Sunday 30 July 2023

Monday, March 14, 2022 / Remembering the closure of Sundog in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard.


Sundog, Main Street Anchor, Closes Its Doors

Aidan Pollard

Monday, March 14, 2022 - 7:08pm


A downtown Edgartown staple for nearly half a century, the menswear store Sundog has closed. But the shop’s wares won’t go down with its storefront, thanks to a donation of the entire inventory to a nonprofit startup thrift store in Vineyard Haven.


Originating in Cambridge in 1970, Sundog moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1976 and operated at 41 Main Street for 36 years, owner Frank Folts told the Gazette by phone Monday.


The business hopped around Edgartown in its first years on the Island, existing at times where familiar businesses such as the Wharf Pub and Black Dog are now located, before settling at 41 Main Street. For most of Mr. Folts’s time there, the building was owned by Larry Levine, an Island businessman.


“The best landlord I ever had,” Mr. Folts said.


Despite problems with the building that occasionally interrupted business, Mr. Folts said Mr. Levine was a good friend to him and to Sundog.


Mr. Levine died in 2018 and his daughter Sarah Levine inherited the building. This year Mr. Folts said he learned that he had lost his decades-long lease at the property, forcing him to close the business.


“We’ve pondered what to do,” he said. “This has been my life.”


With a background in advertising, Mr. Folts ran a series of eye-catching ads in the Gazette over the years, including the well-known Sundog countdown to spring that began every winter.


He spoke about the changing nature of Main street over time, with the arrival of more franchised stores and fewer sole proprietor establishments.


“The commercialization of the Island has been rather intense,” Mr. Folts said, adding that he was unsure whether there was still time to reverse the trend.


“I think it’s unfortunate what has happened,” he said.


Mr. Folts had famously resisted holding sales at Sundog for years.


But in a letter sent to the Gazette, he wrote that the business had planned to belatedly commemorate Sundog’s 50th anniversary with a sale. First the sale was delayed in 2020 and 2021 by the pandemic. Then came the lost lease, he wrote.


In the wake of the Sundog closure, Mr. Folts has donated all the store’s inventory — including its familiar decorations and window dressings — to Act Two Secondhand Store, a startup nonprofit thrift shop on Main street Vineyard Haven.


The donation is a tribute to the late Vineyard scrimshaw artists Don MacDonald and Tom DeMont, Mr. Folts wrote, adding that he hoped it would help the Island and also jump start Act Two’s mission to benefit arts and education on the Island. Founded by Alissa Keenan and Kevin Ryan, the store was doing a brisk business Monday afternoon. In his letter Mr. Folts said it will satisfy a need once met by the Boys and Girls Club Second Hand Store, previously located in Edgartown.


“It was a substantial monetary gift for all intents and purposes,” he told the Gazette, speaking about the donation.


But he said Sundog’s story may not end here.


“I’m still considering relocating,” he said. Describing himself as a patient man, he said he will wait to see which way the wind blows.


“It takes a lot of energy,” he said, speaking about owning a business. “I am 88 years old — and full of fire and vinegar, of course.”

Friday 28 July 2023

A Closer Look: Jackie Kennedy’s Martha’s Vineyard Home - Red Gate Farm |

Red Gate Farm: Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ Summer House


Jacqueline Kennedy had an extensive history with residences, including one of the most famous houses in the land, but it was Red Gate Farm that she chose to live out the final years of her life in the beautiful Martha’s Vineyard landscapes at the water’s edge. After forty years Jackie Kennedy Onassis’ Summer House was finally placed on the market in 2019 by her and JFK’s daughter, Caroline. The estate has since sold with ambitious plans ahead, here is a peek around and a look at what’s next for the estate:


Listed by Christie’s Real Estate in 2019 for $65 million, Red Gate Farm is located at the tip of Martha’s Vineyard on the Aquinnah waterfront. Originally a landholding for sheep and with only one small hunting cabin, the 350 acre estate was bought by Jackie Kennedy Onassis in 1979. Long-time friend and landscaping maestro, Rachel “Bunny” Mellon was enlisted to design the gardens and landscapes, while architect Hugh Newell Jacobson was taken with created a holiday home suitable for Jackie, her two children, and the numerous close friends who would visit over the years. Designed in true Cape Cod style, the two-storey main house is constructed with cedar-shingle cladding and contrasting windows, all completed in 1981.


