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au t u m n –  w i n t e r 2 011-2 012

To make the new Audi A6 lighter we stopped at nothing. We even found a new way to combine steel and aluminium. The result is a lighter, strongerframe which makes the car both more dynamic and, impressively, 16% more fuel efficient than its predecessor. Engineered with a lighter touch. The new Audi A6 with aluminium hybrid body.

4,9 - 8,2 L/100 KM â—† 129 - 190 g CO2/KM. Environmental information (RD 19/03/2004): Shown model with equipments.

We work mainly with international advertisers. If you are interested in our advertising rates, please contact Jérôme Stéfanski, or +32 (0)475 41 63 62 Nothing in this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the publisher. The publisher cannot be held responsible for the views and opinions expressed in this magazine by authors and contributors. Bespoken is neither responsible for nor endorses the content of advertisements printed on its pages. Bespoken cannot be held responsible for any error or inaccuracy in such advertising material.

Editor: Jérôme Stéfanski Publisher: Gregor Thissen Project Coordinator: Kristel Geets Styling: Sylvain Gadeyne Graphic Design: BaseDESIGN Writers: Nigel Bishop Bruce Boyer Alan Cannon-Jones Dave Lackie Peter Marshall Eric Musgrave Stephen Papandropoulos Emma Portier Davis Janet Prescott Jérôme Stéfanski Proofreading: Photographers: Ronald Stoops Stephen Papandropoulos Filip Vanzieleghem Fotostudio Uyttebroeck

Editorial COMMENT

CLOSER TO YOU In this ninth edition of Bespoken, we will take up a little more space to talk about ourselves – please bear with us. In our pages, you will find a large section dedicated to the new communication concept that attempts to bring Scabal closer to you, our valued reader and customer. It is our aim to bring our two main strengths – the fabrics and garments – closer together. By visually combining these two elements, we wish to underline our competence as a fabric specialist among the international garment brands. We will try to enhance the information content that we provide and contribute to the general level of information about fabrics, their origins, specificities and features. At the same time, our new concept, ‘Mr Fabric’, will also provide a bridge between the design and technology side of cloth and the personality of the suit’s wearer, expressed by our motto, ‘Made-By-You’. Following many months of crisis, the world is perhaps in the mood to celebrate again; we have noticed the much-welcomed return of formal wear to the fashion scene, a trend about which we are very enthusiastic. Tuxedo, dinner jacket, morning coat; all forms of ceremonial and evening wear have become popular once more and are being reinterpreted in creative ways. However, it still seems that there is confusion about what to wear for which occasion – Bespoken will try to shed some light on this issue, with some useful tips. Many other topics are also covered, such as Scabal’s involvement with the theatre and the world of opera, and there is an exclusive interview with renowned designer Dries Van Noten. The next edition will be our tenth and thus the fifth anniversary of Bespoken. Time flies! However, be reassured that our team is already working on a very special edition and on other international projects to celebrate our anniversary. Happy reading! Gregor Thissen

Illustrators: Mohsin Ali Jean-Baptiste Biche Olivier Van Begin

Do you have any suggestions or feedback? Let us know at Bespoken is printed on environmentally friendly, fair-trade paper

© Scabal

SCABAL Boulevard d’Anvers, 33 B –1000 Brussels Belgium Phone: + 32 (0)2 217 50 55

J. Peter Thissen, Scabal Group Chairman (right) and his son Gregor, CEO

This indicates a key article available in a variety of languages at Bespoken



bespoken N° 9

contents 01

Editorial Comment


Special Feature

Closer to you

Formal Wear




Formal Wear Cultures

Their formal touch

Formal wear as a cultural heritage


Scabal In Figures


Back In The Day

More than 65 countries

Formal wear origins




The Bespoke Coach

Bespoke precision

Black or white tie? Stick to etiquette, gentlemen


Tailor’s Dictionary

T to V


Sweet & Chic


Cloth Guide


Scabal Across The World


An Englishman in New York


Gentlemen’s Meeting


Style Tribute

Nacho Figueras: elegance returns to sport

Gary Cooper: The Democratic Prince


This is Scabal


International Agenda

New interpretation, same authenticity

Follow the dress code


Autumn – Winter 2011-2012 Trends


In People We Trust

MR. Fabric

Fast and fastidious: The logistics of high fashion


Autumn – Winter Style Advice

What you should wear this winter


Openings, birthdays and so much more…


Designer In Vogue


Scabal Worldwide

Dries Van Noten: A tribute to colours and tradition


Scabal On Stage

Dramatic dressing




Formal Wear Accessories

Past – Present – Future



Ons vakmanschap drink je met verstand. Notre savoir-faire se dĂŠguste avec sagesse.

ste our know-how wisely. ste our know-how wisely.


their formal touch


Alan Cannon-Jones

Janet Prescott

“A man needs a few formal-wear options. Currently, I have a regular all-black suit with shawl-collar jacket, which is totally acceptable. But I really like exchanging the jacket for my Black Watch tartan tux – it is a more individual look. My all-time favourite formal outfit is my black velvet SB frock-coat suit. I wore it for my wedding nine years ago and it still looks excellent every time I give it an outing.” Eric Musgrave has been writing about fashion for nearly 30 years and is the author of the recentlypublished Sharp Suits, a 200-page celebration of men’s tailoring. An award-winning editor-in-chief while at Drapers, the UK’s top fashion business weekly, he has also held senior positions at Men’s Wear, Fashion Weekly, International Textiles (based in Amsterdam) and Sportswear International (based in Milan), as well as writing for numerous other publications, including Financial Times, The Observer and Vogue.

“My favourite formal wear is the traditional black dinner suit with a shawl collar and lapel but my current diner jacket is a black double breasted suit with satin lapels. An important point for these occasions is that one should tie your own bow tie, I think that ready-made bows show a lack of dexterity. The last good occasion to wear my diner jacket was an evening held at the Merchant Taylors Company in Threadneedle Street, London.” Alan Cannon Jones is a course director and principal lecturer in the graduate school at the London College of Fashion and works as a consultant for tailoring, menswear and fashion design technology in the industry. He had more than 20 years’ experience working in the tailoring industry for a number of companies, including Chester Barrie, before taking up a position at the London College of Fashion.

“Journalists are happily invited to private palazzos, mansions, banquets and balls with the glitterati, but my stand-out event was going to Buckingham Palace for my husband to be made a CB (Companion of the Bath) by the Queen. The full panoply of state ceremonial was subtly enhanced by the immaculate understatement of lounge and morning suits worn by ambassadors, knights of the realm and the recipients of the senior honours, the epitome of elegant formality.” Janet Prescott is an independent writer and commentator on the textile and fashion business. She is based in Ilkley, Yorkshire, a region of the United Kingdom that is well known for its weaving industry. The major sphere of operation for her at the moment is Twist magazine, as its Fabrics and Yarns Editor, where she covers the major international fairs, interviews personalities in the trade and writes opinion pieces on subjects such as eco-luxury, designer labels, new yarns, fabrics and fashion.


bruce boyer


“While it’s always a pleasure to wear black tie to an event that requires it, many of my favourite formal memories happen afterwards. There’s something wonderfully decadent about strolling in to an elegant bar late at night dressed in a classic tuxedo and casually ordering a Manhattan as if it was the most normal thing in the world. That’s when that my formal wear truly makes me feel like a million bucks.” Based in Toronto, Canada, Peter Marshall is the creator and editor of, a full online guide dedicated to formal wear that draws 42,000 visitors per month. Beginning in 2006 he spent five years researching and writing the site, in the process visiting libraries from Vancouver to New York and attending black-tie charity galas, opening night performances and formal dinners. The guide’s purpose is to educate men about conventional formal wear as a counterbalance to the pervasive bad advice and poor examples offered by formalwear retailers and red carpet celebrities. He has regularly consulted by authors, filmmakers and journalists on the topic of formal wear and future goals include publishing a hardcover version of The Black Tie Guide.

“My belief has always been that the occasion dictates the clothes, and that formal occasions call for propriety in men’s dress. For me, the tuxedo is the proper dress for men, but since I also insist on comfort, I want clothes that are lightweight and soft. My favourite formal dress outfit is: a double-breasted midnight blue tuxedo in 250-300 grammes. fine wool with grosgrain facings, a soft voile pleated dress shirt, and monogrammed velvet Albert slippers. It's a style and philosophy pioneered by the Duke of Windsor, and still has relevance for me today.” G. Bruce Boyer has been a noted fashion writer and editor for more than thirty-five years. His feature articles have appeared in Town & Country, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Men’s Health, Forbes, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Rake and other national and international publications. He was the first American fashion journalist to write for L’Uomo Vogue (Men's Italian Vogue). He has also written a book about Gary Cooper, Gary Cooper: An Enduring Style, which is neither a biography nor filmography but an examination of the actor’s stylistic appeal and which includes 150 never-before-published photos from the private archive of Cooper’s daughter, Maria Cooper Janis – it is due for release in October 2011.

“Formal doesn't have to mean uncomfortable. My dinner jacket is lightweight wool-polyester, loosefitting cut, with pleated trousers. Not the most trendy, but incredibly comfortable. I once wore it for a New Year’s Eve party and went straight on to the golf club in it the next morning. Played eighteen holes, no problem.” For a large part of his career, Nigel Bishop worked in advertising in London, New York and Paris. He has been a freelance writer for the past 15 years, working with multinational companies in B-to-B communications.




Text: Jérôme Stéfanski Illustrations: Jean-Baptiste Biche & Olivier Van Begin

Watch with linear power-reserve display, grade 5 titanium case. Sapphire crystal back. CORUM superlight titanium baguetteshaped movement (3.6 gr).

Scabal in figures

more than 65 countries

© Scabal

That’s where Scabal can be purchased worldwide.

Scabal’s worldwide activities


ounded in Brussels in 1938, Scabal has grown into a worldwide luxury fabrics and clothing brand. In a controlled expansion, Scabal first built its European business before entering the USA and Japan in the 1970s, followed by the Middle East and Asia.

“Think global, act local is the way we have done it,” says Scabal Group CEO Gregor Thissen. “We pursue a global strategy but always adapt it to local circumstances.” This approach goes beyond regional preferences for fabrics, designs and styles. The Scabal structure itself reflects local differences: some markets have Scabal subsidiaries with wholesale distribution, while others work through agents, distributors or retail customers. Around a dozen countries have shops bearing the Scabal name under license. 6



What does it take to expand internationally? “You must have a clear image,” says Gregor, “and the flexibility to work with local rules and customs. It means having people who understand this and who can apply it.” Scabal has 15 different nationalities in its staff of more than 100 at the Brussels worldwide headquarters. “Brussels is a great place to run a global business — it’s the best centre for multi-lingual, flexible and internationally minded people.” And the future? Scabal is looking at all countries that have opened up to imports and started to open up to luxury products. “India and China are developing strongly,” Gregor explains. “But we always try to maintain a good mix internationally – it spreads the risk.” Nigel Bishop



bespoke precision


Bespoke laptop from 5,000€




Munk Bogballe is a promising young Danish company founded in 2007, which produces bespoke portable computers. Driven by a passion for beauty, quality, and simplicity, Munk Bogballe combines modern production technologies with traditional principles of craftsmanship to create the world’s finest and most exclusive computers. Using classical materials such as leather, wood and precious metals, the computers are produced and assembled in Denmark by a selection of highly skilled, seasoned craftsmen whose workmanship epitomizes the heritage and pursuit of excellence characteristic of Danish design tradition. As a bespoke option, you can engrave your name in the laptop’s aluminium surface and choose personalized finishing options such as a power button in freshwater pearl, gold or even ruby. Production and delivery times vary from three to six weeks depending on demand, and the company always makes a donation to the One Laptop Per Child foundation. A good way to combine individuality and altruism.

When you hang your next Scabal made-to-measure suit in your wardrobe, why not think about a personalized hanger? A well-organized wardrobe is not just tidy, it’s also a place in which every garment is preserved. To wear a faultless jacket or a pair of trousers with a perfect crease is a pleasure that Toscanini SuMisura hangers can grant forever – a well aligned set of clothes on harmoniously shaped and coloured hangers fulfils aesthetic tastes, cares for the garments and pleases the eye. Ergonomic shapes, superb fitting, quality materials and craftsmanship make the SuMisura collection a product of ‘Made in Italy’ excellence. The bespoke programme allows you to choose your hanger’s shape and size, the type of wood and finishing touches, such as having your initials engraved. A new must-have feature, now available from several of Scabal’s retail partners.



By utilizing the high-precision mechanics of the Swiss watchmaking industry, Roland Iten has created, developed and produced unique men’s accessories, thus pioneering a new segment in the high-end luxury goods industry – Mechanical Luxury for Gentlemen. Recently, the company launched a co-branded belt buckle in association with the watchmaker Parmigiani, which among others produce Bugatti labelled watches. The buckle is designed to preserve the life of the belt, to offer smooth operation, and micro-flexibility in size and adjustment. The Bugatti edition belt buckle is based on the Roland Iten Mk.I22mm. It offers precise micro-adjustments for the perfect fit – this belt will fit your exact waist and adjust to when your size changes. Rendered in precious materials, the belt buckle comprises 100 parts in 18 carat white gold with 18 carat rose gold accents, along with titanium and steel. Four different versions are available and all are limited editions.

