THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF WINDSOR | THE HEART HAS ITS REASONS, SHE SAID

“I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility,

and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do,

without the help and support of the woman I love.”

–King Edward VIII, from his famous abdication speech of 1936.

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The Duke and Duchess of Windsor (AKA Wallis Simpson)— arguably one of the most controversial, talked about couples of the 20th century.  Their affair started while she was still married to her 2nd husband Ernest Simpson– a wealthy Englishman, through whom she gained access to British high society.  The two were introduced at a London social event, and soon she was a frequent guest at Prince Edward’s country getaway, Fort Belvedere.

In January of 1936, Edward was crowned the British Monarch upon the death of King George V. He, however, had no interest in being king. Edward’s focus was solely on marrying Wallis Simpson– the rags-to-riches American commoner who had somehow seduced the now King of England.  Many wondered aloud, what could he possibly see in her?  Give up the throne for– what? Apparently it wasn’t the sex. She’s credited with icily stating, “No man is allowed to touch me below the Mason-Dixon line.” There were also ugly and persistent rumors challenging her own physical endowments as a lady. Shady, unsubstantiated stories surfaced that Wallis Simpson was born a man, and suffered from Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome— a hormonal irregularity that causes a genetic male’s body to develop as a woman, but without fully developed, err, privates. Just the the kind of story any gal would love to be the subject of.

And then there were the stories of her affairs, Nazi sympathizing, and shopping.

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TSY’s FAVE FIVE ON SOUTHSIDERS MC | ICONIC BIKES THAT MADE HISTORY

Our friends over at SouthSiders MC run one of the hands-down, best bike sites going, and were kind enough to feature TSY in their ongoing feature called “Your Favorite Five”, which pretty much speaks for itself.  Picking just five bikes is near impossible, so there may be a sequel coming up…

\Via SouthSiders MC–

Blogs have become an incredible tool of communication, bringing over a decade a level of power to the multimedia publishing that print barely reached in a century.

Nevertheless, the rules remain the same : real & exclusive content, real writing, real photography make the difference that provides readers and not zappers. The Selvedge Yard is among the best true web publications. Based on the fascination for “Americana” and the American style, his maker, Jon Patrick is also a fashion contibutor to the Italian men’s fashion ruler GQ. Jon’s roots are plugged into the American Movie History.
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Some for beauty, some for brawn – all for their importance. How do you pick five? Should I stick to the classics, so its apples to apples? We’ll see…

Harley Davidson XR-750

Harley Davidson’s dominating, and sexy as all hell, flat track racer. First introduced in 1970, and seriously upgraded in 1972 as the aluminum “Alloy XR”, it not only became an icon on the dirt track, it was also Evel Knievel‘s weapon of choice. With its classic H-D orange/black graphic appeal and clean, uncluttered form – it’s a bike for the ages.

Husqvarna 1970 400 Cross
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Husky’s icon that became synonymous with another icon – Steve McQueen. Featured in his 1971 film, On Any Sunday, Husqvarnas were the most badass and beautiful motocross bikes of their day, with their 400 Cross becoming a highly coveted classic. The legendary Malcolm Smith tore it up alongside McQueen on an innovative eight-speed Husky 250, which he also used to handily dominate the competitive off-road circuit. Hell yeah, Husky!

1953 Triumph Blackbird

In the 1950s, there were more Triumphs sold in the U.S. than any other country. Their top-end Thunderbird 650cc vertical twin, with a little tinkering, could top out at 130 mph. A great bike, but fairly limited in offering. They were available in one color only – blue. So when public demand cried-out for a black Triumph, they finally released the Blackbird in 1953 – and it still slays me every time I lay eyes on her. Another important note – Brando, a motorcyclist himself, rode his own ’50 Thunderbird in the iconic film, “The Wild One”.

1940 Indian Scout

This beauty once belonged to none other than, you guessed it – Steve McQueen. Here you see the motorcycle company’s iconic Indian Head logo on the fuel tank. I personally prefer the pared-down Scout over the heavy-looking Chief, but they are beauties too. By the 1940s, Indians began to sport stunning paint jobs with up to 24 colors available, and several two-tone options – making them some of the most beautiful bikes ever produced.