The main house comprises of a formal sitting room with fireplace, a drawing room, family room, library, dining room and chef’s kitchen form the ground floor, along with a den, 2 offices/art studios, 2 powder rooms and a laundry room, while upstairs comprises of four large en-suite bedrooms with the master including a dressing room. The fifth bedroom is located on the ground floor, which also acts as a study. There is also a guest house featuring 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, a living room, kitchen and laundry room. The listing notes:


Red Gate Farm boasts over a mile of private Atlantic Ocean beachfront with dunes, and two freshwater ponds, as well as a vegetable garden and blueberry patch, an outdoor pool, tennis court, and a fairy treehouse, which Ms. Onassis built for her grandchildren. Overlooking Squibnocket Pond is the original hunting cabin. The ancillary structures include a three-bedroom caretaker’s house, a barn, two garages (one with a two-bedroom apartment), a temperature-controlled storage building, and a boathouse.


It was later reported that part of the estate had sold, off market, for $27 million – a drop of $38 million. The buyers were The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission and the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, a pair of non-profit organisations who plan to open stretches of the estate’s natural habitats to the public, with the land designated for conservation. The Kennedy family chose to keep 95 acres of the property, which include the homes, while the non-profits purchased the existing 304 acres, which will be paid off in instalments over the course of four years. The stretch of nature will be known as the Squibnocket Pond Reservation and will be open to the public to enjoy the Atlantic-fronted beaches, dunes, ponds, trails and meadows.


In a press release, the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission, and Red Gate Farm LLC announced their agreement to ‘conserve one of the most important and ecologically diverse habitats in New England’. “Our family has endeavored to be worthy stewards of this magnificent and fragile natural habitat, and its sites of cultural significance,” explained Caroline Kennedy. “We are excited to partner with two outstanding island organizations, and for the entire island community and the general public to experience its beauty. We look forward to many more happy years in Aquinnah.”


Thursday 27 July 2023

Old as Adam, 33 Ceres Street , Portsmouth, New Hampshire


Old as Adam

33 Ceres Street

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

(603) 661-9373

Living the Dream: Adam Irish from Old As Adam



As some of you may know, I have a small obsession with the picturesque seaside town of Portsmouth, NH. With its amazing restaurants, coffee shops, and independent bookstores paired with some fantastic colonial history and real estate – it’s kind of a dream. There is also a nice little cluster of antique shops in the surrounding area to explore. I took a day trip up to Portsmouth a couple weeks ago, and stumbled upon a newer antique vender, Old as Adam run by Adam Irish, right in downtown Portsmouth on Ceres Street. I was immediately impressed by his aesthetic, as well as his collection of unusual finds. What’s more, he’s a young proprietor in a stereotypically graying industry.


We were so impressed that we asked Adam to share a bit about himself, his business and his passion for antiques.


Adam Irish; age 27

Proprietor of Old as Adam


I’ve been collecting since I was a kid. Bottle digging especially captured my imagination as a boy; I found some amazing things digging on old farms and estates. For better or for worse, I am almost entirely self taught and have hardly studied antiques in any formal sense. My knowledge came from years hitting the yard sales and antique shops every weekend, countless hours watching the hammer fall at auctions, and many, many mistakes. My advice to someone interested in antiques or the antique business is just do it. Unless you have a specific interest (say eighteenth century American silver or turn-of-the-century art pottery), books are of little use. Get up early for the flea market and stay late at the auction. Don’t be intimidated. Buy what you like. Once you refine your tastes, study away (I’m currently enmeshed in a tome about the evolution of 20th century clothing labels).


How would you describe your store, your aesthetic and your target client?


I describe my store as a “Vintage Haberdasher & Cabinet of Curiosities.” I’ve always loved the aesthetics of turn-of-the-century shops and the elaborate signage that often festooned their storefronts. The sadly antiquated term “haberdasher” also conjures the 19th century, and so I decided to make my shop in the spirit of that era.


Old as Adam specializes in vintage menswear, from top hats to overalls. I try to be fastidious about keeping my stock true vintage, and have pieces dating from the 1960s back to the 18th century. Dapper is the word (although I stock the humblest vintage workwear as well). Suits, ties, vests, hats – I try to revive the great sartorial traditions of yesterday one sale at a time.


In the store, I favor late Victorian and early 20th century pieces, of both high and low origins (for example, you’ll currently find both a fine 19th century Parian bust and a caged 1920s utility light in stock). I also have a penchant for the quirky and strange, things that delight or dumbfound (in the past pieces of this nature have included 1920s clown shoes and a Victorian child’s coffin fashioned into a bookcase). I also favor fun and funky mid-20th century miscellany, but I haven’t found that these things fit comfortably in the store.


Who is my target client? That’s hard to say. I am always surprised at the variety of folks who appreciate what I’m trying to do. The one thing they all have in common is that they appreciate the past. They marvel at the quality of old things. They wonder at the stories, the history, the people these objects can embody. They share my joy in discovering something wonderful. That’s all you need to enjoy and collect antiques.