Bugatti belt buckle by Roland Iten from 20,000€ 8



Price on request


‘sound ANGELS’

Ultimate Ears first appeared on the scene in 1995 – during their first few years in business, the company’s client list quickly began to resemble a Who’s Who of rock ‘n’ roll and it was just a matter of time before regular music lovers caught whiff of the hype. The secret was out, and audiophiles and business travellers began using Ultimate Ears custom stage earphones with iPods and other MP3 players, with athletes and celebrities soon getting in on the action as well. Acquired in 2008 by Logitech, Ultimate Ears continues to design and create earphones that musicians and music lovers depend on, and is now poised to reach a global audience – each model is based on the same speaker technologies and sound signatures found in professional stage earphones, an innovation that allows emerging artists to perform like Ultimate Ears 18 Pro – Custom In-Ear Monitors: 975€ pros and gives discerning listeners the chance to hear what everyone is raving about. These customized stage earphones are made to order, with each pair hand crafted and individually designed. Just like fingerprints, each set is as unique as the person who sports them. And another thing they have in common? They sound as good as they fit and look. Take the word of Ronnie Vanucci, drummer of the famous rock band The Killers, according to whom: “It’s like being kissed by dozens of tiny sound angels.”



Chris Eckert lives in California and could be described as an ‘enginartist’, a combination of engineer and artist. As he himself says: “I spent many years working as a mechanical engineer designing and building factory automation. I’ve been searching for ways of incorporating movement in my work but I’ve only recently developed ideas that feel appropriate. My machines represent a continuing effort to unite automation with conceptual artistic expression.” Recently, he invented the very first automatic tattoo machine. If you dare, you can now create your own tattoos and personalize your body yourself – no more need to go to scary tattoo parlours, where elegance and hygiene are sometimes less important than imagination. For the moment, the machine is only able to tattoo religious symbols on your arms, but in the near future it could offer many other personalization options. Use with care!

Price on request

LRG Customized Guitars from 2,900€



Passionate about music and woodwork, Lawrence Rufi manufactures customized electric guitars for the most demanding musicians. It was in his small Swiss village near Lausanne that he first produced the bona fide artistic LRG guitars. From the choice of wood (which influences the tone of the guitar) to the selection of audio components integrated into the guitar, no detail is left to chance. Result? A combination of precious woods, components, materials and quality craftsmanship providing a lean and balanced look and exceptional playability. Jérôme Stéfanski




Tailor’s Dictionary


Step by step we are ending our dictionnary dedicated to tailor's vocabulary and next edition will be the last one. If you need to complete your collection, you can order last issues of Bespoken at



A Tailor’s Thimble is a metal open-topped cone worn to protect the middle finger when pushing the needle through the fabric.


Another term for basting where a stitch – usually handsewn but sometimes done by machine, holds the fabric in place prior to sewing. Thimble – a tailor’s thimble

Thread Marking

Temporary stitches to mark the fitting lines of a bespoke garment. Also used to mark key positions such as pockets and darts by using threads inserted through the plies of fabric.

Tacking – the front of the jacket has the tacking stitches to show the seam lines


Ease or allowance made for movement over and above the actual body measurement.

Tailor talk (Slang terms) Balloon – having a week without work or pay

Mangle – sewing machine

Baste – a garment assembled for the first fitting

Mungo – cloth cuttings

Block – a standard pattern for cutting a suit

On the cod – gone drinking

Bodger – bad craftsman

Pigged – a lapel that turns up after wear like a pig’s ear

Bunce – a perk of the trade, for example left-over cloth

Pork – a rejected suit that another customer may buy

to sell on

Cabbage – left-over material Codger – a tailor who refurbishes old suits Cork – the boss

Tab – a difficult customer Trotter – the fetcher and carrier, usually the youngest member of staff

Darky – sleeve board

Umsies – someone being discussed whom the speaker

Hip stay – the wife Kipper – a tailoress – they usually work in pairs to avoid amourous tailors


Skiffle – a rushed job

Crushed beetles – bad buttonholes

Drummer – trouser maker


Schmutter – poor quality cloth


does not want to name because he is present

Whipping the cat – travelling round and working in private houses

Tailor’s Dictionary

Top Stitching

Exposed stitching sewn at a specific distance from the seam for reinforcement or decoration.



The pressing operations carried out during the assembly of the garment. For example, pressing open the seams.


The front section of a pair of trousers.

The back section of a pair of trousers.


The component parts of a garment other than the main fabric.


The individual fitting of a garment for the purpose of confirming the size, shape and fit before the garment is completed.

V Vent


A fold of fabric sewn at an equal distance from the folded edge of the fabric.

A short opening into the hem and cuff of a jacket or coat.



The finished look of trouser hems by turning up a proportion of the fabric. Also called PTU, Permanent Turn Up.

In the tailoring trade this a term used to as an alternative for waistcoat. A sleeveless garment worn under a jacket as a part of a three piece suit, ie; jacket, vest and trousers.

U Undercollar The part of the jacket collar which is under the main (top) collar and usually made from Melton cloth. This part of the collar is only seen when it is turned up.

Vest (waistcoat)


Text: Alan Cannon-Jones Illustrations: Helen Cannon-Jones & Mohsin Ali




Cloth guide

cashmere Since its creation in 1938, the Scabal credo has stayed the same: “Never cut costs when it comes to materials”. This cloth guide section concerns the origins and specificities of the natural fibres used by Scabal to develop the finest fabrics.

cashmere Cashmere is a fibre that is obtained from the long and silky wool of the capra hircus laniger goat of the Cashmere province, 5,000 metres up on the plains of the Himalayas. Formerly wild, the goat is now domesticated. In winter, to protect them from the icy winds (between -30 and -40°C), the goats grow a second coat of fine, flexible hair in addition to their summer wool. This second winter coat is then sheared or removed with a brush during spring moulting season, and it is only this hair that produces genuine cashmere wool. A goat can provide between 150-200 grammes of hair per year.

scabal’s china-mongolia 100 per cent cashmere

production Worldwide production of the fibre is estimated to be around 15,000 tonnes – the Republic of China is the world’s largest producer, followed by Mongolia. properties •• Cashmere wool is very light, very warm and very soft •• A light cashmere fabric may be worn all year, even in summer •• Synthetic materials are often mixed with cashmere, as demand is far in excess of supply •• Finesss : Between 13-16.5µ (microns) •• The fibre is generally between 28-45mm in length practical usage Possessing an unequalled softness and a delightful natural lustre, cashmere is ideal for pullovers, coats and winter clothes.

Scabal selects its cashmere from breeders on the high, dry and cold mountainous of western Mongolia and south-west China. To survive in this rigorous climate, the goats develop a layer of fluffy, fine and soft fibre, cashmere. The colder the air, the more resistant the goats become and the more this layer is increased to protect the animals. It is for this reason that Mongolian cashmere is famous worldwide for its warmth, softness, lightness and, at the same time, its longevity. To improve the quality and rigour of the Mongolian fibres, Scabal blend them with Chinese cashmere, which is whiter, finer and shorter. This is 100 per cent cashmere, with no other fibres ­– either natural or synthetic ­– being added. It is this very high degree of quality and scarcity that justifies the fibre’s cost.

Jérôme Stéfanski 12



© Filip Vanzieleghem

Handmade in England, Scabal’s new collection of Pure Cashmere Scarves will keep you warm throughout winter. Available in 21 colours, including avocado green, sapphire blue, sylver grey and nutmeg brown, the scarves are presented in an individual luxury hand-made package that adds to the accessory’s prestige. In addition, the scarf is generously proportioned at 180 cm length and 30 cm width.




gentlemen’s meeting

nacho figueras: elegance returns to sport For its tailoring divisions, Ralph Lauren frequently orders fabrics produced by Scabal in Huddersfield, United Kingdom. A good occasion for Bespoken to meet Nacho Figueras, the muse of Ralph Lauren and also an Argentinian polo star.




© RL


t’s a Sunday morning in early June and 125 exquisitely dressed New York socialites are spilling off a ferry onto Governor’s Island, 172 acres of lush parkland surrounding a strip of emerald turf. It’s the third annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, and guests including Ivanka Trump, Kate Hudson and Princess Beatrice have paid upwards of 5,000$ each for the privilege of watching Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras face off against close friend Prince Harry to benefit Sentebale, a charity that works to better the lives of Lesotho’s orphans and vulnerable children. (Ralph Lauren, who arrived at last year’s match aboard his private helicopter, was expected to attend but was forced to cancel at the last minute.) At no other sporting event in North America would you see gentlemen dressed like this – most wear perfectly tailored seersucker suits accessorized with pocket squares, cotton ties and spectator shoes or tan linen bespoke suits with hand-crafted leather brogues. The only problem is, Mother Nature isn’t making it easy for the sartorially minded guests. By noon, the temperature has soared to 38 degrees Celcius – an unbearable 45 degrees when you factor in the Humidex. Even the Philip Treacy hats perched atop the heads of a handful of female guests are starting to droop. Remarkably, Figueras seems oblivious to the heat, looking dapper in a crisp navy Ralph Lauren Black Label blazer and white linen pants.

Argentine polo player Nacho Figueras

style vision “I think I was always interested in style growing up,” he says, moments before the match is due to begin. “My parents taught me always to be elegant. But obviously, the fine-tuning came with my relationship with Ralph Lauren. It’s been ten years now doing their ads – I started out when I was 22, which is the time of your life when you tend to start finding your style, and he had a lot to do with it, he taught me everything in fact. The most important thing I learned from him concerning style is that it’s not just what you wear, but how you wear it. It’s about being comfortable with yourself. For Ralph Lauren, Polo isn’t just a fashion brand, it’s a lifestyle brand. It’s about the guy who’s wearing the clothes or the fragrances. You can have style wearing different kinds of clothes – I could be stylish wearing my suit and tie, but Mick Jagger is very stylish when he wears his T-shirt and leather pants. He looks cool, and he feels it.”

It was famed American fashion photographer Bruce Weber who spotted Nacho at a dinner party in the Hampton’s, hosted by Calvin Klein’s ex-wife Kelly 12 years ago, and convinced Lauren to cast him in a Polo ad campaign. “I owe Bruce for my modeling career. I think he’s one of the most amazing photographers out there, and he has a lot to do with my relationship with Ralph Lauren.” Weber may have made the introduction, but Ralph quickly found a muse in Figueras. “I start every collection by imagining a Hollywood movie ,” Ralph told me years ago at a Polo presentation at New York City’s Four Seasons Restaurant. “I picture the characters, the setting and even the music, and I watch a movie unfold in my head. It’s always about this wonderful lifestyle and I design the wardrobes for these characters I see.” That fact was perfectly evident in the presentation. Thirty-six models posed on a tiered

Nacho Figueras’ Key Dates 1977: Born Ignacio “Nacho” Figueras in 25 de Mayo, Buenes Aires Province, Argentina 1985: Starts playing polo aged 8. 1994: Turns pro and joins the White Birch Polo Team 2000: Appears in his first Polo Ralph Lauren ad campaign 2004: Marries photographer and former model Delfina Blaquier. 2005: Becomes the face of Ralph Lauren’s Black Label Collection. 2009: Ranked as one of the top 100 polo players in the world. Named the face of the World of Polo fragrances including Polo Black, Polo Blue and Polo Modern Reserve.

©AP Photo/David Goldman

2009: Vanity Fair magazine readers vote him the second most handsome man in the world. 2010: Defeats Prince Harry at the third annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic 2011: Appears in Ralph Lauren Romance fragrance ad campaign with his wife Nacho Figueras and Britain’s Prince Harry at Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic

stage illuminated by mammoth klieg lights – the same ones used in old Hollywood films. In Nacho, Ralph had finally found that character he’s been dreaming about for years: handsome, elegant, worldly, and educated. “In a small way, I feel that I have a little part in what the World of Polo Fragrances has become,” he adds, smiling. “When I first started modeling for Ralph Lauren, it was just one fragrance. But now it is a wardrobe of fragrances. There are different kinds of fragrances for different kinds of moods of different things you are doing. And I very much believe in this. If you are in the city wearing a suit and tie at night, a fragrance that is more sophisticated and exotic and even stronger goes well with that situation. If you are on the beach wearing a swimsuit, all of a sudden the fragrance does not suit the moment. I really believe in different moments, which has evolved into this campaign.”

one mission: PROMOTING HIS SPORT You could say that Nacho represents a return to the golden age of the gentleman. “My mission is to bring polo to the world a little more,” he says. And he promotes this message around the world whether it is supporting numerous charities or appearing on Oprah Winfrey. “I want to encourage kids to discover polo. In Argentina, kids start playing aged eight. My son is ten years old and he’s been playing for years.” And while attending gala dinners and appearing in fashion ads are all part of the job, Nacho’s typical schedule is

far less glamorous. He wakes and has breakfast with his wife and kids. Then it is off to the barn to have matte (a popular Argentine beverage) with his teammates and grooms. They strategize about upcoming matches, then ride for a few hours. At noon, it’s home for lunch with the family and then a quick visit to the beach with his kids. Later that afternoon, he returns to the barn and plays practice matches. “The key is to make a connection to the horses – not only because it is key to the game, but because we love them.” Dave Lackie

‘My mission is to bring polo to the world a little more’ Bespoken



this is scabal

New Interpretation, same auTHenticity The new Scabal Autumn-Winter collection is being promoted with a stylish campaign that marks a change from our recent visual productions. We are talking about evolution, not revolution – we meet Ronald Stoops, the man behind the lens, and talk to Kristel Geets, Communication Coordinator at Scabal.


earing bold glasses, a black T-shirt, white sneakers under faded jeans and a three-day beard, Ronald Stoops has the perfect look of a typical fashion photographer. The man is cool, open-minded and, when you meet him, you immediately know that he has a passion for his job. Look a little deeper, and you come to understand that what he values most about his work is travelling and meeting people. He declares: “As I was born in one of the smallest countries, the Netherlands, I decided early on my life to travel extensively in order to broaden my view of the world.”

