Monday, March 31, 2014

RC's New Spring Duds

A Fitting at Saint Laurie,
Merchant Tailors
Spring. It brings warmer weather and the necessity for a cool wardrobe, both in design and weight of cloth. Not to mention the deep spiritual fulfillment to be found in new duds.

While shopping at Brooks Brothers, Richard, who hates the dull and drab in his sartorial style, admired some red trousers. Regrettably, the Brothers Brooks have not seen fit to make red trousers in Richard's size. Wishing to accommodate my husband's desire for colorful verve, I went online to find red trousers. Custom, I thought. Now that's the ticket.
Soon enough I found Saint Laurie, a merchant tailor that has been in business for over 100 years. That seemed pedigree enough, so I emailed the boss, Andrew Kozinn, asking if they could do red cotton trousers. Fortuitously, Andrew replied, their Spring Look Book featured red trousers. So I made an appointment for us to visit their showroom at 22 West 32nd Street.
The entrance to Saint Laurie.
Our first appointment was on January 31.
 Saint Laurie's selection of beautiful, Italian-cotton fabric.
Richard chose the three on the right: two blues and the red.
We wanted a lightweight, Summer sports coat. 
Andrew suggested Madras, and my heart leaped, thinking
back to the Madras shirtwaist dress that I took to college.
Richard chose the blue-violet pattern on the left.
Andrew's father, Murray, was an expert in Madras which, Andrew told us, cost 80 cents a yard in the bygone era. However, the colors did run if you got caught in the rain., After World War II, the Ivy League look was a mainstay at Saint Laurie who wholesaled garments to all the fine men's specialty shops in the country.  

Suits and cloth on display at Saint Laurie.
All of the clothing is made by hand.
Above, a jacket in progress.
 The pattern room.

Each year Andrew attends the fabric fairs in Paris and Milan and
brings home everything from Irish tweeds to Spanish linens.
 Lining fabrics.
The pressing area.
 Eight weeks after our initial appointment, Richard's 
garments were ready for his fitting.
Andrew Kozinn supervises while the tailor pins some adjustments.

Richard chooses a button for his jacket.
A fun fact about Saint Laurie is that they do costumes for Broadway shows and movies. They made the costumes for the recent Muppet movie. "You might wonder why the producers would come to an old school tailoring concern such as ours instead of a costume shop," said Andrew.  "However,  authentic human clothing is essential to the Muppets’ identity. The creators do not want them to be wearing dolls’ clothing.  So, we used all the canvases, felts, horsehairs and pads found in our regular custom jackets, trousers and shirts."
 A drawing by the costume designer for the Broadway show, Jersey Boys. 
Jackets for Jersey Boys.
 John Lithgow showing his appreciation for the tailor.
 Liam Neeson being fitted for the movie,
The Kinsey Report.
 Saint Laurie also makes custom shirts.
Luscious shirting fabrics which include
royal oxfords, voiles, batistes and broadcloths.
 You may have a tie made from Mimi Fong Asian silks --
or use the fabric for a fabulous tux.
Richard's new Spring duds will be ready on April 11.
After our trip to Saint Laurie, what better way to celebrate
then a dinner at our favorite West Village restaurant, Le Gigot.
 We have fun trading jokes with John and Daniel.
Happiness is dinner at Le Gigot and
new Spring duds for RC.

À Bientôt!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Walk to Soho on the Edge of Spring

A Downtown Flâneur
Today is the first day of Spring. It's sunny and chilly here in New York. Yesterday was the day before the first day of Spring. Rainy and cold. Under the gray sky, I decided to walk to Soho, perhaps to relieve the sameness of the apartment and to perk myself before tackling an essay for French class.
This arresting painting is on the wall
outside of a restaurant at Broome and Allen Streets.
I like the color-block style
coupled with the grotesque.
Connecting the dots, or blocks, as it were,
I came across this 1990's Todd Oldham dress
at pinkclouds for a grey day
a vintage shop...
A funny mural on Broome Street.
Hope she can run in those platforms.
Mr. Rabbit would like to greet Spring.
The perfect shop for my rainy day walk.
At pinkclouds - a scrumptious gown by Valentino.
A Spring green, the color of crocus shoots, with a delicate print of shells.
 An Oscar de la Renta blazer
on a pinkclouds hanger.
 Decor at pinkclouds.
A fabulous, giant brooch.
It's not vintage, just looks like it.
Blue enamel stars at pinkclouds...
Such a wonderfully curated shop. 
My thanks to Kylie Peterson of pinkclouds.
If you had time, you could have tea
at The Cafe on Broome Street:
But I must press on. I turn on West Broadway 
and head up to Uniqlo,
There I find Ines de la Fressange installed.
She has created a special line for the 
Japanese casual wear brand.
The color palette for the clothes is red, white and blue.
I sort of like the flower-patterned dress, but I think
it would look like a schmatta on me.
In general, I don't like dainty patterns.

Ines is the former muse of Karl Lagerfeld and modelled for his brand, Chanel. She grew up in an 18th c. mill outside of Paris, and is the granddaugther of Suzanne Lazard, the heiress to the Lazard banking fortune. She now has her own chain of clothing stores.
 Of course anything would look good on Ines.
 I have Ines' book, Parisian Chic.
In it she tell us that "a Parisian breathes the
air du temps and puts it to good use...
She is somewhere between rocker and
ho-hum bourgeois."
À mon avis, these clothes lean more to the ho-hum.

I prefer this graphic nuit et blanc look
from Marimekko.
And this Marimekko tunic and scarf as well.
Here's a better view of my tunic -- 
I'm here with Alice Carey at a tea party at
Debra Rapoport's apartment.
Photo by Nonnie Balcer

 Back to my rainy day walk.
I end up at Dean & Deluca, the splendid gourmet shop.
Could those be peonies?
Yes, Yes!
 Cakes at Dean & Deluca --
so beautiful...

And finally -- a little off the beaten path, but so interesting.
A collaboration between Isaac Mizrahi
and Kleenex for those darling little
tissue boxes ...
Vous avez du style!

À Bientôt!