How did you start with your business?


I began selling when I was 8 years old and since then, I’ve always nominally been in the business (it supported me through college). Transitioning to full-time was something else, however. I became much more serious about online sales, but did most of my business while renting a space in an antique coop as well as selling to other dealers and at shows. I still do all of these things in addition to running the shop.


What do you love most about running Old as Adam?


I love it because it’s not work. It’s fun. I’d be doing all these things if I had different job. Since this is my full-time gig, however, I get to do even more. Sure, there are times when it’s painful to sit through a ten-hour auction, but most of the time I’m having a ball (even when getting on the road at 3am for the flea market).


What are some of your recent picks?


I love this pair of toy airships. I found them independently, but they look great together.


I recently acquired this marvelous Victorian coffee grinder. It originally would have held a place of honor in a general store.


Last week I came upon a large collection of antique clockfaces belonging to clock tinkerer. I find their weathered faces and fragmentary nature beautiful. In fact, I have a large iron clock face on the door to the shop. For me, it symbolizes the timeless nature of old good things and the illusory, consumption-driven idea that the passage of time leaves in its wake only the outmoded and undesirable.


What is your dream find, a specific item or elements of a favorite collection?


My dream find is discovering an old family menswear shop that was shuttered, say, in the 1960s. I know one is out there. I came close a few weeks ago, but most of it had been thrown out.  In this case, they still have a 1950s “Adam Hats” neon sign which I feel I am obligated to acquire.


In reality, however, I have no idea what my dream find is. I will come upon it one day at the bottom of a dusty trunk or in some ramshackle barn. Discovery makes this profession a constant pleasure. You never know what you’ll find next.


Most importantly, how can our readers find you and your shop?


Old as Adam

33 Ceres Street

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

(603) 661-9373

Tuesday 25 July 2023

George Cleverley Shoes


George Cleverley was born on the 10th of August 1898 into a shoemaking family in London. George moved to Colchester in Essex with his parents when he was 2 and spent his childhood selling bootlaces and polish. After finishing his apprenticeship at 15, he was called up to the Royal British Army for World War I and was then stationed in London before joining a British  army boot factory in Calais, France. After the war he joined Tuczec, a high society London shoemaker on Clifford Street, Mayfair where he remained for 38 years. George left Tuczec in 1958 to start his own business - G.J.Cleverley of Cork Street, Mayfair, London.


After establishing G.J. Cleverley in London’s Mayfair not far from where the office currently sits today, George served some of the world’s most illustrious names spanning world leaders, industry titans and social figures and quickly became known for making the Cleverley shape – a graceful, chisel-toed shoe which became signature to his extraordinary craft. George died in 1991 at nearly 93 years of age and was still working, virtually, until he died.



In 1978, George Cleverley chose longtime pupils John Carnera and George Glasgow to succeed him in the business given their shared high principles of shoemaking, Between them, George and John have a shared experience of over 100 years in the Bespoke shoemaking world.


Today, the company is still a family business led by Mr. George Glasgow Snr (Chairman) & Mr. George Glasgow Jr (CEO & Creative Director). Mr. Glasgow Snr worked with Mr. Cleverley for over 20 years and is based in Mayfair with over 45 years of experience in shoemaking. Mr. George Glasgow Jr splits his time between Los Angeles & London and has been working alongside George Snr for over 20 years.

Sunday 23 July 2023

Locals fear the Scottish village of Kenmore is becoming a 'playground' for American billionaires / 'It is literally a ghost town'

'It is literally a ghost town': Locals fear Scottish village is becoming a 'playground' for American billionaires


Kenmore sits on the banks of the River Tay and is home to around 100 residents. Arizona-based Investors Discovery Land Company has snapped up a lot of real estate in the region, which is causing concerns among the locals the area is becoming "hoarded by the elite".


Connor Gillies

Scotland correspondent @ConnorGillies

Saturday 22 July 2023 15:54, UK


There are fears a peaceful Perthshire village is becoming a "ghost town" for locals who claim American billionaires are taking over to create a "playground" for the super-rich.


Kenmore sits on the banks of the stunning River Tay and is home to about 100 residents.


Neighbouring Taymouth Castle, built in 1842, and its vast swaths of land have been bought up by an Arizona-based business which boasts of transforming the area into a plush resort for the mega-wealthy.


Investors Discovery Land Company (DLC) - which claims to be one of the most exclusive residential real estate development companies in the world - has also snapped up and subsequently closed the local hotel and post office.