Six months ago, Ronald Stoops met Scabal for the first time through Base Design’s Art Director Pierre Daras, at the brand’s advertising agency. Together with Scabal’s marketing department, they defined a new way to illustrate the two main divisions of Scabal: fabrics and finished products. These are obviously closely linked, because the essential ingredient at the heart of the perfect suit is, of course, its fabric. “The main concept was quite simple to write, but not really easy to shoot,” says Daras, adding: “Here, we wanted to show gentlemen with strong personalities who wear clothes made from fabrics that reflect their unique characters, with a short text to explain the fabrics’ proprieties and offer a little more information about each gentleman and his choice of fabrics. The result is a perfect blend of style and authenticity.” In order to understand how this kind of advertising campaign is created, Bespoken interviewed Kristel Geets, who has been Scabal’s Communication Coordinator for ten years. 16



© R. Stoops

After he studied photography in Belgian fashion capital Antwerp, he quickly became a photographer who was associated with fashion productions by the famous Antwerp Six: Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Martin Margiela and Marine Yee, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck. Later, he also had the chance to work with other talented fashion designers from Antwerp, such as Raf Simons, AF Vandevorst and Véronique Branquinho. Collaborating with those young talents allowed him to express his deep creativity through up-scale photo shoots, which in turn gave him the chance to work on editorials for renowned magazines such as Vogue Hommes International.

Photographer Ronald Stoops

‘I decided early on my life to travel extensively in order to broaden my view of the world.’

INTERVIEW Bespoken : What was the initial brief? Kristel Geets: We were looking for a new

communication approach that responded to new goals focused on cloth. We are – since 1938 but even more today – an innovative creator of superior men’s quality fabrics. Scabal is not just dedicated to fabrics, we are devoted to it! Secondly, it should communicate Scabal’s historical roots, origins and expertise in the cloth industry. It should also focus on Scabal’s wide fabric variety and their applicability in real life (fashion styles, wearing occasions, etc) Last but not least, we were looking for a longlasting and flexible communication concept, based on storytelling, visually as well as textually. One that lasts more than a season. How this campaign is different from your previous work? It is the first time that we have placed so much emphasis on fabrics. Clothes mean nothing without a soul attached. To increase the fabrics’ appeal, we imagined, together with our advertising agency, six personalities based around the newly created ‘Mr Fabric’ concept.

Why choose to work in black and white? There are actually always two images, they are inseparable: the portrait image of a man in black/white and a fabric image in colour. For portrait pictures, black and white photography is more powerful than colour. The lack of colour does amazing things in showing the true emotions of a person. The images we create are pure: a character and his suit, nothing else. Season by season, we will build up an elegant Scabal portrait gallery, which will tell our story in a unique way. What is the feeling you want to create for the men who see this campaign? We want to show that, among the 5,000 different fabrics offered by Scabal, there is one for each type of man, for every occasion or feeling.

Where would you like to spread this campaign? In fact, my dream came true because we will have double-page advertisements in international business and men’s magazines! It the very first time that we have made such a media investment. What do clients think of the results? Our consumers are discovering the campaign as we speak, so hopefully we will get enthusiastic reactions from them. Our b2b customers, tailors and prestigious stores discovered it six months ago, and they love it! We have received some really positive feedback. Will you work together again next season? What about the next concept? This ‘Mr Fabric’ concept can last forever. For the Spring-Summer 2012 season, we have created six new characters in line with the contemporary Autumn-Winter campaign. You can discover Scabal’s new Autumn-Winter campaign on pages 20 to 31 of this edition of Bespoken. Jérôme Stéfanski

‘Among the 5,000 different fabrics offered by Scabal, there is one for each type of man.’

© R. Stoops

Can you tell us more? We imagined partnerships – each fabric is getting its own ‘godfather’, an intriguing, universal character whose characteristics, nature and lifestyle shine through the name. There is a ‘Mr Natural’, a ‘Mr President’, a ‘Mr Nightlife’, a ‘Mr Explorer’, a ‘Mr Upand-Coming’ and a ‘Mr Weekend’, each linked to a specific fabric from a cloth collection.

Please describe ‘Mr. Natural’. He is open and relaxed, fashion-minded, less traditional and slightly younger than the average businessman. Comfort and quality are important to him, but the look is too. In harsh winters, he wants to combine plain comfort with style, for everyday business use. He has a warm, spontaneous and easy-going character. He has a rough touch, and derives his elegance from his disarming flexibility and spontaneity. He looks trustworthy and friendly. The kind of man that wrestles wild city life with his bare hands!

Works produced by photographer Ronald Stoops in 2009 for AF Vandervorst (left) and in 1998 for Jurgi Persoons (right) – make up Inge Grognard




Mieux que la chaussure : le compliment d’une femme sur la chaussure. e r i k v a n l o o y , c inéaste : l a mémoir e du tueur , l oft

Autumn-Winter 2011-2012 trends

MR. fabric

Among the 5,000 fabric references offered by Scabal, no doubt you will find the one that reflects your true personality. Based on this, the new collection offers some good examples of perfect harmony. Meet the gentlemen behind the fabrics.


MR. president — 20 —


MR. nightlife — 22 —


MR. explorer — 24 —


MR. natural — 26 —


MR. up-and-coming — 28 —


MR. WEEKEND — 30 —





MR. president Fabrics deserve their Rolls-Royce too, which is precisely what this exceptional gem is. Made from Super 130’s and 150’s exclusive Merino yarns, the ‘Optima’ collection embraces some of the finest cloths a businessman can afford. To achieve this high standard, a careful selection of the best raw, natural materials is essential. The wool selected by Scabal comes primarily from Australian Merino sheep. It’s no ordinary wool; under the microscope, its fibres are much finer than is customary, which gives the fabric its distinctive softness, suitable even for the most sensitive skins. The additional satin weave, which gives resistance and volume, provides a rich, full handle. A classic press finish creates a subtle silky sheen, which looks and feels impeccable – ideal for the connoisseur who values quality, comfort and traditional craftsmanship more than mere fashion. A double-breasted suit in fabric N°752037 is without doubt the choice par excellence to represent your company, your party, or your true self in an impressive way, with outstanding elegance. Bespoken




MR. nightlife If you want to celebrate life to the full and in sheer luxury, then ‘Velvets’ is what you are looking for. This vibrant collection offers a wealth of colour, for every possible festive occasion. Quality in variety is what this collection stands for – take the fancy velvet beauty N°500878, a typical British fabric traditionally associated with nobility and the arts. It is composed of delicate cotton fibres, which must be treated with care. The fibres are drawn in a single direction and are evenly distributed, with a dense pile for a distinct, tufted feel. Character, noblesse and elegance all in one! Just perfect if you are seeking a formal dinner jacket with an extraordinary touch to catch the eye of your fellow guests, all night long.





MR. explorer Ultrafine lambswool and top-class cashmere are combined in an exceptionally fine jacketing that is just right for Mr Explorer’s leisure-time requirements. He appreciates the subtle brushed quality that leaves this cloth gently voluminous and delightfully warm. On a soft grey shade, the blue-and-white checks and fine red overcheck present a marvellous example of updated British style of the finest quality. Mr Explorer knows Scabal can offer him plenty of complementary accessories too.





MR. natural If you are a businessman who likes to keep in touch with his natural side, then the ‘Flannel and Saxony’ collection is exactly your type. Originally a fabric popular with lumberjacks and woodworkers, flannel became famous for its excellent warmth-keeping qualities. Its luxury version, in Super 130’s wool with a fashionable British design, will seduce all modern heroes. The renowned Saxon wool gives the flannel a voluminous and fleecy feel, enhanced by a special treatment with warm water and natural soap. A high-quality flannel is always characterized by a very good finish – rubbing the flannel with soap gives it a less ‘clean’ look and makes the fabric woolly and thicker than average, while staying supple in appearance and handle. Perfect for a waistcoated suit to keep you warm and elegant during the cold winter months and give you all the daily softness you need.





MR. up-and-coming Black is back, being more stylish, elegant and powerful than ever. Its magical slimming properties are well known, and are done justice by Scabal’s new range, ‘Black and Fashion’. Add to this a clean finish and a new slim-fit model, providing contemporary elegance to the silhouette, the result is a refined, urban look. This young collection offers twelve fabric qualities, from Super 100’s to Super 120’s, and various dark shades with modern designs. The fabrics’ micro design looks uniform at first sight, but up close, sophisticated small details appear. All the fabrics are durable and perennial, which makes them perfect for business suits as well as special occasions. Just right for the cosmopolitan young man, ready for his first Scabal suit.





MR. WEEKEND It’s back to basics with this 100 per cent woollen pleasure. No fringes, no grand effects, just plain good quality. At the base of this ‘Gallery’ collection lies our rigorous selection of Merino wool, whose natural fibres are much finer than those of traditional wool. Wool gives the fabric its insulating properties. It regulates temperature well and even when wet, it retains warmth. Scabal’s wool is treated naturally and slow-washed to ensure that it remains soft on the skin and does not shrink. Once woven, the woollen yarns acquire more volume following a subtle brushing treatment. The result is a warm but pleasantly light and easy-to-handle fabric, rooted in traditional craftsmanship, reflecting a modern taste through its crisp design. The ideal base for a casual unconstructed soft jacket to take with you as a loyal on-the-road companion during all your weekend trips.




Autumn – Winter 2011 – 2012 style advice

What you should wear this winter It is quite normal to become excited about the warm days of summer, but many menswear fans prefer the autumn and winter months. And Autumn-Winter 2011-2012 is going to be particularly pleasing, writes Eric Musgrave, for anyone who appreciates gorgeous luxury fabrics such as flannel, lambswool-cashmere blends, bold checks and velvet.


he man who appreciates the delicious British-inspired (and almost always British-made) qualities produced by Scabal is probably confident enough in his own style not to follow the trends presented on the top catwalks too slavishly. But for their next AutumnWinter collections, many of the designer names of Milan and Paris presented trends that strongly mirror the offerings from Scabal. There should be no surprise that the current economic pressures around the globe have resulted in a realization that quality, luxury and great design represent really good value. In cloth and in clothing, you get what you pay for – I have learned from years of experience that there is rarely any disappointment in aiming for the best you can afford.

So for next autumn, I’ll be looking out especially for the return of flannel, that quintessential suiting material. With its slightly raised surface or ‘nap’, Flannel feels warm. As climate change presents many major markets with colder winters than are usual, savvy men are going to decide that they no longer want to wear the same midweight or lightweight suit for 12 months of the year. Grey flannel is the classic variation of the cloth, but there is also the newly fashionable blues and browns, plus appealing checks and stripes. “Flannel has not been around in northern European markets for a long time,” observes Olivier Vander Slock, Scabal’s Collection Manager for ready-to-wear and made-to-measure ranges. “So for many customers flannel will be something new. As well as for suits, flannel is very well suited to trousers, especially when the weight is increased from 280 grammes up to 340 grammes or even 360 grammes.”

‘quality, luxury and great design represent really good value.’ 32




Jacket made with fabric n°702800 from the Flannel and Saxony collection

© Scabal

1. Back to flannel

Jacket, Open Collection, n°402509 – Trousers, Flannel and Saxony, n°702835 – Coat, Flannel and Saxony, n°702818

Find your local retailer at:




3 2

Three-piece suit made with fabric n°702806 from the Flannel and Saxony collection

2. Larger and bolder checks

It is highly likely that classic flannel styles will be featured in W.E., the upcoming movie about the romance of Wallis Simpson and Edward, Prince of Wales, later the Duke of Windsor. Financed and directed by Madonna – who has been known to wear men’s suits herself – this film promises to be a fillip for sales of classic, stylish menswear. Prince Edward – or David to his family and friends – was famous for his love of checks. In fact a variation of the classic Glenurqhart check is often erroneously called a Prince of Wales check – it originated in the 1840s, so was very popular long before George V’s son became a fashion icon. But luckily for aficionados of the classic British checks, Scabal has plenty of subtly updated versions to offer for next autumn. I am most excited by jacketings, as jackets-and-trousers are so much more versatile than suits. They can be dressed up with a shirt and tie or dressed down with a sweater and a cosy scarf. “Naturally we have plains and semi-plains in jacketing fabrics,” says Michael Day, Fabrics Designer, “but even more eye-catching for next autumn are the checks, which are often a little larger and bolder than normal. As well as playing with the scale, we have, for example, updated glen checks and woven designs that feature double windowpane checks.”




