Tuesday 30 April 2024

A Gentleman's London, Episode Eight: D.R. Harris & Co.

D.R. Harris and Co. opened in 1790 and is London’s oldest pharmacy, specialising in shaving products, aftershaves and colognes, and skincare items for men and women. Alongside this impressive range there is also a fully functioning pharmacy for which they hold the Royal Warrants to Her Majesty the Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. Their shop has many original old items of furniture and it is simply a pleasure to shop here. The vast majority of their own brand products are made and packed in England.  They state on their website that “the majority of our products are still produced by traditional methods, being hand-made and packed in our own premises in London.”


Located at 29 St James’s Street, London.





The story begins just before 1790 at No. 11 St. James’s Street where Harris’s Apothecary set up shop.


Over the next fifty years the family established a reputation selling Lavender Water, Classic Cologne and English Flower perfumes to this fashionable quarter of London.


One of the proprietors, Henry Harris, was a surgeon, while Daniel Rotely (D. R.) was an early Pharmaceutical Chemist.


For over two centuries this family business in the centre of men’s Clubland has served the gentry and the court of St. James’s and in 1938 was awarded the warrant as chemists to her Majesty The Queen, later the Queen Mother which was held until her death in 2002. In 2002 we were also appointed as Chemists to His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, an honour that was added to in 2012 when we had the Royal Warrant for Her Majesty the Queen bestowed upon us.


Today we continue to offer outstanding levels of service at our traditional Chemists’ shop at 29 St. James’s Street which includes much of the original furniture. We continue to adapt with the times, however, and our fine selection of soaps, shaving creams and soaps, aftershaves and colognes, skincare products and much more, continue to appeal to all those who appreciate quality and distinction the world over.



We aim to be as carbon neutral as possible and work hard to achieve this. One of the key areas of improvement has been in our packaging. We no longer use cellophane to seal packets and nearly all of the materials used are recyclable. Glass bottles can be re-used and wooden bowls can be re-filled.


We source as many products as possible from the UK, cutting down on delivery miles and supporting British business. We’re proud that most of our packaging is made in the UK.


Since June 2018 we have been working with our partners Eden Reforestation Projects and through them we now plant a tree for every purchase made online and in-store. For every trade order 5 trees are planted. We see this not as a cure-all solution for the environmental impact of our business but it is a project we believe in and we are pleased to be able to support it. You can read more about the initiative here.


In our shops and warehouse we recycle all our waste, using specialist companies. We dispose of any out of date liquids, creams and solids using a specialist industrial waste company. In the pharmacy we have specialist drug disposal bins. If you have any unwanted or out of date medicines please feel free to bring them in for safe disposal.


The shop on Piccadilly has recently introduced refill stations where we will be delighted to assist you in refilling your empty bottles with a range of our shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and soaps.


We’re keen that customers should be able to order and receive D. R. Harris products easily around the world. However, we also endeavour to be as environmentally friendly as possible which is why we have partnered with DPD who have managed to make their process completely carbon neutral.


For customers within a 1-mile radius of St. James’s Street we will be happy to deliver to you on our customised delivery bike upon request.

Sunday 28 April 2024

Tweed Run London bike ride evokes spirit of yesteryear


Tweed Run London bike ride evokes spirit of yesteryear

1 day ago



Described as "the metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style", the event includes a break for a cup of tea


Riders in their finest tweeds returned to the streets of London for the annual Tweed Run cycling event.


About 1,000 participants took to the saddle and embarked upon a 13.5 mile route that started in Clerkenwell and took in sights including Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral.


The civilised cyclists stopped to take tea and have lunch en route.


Tweed Runs now take place across the world but organisers said the London ride would always be their flagship.


BENJAMIN CREMEL Hailed as 'the metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style', the Tweed Run started in 2008 with just a small group of friends and now sells out every year with 1,000 tweed-clad cyclists taking part.

The ride sells out every year with 1,000 tweed-clad cyclists taking part


Riders are also eligible for the best moustache prize

For those wanting to emulate the look - or join in next year - the organisers offer some tips:


"The term 'overdressed' does not exist in our vocabulary. Tweed suits, plus fours, bow ties, and jaunty flat caps are all encouraged."


"Suggested attire: woollen plus fours, Harris tweed jackets, fair isle jumpers, alpaca coats, merino wool team jerseys; cycling skirts and perhaps a sporty cycling cape for the ladies, cravats or ties for gentlemen, and a sneaky hip flask of sustenance for afterwards."