The foreign business empire has also bought several homes as concerns mount that the area is becoming "hoarded by the elite".


It has been reported DLC's clients include billionaires, CEOs, presidents and celebrities.


A recent sales brochure from the US firm suggested the plans would include "a community including 208 residential units and club suites" and is only "30 minutes by helicopter" to Scotland's major cities.


The castle restoration project was given planning permission by Perth and Kinross Council in 2011.


Locals suggest their surroundings are being strangled and have mounted a petition to "fight back".


Campaigner Rob Jamieson told Sky News: "In their other developments their homes range from £3m to £50m. They are going to try and close this all off. They don't want the great unwashed walking past their high-end homes.


"None of us will ever set foot in it unless we want to tug a forelock. It is everything that a rich person could ever want but they never have to leave the confines of that estate. They are not going to be going out for tea and scones to the local tearoom.


"It is abhorrence to those of us who live around here."



DLC rejected numerous Sky News interview requests but insisted all regulations were being followed, including Scottish legislation giving the public the right to roam on paths surrounding the historic castle.


A spokeswoman did not deny suggestions the area will become a gated community.


The company website states the golf course and amenities will be "reserved" for the owners.

Saturday 22 July 2023

Is This the End of the Red Carpet?



Is This the End of the Red Carpet?


The actor’s strike could have far-reaching implications for how we watch and consume fashion.


Vanessa Friedman

By Vanessa Friedman

July 20, 2023


At first it seemed impossible to imagine: No more red carpets! No more photos of movie stars and names to watch in fabulous gowns blanketing the internet. Could “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” be the last gasp of that marketing Valhalla of fashion and film that was the modern premiere — at least for the foreseeable future?


At least, that is, until the SAG-AFTRA actor’s strike, announced July 14, is resolved. For the moment, actors, from the unknown to the most celebrated, are banned by their union from engaging in any promotional activities. That means big openings. That means magazine covers touting new movies. That means film festivals with all their associated dressing and posing opportunities. That means social media pics of them getting dressed for premieres.


And what that means for fashion, an industry that has become increasingly intertwined with the denizens of Lalaland in a mutually beneficial ecosystem of influence and outfits — and as important, what it means for the public’s understanding of fashion, much of which is received through the lens of celebrity — is potentially enormous.


Actors sign contracts that can be worth millions, negotiated by agents and managers, to be brand ambassadors, appearing in some combination of advertisements, front rows, store openings and red carpets, dressed by stylists, generating coverage, desire and, most of all, publicity for everyone involved.



Their work may form their substance, but fashion is the grease that sends them viral (and that has bolstered their bank accounts at a time when the economics of movies are shifting — part of the reason for the strike). Timothée Chalamet on the red carpet in Venice in a crimson Haider Ackermann halter top and Florence Pugh in a sheer pink Valentino “revenge dress” are images that put those actors and those brands at the center of social media for days.


Alison Bringé, the chief marketing officer at Launchmetrics, a data analytics and software company, wrote in an email that Margot Robbie’s appearance in Schiaparelli at the film’s Los Angeles premiere “generated over $2.1 million in media impact value in just 24 hours, which is more than half of what Schiaparelli’s fall 2023 show amassed overall.”


With all of that grinding to a halt, along with studio productions themselves, what happens? And who are most at risk? Actors and studios are not the only ones with a stake in this game.


At the moment, agents and talent seem to be holding their breath and swiveling their heads to see what everyone else is doing. The brands themselves are staying mum. Louis Vuitton, whose ambassadors include Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams and Ana de Armas, declined to comment. Versace, which works with Anne Hathaway, ditto. Prada, ditto. Gucci, ditto. Dior did not respond to requests for comment.


In theory, all fashion promotional work (as opposed to movie promotional work) can continue. Commercial appearances are not prohibited, according to the strike guidelines. And there are myriad such opportunities that have nothing to do with premieres. Recently Wimbledon turned into a catwalk of sorts for celebrities including Emma Corrin and Brad Pitt.


Much has been made of the fact that the first big red carpet victim will be the Venice Film Festival, scheduled for Aug. 30 to Sept. 9, and the de facto start of awards season, with all the fashion fanfare that implies.


This year the films rumored to be showing star Zendaya, a Louis Vuitton ambassador (Luca Guadagnino’s “Challengers”); Jessica Chastain, who works with Gucci (Michael Franco’s “Memory”); Emma Stone, also a Louis Vuitton ambassador (Yorgos Lanthimos’s “Poor Things”); and Penélope Cruz, who works with Chanel (Michael Mann’s “Ferrari”). All of them will most likely be absent.