Jacket made with fabric n°801580 from the Gallery collection

3. Smart and relaxed jackets

The colour themes for jacketings – best seen in the Gallery and Autumn Leaves bunches – are right on trend. Well worth close examination is the medium blue collection, the medium brown teamed with olive accents, and the camel shades, which will be prevalent for autumn 2011. Smart dressers will be pleased that the new checks and colour combinations provide ample opportunities to bring in colourful furnishings and accessories. Look for the strong accent shades of orange and yellow on light greys. Or reds from Bordeaux to zingy crimson on blues or deeper greys. To complement the jacket fabrics, Scabal is also majoring on winter cottons and brushed cottons for trousers, plus the autumn favourite, corduroy. Woven from cotton fibres for a beautifully full ‘handle’, the Corduroy offer runs to 50 different variations of weights, colours and “wales” (the actual name given to the cord structure). In a similar vein, but much more dressy, that luxurious favourite, velvet, is making a strong comeback for next season. As well as expected shades like black and navy, customers should be delighted to find on-trend camel and punchy light pinks – what a great option for an evening jacket to remember.


Jacket made with fabric n°801578 from the Gallery collection, cashmere scarf by Scabal

4. Blazing cashmere, scarves light up, grey shade suits

Appropriately for winter, greys and black-and-white are well represented in the fabrics and clothing collections. Greys are surprisingly versatile as they can be worn tonally – with different shades of grey worn in the same outfit – or they act as a neutral background for flashes of colour in knitwear, shirts-and-ties or scarves. Fans of this last item may find hard to resist the 100% cashmere British-made scarves that come in 20 shades. Or its reversible options, that has printed silk on one side and luxurious 100% wool on the other.

5. Slim fit

Black & Fashion will be a popular choice with Scabal’s growing numbers of ‘Made By You’ customers who want something a little individual in their outfits. The refined sensibility of the collection will also be well represented in a new slimline ready-to-wear model that Scabal is calling its ‘S Model’. Designed with a younger man in mind, this silhouette has a markedly narrow shoulder and a very narrow lapel on a noticeably shorter jacket – this spare, almost cropped, look was also prevalent on the designer catwalks for next season. Appropriately, ‘S Model’ trousers are flat-fronted and clean styles with narrow legs.

© Scabal


Suit made with fabric n°703075 from the Black & Fashion collection

Whether through the elegant formality of a suit, or the more relaxed look of a softly constructed sports jacket and flannel trousers, the new collection of cloths, ready-to-wear ranges and made-to-measure options will be highly popular for Autumn/Winter 2011/2012. It seems a shame that we all have several months to wait until these delights are available. Roll on autumn, I say!

Unbelievable touch

That delightful combination fits in very appropriately to the trend for Autumn/Winter 2011/12 that is all about tactile fabrics, cloths that just begged to be touched, stroked, caressed and admired. Michael Day draws particular attention to a new bunch – Royal Ultimus – that comprises mainly Super 150’s in cashmere. “These are just unbelievable to the touch,” he enthuses. “Typically they are semi-classical with discreet designs but at 320 grammes these are meaty suitings.” Also brand new for the upcoming autumn season is Black & Fashion, a bunch of dark cloths including black, deep browns and intense navy blues. In keeping with the trend for tactile handles, the range of mainly Super 100’s and Super 120’s features interesting micro-constructions, weave effects and shadow designs that look plain from a distance, but turn out to be rather complicated weaves when examined closely. Eric Musgrave Clothes: Scabal – Shoes: Ambiorix –




designer in vogue

DRIES VAN NOTEN: A TRIBUTE TO COLOURS AND TRADITION As a manufacturer of fine cloth, Scabal frequently provides fabrics to top fashion designers who buck trends. Among them, Dries Van Noten, who shows his passion for colours and craftsmanship.


art gallery. “We had to rework quite a lot of it,” he explained. “We found a manufacturer in Belgium who could still do this kind of work. Ten layers of orange paint had to be applied underneath the lacquer to get the original colour.”

After a game of musical chairs (if this can be said of jostling to find a standing spot), I finally tucked myself next to a statue and prayed that no one would stand in front of me. The people next to me were passing time in anticipation of the show by taking hits from a small metal flask. Despite being spatially challenged, the marbled hall has a ceremonial atmosphere, especially with the statue of a horserider looming over the blogger Diane Pernet’s vertical hairdo. One of the challenges of putting on a show is finding a venue that complements the clothes. As the show began and young models descended the stairs in their double-breasted English suits with strong shoulders, trimmed with fur and full-leg trousers, I understood why we had to endure this claustrophobia – the Duke of Windsor himself would not be ashamed to be on that catwalk. “I was not planning to use this as a venue” said van Noten when I spoke to him the next day, “but when I saw it, I said, ‘This is it.’ I really wanted to have something heroic and this was perfect. The architectural atmosphere of the space, the huge white cube and the horse statue – it all looked unreal. It showed the glamorous 36



© Theirry Chomel

ne winter evening, before renowned designer Dries van Noten’s show, a crowd bustled outside the venue, Musee Bourdelle, which was tucked away in a side-street near the Montparnasse railway station in Paris. Outside, desperate hangers-on were held back by the implacable PR watchdogs, while inside the buyers and press were trying to squeeze into the Great Hall, where stand the most prominent statues of Antoine Bourdelle, one of Rodin’s most prolific students.

Belgian designer Dries Van Noten

and the military side of the collection. The military precision that I wanted to reflect was also present in the space.” The military elements in this collection were distinctly van Noten’s – the elegance of their clothes, with their heavy gold embroidery, harked back to the officer uniforms of the nineteenth century. “Military is always there in menswear, in one way or another,” said van Noten. “In menswear I always refer to traditional things, and military is one of them.” This respect for tradition can also be found in his new men’s store in Paris, where we met for a brief conversation. Located on the left bank of the Seine, opposite the Louvre, the boutique is an exercise in reverence. Van Noten and his design team worked painstakingly to preserve the original lacquer of the 1970s interior of this former primitive

This is the fourth van Noten shop in the world, besides the women’s boutique next door, a store in Hong Kong, and the original in Antwerp, which is one of the most impressive shops I have ever been to, something straight out of Zola’s The Ladies’ Paradise. “It’s quite rare to find an old shop space in Antwerp,” said van Noten. “This was the only store where all the original interior was in place. In 1950s the ceilings were lowered in the space, so we had to restore everything to its original condition.” Despite living and working in Antwerp, van Noten feels equally at home in Paris. “I love the city, and I love this particular spot. You look outside and you see the river, you see the Louvre, and I think it’s a magical place to be.“ The vibe of the men’s store is quite dandyish, and I thought that Oscar Wilde wouldn’t feel out of place here. In addition to van Noten’s own collection, the front room of the store houses shaving products by the English barber Geo F. Trumper. “It’s a way of showing my respect for tradition,” said van Noten. “I am not nostalgic, but I have enormous respect for the skills and craftsmanship of the old time, which is something I try to incorporate in my collections.”

‘I like to stay in the studio and work with my team on all the fabrics, all the colours.’

Van Noten is most famous for the combinations of colours that permeate his clothes, especially in his women’s line. Whether subtle or obvious, they have an arresting quality, as if a rainbow exploded and spilled its contents onto fabric. His keen eye for colour is probably unrivalled in the fashion industry, but he underplays his talent with typical Flemish modesty. “You just start to work on it, sometimes it just happens,” van Noten said, “ but not always. I like to play with colours, I like to create tensions, unexpected things with colour. I also love to garden, so maybe it has something to do with that.” Besides gardening, van Noten is also an avid art buyer, although he hates

the word ‘collector’. “A collector is someone who collects a certain artist – I just buy what I like.” Indeed, several art works from his own collection lined the walls; a painting by van Dyck sits in unexpected harmony with an old Japanese calligraphy print. Despite achieving renown, van Noten keeps a low profile. His colour patterns in the clothes sometimes resemble those found in traditional Middle Eastern dress, and his beautiful scarves are often decorated by Indian craftsmen. “In fashion, you can travel as much as you want, you can go to all the big cities. But I am also a very hands-on designer. I like to stay in the studio and work with my team on all the fabrics, all the colours.” After a brief pause, he added: “Actually it’s the part of my job that I enjoy most.” Impervious to trends, van Noten has gained a loyal following over the years without posting a single ad in a fashion magazine. For any such designer, being outside of the fashion game can reap its benefits. In today’s world of fashion cool, dominated by the black-clad show attendees, his colourful clothes have an unexpected freshness. “I think I can proudly say that we have a loyal client base all over the world,” said van Noten. “People stay attached to our clothes. They don’t wear them only once or twice, but continually combining the old with the new, which is the way I see fashion.”

DRIES VAN NOTEN’S KEY DATES 1958: Born in Antwerp, Belgium 1973: Began working with his father in his tailor’s shop and attending fashion shows with him. 1976: Started a fashion design course at the Royal Antwerp Academy. 1985: Started his first fashion line. 1986: Presentation of his menswear collection in London. 1989: Opening of his first boutique, Het Modepaleis in Antwerp in an 1881 redbrick atelier that once housed the shop of his grandfather’s rival. 1991: Staged his first menswear show in Paris. 2004: The book Dries Van Noten 01-50 celebrates the 20 th anniversary of the business and his 50 th show. 2007: His first Paris boutique opens on the Quai Malaquais. 2008: Awarded the International Designer Award from the CFDA and an honorary ‘Royal Designers for Industry’ award from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) in London. 2009: Awarded the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Culture Ministry.

Eugène Rabkin


Van Noten comes from a sartorial family. His grandfather worked as a ‘retourner’ in the 1920s. Men who had worn out their suits would come to his workshop, where he would take them apart, turn the fabric inside out, and put them back together. Having made a bit of money, in the 1930s he became the first Antwerp-based producer of ready-made garments for men. Van Noten’s father had a store selling luxury clothing in Antwerp, so it was natural for his young son to enroll into the fashion programme at the Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Art. Upon graduation, van Noten was one of several young designers who took their clothes to London fashion week in 1986, and who forever went down in fashion history as ‘The Antwerp Six’.

Autumn-Winter 2011-2012 Collection by Dries Van Noten




scabal on stage

dramatic dressing

© Michele Crosera

Scabal, globally renowned for its fine fabrics, has also developed a strong reputation with the wardrobe designers of Europe’s leading theatres.

Teatro La Fenice in Venice


any an actor has trod the boards declaring: “For the apparel oft proclaims the man”. And this tenet, passed on by Shakespeare’s Polonius in the play Hamlet, has been taken truly to heart by the wardrobe managers of theatres across the globe. For stage costumes, it is imperative that they reflect the character. A royal aide, for example, must surely dress the part if he is to command a stage presence. Wardrobe designers also need good 38



quality materials which can withstand the wear and tear of night after night of punishment. With its wide range of fine fabrics, Scabal not only dresses some of the world’s leading actors off stage but its wares are used by wardrobe managers around the world when they are looking for that extra special something to make an outfit perform as strongly as the actors themselves. Scabal’s forays into theatres started early on. Peter Thissen, chairman of the company, says: “We discovered theatre a long time ago… I was a theatre freak at the time; I had studied theatre and I had a lot of contacts.”

Spanning the ages

Evidently, a brand like Scabal is a destination of choice for any wardrobe manager looking for classics such as blazers, gentlemen’s suits and smoking jackets. Actor Daniel Craig, for example, wore a suit made with Scabal fabric in his reprisal of James Bond in Casino Royale. “In the theatres, there are many modern productions from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and in the Scabal collection, we can always find cloths which are difficult to find elsewhere,” says Carlos Tieppo from famous Teatro La Fenice in Venice.

He says Scabal fabrics have been used by the television production industry for period pieces and were also used to make some of the costumes, including wizard capes, for the Warner Brothers’ Harry Potter series of films. Tieppo meanwhile reels off a list of productions of different ages put on by Teatro La Fenice where Scabal fabrics have been used for the costumes, including Verdi’s Rigoletto, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet and Puccini’s La Rondine. He describes the velours as “very fine and light” and thus well-suited to, for example, costumes for 18th century productions. An added advantage with these fabrics is that the performers do not get too hot – a concern for actors belting out their lines under harsh stage lights.

From mill to stage

Scabal offers more than 5,000 fabrics, mainly produced in Huddersfield, United Kingdom, where Scabal’s mill is located. J. Peter Thissen explains how Scabal works with theatres, making sure that they get what they need in time: “We have two main ways of doing business: immediate deliveries where we deliver the final design within 24 hours – this is very important for theatres because they are always under time pressure – and special requests such as a the remaking of smoking jackets. We do whatever they need.” Such business may be generated by sales agents visiting wardrobe

© A.T. Schaefer

But this only accounts for part of its business. While not an obvious port of call for period costume, Robert Oakes, UK sales agent for Scabal, says: “We have a lot of cloths for classic suiting as well as some fantastic velvets which can be used, for example, in an Elizabethan production.”