"A small tip: we have found bowler hats a spot more aerodynamic than top hats.


"We do our best to avoid inclement weather but our Fair Isles can sometimes throw a horror in our faces.


"A full-sized umbrella is difficult on a bicycle but a sturdy Macintosh or cape might not go amiss."


"Dust off your vintage velocipede for the ride; prizes awarded for Best Vintage Bicycle. If your bike isn't quite a classic, try your hand at the best decorated bicycle competition.


"And of course don't forget our world-famous Best Moustache prize - open to both men and women, of course."

British army provides update after Household Cavalry horses rampage through London

Saturday 27 April 2024

Tweed Run 2024

The Tweed Run is a metropolitan bicycle ride with a bit of style. We take to the streets in our well-pressed best, and cycle through the city's iconic landmarks. Along the way, we stop for a tea break and a picnic stop, and we usually end with a bit of a jolly knees-up.


The next Tweed Run will be on:


 Saturday 27th April 2024

Thursday 25 April 2024

J. Press SS24

The Rise And Fall Of J.Crew

J.Crew Group, Inc., is an American multi-brand, multi-channel, specialty retailer. The company offers an assortment of women's, men's, and children's apparel and accessories, including swimwear, outerwear, lounge-wear, bags, sweaters, denim, dresses, suiting, jewelry, and shoes.


As of August 2016, it operated more than 450 retail stores throughout the United States. The company conducts its business through retail, factory, crew cuts, Madewell stores, catalogs, and online.


On May 4, 2020, the company announced that it would apply for bankruptcy protection amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.



Formation and catalog growth

In 1947, Mitchell Cinader and Saul Charles founded Popular Merchandise, Inc., a store that did business as Popular Club Plan and sold low-priced women's clothing marketed through in-home demonstrations.[6] Throughout the mid-1980s, sales from catalog operations grew rapidly. "Growth was explosive—25 to 30 percent a year," Cinader later recollected in The New York Times. Annual sales grew from $3 million to more than $100 million over five years.[6] In 1985, the "Clifford & Wills" brand was launched, selling women's clothing that was more affordable than the Popular Merchandise line. In 1987, two executives left the company to start their own catalog, Tweeds.


The 1980s marked a booming sales period for catalog retail giants Lands' End, Talbots, and L. L. Bean. Popular Merchandise initiated its own catalog operation, focusing on leisurewear for upper-middle-class customers, aiming for a Ralph Lauren look at a much lower price. The first Popular Club Plan catalog was mailed to customers in January 1983 and continued under that name until 1989. Popular Club Plan catalogs often showed the same garment in more than one picture with close-up shots of the fabrics, so customers could get a sense of how the garment looked on the body and be assured of the company's claims of quality.


Name change and first stores

In 1983, Popular Merchandise, Inc. became known as J.Crew, Inc. The company attempted, but failed to sell the Popular Club Plan brand.[6] Also in 1989, J.Crew opened its first retail store, in South Street Seaport in downtown Manhattan.


J.Crew Group was owned by the Cinader family for most of its existence, but in October 1997 investment firm Texas Pacific Group Inc. purchased a majority stake. By the year 2000, Texas Pacific held an approximate 62 percent stake, a group of J.Crew managers held about 10 percent, and Emily Cinader Woods, the chairman of J.Crew, along with her father, Arthur Cinader, held most of the remainder. The brand Clifford & Wills was sold to Spiegel. in 2000 with the intent to boost sales. In 2004, J.Crew bought the rights to the brand Madewell, a defunct workwear manufacturer founded in 1937, and used the name from 2006 onwards as "a modern-day interpretation", targeted at younger women than their main brand.


Going public and then private again

In 2006, the company held an IPO, raising $376 million by selling new shares equal to 33% of expanded capital. However, in 2011, TPG Capital LP and Leonard Green & Partners LP took J.Crew private again in a $3 billion leveraged buyout. On November 23, 2010, the company had agreed to be taken private in a $3 billion deal led by management with the backing of TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners, two large private equity firms. The announcement of the offer from two investment firms—including one that used to own J.Crew—came as the retailer reported that its third-quarter net income fell by 14 percent due to weak women's clothing sales. The company also lowered its guidance for the 2010 year. Under the deal as proposed, J.Crew shareholders would receive $43.50 per share in cash, representing a 16 percent premium to the stock's closing price the prior day of $37.65. CEO Mickey Drexler, the former Gap Inc. chief credited with turning J.Crew around since coming aboard in 2003, remained in that role and retained a "significant" stake in the company (as of September 2010, he holds 5.4% of outstanding shares).