Harley-Davidson Captain America Chopper

Growing up in the ’70s, there were 2 bikes that were emblazoned in my mind – Evel Knievel’s H-D XR-750, and Easy Rider’s Captain America Chopper. The vision of Peter Fonda, it was built by (I love this part…) a Black brother – Ben Hardy from Los Angeles, starting with an old ’52 Panhead Hydra-Glide bought at a Police Auction. It became an instant icon that brought choppers to the forefront of motorcycling, and really raised the bar for custom builds. Two were built for Easy Rider – one survived. Hell yeah, Captain America!

It’s hard to stop at five, I feel a “Part II” coming on…

JP

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DAVID HOCKNEY | STYLE– TAKE WHAT YOU WANT, AND DON’T LET IT TRAP YOU

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“The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty– you know you’re an artist.”

–David Hockney

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(Lt.) Artist David Hockney — image King Collection/Retna LTD (Rt.) Art Card by Simon Fieldhouse

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“Style is something you can use, and you can be like a magpie,  just taking what you want.  The idea of the rigid style seemed to me then something you needn’t concern yourself with, it would trap you.”

–David Hockney

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David Hockney’s philosophy on art appears to be perfectly manifesting itself in his personal style above. In his younger days, there was this cool juxtaposition between the artsy-fartsy, graphic form of the harsh, black-framed glasses and Warhol-ian mop-top, mixed with his rumpled, old school ease from the neck down–  prepster rugby shirt, chinos and battered tennis shoes.  Style– Just take what you want, don’t let it trap you.

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Circa 1965 — Visual artist David Hockney at an art opening. — Image by © Bob Adelman/Corbis.  I dig the clean, graphic shock of red & yellow against the black t-shirt and eyeglasses.  Simple, yet striking.

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“Any artist will tell you he’s really only interested in the stuff he’s doing now. He will, always. It’s true– and it should be like that.”

–David Hockney

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Circa 1980s– Artist David Hockney — Images by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis

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“Art has to move you and design does not– unless it’s a good design for a bus.”

–David Hockney

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MORGAN MOTOR COMPANY | MAKERS OF THE WORLD’S FIRST TRUE SPORTS CAR

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Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones behind the wheel of his yellow Morgan Plus 8 roadster in St. Tropez, France, 9 May 1971.  Photo by  Reg Lancaster/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Morgan owners are a unique bunch, and definitely my kind of people.  Typically, they aren’t your prissy, pretentious bunch of fetishists with pristine, untouchable autos.  They actually enjoy driving their beloved Morgans– and they drive them a lot, smiling all the while.

Much like British MG’s and Triumphs back in the day, Morgans gained popularity as relatively inexpensive and cool  sports cars (nowadays, a Morgan, still handmade, can set you back as much as $300,00 depending on your specifications, and be prepared to wait several years to take delivery) for young auto enthusiasts who would presumably get their kicks out of their ride for a few years, and then grow up and move on.  In fact, A young Ralph Lauren drove an off-white Morgan drop-top back in his early menswear days.  Ralph ended up letting the Morgan go because he could no longer afford to park it in the city– at least that’s how the story goes– but don’t feel sorry for Ralph, he now has one of the most enviably car collections in the world.

Over the years, the Morgan Motor Company”s quality, design, and nostalgic appeal proved to be timeless, right down to it’s Ash (yes, wooden) subframe– and spawned a strong legion of devoted followers.  And, if you know anything about Morgans, then you’re probably up-to-speed that it’s not the most user-friendly ride out there.  If you’re looking for luxury, comfort, and state of the art performance– move along.  This isn’t the car for you.  So why a Morgan?  Well, if you have to ask–

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Classic Morgan Sports Car on Blue Ridge Parkway — Image by © Martyn Goddard/Corbis

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”The real appeal of the Morgan is a sort of anti-appeal,” says Burt Fendelman, a three-time Morgan owner. ”They’re not comfortable. They’re not practical. They’re not even weatherproof. But they’re rugged and a wonderful driving car, very tight in their handling, with no power steering or brakes or anything else. They offer a closeness to the road, a feel that can’t be matched.”