Les Troyens – Die Trojaner: Actors wearing Scabal fabrics

departments of theatres to present the latest collections. Much business is also generated through Scabal retail outlets such as its Savile Row address in London. Rudolf Verheyen represents Scabal in Germany and supplies many of the country’s theatres and opera houses as well as notable figures from politics like former chancellor Helmut Kohl, says: “Fabrics are with the customer the very next day, ready for cutting and further processing.” Once with the customer, these fabrics will then be put through their paces. “This may entail something like dyeing or printing, embroidery or embellishment and of course the fabric might well have to withstand the rigours of being broken down,” says Morag Feeney-Beaton, Stockroom Supervisor in the Production Costume unit of the Royal Opera House. In many productions, the garments could be splattered with fake blood or ripped on stage as part of the production. Oakes comments: “It amuses me that they buy these really beautiful cloths and then distress them.”

Cutting their cloth

Selling to clients in theatre companies is not without its complications. As with many industries in these post-financial crisis days, there are conscious efforts to cut costs. Added

to that, government funding for arts and culture is one of the first areas to suffer when a recession starts to bite. “With the arts industry on a knife edge at the moment in the UK with budget cuts, it’s a tough time for theatres. They all get grants but these are being slashed by the government,” explains Oakes. Over in Germany, it’s much the same picture. “Financial resources in recent years have been very limited,” says Verheyen. A trend therefore is for theatre companies to focus more on contemporary productions rather than potentially more costly historical dramas where the costumes can be something more of a feat, a costly one at that, for wardrobe managers. “If they don’t have to make it, they buy it. But it can be difficult with a period piece and in these cases, they often have to make it,” says Oakes. But it’s not all doom and gloom. “Clients are quite price-conscious as well but having said that, if a cloth is expensive and they really need it, they’ ll buy it. If it has to have the look, it has to have the look,” adds Oakes. One way to keep the cost down is to save the high quality fabrics for the stars of the show. “Most of all, we use Scabal cloth to make costumes for soloists. Scabal’s fabrics have a certain price and we cannot give them to all cast figures. Such chic material is for the soloists,” says Tieppo. Bespoken



Verdi’s Rigoletto (left), Puccini’s La Rondine (middle) and Mozart’s Don Giovanni (right), three shows at La Fenice in which actors wear costumes made from Scabal fabrics

That’s not the only reason why endurance is important. Feeney-Beaton, at the Royal Opera House, says: “As most of the Royal Opera House productions stay in the repertoire for many years, the life of any of our costumes will be long and unforgiving. It therefore goes without saying that good quality fabrics are a prerequisite for each and every one.”

All in all, it’s a question of quality of the fabrics and this accounts for a thriving business even during times of tight budgets. Verheyen in Germany explains that Scabal’s reputation for high quality and its insistence that it only works with the best materials has kept its working relationship with the sector healthy.

There may also be times when pieces from a previous production will be recast in a revival. Occasionally, new costumes will have to be made and that’s where Scabal can help. “We have the opportunity to work together to find a fabric that is so similar it will fit in perfectly with the production,” she says, adding that this was the case with a recent revival of La Traviata.

Quality of service plays a role too. Tieppo says: “We have a good relationship with the people who work at Scabal. The sales agent is always available and if we do not have the right material, the agent will always help us. For some people, it doesn’t matter but for me this is very important.”

©Jürgen Hartmann


Werner Pick, Head of Staatstheater Stuttgart’s Costume Department




Staatstheater Stuttgart is one of the most prestigious theatres in Germany. This cultural institution was built from 1909-1912 by the Royal Court of Prussia and is now considered as the world’s largest tri-discipline theatre, which stages very successful performances of opera, theatre and ballet. Creating costumes for this kind of institution would appears to be a dream job, and we wanted to know more. Scabal’s German representative, Rudolf Verheyen, introduced us to Werner Pick, who has been the head of Staatstheater Stuttgart’s costume department since 2000. The designer talks about his passion for cloth and drama, and opens the curtains on his profession.

It may be a market which is highly competitive, cost conscious and facing budget cuts but for theatre, the whole package has to be there to create the dramatic effect required to delight the audience – and that includes dressing to impress. Emma Portier Davis

BESPOKEN: Head of the costume department of Staatstheater Stuttgart – was this a childhood dream? WERNER PICK: No, it was not. I had quite different plans. Costume design came to me more or less as an after-thought.   How did you get here? What is your background? After school I was not sure of the route to take. I took an education in a pedagogical profession and, after this, I participated in independent theatre productions backstage and was responsible for the costumes. Art had always been interesting for me, so I could see myself working in costume design. In order to become more professional, I started to study at the Universität der Künste in Berlin. After that, I achieved my first contract as head of a costume department. In Stuttgart, I have held this

position now for eleven years. I like leading people on the one hand, and I love theatre and costumes, so this position is ideal. How many costumes are made each year in your workshops? We do not manufacture all our costumes; sometimes they are bought, some are second hand or we reuse older costumes. In our workshops, we produce around 5,000 costumes per year. Beyond that, we produce shoes, hats, jewellery, weapons, armour and we are responsible for makeup and wigs. How many metres of fabric do you need, on average, to create a costume? That depends on the costume, starting from 50cm for a vest or accessory. Huge, historical costumes can need anything from 20 up to 30 metres. For a tutu, we need many metres of tulle, for example.   How many people work in your department? It’s like a company within the company – our staff comprises around 200 people in

15 sub departments, with an additional 20 trainees in five different professions. Where do you find your inspiration? Art itself provides the inspiration, and the variety of tasks that demand different perspectives for opera, drama and dance. Maybe it is the most beautiful professional work, when you can always co-operate with artists. Personally, I draw energy from nature, visual arts and music. How and when did you first encounter Scabal? I have been working with Scabal for a long time, but I only visited the company for the first time in Brussels in 2009. I was fascinated by the combination of steady innovation with the knowledge of tradition. Scabal embodies both in perfect harmony! What kind of Scabal fabrics do you prefer? As to the colour – classic black, as to the material – smooth, comfortable and cuddly. Scabal Velvet fabric meets all my requirements!

Off-stage, what is your daily sartorial style? This can be very variable and I do not make a huge difference between professional and private life. As I am working in an artistic environment I can be casual in my own style. I like comfortable knitted jackets, as to the pants it can be jeans or something more extravagant. Lately, I have rediscovered traditional garbs as an inspiration. I like to renew combinations every day. What will be your fashion touch for next winter? Especially in winter, I have to care for multiple layers as I stay in different rooms with different temperatures at work and I normally come to work by bicycle! I will try out knitted layers, but never without sack coat or other jackets. My basic colour is black and I shall not change it, but mix into it gray, green or rust.

Interview by Jérôme Stéfanski

© Martin Sigmund

© Martin Sigmund

‘Our staff comprises around 200 people in 15 sub departments and we produce 5,000 costumes per year.’

Staatstheater Stuttgart





formal wear formal wear cultures

formal wear as a cultural heritage — 43 —

Back in the day

formal wear origins — 46 —

the bespoke coach

Black or white tie? Stick to etiquette, gentlemen — 48 —

autumn-winter 2011-2012 accessories — 54 —

scabal across the world

an englishman in new york — 56 —

style tribute

gary cooper: the Democratic prince — 59 —

international agenda

follow the dress code — 62 —

formal wear cultures

Formal wear as a cultural heritage In our European and North American countries, we all know the traditional white tie and black tie. But world is wide. Let’s cross the borders and meet particular formal outfits that reflects local heritages.


ome of them are very well-known as the Scottish kilt and the Japanese kimono. Other are less popular outside their native country. In all the cases, their precise origins and the way the are still worn today stay generally neglected. Follow the guide and do not hesitate to keep your black tuxedo home when you visit one of these countries for a formal event. The Scottish kilt That most Scottish of garments, the kilt, was developed by an Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson. In 1727 he set up an iron-smelting furnace in the north of Scotland with the help of a local regimental tailor he shortened and simplified the long plaid cloth that the local workers wore around their

bodies. In the 19 th century English landowners in Scotland adoptedthe outfitin a romantic way, but despite national rivalries Scots all over the world proudly wear it as their national dress. Some wear the kilt as regular day attire, but more commonly it is worn as formal dress for weddings, evening dinners and celebrations. The pleated skirt, fastened on the waist with side adjusters, just hits the knees. The classic formal accompaniment is a short,singlebreasted, black jacket, a neat waistcoat, white shirt, black bow tie, and a sporran, the wallet slung from a chain at the front of the kilt. Heavy brogues, thick socks and a skean dhu (a decorative knife) down the sock complete thetraditional Highland outfit. Growing in popularity as an alternative to the kilt today are trews, tightmilitary-style trousers without an outside seam. Whether kilt or trews, the cloth must be tartan, of course. The Scottish kilt Bespoken



The West African dashiki

The Arabic thawb and besht

The Indian and Pakistanis sherwani

The Japanese kimono




The Hausa babbanriga

The Arabic thawb and besht Across the Arabic world a man’s ankle-length tunic is known by a variety of names, including thawb, thobe, dishdash, dishdasha, kandura or suriyah. It serves the necessary purpose of giving total coverage to protect against strong sunlight, while with layered undergarments it conserves body moisture and heat. Under the thawb is worn the sirwaal, long underpants elasticated at the waist. Traditionally the gown is made of cotton for the summer and wool for the colder months. Highquality English and other European wool cloths are much treasured by Arab gentlemen. There are regional differences between the looks of the gown. The sleeves can be short and wide, or tapered like a European shirt, and fastened at the wrist with cuff links. A small stand collar can offer a more formal appearance. The placket can be embroidered. Thawbs in north Africa sometimes have hoods but more normally the man would wear a scarfheaddress known as a ghutra, which is secured to the head with a circle of ropelike cord called an agal. Some people regard a longer thawb as representing royalty, status and wealth. Another symbol of power and affluence is the besht, a generous thick cloak worn at night, and the mashlah, a fine lightweight cloak sometimes bordered with gold and worn at ceremonial occasions. The West African dashiki Dashiki means shirt in the language of the Yoruba, the most populous ethnic group of West Africa. A colourful men’s garment covering the top half of the body, the dashiki is widely worn in the region.Typically it is a loosefitting pullover garment, with an ornate V-shaped collar, and tailored and embroidered neck and sleeve lines. In its most formal versions a tailored dashiki is worn with drawstring pants called sokoto (named after the Nigerian city of Sokoto) and a matching cap called kufi (after the city of Kufi in Nigeria; the word means crown). A white dashiki suit is the wedding outfit for most West African grooms. The traditional, short-sleeved, thighlength dashiki is preferred by purists, but the shirtscan be knee-length or longer. In West Africa, a man’s tribal affiliation governs his mode of dress.

When wearing African attire to a formal event, any color is acceptable. Today, some men prefer to wear black with gold embroidery, or dark blue with gold embroidery, to blend in with the dark western tuxedos. The most common non-traditional colours for wedding suits are purple and lavender (the colour of African royalty) and blue (representing love, peace and harmony).Pattern through print, weave, embroidery and brocade make the vibrant cotton dashikis very flamboyant. The Indian and Pakistanis sherwani The long sherwani tunic first appeared in the 1700s during the British period of rule and was a fusion of the local shalwar kameez outfit with the British frock coat. Originally dress for nobles, especially Muslims, it was later adopted by a wider population as a westernised version of local dress. After its independence in 1947, it was made the national dress of Pakistan. In the west, a short version of the sherwani became known as the Nehru jacket (see page 47), after Jawaharlal Nehru, the prime minister of India from 1947 to 1964. Today most fashionable grooms in India and Pakistan choose a sherwani for their bridal outfit. One difference is that Indians prefer to wear churidars, or tight-fitting trousers, while their northern neighbours prefer salwars, trousers which are wide at the top and narrow to the ankle. Churidars tend to be much longer than salwars and the excess length falls into folds at the ankle. Collarless or with a small stand collar, the tailored sherwani, which drops below the knee, is lavishly decorated for the groom, particularly echoing patterns from northern India. A cloth like raw silk provides textural interest while like shiny beads, precious gems, sequins, embroidery and brocade on the collar, neckline, front panel and at the cuffs indicate wealth, status and celebration. A flamboyant turban usually completes the stunning outfit. The Japanese kimono For most Japanese men the kimono is a special occasion garment, worn only at weddings, tea ceremoniesand other very formal occasions. Professional

sumo wrestlers are often seen in a kimono because they are expected to wear traditional costume whenever appearing in public. The word literally means an “object to wear” and was adopted at the turn of the 20 th century to rename the kosode, a historic Japanese robe that dates back at least to the 1700s. Kimonos are open-fronted, T-shaped, straight-lined, ankle-length robes. They have attached collars and sleeves that are wide and long for women, but shorter for men. Kimonos always are wrapped from the left over the right side of body (except when dressing the dead for burial). The gown is secured by a sash, which is tied at the back. Kimonos are typically worn with traditional Japanese sandals. The main distinctions between men’s kimono are in the fabric. Commonly the kimono is subdued and dark, in black, dark blues, greens, and browns. Fabrics are normally matte, although some have a subtle pattern, and textured fabrics are common in more casual kimonos. The most formal style of kimono is plain black silk with five kamon, or heraldic devices, on the chest, shoulders and back. These are usually paired with white undergarments and accessories. The Hausa babban riga The tall and striking Hausa people of northern Nigeria are Muslim. Organised into a hierarchical imperial social order across seven Hausa states, the males know the importance of spectacular clothes that reflect wealth, lofty status, religious devotion and political power. The most splendid manifestation of this approach is the Hausas’ superbly embroidered great robe, or babban riga, part of an outfit that comprises of a riga (the outer robe; a second, less full, gown in worn beneath), a ceremonial turban, and embellished leather slippers or boots. The gowns are made of the region’s luxury textiles, typically finely spun cotton or silk woven on narrowband looms and decorated with embroidery – in keeping with Islamic beliefs, the patterns will show asymmetrical, non-representational motifs. Reaching from the shoulder almost to the ground, the vast gowns are draped over long-sleeved shirts and embroidered trousers. Eric Musgrave Bespoken



Back in the Day

formal wear origins Looking to the past is always helpful in a fashion world where trends come and go. Nothing is more classical than formal wear and this type of clothing should not be subject to radical change. Nevertheless, history shows how the style was born and its main evolutions – a classic story that never ends.

