EXCLUSIVE PHOTO FEATURE: Essential Summer Style, Starring the Jaguar XK Convertible
Welcome to the first in a new series of exclusive photo features showcasing seasonal style essentials inspired by classic icons of elegance, sport and design, photographed with the most beautiful and coveted cars on the road. The emphasis is on luxury of course, but of the timeless variety as opposed to mere extravagance.
In our recent Classicist column on the 2010 Jaguar XK convertible coming out this August, we remarked on the sleek new cat's stylistic heritage dating back to 1948's XK120, as driven by the likes of Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable, as well as later models like the D-Type (or XK-SS) made famous by the great Steve McQueen. The first in our new series of exclusive shoots is inspired by them and stars the XK in homage to these stylish icons, both man and automotive (read all about the new XK here).
In particular, the influence of Gable (with his XK120 in 1954, top right) and McQueen (with his XK-SS, center right) can be seen in the summery style essentials we've assembled for this shoot. For the pastoral setting we drew on another classic Jaguar reference, an image of writer Truman Capote in a Jaguar XK-E, the model most closely aligned with the new XK, in the Hamptons in 1965 (bottom right).
In the spirit of summer we've chosen a classic combination of navy and white, popular as fashionable resort wear for a nearly a century and still going strong in the right circles. While navy blazers of the type shown here originated as part of English cricket club scenery and other elegant sporting occasions such as the Henley Royal Regatta, without gold buttons it needn't be unnecessarily nautical or costume-y.
The jacket shown here, in tropical weight wool with soft shoulders by the dashing Italian house of Etro, references its sporting antecedents with grosgrain tipping on the lapels, pockets and cuffs; however, since it is finished in the same color as the jacket the effect is a subtle one, while the slim cut updates the look with Italian flair. A cream linen camp shirt by Paul Stuart and white linen pants by Polo Ralph Lauren round out the rest of the ensemble.
As an alternative on cooler days or evenings - which we've certainly had plenty of this summer - we've also included a variation of the navy blazer by Brooks Brothers made of butter-soft goat suede with spiffy sporting details including a throat latch, stand-up collar, action back and pure Irish linen lining, which calls to mind the jacket worn by Gable above.
While a polka dot foulard silk scarf by the venerable British clothier Turnbull & Asser (shirtmaker to the Prince of Wales) provides not only another classic touch and added dose of sprezzatura, it also protects against the elements while piloting the XK with the top down at serious speeds. A hefty dose of McQueen meanwhile can be seen in the rakish cap, sunglasses and watch. For the feet and the road, a pair of pebble-sold leather driving moccasins by Tod's keep the haute Italian vibe going.
The checked linen driving cap - this model is made by Brooks Brothers - of the type favored by McQueen has no brim to collide with a car's headrest, and is infinitely more elegant than a baseball cap. Also on view: iconic Italian Persol sunglasses, in particular the model made famous by McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair. Starring in this feature are a foldable version of McQueen's faves, as well as a couple of other killer Persol models; all are available at Ilori. Also included is a pair of shades by Paul Smith. The watch is a classic and vintage stainless steel Rolex GMT-Master II, available at Tourneau, of a similar design to the Rolex Submariner model favored by McQueen (and which recently fetched a record price at auction). Read on for details of the rest of the accessories after the jump.
Gallery: Essential Summer Style 7/09
You'll need a camera to capture these stylish moments; included here is the all-black version of the Leica M8.2 digital rangefinder. "Discretion, intuitive work and robustness," are the watchwords of this model, which retains the key characteristics of the classic Leica reportage camera such as a compact shape and exceptional image quality. The all-metal body is made of a highly stable magnesium alloy for professional durability. For a little light reading we have Luxury Toys: Classic Cars edited by Paolo Tumminelli from teNeues, the most beautiful book we've ever seen on the world's most collectible sports cars. The oversize volume wtih exquisite photographs showcases 45 extremely rare models constructed since 1945, including a Jaguar XK-SS just like McQueen's.
We also have a sterling silver lighter by S.T. Dupont, again in homage to McQueen, who always seemed to have a cigarette dangling at a perfect angle while piloting his classic convertibles. This model is inspired by one first made for the Duke of Windsor. For when you reach your destination and are in need of a little refreshment, a bottle of Via dei Mille prosecco with its attractive mandarin orange label. Bottled exclusively for the chic Neopolitan restaurant of the same name in New York's Soho, the extra dry elixir is used in the restaurant's signature prosecco cocktails and is available there to guests by the glass, bottle, or for purchase to enjoy at home. Imported from Italy's Veneto region, the prosecco is characterized by its straw-yellow color and apple, pear and citrus aromatics. And for a summery fragrance we've chosen Polo Blue by Ralph Lauren, which "bottles the coolness of the ocean, the warmth of the sands and the smooth touch of a light sea breeze" with topnotes of melon de cavaillon, freshly sliced cucumber and tangerine.
Finally, to carry it all in style we have a canvas and leather Casiana tote bag from a collection by Floto Imports. The bag combines linen canvas with Vecchio Brown leather trim, smart contrast stitching, and brass hardware to create a truly classic piece of luggage. The interior of the bag is lined with striped cotton, while an inside zip pocket for holds a passport and travel supplies. The Casiana tote is handmade in Tuscany using Italian polished calf-skin leather and old world craft methods. The result is a rugged yet supple leather and canvas travel bag which is durable and will develop a rich patina with use and take on its own character, improving in appearance with age. The Floto Imports collection is inspired by vintage pieces with both an equestrian and nautical flair. The surprisingly reasonable bag along with matching pieces can be ordered via www.flotoimports.com.