Shortly after the announcement of the deal, some in the business community criticized the terms of the deal involving the company's CEO and a majority shareholder. As a result, the "go-shop" period was extended shortly after the initial announcement.In addition, several investigations relating to potential shareholder actions against the company were announced.[19] After the deal, TPG and Leonard Green borrowed more to help finance dividends totaled $787 million to them.



In June 2015, The New York Times reported that J.Crew's women's division was undergoing a slump because of the company's failure to react to two market trends: cheap "fast fashion" and "athleisure" items. In 2016, J.Crew partnered with Nordstrom to begin selling their products in stores and online. In December 2016, the company faced litigation after it moved its intellectual property "out of the reach of lenders."


In April 2017, the company cut 250 jobs, largely from its headquarters. The company also underwent several management changes, and long-term creative director Jenna Lyons left the company in April. The brand's longtime head of menswear, Frank Muytjens, left the company that month as well, and in June 2017, the company's CEO, Mickey Drexler, announced that he would later be stepping down as CEO role after 14 years with the company. Drexler announced he would stay on as chairman and still own 10% of the company. On June 12, 2017, J.Crew Group Inc. announced it had "made an offer to some of its bondholders to push back its most pressing debt obligation—about $567 million due in May 2019—and amend its term loan." At the time, J.Crew Group had around $2 billion in debt. Also in 2017, Drexler approached Amazon Inc about selling J.Crew to the tech giant.


In the summer of 2017, the company avoided a bankruptcy filing by having bondholders do a debt swap tapping into its brand name value. The majority of the bondholders agreed to the deal, with several others failing to stop the deal with a lawsuit. The deal lowered the company's debt.


In September 2018, J.Crew began selling its standalone "J.Crew Mercantile" brand on Amazon.


On February 16, 2018, J.Crew hired Adam Brotman, a long-time Starbucks executive, as president and chief experience officer. Brotman's first major impact was launching "J.Crew Rewards", the company's first reward program independent of the company's credit card. The rewards program offers free shipping and $5 back for each $200 spent.


In November 2018, J.Crew announced its CEO, James Brett, would step down and be replaced by an office of the CEO consisting of four senior executives from J.Crew. Brett took up the position in June 2017. The company released a press release stating Brett's departure was a "mutual agreement" between Brett and the company's board of directors. Brett will be replaced by Michael Nicholson (president and COO), Adam Brotman (president and chief experience officer), Lynda Markoe (chief administrative officer), and Libby Wadle, president of Madewell Brand. The new office of the CEO will be responsible for managing J.Crew's operations as the board establishes a permanent management structure. On November 29, J.Crew announced the dissolution of their Nevereven, Mercantile, and J.Crew Home sub-brands.


On April 11, 2019, J.Crew announced that president and COO, Michael Nicholson, will retain the title of interim CEO, along with the subsequent announcement of Brotman's departure.


J.Crew reported a net income of $1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, up from a net loss of $74.4 million in quarter four of 2018.


On January 28, 2020, the retailer announced that Jan Singer will assume title of CEO. Singer was previously CEO of Victoria's Secret, Spanx and was an executive at Nike.[42] She will replace Nicholson who will assume his previous position.


On May 4, 2020, J.Crew filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the company had amassed enormous debt even before the outbreak.


Chinos Holdings, Inc. and 17 affiliated debtors filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The Debtors have requested joint administration of the cases under Case No. 20-32181.


In September 2020, J Crew permanently closed all six of its UK stores after its parent group emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy following an approval plan to cut its debts.


In November 2020, J.Crew appointed new Chief Executive Officer. Libby Wadle replaced Jan Singer who had been a CEO for less than a year.


Retail stores

The company operates 506 retail stores, including 203 J.Crew stores, 129 Madewell stores, and 174 J.Crew Factory (including 42 J.Crew Mercantile) outlet locations, as reported in 2018. The company also operates internationally in Canada, France, the UK, and Hong Kong. Additionally, the company has 76 locations in Japan, which are operated under license by ITOCHU Corporation.