English Regency outfits were the birth of formal wear


raditional formal wear has been produced by some of the world’s best tailors and dressers dating back to the English Regency. Prior to that time, aristocratic finery had been largely a peacock affair, consisting of opulent materials and elaborate embellishments. Then menswear underwent a dramatic revolution during the Georgian period, when the popularity of the ‘country gentleman’ look emphasized horsey, practical clothing. Renowned dandy Beau Brummell perfected the look around the turn of the century, combining the understated colours and materials of the country squire with the impeccable tailoring and exquisite finish of the London gentleman. At the core of Brummell’s new look was the tailcoat, a long coat that had originally been cut away in front for ease of wear when riding on horseback which soon became accepted by the aristocracy as the




new dress coat. Because clothing was occasion-specific for the leisure class, different interpretations of the coat were used for a gentleman’s daytime and evening wardrobes. Brummell preferred his evening tailcoats in dark blue or black and would typically pair them with a white waistcoat, black pantaloons or black knee breeches, white cravat and thin shoes. Other Regency dandies experimented with more elaborate versions of this ensemble, but by the mid-century, Brummell’s original vision had become a strict black-and-white dress code that has been the basis for formal evening wear ever since. Around this time, the daytime version of the tailcoat was replaced by the kneelength frock coat, creating a more distinct demarcation between evening dress and the newly coined ‘morning dress’. Thanks to the unrivalled dominance of English tailors during this period, the island’s dress codes were adopted by nations throughout the western world.

As the Victorian industrial revolution unfolded, these dress codes were adopted by a growing middle class whose striving towards genteel respectability led to the rules becoming increasingly strict. Not surprisingly, men began to seek a respite from the practice of dressing like an orchestra conductor just to eat dinner in their own homes. Some English squires began to substitute their tailcoat with a similarly styled version of the smoking jacket for less-formal evenings, a trend that gained legitimacy when adopted by Queen Victoria’s son Edward, Prince of Wales. Sartorial legend has it that American millionaire James Potter then discovered this comfortable alternative during a visit to the Prince’s country estate in 1886 and brought it back to the exclusive enclave of Tuxedo Park. When fellow New Yorkers noticed the town’s residents wearing the novel jacket to dinner in public, they associated it with the town’s name, although polite society generally preferred the British moniker “dinner jacket”.

World War I significantly relaxed social mores, as wars are wont to do. One of the consequences was the “semi-formal” tuxedo’s acceptance as standard evening wear while the tailcoat became reserved only for very formal society affairs such as balls, elaborate formal dinners and a night at the opera. Another outcome was the arrival of the black lounge jacket (stroller in American English) as a similar alternative for the morning coat. Both of these Jazz Age developments were championed by the twentiethcentury Beau Brummell, a dashing young Prince of Wales, better known today as the Duke of Windsor. His global influence continued into the Great Depression fostered by advances in tailoring and textiles that led to the golden age of menswear. This period marked the acceptance of midnight blue evening wear and swank warmweather alternatives such as doublebreasted and white dinner jackets. Its legacy also included the codification of the accoutrements for the morning coat, tailcoat and tuxedo, giving rise to the ‘white tie’ and ‘black tie’ classifications in the process. Not surprisingly, the standards set during this remarkable era have been the benchmarks of proper formal wear ever since. The sartorial golden age ended with the advent of World War II, and a further decline in dress and social standards. As the business suit became more acceptable after dark, many began to regard the tuxedo as special-occasion attire rather than de facto evening wear and the tailcoat consequently became relegated to mostly ceremonial occasions. Conversely – and paradoxically – the semi-formal stroller failed to catch on and the morning coat remained standard attire for

© Life

However it was referred to, the new evening jacket’s popularity grew during Edward’s reign as king. Also during this era, the frock coat was gradually usurped as formal day wear by the less formal morning coat (cutaway in American English), a type of tailcoat invented in the 1850s that was originally intended for horseback riding, like its evening counterpart.

Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) influenced Indian people to fight for their independence and also inspired fashionistas with his famous ‘Nehru jacket’

formal daytime functions, at least in Britain. In the more casually inclined United States, morning dress became increasingly viewed as an anachronism. During the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s, traditional formal wear approached extinction, as leisure suits and turtlenecks gained acceptability and youth were warned not to trust anyone over 30. The period’s ‘Peacock Revolution’ assaulted formal attire with a riot of coloured and flashy materials, an onslaught of neo-Edwardian ruffles and frills and a barrage of mod alternatives such as the Nehru jacket and ‘formal jumpsuit’. The election of Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and Republican US President Ronald Reagan in 1980 signalled an end to this bohemianism, as well as the dawn of unprecedented consumerism. The result was a boom in formal wear’s popularity and styling not seen since the thirties. American tuxedo sales skyrocketed as the formal suit returned

to its classic black-and-white roots, while simultaneously being updated by fashion designers recently imported from the world of women’s couture. In the 1990s, some of these stylists attempted to completely redefine black tie with band-collar and black shirts, long ties and uncovered waists, looks eagerly adopted by the young Hollywood glitterati. The Yuppie-era boom finally came to an end with the rise of GenX and the ‘age of whatever’, reinforced by George W. Bush’s and Gordon Brown’s protests against white tie and Barack Obama’s ignorance of, or ambivalence towards, conventional black tie. Despite this, formal fashions remain fairly conservative. In fact, Tom Ford recently revitalized the tuxedo with a return to goldenage styling, proving yet again that when it comes to formal wear there is no better formula for success than sticking to classical details. Peter Marshall Bespoken



the bespoke coach

Black or white tie? Stick to etiquette, gentlemen For this special edition dedicated to formal wear, who better than Peter Marshall, creator of the website, as the Bespoke Coach? For Bespoken, he offers advice and translates the meanings of formal dress codes, to help our readers shine at special occasions.


ooking passage on the inaugural transatlantic crossing of the Queen Mary 2 seemed like the perfect excuse to buy a tuxedo. Because there was very little information available about proper black tie at that time I decided to do some field research to make sure I did not invest in a wardrobe that was suitable only for a high-school prom. Consequently, I rented a conservative formal ensemble and headed off to the gala opening of a Toronto concert hall to see how well my evening wear would stand up against that the of the black-tie veterans in attendance. As it turns out, my initial choices held their own quite nicely. In fact, the only dissimilarity I noticed was the presence of a satin stripe on the trousers of the other gentlemen whereas mine were unadorned. However, I couldn’t help but be struck by how much this minor aesthetic touch enhanced the outfit’s overall elegance. It was an important lesson and one that would hit home time and again as I continued my pre-purchase research: When it comes to looking your best in formal wear, success in the details.

Invest in made-to-measure Should you be fortunate enough to attend such an august occasion, this is not the time to be a spendthrift. Poorly fitting rental clothes will make you look like a second-rate magician, while a properly tailored full-dress kit will foster the impression of landed gentry. This is particularly true for the tailcoat. Unlike a regular suit jacket which is relatively forgiving as long as the shoulders fit properly, tailcoats are a type of body coat which, as the name implies, must fit the wearer’s torso perfectly in order to lie snugly against the chest and waist. In the case of the evening tailcoat this is even more of a challenge because, although it is cut in a double-breasted style, it is not designed to close in front. Other distinguishing traits of the coat include fronts cut away sharply at the waist leading back to the side of the legs, at which point the garment tapers down to the bottom of the back skirt which ends just behind the knee. This skirt is divided by a long center vent creating the illusion of two tails and inspiring the early nicknames “swallow-tail coat” and “claw-hammer tailcoat”.

White Tie Etiquette and Attire

Only wear dark colours Black has been the norm for evening wear since the 1850s and midnight blue – a deeper and richer version of black – has been a correct and striking alternative since the 1920s. The use of ebony for evening wear not only creates a natural harmony with its after-dark environment but also provides a couple of distinct aesthetic advantages. First, it imbues the wearer with an aura of dominance and power. Second, when worn with a white shirt and accessories, the juxtaposition of black’s complete lack of colour against white’s complete gamut creates the most dramatic contrast possible.

In the 21st century, the most formal civilian dress code is largely limited to royalty and high society and, even then, it’s rare. The only times that ‘white tie’ is likely to appear on an invitation are for prestigious society balls, society weddings, public dinners and European state dinners (notably, white-tie weddings are fairly common in Finland, Norway and Sweden). At this level of formality the rules are very strict: they don’t call it ‘full dress’ for nothing. 48



Bet on silk peaked lapels Peaked lapels have been standard on the evening tailcoat

‘Poorly fitting rental clothes will make you look like a second-rate magician.’

© Scabal

like formality with a stiff bosom made from plain linen, plain cotton or cotton piqué (marcella in the UK). This bibshaped layer of fabric is heavily starched to give wearers the appearance of a firm, flat torso, regardless of their actual physiques. Traditionally the shirt is tunic style and takes a detachable wing collar. Whether attached or not, the collar should be taller than regular shirt collars and should stand stiffly so as to best frame the wearer’s face. Sleeve cuffs are barrel style (single cuffs in British English) that fasten with cufflinks traditionally made of mother-of-pearl to match the shirt studs.

EVENING TAILCOAT Jacket and trousers from the Mohair collection by Scabal - reference 702386 Waistcoat from the Festival collection by Scabal - reference 851762

since the turn of the 20th century. Not only are they the most formal style of suit lapel but their sweeping upward diagonal lines also create the impression of a powerful V-shaped torso. They are faced in silk that can be in the form of smooth satin or ribbed grosgrain. Although the former is much more common in North America, its shiny, somewhat theatrical finish is not as popular in Britain, where the understated look of grosgrain is often preferred. Match your trousers with your lapel facing Trousers match the coat fabric and feature two narrow stripes or one wide stripe of silk along the outseams, either braided or in the same material used for the lapel facing. These stripes serve to cover the trouser’s working seams and lengthen the perceived leg line in a manner reminiscent of military dress uniforms (and you know what they say about a man in a uniform). Full-dress trousers must be worn with suspenders as it is crucial that the waistband maintains its position relative to the waistcoat. Formal trousers are never worn with cuffs (turn-ups in British English). Never underestimate the role of full-dress shirt Next to the tailcoat, the full-dress shirt is arguably the most important component in creating white tie’s regal bearing. The classic full-dress shirt commands a military-

Make it yours The full-dress waistcoat serves to conceal the bottom of the shirt’s bosom and the waistband of the trousers. It is constructed of white piqué and can be single- or doublebreasted but is always cut very low to best reveal the shirt bosom. Its length is a critical consideration as it must be long enough to cover the trouser waistband yet not so long as to extend below the coat fronts. Within these parameters there is room for extensive variation in shape of the waistcoat’s revers (lapels) and its bottom edge, making it the sole garment than may be used to add a personal touch to the otherwise rigid uniform. Forget tie, think bow tie The white full-dress bow tie is made from cotton piqué, the material of choice since the 1930s. And if pre-tied neckwear is considered unrefined in a relatively informal office environment then it can only be viewed as downright gauche in the context of an ultra-formal social or diplomatic function. Formal bow ties are meant to be worn outside the wings of the collar, not tucked behind them. Wear formal slippers Black formal pumps (men’s court shoes in British English) have a pedigree stretching back to the royal courts and grand ballrooms of Europe. They feature a grosgrain bow on the vamp that is either pinched or lies completely flat. Lace-up shoes are equally correct provided they have the same slipperlike silhouette and minimal decoration. Either shoe is most traditional in patent leather although calfskin is acceptable provided it is highly polished. For similar reasons as the pump, the aristocratic pedigree and elegant sheen of silk hose make them preferable to other types of dress socks.




black Tie Etiquette & Attire Although contemporary society is a highly informal one with people wearing T-shirts to the office and flip-flops to church, black-tie affairs still play a role in the social lives of urbane gentlemen. Some of these affairs are black tie largely by tradition such as opening nights of major theatrical productions or designated formal nights on transatlantic crossings. However, unwritten black-tie occasions are rare today and vary considerably by city and by social circles. Instead, organizers are much more likely to specifically state the dress code on invitations to events that typically include formal government functions, prestigious charity galas and formal evening weddings.