How about the feeling of pulling up next to a Porsche or Ferrari and taking it off the line?  Yep, equipped with a more than capable V-8, a well-tuned Morgan Plus 8 can do that.  I probably wouldn’t dare to test the Morgan’s handling abilities at top speed (125-130 mph), but this is a classic open road cruiser best enjoyed at speeds where you can take in the scenery.

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Nov 27th, 1931, London, England — Two men lift the cover to show the Morgan Three-Wheeler automobile during preparations for the motor cycle show at Olympia in 1931. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

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BUNNY ROGER | BRITISH STYLE ICON YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF

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Legendary Style Icon Bunny Roger fiercely donned.  He invented the tight-cut Capri trousers while on holiday on the island in 1949, and by the 1950s he was sponsoring a neo-Edwardian silhouette – four-button jackets with generous shoulders and mean waists, lapelled waistcoats, high-cut trousers – for plain, checked and striped suits. Accessories, whether a high-crowned bowler or ruby cuff-links, were indispensable.

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As a menswear nut, I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit fawning over the sartorial splendor of the innovative, meticulous (and arguably neurotic) Prince of Wales.   And if you’re a true fan of the man credited with such style staples as turn-ups (trouser cuffs) and the Windsor knot (neckwear), you’d definitely be remiss in not knowing about the one and only– Bunny Roger.  Quite honestly, he’s definitely an acquired taste, and the dandy of all dandies– and now fabulously back in the spotlight with a recent inspiration nod from John Galliano.  Bunny Roger, with his epic style and fabled colorful persona is the definitely the yin to the Princes’ yang.  Bunny possessed a bold flair for tailoring and attitude that rivals his regal peer in terms of eccentricity, inspiration, and attention to detail.  To simply say he’s an original does not do the man justice.

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Circa 1951– Neil Munro (Bunny) Roger, (1911–1997), by Francis Goodman © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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From The Guardian–

Bunny Roger was probably not the most fearsome soldier the allied army has ever had in its ranks. Fighting for the British Rifle Brigade during the second world war, he went to battle wearing a chiffon scarf and brandishing a copy of Vogue. Once, when his sergeant asked him what should be done about the advancing enemy troops, Roger, who liked to wear rouge even with his khakis, replied, “When in doubt, powder heavily.” When he ran into an old friend in the hellish, bombed-out monestary of Monte Cassino in Italy he responded to his pal’s incredulous “What on earth are you doing here?” greeting with one word: “Shopping”. As dandies go, Roger wasn’t a massive spender – he bought a mere 15 suits a year from his London tailor, Watson, Fargerstrom & Hughes, but, boy, was he ever particular. He liked exquisitely cut tartans, Edwardian-style jackets in pale shades of cerulean blue, lilac and shell pink, sharply tapered at the middle to show off his astonishing 29-inch waist. Roger, like all proper dandies, rivaled Oscar Wilde in the one-liner department. When a gobby cab driver yelled from his window, “Watch out, you’ve dropped your diamond necklace, love,” Roger replied, in a flash, “Diamonds with tweed? Never!”

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Shots From the Sotheby’s catalog– Bunny’s (along with his brother’s) belongings were auctioned off back in ’98 where several of Bunny’s neckties were snatched up by none other that uber-smooth crooner Bryan Ferry.

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BTC BRISTOL TATTOO CLUB | THE SKUSE FAMILY — GENERATIONS OF KILLER INK

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vintage tattoo postcard Al Schiefley Les Skuse

Dueling tattoo legends & bosom buddies– Al Schiefley (left) & Les Skuse (right)

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Yep.  On a tattoo kick again.  Check out these sick pics and you’ll know why.  This ain’t no Miami Ink — this is Olde School, Hard-Ass Tats.