Yet, as it happens, early September is also New York Fashion Week, and the start of the whole fashion season. That’s four weeks of potential for appearances and events.


Even more pointedly, brands themselves have increasingly tiptoed into the content arena, making short films, especially during the pandemic. What sorts of non-studio videos could they cook up? Entirely independent films are allowed under strike guidelines. YSL even has its own film production division. The studios would look selfless — supporting talent — and the talent would look, well, good. When given lemons. …


Indeed, the strike may make brand relationships even more important, both as a source of income and as a creative outlet. “The first writers strike, our teams were busier than ever, because a lot of the actors had to do more promotional appearances to subsidize for any slowing in their main vocation,” said Brooke Wall, the founder of the Wall Group, a talent agency for stylists that is part of the Endeavor group.


That’s one way of looking at it. The issue is thornier, however, because of the morality and optics involved. Even if SAG-AFTRA members are allowed by the rules to continue their outside work, will it not seem gauche to do so? Given the glitz and champagne associated with fashion, it could seem a bit like partying while Rome burns.


Fran Drescher, the SAG-AFTRA president and face of the strike, received vociferous blowback when she attended the Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda couture extravaganza/junket in Puglia, Italy, just before the strike was announced, even though a spokeswoman for the union told The Hollywood Reporter that it knew about the trip, and it was fine. Add in the fact that it is often the most boldface names in the industry who have snagged the biggest outside contracts — exactly that layer of Hollywood that does not necessarily need work during a stoppage — and the situation gets even more complicated.


On the other hand, there is a whole substratum of talent who are not at the negotiating table and yet are seriously affected by the red carpet suspension: the stylists and hair and makeup artists who help create the image-making magic, and whose salaries are generally paid for by the studios, not the talent.


“There is no work!” said Kate Young, a stylist whose work focuses on Hollywood.


The end of movie promotion is a “massive issue,” according to the stylist Karla Welch, who said she had had four premiere tours cut short or canceled already. “Basically any stylist who works with celebs just saw all their jobs go away,” she said. “The only thing celebs’ people can do are fashion jobs, and that’s the few people who have celebs with brand deals.”


This may be partly why there has been little noise thus far about suspending brand appearances. There is a trickle-down effect at work that is not insignificant when it comes to people’s livelihoods. Still, Ms. Wall said, “this is a whole new world, so we shall see.”


Indeed, there is a scenario in which the suspension of the red carpet has the unintended but far-reaching consequence of decoupling fashion and Hollywood, or at least significantly changing the balance of power. It could prove to brands that they need celluloid celebrities less than they may think, ushering in a new era of ambassadors focused on the rest of the world and talent that has nothing to do with back lots or Oscar statuettes. Really, it has already begun.


Two names: BTS and Beyoncé.


Vanessa Friedman has been the fashion director and chief fashion critic for The Times since 2014. In this role she covers global fashion for both The New York Times and International New York Times. More about Vanessa Friedman

Thursday 20 July 2023

Royal Toppers

Christy's Hats, LONDON / VIDEO: How to Measure Your Head for a Hat | Christys' London(Christys Hats)

Miller Christy is born at Ormiston Lodge, Haddington, Scotland.

Miller Christy commences his apprenticeship in the ‘Art and Mystery of Felt Making’ in Edinburgh.

Miller Christy travels south to employ his hat making skills and on March 1st 1773, in partnership with fellow Quaker Joseph Storrs, they set up a hat manufacturers in Whitehart Court, London.

Following the retirement of Joseph Storrs, Miller Christy's two sons - Thomas and William - join the firm.

John Heatherington, a London haberdasher, is apprehended for causing a disturbance of the peace. He was one of the first men to wear a top hat.

William Christy and three partners buy Underbank Hall and open The Stockport and East Cheshire Bank - now part of the National Westminster Bank. The Stockport felt and hat making works are taken over by the Christy family


Christys' wins one of the first tenders for supplying hats to the newly formed (1929) Metropolitan Police


The Bowler hat is invented by Lock & Co and The Bowler Brothers. Christys, from its factory in Bermondsey, London, becomes one of the largest manufacturers of this iconic British styles.

Prince Albert wears a Christys' Top Hat - and popularises the style as an every-day essential for the British gentleman.

The Christy establish a hat store at No. 1 Old Bond Street, at the corner of Piccadilly

The Trade Mark Registration Act enables Britain's first trade mark protection. Amongst the first registrations, on 1st March, is the Christys' London trade mark with Royal Garter. It has remained unchanged ever since

JB Stetson visits the Christys' Stockport factory and writes to enquire 'How Christys maintains such a productive workforce?. Stetson use Christys' design for the Ten Gallon hat - for which Christys received an on-going royalty.