Choose the right tuxedo The classic tuxedo jacket is constructed of the same black or midnight blue material used by the evening tailcoat. The original and therefore most formal model is the singlebreasted style that has only one button thereby allowing the front to be cut in a deep V shape that mimics the wide shoulders and narrow waist of the ideal male torso. The double-breasted model originated as a less formal alternative in the 1930s but is now considered just as acceptable. Tuxedo jackets without vents are the most slimming and formal although side vents can be more practical and comfortable.

© Scabal

Paradoxically, although formal proms, weddings and cruises are the most common occasions for American to don tuxedos, they are rarely black-tie events. They regularly feature tuxedos of every hue, pattern and design while black tie specifically calls for a grown-up version of the tuxedo. Only men who adhere to the code’s traditional rules are able to benefit from its traditional benefits: attractiveness, equality, chivalry and consideration. Attractiveness because it enhances a man’s appearance more effectively than any other tuxedo configuration, equality because it raises all men to the same level, chivalry because it defers to the more dramatic and sensuous finery of the female guests and consideration because it respects the host’s desire to make the evening truly special. TUXEDO Jacket from the Mohair collection by Scabal - reference 702386

year-round alternative since the 1950s although it has never been particularly popular in Europe. It should be of the same type of silk as the jacket’s lapel facings. Neither type of waist covering is necessary when the waist is concealed by a double-breasted jacket which is worn closed.

Shawl or peaked collar: it’s up to you The most formal style of lapel is the peaked style imported from the tailcoat. It has the added benefit of emphasizing height and shoulder width through its upwards and outward sweep. The dégagé shawl collar option inspired by the tuxedo’s smoking jacket predecessor is equally correct. Either lapel style is dressed in the same choice of facings as the tailcoat although the satin option is particularly well suited to the shawl collar. Black-tie trousers are as for full dress except that they feature only a single stripe.

Wear a double cuff shirt The tuxedo’s original shirt was also borrowed from full dress and although this stiff-front, stiff -collar option is still correct many consider it better suited to white tie. Its wing collars also tend to push against the jowls of short-necked men and not everyone likes the way it exposes the bow-tie’s band. If worn, it is best paired with a peaked-lapel jacket and a waistcoat for maximum formality. More congruous with the tuxedo’s suit-like styling is the soft-front turndown collar formal shirt which came into fashion in the 1930s. It features a bosom decorated with pleats or piqué, closes with studs and takes French cuffs (double cuffs in UK). Shirt studs and cufflinks should harmonize and are most typically black, gold or mother-of-pearl.

Cover your waist Black tie’s original waist covering is the low-cut style of evening waistcoat used by its full-dress progenitor. It is made either of wool to match the jacket or of silk to match the lapel facings. The cummerbund has been an accepted

Match your bow tie and your jacket’s collar The black bow tie should be a self-tie model in silk to match the jacket’s lapel facings. Its butterfly or batwing shape is a matter of personal preference. Footwear is the same as for white tie.




© Scabal

Peaked lapel tuxedo - fabric from the Mohair collection by Scabal - reference 702386

Under the sun only Finally, during summer in the American south or at any time in the tropics it acceptable to wear an off-white dinner jacket with self-faced lapels and a black cummerbund. All other details for this warm-weather black-tie alternative are the same as for standard black tie.

Both Bond and Barack also sported an exposed waist which is fine provided you have a perfectly flat stomach, never undo your jacket and never move your arms from your sides. Under any other circumstances the shirt waist will peak out and ruin the vertical emphasis that a suit is supposed to engender.

Modern interpretation In addition to the classic interpretation of black tie, many contemporary etiquette authorities allow for a number of modern variations. Currently the preference is for a pareddown minimalist look. At its most elegant it is epitomized by the dashing evening ensemble featured so prominently in the recent James Bond reboot Casino Royale: a trim-fitting peaked-lapel jacket and traditional bow tie updated with a fly-front shirt. At its most pedantic, it is a glorified black business suit typified by President Obama’s two-button, notched-lapel, single-vented tuxedo that he so frequently pairs with a four-in-hand tie. The latter interpretation not only strips the tuxedo of its formality but also of its aesthetic benefits. In particular, the long tie cuts the exposed front of the shirt in half negating the dramatic “V” that normally enhances the wearer’s physique. It also draws the viewer’s eye down the wearer’s crotch whereas a bow tie serves to underscore his face, the proper focal point of any good suit.

‘The most formal style of lapel is the peaked style imported from the tailcoat. It has the added benefit of emphasizing height and shoulder width through its upwards and outward sweep.’




formal morning dress etiquette & attire American or British? Spot the right tradition The differences between Bond and Barack’s evening wear typify a similar contrast between British and American formal day wear. As weddings in the United States migrated to late afternoon affairs to allow for evening dinner and dance receptions Americans began to consider the tuxedo as standard wedding attire. And since they were content to wear suits to all other important daytime functions the concept of formal daytime clothes became unknown among the general public. Meanwhile, in Britain (and parts of the Continent) morning and afternoon weddings remain the norm and so does the corresponding tradition of morning dress. It is worn by grooms, groomsmen and guests at formal church weddings as well as for formal daytime events in the presence of The Queen such as Royal Ascot and Trooping the Colour. Like the evening dress codes, morning dress requirements were traditionally implied rather than stated but even the most conventional etiquette authorities now acknowledge that the literal route is the safest one. Sartorially speaking, the Americans dropped the ball on this one. All-black tailcoat and tuxedo suits may appear debonair in the dark but they are deathly in daylight as evidenced by their traditional association with mourning. Morning dress, on the other hand, utilizes a variety of tones and patterns and even colors to enliven its appearance while still maintaining an appropriately formal nature.

Š Scabal

Keep it simple As with evening dress, there are two categories of morning dress. The most formal and most common type features a black or sometimes dark gray morning coat (cutaway in American English) which is a single-breasted tailcoat that closes with one button beneath which the coat fronts gradually slope away from each other. It is usually made of wool but with a herringbone weave to add visual interest. Like its evening counterpart its skirt typically ends just behind the knees and features a long center vent, has peaked lapels (although self-faced) and no waist pockets.

Š Scabal

High cut trousers without cuffs There are a great variety of black, white and gray patterned trousers acceptable for morning dress but the most formal and most commonly associated are made of black-striped dark gray material commonly known as a cashmere design. As with full-dress, trousers do not have cuffs and should be cut high enough for their waistband to be covered by a relatively short waistcoat.

MORNING COAT Jacket from the Royal collection by Scabal - reference 702631 Trousers from the Festival collection by Scabal - reference 851764 Waistcoat from the Festival collection by Scabal - reference 851762




Forget stiff-wing collar The shirt may have a white or pale colored body but the turndown collar should be white and preferably of the stiff, detachable type to lend it an air of formality. The bodies do not have bosoms or stud holes but the sleeves should have French cuffs. Although technically correct, the stiff-wing collar shirt is notably old-fashioned and discouraged by most authorities.

Personalize your waistcoat There is also considerable variety allowed for the waistcoat. It can be single- or double-breasted and while traditionally light gray or buff, pale colors are allowed for a more modern, youthful take. The right tie on the right collar With the turndown collar a four-in-hand tie is worn while a wing collar calls for a dress cravat (dress ascot in American English). Pale gray or silver woven silk in subtle patterns such as houndstooth or Macclesfield are most traditional, especially for groomsmen. Pastel colors are an acceptable alternative. Like all formal neckwear, the four-in-hand or dress cravat should be self tied. Black shoes only Correct shoes are well-polished black lace-ups either with capped or plain toes. Black silk or cashmere hose is traditional but other fine fabric is also acceptable. Top hats as the smartest option Finally, top hats are optional unless you are lucky enough to be invited to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot. Black silk is the smartest and most formal choice but such models are very hard to come by these days. Instead, gray felt with a black band is now the most common option.

Dress Code

Last consideration So there you have it, a whirlwind tour of men’s formal wear. There are a myriad of lesser details that may also be of interest but the ones described here are enough to send the average man well on his way to assembling a classic formal wardrobe. Admittedly, sticking to the rules requires some amount of discipline as most men are used to dress clothes that allow them to stand out rather than force them to blend in. Compliance will also require spending some time to track down the appropriate garments. However, the return on investment is enormous. In my case I premiered my classic black-tie kit at the first formal dinner on the Queen Mary 2’s historic crossing. With each step I took down the grand staircase of the majestic dining room I felt as if I was taking a step further back in time. The ship’s art deco-inspired décor and historic itinerary certainly helped evoke a yesteryear elegance but it was the meticulous yet understated detail of my own wardrobe that elevated the experience from passively cerebral to poignantly personal. And that sublime experience has been the same at every formal evening since then. I highly recommend it. Peter Marshall Find many other formal wear tips offered by Peter Marshall at

Morning Dress (semi-formal)

Morning Dress

Black Tie (Warm Weather)

black lounge / stroller

morning coat / Cutaway

white dinner jacket

Formal or semiformal daytime weddings.

Formal daytime weddings, formal daytime occasions in the presence of royalty.

Black Tie

White Tie

tuxedo / Dinner jacket / Dinner suit

Evening tailcoat / Dress coat



Semi-formal evening weddings, formal dinners on cruises, formal opening night galas at theater or opera.

Formal evening weddings, formal balls, Royal state dinners.




formal wear accessories

sweet & chic

Loyalty is more valuable than diamonds. Filipino proverb Ties from the Diamond Chip Collection by Scabal – Diamond Chip fabric is made from 22 carats diamond fragments blended with pure silk and Super 150’s wool French macarons by Ladurée Paris  |  Grande Champagne Cognac Louis XIII by Remy Martin




Photographer: Filip Vanzieleghem Production: Sylvain Gadeyne Text and concept: Jérôme Stéfanski

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get. English proverb 100 per cent silk cummerbund, bow tie and dress cravat with pin from the Elba Collection by Scabal Belgian chocolates by Neuhaus  |  Champagne Millesime 1999 Rare by Piper-Heidsieck




scabal across the world

an englishman in new york From Savile Row to Wall Street, British elegance has no borders. In The Big Apple, we met Leonard Logsdail, a tailor who left London many years ago to live his own American dream. Now considered as the first celebrity tailor in New York, Logsdail talks to us about his work and his formal wear approach.


eonard Logsdail describes himself as a “transplanted Londoner”. He retains his English accent, which he admits is something of an asset as it sets him apart and his name is well known, especially in the film world, where he has been responsible for dressing many stars, such as Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. He recently worked on Wall Street II: Money Never Sleeps, making the formal suits that convey power, intrigue and prestige, and other recent recipients have been stars such as Jim Carrey, Alan Alder, Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Toby Maguire and Leonardo di Caprio – you can’t get much more stellar than that. He says “some movie stars have egos the size of the Empire State Building” refusing, discreetly, to name names but points out that in this part of the business, it’s 90 per cent psychology, 10 per cent tailoring, and adds that this is true of the tailor’s profession in general: “It will fail if you’re not inside the head.”

London pedigree Leonard began his career with a meteoric rise at a time when British style was at its zenith. He worked in Savile Row and went to tailoring college in London, which he says gave him a pedigree: “At college, I loved the idea that you could take a plain piece of brown paper and turn it into a suit. I concentrated on cutting, and was one of the first tailors to go straight into a job in the cutting room. People recognized that I had a flair for it and stood up for me. I still love what I do, and I will not let a suit go out if there are any mistakes whatsoever. I cut every single one.” He worked at several well-respected names in Savile Row, and then aged just 21 he set up a business with a partner, Burstow and Logsdail, in premises above a shop in London’s Carnaby Street, an address which was the centre of the fashion universe at the time. He regards this with a certain amusement: “At 21, you think you know everything, I look back and think I was such a big head, but I was a quick learner. I remember after six or seven months in the business I sat down to have a cup of tea and I was working on half a dozen suits. I looked at one of them and it dawned on me that I was putting a 21-yearold’s idea on to a 50-year-old stockbroker, it was hanging up and I realized that it was his suit, not mine. That cup of tea taught me a lesson – I have to make the dreams of my clients come true.” 56



Leonard Logsdail

In the early days of Burstow and Logsdail, Leonard built up a Dutch following, travelling regularly from London to Rotterdam, the Hague, Eindhoven and on to Paris and Germany, driving across Europe around six times per year. Eventually, he travelled to customers in the States, fell in love with New York and Washington and, incidentally, with an American who is now his wife, with whom he has six children. That was 20 years ago. After renting premises initially in Madison Avenue he moved to East 53rd St. where the business is still located. “I have never regretted one iota. America is a great place, and there are still so many opportunities.”

A passion for cloth Logsdail has been a user of Scabal fabrics throughout his career. He describes his clientele as people who basically prefer classic clothes, though they are very receptive to new soft colours and many like quite bold decoration such as strong stripes. His fabrics are based in top quality, fine wool, 120’s, 130’s and 140’s and this applies also to his young customers: “At that sort of price point they don’t want something which is only going to last a year or two.” He is quite prepared to refurbish favourite garments, saying that he has recently relined a suit purchased in 1988: “It’s good that they enjoy it, and put it to good use, and this is useful for me to point out too, especially when I want to increase prices!” “Scabal fabrics are probably the best in the world,” he says, naming the cashmere bunch Romance as one of his favourites, since it tailors well and appeals to customers who like a conservative and elegant approach. It is a cloth of 280 grammes that consists of pure cashmere, ideal for gentlemen who are seeking a naturally elegant summer jacket. Fine worsted cashmere, Romance drapes beautifully and has a fantastic feel with pure cashmere’s exceptional softness and another benefit is the magnificent, natural sheen that is unique to this fibre.

