phone boxes, the red buses and the red uniforms worn by the guards outside Buckingham Palace are all present and correct. Those who like costume drama London can find a Dickensian flavor in Clernekwell, Borough and Bermondsey; the 18th century aristocratic dream in St. James’, Mayfair and the Royal Parks; the grit of ’50s crime drama in Soho and the groove of Swinging ’60s London on Carnaby Street and Jermyn Street.


“The high rises growing in the City and Canary Wharf are not popular with the locals, but they do offer a thrilling new 21st century skyline for visitors. All of London’s villages will be very familiar to film buffs – Notting Hill, Bloomsbury, Hampstead, Covent Garden and Brixton to name a very few. I suppose that London is so familiar in movies, literature and history that visitors actually do feel a sense of ownership if not déjà vu when they finally do come face-to-face with Buckingham Palace, the National Gallery or Battersea Power Station. That is the city’s magic.’


3. Your book was inspired by the original 1975 guide by another James Sherwood, James B. Sherwood (no relation), who owns the Orient-Simplon Express as well as luxury hotels and restaurants and has contributed the foreword to your guide. A bit of déjà vu?

“More than a bit of dèjà vu. When I first came to London, I lived in the then less-than-salubrious Clapham North district south of the river. A dinner party guest, the men’s accessory designer Simon Carter, bought me an antique copy of Mr. Sherwood Sr.’s “Discriminating Guide to London.” I loved the book, the tone and the window on London in the 1970s. So when Thames & Hudson asked what I’d like to do after my “The Perfect Gentleman” book, I asked if I could revive “James Sherwood’s Discriminating Guide to London” in 2016. I met Mr. Sherwood Sr., who very graciously allowed me to use the title and – having read my new text – agreed to write the very complimentary foreword.


“I make no apologies that this book is entirely based on Mr. Sherwood Sr.’s original, even though the way my version was written – by the author alone – differs from the protocol in the 1970s when Mr. Sherwood’s friends reviewed the restaurants and hotels under discussion. The difference between then and now is the boom in London restaurants and hotels. I reviewed roughly the same number of restaurants (100, I think) but whereas in the ’70s there probably weren’t more than 200 to 300 restaurants that deserved consideration, now there would be more like 1,000. I had to be more discriminating and also very aware that even the best of the new London restaurants don’t necessarily survive.


4. I’m a business traveler with only one day in London. What must I do?

“Oh Lord! If you’re a business traveler only given one day off in London after a long haul flight then I really do feel sorry that you work for such an awful boss. I’d imagine you’d like to avoid the bovine tourist hoards and enjoy a little serenity in the city center. Weather permitting, do lose yourself for the morning in Hyde Park – it is, after all, larger than Monaco – before taking a taxi to the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square – the largest and loveliest collection of Rococo furniture and paintings in England placed as they were in a hidden aristocratic townhouse behind Oxford Street.


“Perhaps follow in the footsteps of Noël Coward and Gertrude Lawrence and lunch on half a dozen oysters and a glass of reviving Champagne at J Sheekey’s Oyster Bar in Covent Garden. Take a walk to the Millennium Bridge and cross for an afternoon at Tate Modern before taking your seats in Shakespeare’s Globe for a live performance or, if you prefer, a screening at the BFI (British Film Institute). If you’re feeling frisky, a nightcap in the bar above London’s oldest restaurant, Rules, should prepare you for bed in company or singularly.


5. I’m a jet-setter with all the time – and money – in the world. How do I do up the town?

“If money is no object, London will open up for you like an orchid. William Kent House is an exquisite 18th century property behind The Ritz that now forms an exclusive annex to London’s most famous hotel. There are only two suites – the Prince of Wales Suite and the Royal Suite – and both have the prettiest views over Green Park. Billet yourself in William Kent House using the magnificent red dining room with its Renaissance ceiling for a series of private dinners and cocktail parties for you and your guests. The West End is filled with private dealers in art, antiques, jewelry and gemstones, who will arrange viewings for serious clients as will the major auction houses Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips. You could, for example, take a master class in tiaras at Piccadilly antique jeweler Bentley & Skinner or inspect Tudor portraits with British expert Philip Mould in his Pall Mall gallery.


The Ritz concierges will be able to secure private boxes with retiring rooms and bars in West End theaters, including the Royal Opera House. Take the private dining rooms at Scott’s, The Wolseley or the newly refurbished Ivy for a post-theater supper. Membership to private clubs such as Loulou’s and Annabel’s can be bypassed. Private views and dinners can also be arranged in London’s museums and galleries with sufficient notice. One of the most impressive venues to hire in entirety is the Richard Branson-owned Kensington Roof Garden with its acre and a half of landscaping, streams, follies and flamingos inspired by Spain’s Alhambra Palace and Sudeley Castle. Ordinarily a restaurant and private members’ nightclub, Kensington Roof Garden is a chic, surreal venue for an exotic private party.


6. I’m still a jet-setter but I like a bargain, too. Thoughts?

“Dial down the expense of a Michelin-star restaurant such as Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, Fera at Claridge’s or Angela Hartnett at Murano by booking a set lunch menu and keeping a very sharp eye on the wine list. Not much point spending under £50 (roughly $73) on three-courses only to blow £100 on the wine now is there? Jet-setters don’t tend to get an awful lot of sleep so perhaps sacrifice the grandeur of a famed West End hotel in favor of charm such as Soho’s Hazlitt’s Hotel or an up-and-coming location such as Bloomsbury’s Hoxton Holborn. Don’t, incidentally, be fooled by London’s endless happy hours and deals on drinks. You will be served absolute swill and feel ghastly in the morning.”


7. The one souvenir I must take from my London experience is…

“I’d go for an experience of a lifetime rather than a tin of biscuits from Fortnum & Mason or a Buckingham Palace tea towel. In May or June your timing is right to see The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, Trooping the Colour or Royal Ascot. HM is now Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a wave from that white-gloved hand thrills Londoners and our guests alike.”


8. How did you get to be a man of style, and what makes someone stylish?

 “What makes someone stylish? Well, Beau Brummell used to say that if a man is well-dressed, you should not really notice him. This is abject nonsense, because the Beau was an exhibitionist extraordinaire. Any man who commits to a bespoke suit, shirt and tie in the 21st century is exceptional, because the standard of dress in London today is so low. You’ll see any number of men and women in the West End with tattoos and piercings that would frighten small children and make pets bark. So a suited gent is going to get attention, because he is an exception rather than the rule.”


9. When you’re in London, where will we find you?

“In London you will find me in Bloomsbury, where I live, and Mayfair, Piccadilly and St. James’s, where I work. I am currently researching a book about Henry Poole – the founding father of Savile Row – so I am most often to be found in the archives at No. 15 Savile Row, present home of Henry Poole & Co. The restaurants I enjoy most for lunch are Wiltons on Jermyn Street and J Sheekey’s Oyster Bar, the favorite café is Franco’s and barely a week goes by when I’m not dining after the theater at Queen Street and Joe Allen in Covent Garden. When I get rather weary of writing, I will go to Sir John Soane’s Museum, the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the Wallace Collection to view art and antiques that are good for the soul.”


10. And when you’re out of town?

“For the past three years, practically all of my books and projects have been entirely focused on London so it has been a period of full immersion in the city I love. That said, one always loves a city more after time spent away. The northeast coast of Corfu, Nice, Menorca, Florence and Venice have all given me much pleasure and a little time to breathe, tan, drink the wine and come back to London refreshed.”