The Trilby Hat acquired mass appeal following its use as a prop in the London dramatization of George du Maurier's novel - Trilby (the heroine of the play was called Trilby O'Farrell). It helped signal the gradual shift towards the more relaxed styles of dress of the Edwardian era after the strict dress codes of Victorian times. Christys’ makes its trilbies in the same way, to this day. Armed forces hats ranging from Police helmets and Naval Tricornes through to musician caps appeared alongside the Company’s everyday top hats and bowlers. The company were particularly proud of their association with the Dreadnought class of Destroyers in the Royal Navy. Christys employs over 3000 people in Stockport alone, making Christys the world’s largest hat manufacturer.


The snap brim felt hat is introduced and popularised by the Prince of Wales. The style can be worn not only with lounge suits but also with sports clothes, replacing the cap on the golf course.

Future sister company Compton Webb (J Compton Sons and Webb) establishes a military hat making factory in Witney Oxfordshire.

With the gradual decline in hat wearing, consolidation in the hat industry commences. Christys acquire the famous hat brands of Henry Heath, Tress & Co. and Lincoln Bennett.

With the popularisation of the scooter, the Compton Corker - a leather covered protective helmet - is the headgear of choice for both style and safety.

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother visits the Stockport factory, having commissioned Christys to make miniature hats for Queen Elizabeth II’s dolls house many years earlier.

The store at No1 Old Bond Street - opened in 1851 as a Christys store and then renamed as Scotts - after the manager of the store - but still owned by the Christy family, is sold to Lock and Co. The Christy Beaufort range of riding and equestrian hats is launched to great acclaim. The Beaufort adorns many great riders and jockeys - including the 2000 Sydney Olympic GB equestrian team.

Christys closes its Stockport works and consolidates all operations in Witney Oxfordshire with sister company Compton Webb.


The new millennium blows fresh life into hat wearing as those at the forefront of fashion and music rediscover and reintegrate hats to the style world.

Famous Department store Liberty acquire Christy & Co and Compton Webb - and help to introduce the brand to a new wave of style conscious hat wearers, including collaborations with great British brands such as Paul Smith and Margaret Howell.

Christys celebrates 240 years since foundation - with a special edition fedora hat to be sold at Harrods department store.

Christys becomes an official supplier of Panama hats to the Lawn Tennis Association for the Wimbledon Championships

Christys is proud to become the official supplier of genuine Panama hats to retail giant Marks and Spencer

Christys signs an exclusive license to become the official headwear partner to Royal Ascot

To celebrate 245 years of hat making excellence, Christys launched a range of complementary accessories in collaboration with some of Britain’s most cherished heritage brands such as Conway Stewart, Deakin and Francis and Tustings.

Christys signs exclusive licensing deals to supply headwear and accessories to sporting icons Juventus, Paris Saint Germain and the Football Association.

Sunday 16 July 2023

Jane Mallory Birkin, actor and singer, born 14 December 1946; died 16 July 2023


Jane Birkin obituary

Singer and actor who duetted with Serge Gainsbourg on Je T’aime … Moi Non Plus in 1969 and went on to a prolific film career

Ryan Gilbey

Sun 16 Jul 2023 14.35 BST


The sultry 1969 hit single Je T’aime … Moi Non Plus was a four-and-a-half-minute distillation of languid Gallic cool, in which a Frenchman, his voice coarsened by Gitanes, is heard billing and cooing with an ecstatically sighing young Englishwoman over the swirling motif of a baroque organ. That man was Serge Gainsbourg; his companion was Jane Birkin, the actor and singer, who has died aged 76. Though Birkin worked with some of the world’s finest film-makers, including Jacques Rivette and Agnès Varda, she knew that Je T’aime … would be remembered above everything else she did. “When I die, that’ll be the tune they play, as I go out feet first,” she said.


Birkin was 21 when she and Gainsbourg met while starring together in the film Slogan (1969). He was 40, and had previously recorded Je T’aime … as a duet with Brigitte Bardot, only for the actor to withdraw permission for it to be released. Birkin had already starred in a 1965 musical, Passion Flower Hotel, scored by John Barry, whom she married that year at the age of 19 and from whom she was divorced in 1968; he was the father of Kate, the first of Birkin’s three daughters. But it was on the duet with Gainsbourg, she said, that for the first time “somebody thought I had a pretty voice”.


She sang her part an octave higher than Bardot. “It gave it a choirboy side that [Gainsbourg] liked a lot,” she said. Rumours that the vocal track was recorded under the covers during a moment of intimacy were untrue (the couple were standing at separate microphones in a studio in central London) though they did nothing to harm the mythology surrounding a song that was later condemned by the Vatican. “I just remember thinking it was all terribly funny,” she said.


