The Classicist: The Best of Men's Style
For your reading and viewing pleasure we present the first in a series looking back at highlights from the first year of The Classicist, the weekly column devoted to timeless style, enduring elegance, and true, built-to-last luxury as opposed to mere extravagance. For our first installment we present the best of Men's Style, from Savile Row to Italy and New York and back again, with suits, jackets, cashmere, shoes, accessories and everything in between. These are not the sort of things that ever really go out of fashion, so if you haven't already added to your wardrobe with some of these staples it's not too late.
Gallery: Best of the Best: Men's Style 2009
1. Anderson & Sheppard of Savile Row
Savile Row stalwart Anderson & Sheppard, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, is steeped in tradition, to say the least. Yet while other old-fashioned bastions of upper-class masculine British taste have been sold off or hideously modernized, A&S has managed to adapt and survive. The firm not only outfitted the great Fred Astaire - perhaps the best dressed man the modern world has ever known - but also Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, authors Evelyn Waugh and Somerset Maugham, Gary Cooper, Noel Coward, Sir Laurence Olivier, Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Duke Ellington.
2. David Chu Bespoke
In New York City, David Chu, founder of the Nautica brand, operates an ultra-chic Bespoke shop at his gorgeous Townhouse in Gramercy Park. "The bespoke experience is about understated elegance," Chu told The Classicist. David Chu Bespoke "blends the best of Savile Row and Neapolitan tailoring, marrying craftsmanship with modernity." Garments are hand-cut and stitched by a master tailor based in Naples. A gentleman can order anything he requires to be custom made, from suits, overcoats, tuxedos, and sport jackets to trousers, shoes, scarves, and 12-fold ties.
Gallery: David Chu Bespoke
3. Dunhill's Timeless Classics
In times of economic uncertainty luxury consumers looks to timeless classics they know will hold their value and last for years as opposed to flash-in-the-pan trends and glitzy impulse buys. We think that London-based men's clothier and luxury goods firm Dunhill, which dates back to the 1890s, is well situated to weather the storm in similar style thanks to their espousal of these same values. That's a very good thing as the company recently opened two new flagship stores, in New York City and London. The 7,000-sq.-ft. NYC store (above), on the corner of Madison and 55th, replaces the old shop at 711 Fifth Avenue.
Gallery: Dunhill Store & More
4. Duncan Quinn - The Coolest
Quinn , who makes some of the world's coolest suits, isn't exactly a tailor, though "designer" doesn't really capture it either. So how would he put it? "I simply have a strong view and an aesthetic to go with that view," he told The Classicist, "which encompasses the cars, wine, sailboats, cocktails and croquet." Sounds good to us. The dashing London-born former lawyer makes Savile Row-style clothes "constructed to celebrate days of glory and nights of excess." He opened his first shop in New York in 2003, and along the way he's attracted quite a following of well-dressed fellows, "gentleman rogues" who ascribe to the Quinn aesthetic.
Gallery: Duncan Quinn Designs
5. Loro Piana Luxe
Italian luxury label Loro Piana makes the most comfortable, classic, stylish and subtly luxurious clothes we've ever had the pleasure of putting on. World-famous for their cashmere, the 200-year-old company, which began as a textile merchant, has also branched out into other areas (including accessories and women's clothing) in more recent years with equal success. Loro Piana's motto has it that true luxury is "knowing, not showing," i.e. dressing for yourself, not to impress others. It's "an inner satisfaction that comes from an aesthetic, intellectual, tactile pleasure, stemming from tradition, research and genuine quality." What could be better than that?
Gallery: Loro Piana Luxe
Continued after the jump.
6. Church's: British Stalwart
Classic English shoe brand Church's was founded in 1873, but its roots date back to the late 1600s when a Northampton cobbler named Church first set up shop. The traditional shoemaker is known for its elegant footwear, which has been the choice of well-dressed British gentlemen for over 130 years. Its high-end models, which have names like the Consul, the Diplomat, the Chetwynd and the Gunthorpe, are still handmade in Northampton and cost in the neighborhood of £300 pounds, or about $600. The company recently redesigned Church's historic shop in London's Burlington Arcade, Britain's first shopping arcade, which was built by Lord George Cavendish in 1819 and houses some of the world's finest boutiques.
Gallery: Church's & the Burlington Arcade
7. Haspel: 100 Years of American Style
2009 marks the 100th anniversary of a true American sartorial institution: Haspel, makers of the classic seersucker suit that has come to epitomize elegance in the summer months for dapper gentlemen from coast to coast. The company's history dates back to New Orleans in 1909 when haberdasher Joseph Haspel began making suits in lightweight fabrics, allowing men to remain dressed to the nines even in oppressive climes. Haspel has been favored by the likes of presidents Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman and Franklin D. Roosevelt, as well as dapper movie stars like Humphrey Bogart, Gregory Peck, who wore Haspel seersucker in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962), and Cary Grant, who sported Haspel suits in Charade (1963).
Gallery: 100 Years of Haspel