Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Trotting the Globe!

As a schoolboy growing up in Australia and going to Boarding School we all had ports in which to carry our belongings in, to and from home for the holidays and also smaller versions to carry our books between classes and back to the dorms. They were also used extensively by schoolchildren until the advent of back packs to carry their books. What is a port you ask? Well basically it is a suitcase, as to why it is called a port I can only guess. I think that it was a small suitcase designated as hand luggage to be carried when disembarking off an Ocean Liner when travelling.

Invariably these small suitcases were made by Globetrotter. Going about its business since 1897 this British company has been quietly creating luggage of distinction, to become one of the best luggage companies in the world! They really do not subscribe to trends or fads, as their reputation has been built on good solid craftsmanship and design.

These are for the man who wants the perfect piece of solid reliable luggage. Carried by the solidly rich and famous from Douglas Fairbanks, Captain Scott, Sir Edmund Hilary to Winston Churchill, they are a travelling staple, having been to the ends of the world and back.

Each case is handmade with just the handles taking 5 days to make in antique Victorian presses. Cases themselves are made out of heavy fibreboard with multiple layers of bonded paper.

Of course over time they have updated some of their designs to move with the times, however the craftsmanship and general overall savoir faire of these cases styas the same. Recent lines for JCrew and Hackett have retained classic British styling and workmanship while remaining classic.

I wonder what has happened to my old Globetrotter port? I have a feeling it is in a barn at home in Australia, hopefully being discovered by an over inquisitive nephew!

Knot a Bowtie!

They say “never trust a man wearing a bow tie” however I am inclined to do just the opposite. Being a wearer of bow ties myself I consider myself to be one of the most trustworthy people I know! Delving into the meaning of this phrase was a little frustrating and I could not come up with a reasonable explanation. The explanations that did come to light I am not going to record on Savoir Faire as I will let my readers investigate for themselves.

As with my previous post on Bowlers, here is a little history on this staple of my wardrobe.
The bow tie originated among Croatian mercenaries during the Prussian wars of the 17th century: the Croat mercenaries used a scarf around the neck to hold together the opening of their shirts. This was soon adopted (under the name cravat, derived from the French for "Croat") by the aristocracy in France and thus flourished in the 18th and 19th centuries.

It is uncertain whether the cravat then evolved into the bow tie and necktie, or whether the cravat gave rise to the bow tie, which in turn led to the necktie.

Now we have all worn a bow tie at some stage in our lives, whether as a child, to our high school formal or to a wedding. I remember the huge dark blue velvet number I wore to my high school formal which seemed to have eclipsed everything in sight.

Public opinion equates the bow tie with formal evenings and weddings. Now however I notice the opposite. Neckties are slowly encroaching into the foothold that bowties held in this area, and bowties are venturing into day to day wear.

After a hiatus of about 30 years I have taken to wearing them again. Inspired by the Lanvin bowties available from H&M last year (of which I finally hunted one down on ebay), I cannot seem to get enough of them now. I am still having trouble tying my own and must confess I do have some ready tied ones; however I am not going to get into the argument of self tied against ready tied.

Warren St John of the New York Times wrote “To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think."

Does the wearer perceive himself as the embodiment of intellectuality or eccentric? Or both?
Whatever the reasons for wearing a bowtie these days, the item is experiencing something of a comeback with men, for a variety of reasons. From young hipsters who disdain conventionality to the man about town, they are now available in all shapes and sizes from a variety of retailers.

And to travel with your bow ties? The ultimate accessory from Goyard!

If wearing a bowtie is not ‘your thing’ there is no reason you cannot use them as below and bring a bit of the savoir faire into everyday life.
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