Among the countries that refused to give the song airplay was Britain, where it became the first banned single to reach the top of the charts, as well as the first non-English-language No 1. It was also the lead track on the 1969 album Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg.


Birkin’s life remained inextricably linked to his. They were together for 11 years, and had a daughter, Charlotte, who became a successful singer and actor. Even after they separated in 1980, he continued to write for her, and she went on performing his songs for the rest of her life.


Far from being an adjunct to Gainsbourg’s legend, she possessed her own style, intelligence and attitude. Her wistful beauty was rendered unorthodox by an eager, gap-toothed smile. Her voice was as bewitching as her face: though she lived in France from 1969 onwards, and spoke French fluently, she never shed her breathy, crisply English accent.


She was born in London to Judy Campbell, an actor who had been a muse to Noël Coward, and David Birkin, who was a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy and a spy during the second world war. His duties included taking British spies across the Channel to France and bringing back stranded airmen and escaped prisoners of war.


Jane was educated at Upper Chine school on the Isle of Wight. At 17 she starred with Ralph Richardson in Graham Greene’s play Carving a Statue; Greene himself had a hand in casting her. Her screen acting career began with a walk-on part in The Knack … and How to Get It (1965) and a controversial nude scene in Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up, which she agreed to because Barry had told her she wouldn’t dare.


She had a small role in the Warren Beatty caper Kaleidoscope (also 1966), played a model called Penny Lane in the psychedelic curiosity Wonderwall (1968) and starred with Romy Schneider and Alain Delon in the psychological thriller La Piscine (1969). She got on famously with Bardot when they starred together in Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman (1973). Gainsbourg directed her in a 1976 film named after their hit song; he cast her as a boyish woman who attracts the attentions of a gay man, played by the Warhol regular Joe Dallesandro.


Birkin was tremendous fun in two star-studded Agatha Christie thrillers, Death on the Nile (1978) and Evil Under the Sun (1982). In the cryptic Love on the Ground (1984), Rivette cast her and Geraldine Chaplin as actors drawn into a playwright’s mysterious world. She appeared in two films, The Pirate (1984) and Comedy! (1987), made by her then partner, Jacques Doillon, with whom she had her third daughter, Lou, also a singer and actor. Jean-Luc Godard directed her in Keep Your Right Up (also 1987), while for Varda she played a woman besotted with a 14-year-old boy in Kung-Fu Master! (1988); the film co-starred Charlotte and featured Lou, and was inspired by an idea by Birkin herself.


In the same year, Varda made her the subject of Jane B For Agnès V, in which the actor performed a variety of specially scripted scenes (in one, she was a Stan Laurel type, in another a cockney mother) interspersed with musings on her life. She received the documentary treatment once again when her daughter directed Jane By Charlotte (2021).


Her two most impressive performances came in Bertrand Tavernier’s These Foolish Things, aka Daddy Nostalgie (1990), in which she was moving as a woman trying to repair her relationship with her dying father (Dirk Bogarde); and La Belle Noiseuse (1991), Rivette’s spellbinding four-hour study of a painter (Michel Piccoli) and his new muse (Emmanuelle Béart), in which Birkin played the artist’s wife and former model, who must deal with the indignity of having her younger self literally painted over.


Later films included Alain Resnais’s musical On Connaît la Chanson (1997) and the Merchant-Ivory coming-of-age story A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries (1998).


In 2002 Birkin was diagnosed with leukaemia, but by 2006 she had made her directorial debut with the autobiographical family drama Boxes, which she also wrote and starred in, along with Chaplin, Piccoli, John Hurt and her daughter Lou. She appeared in Rivette’s final film, Around a Small Mountain (2009), played herself in Hong Sang-soo’s Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, and was reunited with Tavernier for his comedy The French Minister (also 2013).


Her look had been widely applauded in the 1960s, and seemed never to go out of date. In the 80s Hermès introduced a large and exorbitantly priced leather bag, named “the Birkin” in her honour. Fashion journalists in recent years could still be heard celebrating the “Jane Birkin top”, referring to the white lace dress made famous by her in the late 60s. “Real life was what I was best at,” she told Vogue magazine in 2016. “I didn’t have confidence in movie cameras or on stage. But I did have confidence in what I wanted in real life. If I wanted to be barefoot and wear a mackintosh, I would do it. I didn’t give a hoot.”