The legendary tattooist, and founder of the Sandusky Tattoo ClubAl Schiefley lived and worked out of Sandusky, Ohio where he opened his famous Pearl Street shop that dutifully operated for over a quarter of a century.  The photo above was taken back in mid 1950s during Al’s travels abroad, and shows him seemingly double-teaming a well-inked young lady (with a strange sense of humor) alongside his host and fellow tattoo master — Les Skuse, President of the famed Bristol Tattoo Club.  While in Bristol, Al had the honor of being tattooed by Skuse, as well as the respected London tattooist, Rich Mingins.

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Les Skuse tattoo parlor

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LEGENDARY CLASH STYLE | FROM PUNK ROCK ROUGH TO SARTORIAL SMOOTH

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Joe Strummer of The Clash, LA 1983.  (Photo by Ann Summa/Getty Images)

Joe Strummer of The Clash, LA 1983. (Photo by Ann Summa/Getty Images)

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I don’t know if there’s a band that has inspired me over the years in terms of style more than The Clash. The way they could effortlessly mix punk and street style with sartorial flair and make it look so effortless and cool was intoxicating.  The mix of tailored suits with suede creepers, Doc Marten boots (back when they were a symbol of rebellion, rather than conformity) funky accessories and headwear was pure art.

The Clash definitely pioneered rock & roll fashion during the 80s and kept things tasty when the rock and fashion world was getting, well, wierd.  The true master of style in the band,  in my humble opinion, was not Joe Strummer or Mick Jones– it was the cool cat bass player, Paul Simonon.

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The Clash, legends of music and 1980's rocker fashion. Photo by Rex USA ( 88672C )

The Clash, legends of music and 1980's rocker fashion. Photo by Rex USA ( 88672C )

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The Menswear Fashion Melting Pot

 

Over the years, an obvious continental divide has existed in menswear between American, English & Italian style– but is it rapidly shrinking?  Is global fashion largely replacing long-standing traditional dressing and style?  Not all of it is intentional either.  It’s also that a lot of guys just don’t know or care. How many fathers teach their sons how to dress properly?  I think it’s safe to say that those conversations aren’t happening anymore.  The home-fires seem to be burning out, as more and more guys are being swallowed up by the– shirt always untucked, nothing fits, nothing matters, can’t even stand up straight, I’m lucky to have even got out of the house dressed, square-toed shoe wearing, bad style fog. 

The world is getting smaller everyday, that’s just a fact we have to live with.  Fashion & media influences now move at break-neck speed, and it seems like a lot of cultural flavor & integrity is in danger of getting lost, as we all seem to be moving largely in the same direction.  More than ever, product is finding it’s way into brands where it doesn’t belong– even classic brands that in the past were very diligent in regard to their positioning, are getting loose.  Ironically, even a lot of the “brand heritage” reissues that are all the rage, seem to reflect today’s fashion interpretation of heritage, rather than actual history itself– because “heritage” is a buzz word that sells right now.  

In short, product homogenization and co-opting is openly happening worldwide, and at an alarming rate.  I’m not saying it’s all bad– a healthy chunk of classic American style that we know and love today was actually borrowed from somewhere else.  The Japanese in turn have swallowed up American and English style (and are moving on to the Italians).  American hipsters are looking at the Japanese for how to look, well, American.  Not surprising– the Japanese are good at taking our toys and making them better.  The whole thing is getting a little too convoluted these days for my taste.

Everything is moving so fast– how much thought is being given to the long-term?  –By anyone?  

Brands need to mind the shop, not just the register– or we’re going to end up with a big, tasteless stew.  


ralph laurenduke of windsorgianni agnelli

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Make it a Double.

So have you noticed that the shoe of 2008 was the monk?  It’s always been an icon, but everyone’s been hitting it especially hard lately.  And if you’re really cool– double buckle– worn with jeans that are either rolled or on the shorter side to show off the ankle– and definitely no socks.  

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That’s a pretty nice pair of Edward Green Westminsters– Goodyear welted, double leather sole– cost more than my first car.  Care for them properly and they’ll easily outlast you.

They are called monks because that’s who originally wore them– back as early as the 15th century.  In the 1920s they became fashionable and have been with us ever since.  How do I sneak these in the house?  Joking, Honey.