In March 1989, the first J.Crew retail outlet opened in the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, and the company planned to open 45 more stores. Five months after the opening of its first store, J.Crew added two new catalog lines: "Classics" and "Collections." "Collections" used more complicated designs and finer fabrics to create dressier and more expensive items, while "Classics" featured clothes that could be worn both to work and for leisure activities.[citation needed] In the fall of 1989, J.Crew opened three new stores in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; and Costa Mesa, California, all locations with strong catalog sales. By the end of the year, retail sales nearly hit $10 million. Despite 1989, revenues that year were estimated at $320 million, J.Crew suffered a setback when its agreement to sell its Popular Club unit collapsed at the end that year. In addition, rumors circulated that the company's Clifford & Wills low-priced women's apparel catalog was doing poorly.


J.Crew saw revenues reach $400 million in 1990 but reported that its four existing stores had not yet started producing enough profits to cover their overheads. The next phase of store openings included outlets in Philadelphia, Cambridge, and Portland. The company scaled back its plans for opening retail stores from 45 stores to 30 or 35.[citation needed] In early 1991 the company hired a director of new marketing development and began efforts to expand their sales into Canada. In April 1991, J.Crew mailed 75,000 J.Crew catalogs and 60,000 Clifford & Wills catalogs to potential customers in the province of Ontario. Response rates to this effort were slightly lower than in the United States, but each order, on average, was higher.[citation needed] In 1992, J.Crew intensified its push into international markets by hiring a new vice-president for international development. The company already mailed hundreds of catalogs to customers in Japan and Europe, most of whom had become acquainted with J.Crew while traveling or living in the United States.



J.Crew in Markville Shopping Centre (now closed)

In 2011, J.Crew opened its first international store in the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.[50] In 2012, J.Crew announced four new Canadian locations: Edmonton in West Edmonton Mall, Vancouver on Robson Street, and Toronto in Fairview Mall (now closed) and the Toronto Eaton Centre. All locations will carry women's and men's collections. Along with 5 new stores, although some of these stores have been closed recently. J.Crew announced to opening of two new factory stores in Canada, with one in Vaughan Mills and the other in Edmonton (The second J.Crew in Alberta) Continuing with its expansion in the Greater Toronto Area, J.Crew opened at Markville Shopping Centre in 2013 (and now closed). In early 2014, J.Crew unveiled its new flagship location in Yorkville, Toronto.


In an interview with the Financial Times in 2011, CEO of J.Crew Mickey Drexler said that J.Crew would be expanding to the U.K. with their flagship store being on London's Regent Street. He indicated that the company would be following up their recent expansion into Canada and Canadian e-commerce with a physical store in England, most likely followed by e-commerce elsewhere, such as France and Germany. Although a few locations were reviewed for the London store, including Covent Garden and the East End, the ultimate decision was to open on Regent Street.


In early 2014, J.Crew announced plans to open brick-and-mortar locations in Asia – to be spearheaded by two establishments in Hong Kong. A women's store is slated to open in the International Finance Centre, while a men's shop is in the works for On Lan Street. Both opened for business in May 2014.


From 2016 to 2018, J.Crew Group has closed 96 J.Crew and J.Crew Factory retail locations.


On March 2, 2020, J.Crew announced that it would pause the proposed Madewell IPO that was intended to be initiated on March 2. The company is considering a possible separation of J.Crew and Madewell into two separate companies.



Historically, each year the company issued 24 editions of the J.Crew catalog, distributing more than 80 million copies. Beginning in 2017, the catalog began being released with fewer pages and fewer issues per year.


J.Crew has been criticized for labeling its new super-small jeans as "size 000"., and for advertising them as "toothpick jeans". Critics have said the labeling promotes vanity, a practice known as vanity sizing. The "size 000" is smaller than a size zero and has three zeros, implying that it is two sizes smaller than the smallest normal size. This has caused people to question whether negative sizes will be available in the future, and if the method of labeling should be changed.


In early 2011, J.Crew was under fire by conservative media outlets for an advertisement featuring its creative director and president, Jenna Lyons, painting her son's toenails pink. Beneath the picture was a quote that read, "Lucky for me I ended up with a boy whose favorite color is pink." Some people were of the opinion that J.Crew was challenging traditional gender identity roles, although author Jo B. Paoletti said that it was "no big deal".

Monday 22 April 2024

Almost Ready for Making | Preparing the Rough Stuff | A Journey Through Shoemaking History John Lobb

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

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

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

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

Prince Charles Vintage bespoke hand made shoes by John Lobb

Vintage cleverley hand made shoes

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

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

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

Maison de retraite pour Aristocrates et grandes bourgeoises