It was at 40 that she finally discarded her youthful ingénue image and performed her first live concert: “I cut my hair off like a boy, I wore men’s clothes. I only wanted people to hear the music and words. It was fantastic. And it was so frightening. Serge was there and he kept lighting his cigarette lighter to make everybody put their lighters on.” That show was preserved on her 1987 album, Jane Birkin au Bataclan. She continued singing and recording into her old age; among her later albums is Birkin/Gainsbourg: Le Symphonique, from 2017, in which the couple’s songs received new orchestral arrangements.


In 2020 she published Munkey Diaries 1957-1982, containing diary entries addressed to her favourite cuddly toy from childhood, which she can be seen clutching on the cover of Gainsbourg’s 1971 album Histoire de Melody Nelson. She buried the toy with him after his death in 1991.


She is survived by Charlotte and Lou, and six grandchildren, and by her brother, Andrew, and sister, Linda. Kate, a photographer, died in 2013.


 Jane Mallory Birkin, actor and singer, born 14 December 1946; died 16 July 2023

Jane Birkin, Singer, Actress and Fashion Inspiration, Dies at 76


She was a British-born “French icon” for years associated with the singer Serge Gainsbourg. In the U.S., she was known for lending her name to luxury handbags by Hermès.


Constant Méheut

By Constant Méheut

Reporting from Paris


July 16, 2023

Updated 11:51 a.m. ET


Jane Birkin, the British-French singer and actress whose collaboration with the artist Serge Gainsbourg made her a defining figure of the 1970s and whose personal style inspired a luxury handbag, died on Sunday in Paris. She was 76.


Her death was confirmed by President Emmanuel Macron of France, who called her “a French icon” in a message posted on Twitter. The French news media reported that Ms. Birkin had been found dead at her home but that the cause was not immediately known.


It was Ms. Birkin’s personal and artistic relationship with Mr. Gainsbourg that made her famous overseas, especially following their 1969 hit song “Je t’aime… moi non plus” (“I Love You… Me Neither”). In America, Ms. Birkin was mostly known for lending her name to the famous Hermès handbags, status symbols with a distinct strap fastener and signature latch.


Jane Mallory Birkin was born in London on Dec. 14, 1946, to the actress Judy Campbell and Cmdr. David Birkin of the Royal Navy. But it was her years in France that made her famous and established her as an embodiment of Parisian chic.



Among her first acting roles was The Blonde in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 film “Blow-Up.” It was two years later, on a film set, that Ms. Birkin met Mr. Gainsbourg, beginning a love affair that would last 12 years and captivate France.


Their erotic duet “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” whose lyrics are punctuated by breathy moans from Ms. Birkin, was seen as exemplifying the sexual revolution of the 1960s. It was condemned by the Vatican.


Following the breakup of the Gainsbourg relationship in 1981, Ms. Birkin continued singing and acting, including in films by Agnès Varda and Patrice Chéreau. In 1983, she released the album “Baby Alone in Babylone,” which included music and lyrics by Mr. Gainsbourg.


Mr. Gainsbourg, a director and composer whose music helped pioneer contemporary French pop music, died at 62 in 1991.


“He wrote for me from 1968 until the day he died,” Ms. Birkin said in an interview with The New York Times in 2018. “Why he went on asking me to interpret the songs that I had inspired I don’t know — but perhaps he knew that I’d be faithful at least to that.”


Ms. Birkin’s gamin looks and carefree bohemian manner transfixed generations of the style-conscious and inspired the expensive and highly coveted Birkin bag from Hermès.


“I would love to have been a sort of neat person and wear a Kelly,’’ she said in a 2018 YouTube interview, referring to the ladylike handbag created and named for the film star Grace Kelly. “But I never thought you could get enough in it.’’


The collaboration with Hermès, the French luxury house, started after its chief executive, Jean-Louis Dumas, saw Ms. Birkin struggling with a straw basket on a flight to London, its contents overflowing onto the floor. Ms. Birkin said she had not been able to find a leather bag she liked. Hermès devised the Birkin, which was, as she requested, “four times the size of a Kelly.’'


Ms. Birkin was additionally popular in France as an activist for women’s and L.G.B.T.Q. rights and also for her British accent when speaking French, which the French found endearing.


“The most Parisian of the English has left us,” the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, wrote in a message on Twitter. “We will never forget her songs, her laughs and her incomparable accent which have always accompanied us.”


Ms. Birkin suffered a mild stroke in 2021 and had recently canceled a series of concerts because of health issues.


She is survived by two daughters she had with Mr. Gainsbourg and the French film director Jacques Doillon: the singer-actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, each of whom has, like their mother, inspired designers and followers of fashion.


Guy Trebay contributed reporting from New York.


Constant Méheut has covered France from the Paris bureau of The Times since 2020. More about Constant Méheut