Actor Denzel Washington fitting his new bespoke suit, with Leonard Logsdail

Leonard Logsdail, tailor to the stars, says that the part of his job he likes best is meeting people, whether it be his highflying customers or the celebrities he deals with for film work: “I love the psychological games of deciding who is going to be in control. In particular, the guys from Wall Street could be really hardnosed, but I still love the fact that a two-dimensional idea turns into three dimensions and passes muster with everyone.”

Leonard Logsdail 9 E 53rd St # 4 New York, NY 10022-4222 USA T. +1 212 752-5030

Janet Prescott

Special occasions

Formal wear may not be a frequent purchase, but it is indispensable in the building of a wardrobe and there is increased interest in formal clothing as new generations look to the sartorial advantages that such well cut, tailored items can bestow. The internationally successful TV show Mad Men, set in the 1950s and 60s, must have had an effect in this direction too, with its debonair, scheming dilettante ad executives in Madison Avenue such as Donald Draper dressing immaculately for every occasion as they pressed their advantage. “Because in most cases formal wear is required to be worn over several years in many different settings, it has to be made of finest quality fabric which needs to be classic, but can bear hallmarks of individuality as well”, says Leonard Logsdail.

Formal attire in the shape of dinner suits, smoking jackets, tuxedos and ceremonial wear represents a small but important part of his output. He usually makes five or six full dress suits and tails per year, and also some morning suits, mainly in traditional, classic designs. Tuxedos are more frequent “but even these are not too fashion forward, they’re usually solid patterns, with sometimes a fine herringbone”. There is a great deal of prestige still associated with formal clothes. One club in Houston, Texas asks him to make a velvet smoking jacket each year for the retiring President. His business suits are usually chosen in lighter-weight fabrics, with very few of these over 250 grammes, but formal wear is created from more substantial cloths in 300350 grammes. He notes a return to retro looks such as shawl, or rolled collars: “I think people have been looking at old Sean Connery films, it’s like the antique stores, all things from the 1960s are fashionable”.

He recalls with relish a commission from a top banker from Dallas, working for Morgan Chase and concerned with looking after the funds of various prestigious institutions with formidable reputations based on the East Coast. This man said that people poked fun at him for being a bland banker known for his grey suits. He came and explained his predicament to Leonard, who decided to make him a deep maroon smoking jacket with shawl collar and patch pockets for a particular function. “I sent the patches to India and had them embroidered with various designs such as a wagon wheel, an armadillo, all emblems of Texas, with a yellow rose of Texas on the lapel and on the silk cummerbund a facade of the Alamo and the Texan flag. The client dressed for dinner and entered the room with his wife only once he knew the room was full. The conversation stopped dead.”






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style tribute

Gary Cooper: the Democratic Prince On the occasion of the release of his book Gary Cooper: An Enduring Style, Bruce Boyer pays tribute to one of the biggest style icons of the 20th century. The perfect occasion for Bespoken to publish some of the best pictures of Cooper in formal outfits.

Gary Cooper wearing the perfect white-tie outfit comprising tailcoat, top hat and bow tie




Little cowboy turns handsome dandy He was born in the frontier town of Helena, Montana at the turn of the 20th century, and he got to ride as many horses and see as many herds of cattle as any cowboy he later portrayed in films. Both parents were English, and Cooper’s father insisted that Gary and his older brother Arthur be sent back to England to the private school that he had attended. And so by the time he reached his adolescence, Cooper had the advantage of a rough-country as well as a highly civilizing education. He had learned his Latin as well as his quarter horses. It had all something of the American democratic ideal about it: this handsome young man had learned his manners and his lessons, and yet was as rough-and-tumble as they come, and it’s that blend that defined his acting image as the American Everyman.

Gary Cooper wearing the official British captain uniform of the 1760s in Unconquered (1947)


hen he died in 1961 at the age of sixty, Gary Cooper was eulogized around the world as the public symbol of the honorable American. In his 37-year film career, he starred in more than 100 movies, a dozen of them among the most memorable films ever made. As a leading actor, he was nominated for an Academy Award six times, and won twice (for Sergeant York and High Noon), as well as receiving an Honorary Academy Award for a lifetime of memorable screen performances. He appeared in romantic comedies and war movies, biographies, spy thrillers, historical dramas and films of social conscience, as well as almost 30 Westerns. High Noon ranks as one of the half-dozen films defining that genre, and in the opinion of many critics is the best Western ever made. In the years spanning his long career there were other leading men who had a more cynical, street-wise appeal (Gable, Bogart, Cagney), more sophistication (Charles Boyer, Ronald Coleman, Cary Grant), more rugged energy (John Wayne), a darker sensuality (Valentino, Tyrone Power, Burt Lancaster), more boyish charm (Jimmy Stewart, Joel McCrea), or more tough-guy panache (Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, Sinatra). But Cooper was, in critic Richard Schickel’s phrase, the “Democratic Prince”, a haltingly shy man of simple virtue and had a code of honour that unavoidably clashed with politics. He remains one of the few actors whose portrayals of naivety wear well, without embarrassment either to himself or the audience. It was a style based on natural gracefulness, at a time when naivety and gracefulness were in style. 60



When Southern California beckoned, Cooper drifted into films as a stuntman and extra on cowboy sets. At six foot three inches, and weighing 185 pounds, with light brown hair and vibrant blue eyes, Gary Cooper was as handsome as anyone and looked superb in contemporary clothes, or anything else. No matter what costume he put on, he looked like he owned it. The camera loved him, and so did the box office. As a young, single man in Hollywood, he had the deserved reputation for acquiring the most beautiful women and fastest sports cars (and vice versa), not to mention a refined and perfectly tailored European wardrobe and renowned bachelor’s lair. Cooper’s best biographer Jeffrey Meyers points out: “Cooper had natural good taste, always wore elegant clothes and was one of the best-dressed actors in Hollywood. He inspired fashion stories in Flair, Women’s Wear Daily, Esquire, and Movietime, and if he hadn’t been a movie star, he could have had a great career as a model,” as early photos by Cecil Beaton, Clarence Bull and others show.

British and Italian influences He had obviously learned something about proper gentlemanly dress when he was a boarder at school in England, and Meyers notes that he bought custom clothes from Savile Row’s finest tailors, shirt makers, and boot makers whenever he went back to visit. At the end of 1929, English fashion photographer Beaton photographed him in Hollywood for Vogue. He said: “He was absolutely charming, very good looking with black eyelashes as thick as the lower lid on the upper. Very tall, a good figure, and such a good sort… He was extremely smartly dressed with a brown hat to match his suit and gloves, very elaborate gloves with green spots in the lining.” Cooper worked untiringly in those early years, but after making four films in the first half of 1931 alone, including the steamy Morocco, which was Marlene Dietrich’s introduction to American audiences, he retreated to Europe for a rest cure. On his return to the U.S.A. in 1932, having

spent several months in Italy, he appeared quite the dandy. He had trunks full of clothes, and there are many photos of him at this time sporting elegant double-breasted overcoats and suits, spotted silk ties and ascots, pristinely cut tweed sports jackets, fedoras and bowlers, smartly furled English umbrellas, and sleekly polished handcrafted brogues. His urbane assemblage included a fresh boutonniere, cigarette holder, pigskin gloves, and silk pocket square. The labels in Gary Cooper’s wardrobe read like a Who’s Who of the best custom tailors, boot makers, and haberdashers in the world: Brioni, Lesley & Roberts, Caraceni, Battaglia, Charvet, Huntsman, Anderson & Sheppard, Knize, Turnbull & Asser, Dunhill, Brooks Brothers. American designer and friend Bill Blass noted, “More than anyone, Cooper was responsible for fusing the essentially formless but wearable aesthetic of the American West with the narrow, formal silhouette of European design. That set him apart from the Gables and Grants. That gave him American-icon status.”

Lionel Stander, Muriel Evans, Gary Cooper who wears a tailcoat, formal waistcoat and bow tie in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)

The fact that he was something of a dandy and was an accepted member of international society was kept carefully private and hidden. It simply didn’t fit his screen persona that he would have dinner with the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, discuss art with Picasso, or go hunting with Hemingway. In the days when there was little irony in Westerns and the only disturbing darkness came from the bad guys’ hats, what would we think of cowboys who had gone to English prep schools, have fiery affairs with Continental countesses, and hobnobbed with English dukes and world-renowned novelists? Did Roy Rogers go dancing at the Stork Club or El Morocco with Dale Evans? But he was not the simple, monosyllabic cowboy of his latter image. His more truthful image was captured better by Irving Berlin: “Dressed up like a million-dollar trouper, trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, super duper!”

© Action Cinemas

Inasmuch as he’s often compared with Cary Grant – both were incredibly handsome, great dressers, debonair – try to picture Grant in a Western. Even Grant’s costume dramas were his weakest performances. To make a different contrast, John Wayne – although he often played modern soldiers – was never quite at ease in contemporary dress. And on those few occasions when Astaire wore western attire, he just looked silly. Cooper wore it all, and had style in every pore.

Cooper, alongside with Claudette Colbert, wearing a black tuxedo in Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938)

G. Bruce Boyer

Gary Cooper: An Enduring Style by G. Bruce Boyer, PowerHouse Books, available at

© US Federal Archives

‘Cooper had natural good taste, always wore elegant clothes and was one of the best-dressed actors in Hollywood.’ Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945) and Gary Cooper wearing a double-breasted suit at Lake Success, New York on April 3rd 1953




international agenda

follow the dress code Bespoken shows you where to be seen and what to wear, from Paris to New York to Shanghai – so many great opportunities to wear your very best tuxedo… Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair 8-10th September 2011 Shanghai, China

Since 2007 this contemporary art fair, held in the spectacular Shanghai Exhibition Center, has been Asia’s most dynamic art platform, attracting a host of shrewd collectors, art lovers and celebrities from around the world. Dress code: Velvet jacket and flannel trousers – the arts community is very trendy, so don’t hesitate to flaunt your colours and be original. A purple jacket on gray flannel trousers could be a very good combination, and a pocket handkerchief and scarf will round off your arty-chic look. The Loerie Awards 16-18th September 2011 Cape Town, South Africa

Known as the hottest event in Africa and the Middle East, the Loerie Awards is more than just a ceremony, it’s an event that rewards the region’s best advertising, communication and media. On the programme – three days of exciting events and discoveries. Dress code : wearing a black slim fit jacket, a white t-shirt assorted with a white pocket handkerchief and a jeans will give you the look of the real advertising guys from Big Apple. Forget your tie but bring your white sneakers.

The Detroit auto show has been around for more than a century is considered as the international standard-setter for new vehicles. Each year sees a gala evening, ‘The NAIAS Charity Preview’, with all proceeds donated to charities working with disadvantaged local children. Dress code: Classical is de rigueur in the automotive industry – black tuxedo, white shirt and black bow tie are strongly recommended. Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) 16-20th January 2012 Geneva, Switzerland

At the SIHH, the Richemont Group brands (Montblanc, Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre) present their world premieres of their timekeeping creations, and it’s an ideal opportunity to meet the watchmakers themselves. The height of refinement. Dress code: An air of authenticity and tradition is essential – why not take the opportunity to wear a chalk stripes three-piece flannel suit and, to be perfectly attuned to proceedings, do not hesitate to hang your pocket watch from your lapel buttonhole. Wiener Opernball Beginning March 2012 Vienna, Austria

North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) Mid-January 2012 Detroit, US

Dress code: Debutant couples will begin festivities by dancing the iconic Blue Danube waltz, with a long white dress compulsory for the ladies and a tail-coat suit obligatory for the chaps. Rose Ball Mid-March 2012 Principality of Monaco

This event is organized to benefit the Princess Grace Foundation, created in 1964, and the profits from which are donated to children in hospital. Two years ago, the theme was ‘East’, and last year ‘Soul Music’. We await 2012’s edition with breathless excitement… Dress code: Long dresses and tuxedos are required – the most flamboyant normally wear an accessory to match the evening’s theme, like the French culture minister did last year with a pocket handkerchief in the colours of Jamaica, to honour the ‘Soul Music’ theme… Hassan II Golf Trophy End March 2012 Agadir, Marocco

The Hassan II Golf Trophy, inaugurated in 1927, is a famous golf tournament chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco. A new chapter began in its long and prestigious history in 2011, when the event was contested for the first time in the Moroccan city of Agadir, instead of the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat. Dress code: Sporty chic is advised. We suggest white or beige cotton trousers, polo shirt with short- sleeve jacket and casual ‘jaca camicia’ jacket. The Costume Institute Gala Beginning of May 2012 New York

Ending the traditional ball season in Vienna, the history and beauty of this event and the musical programme are quite captivating. 62



The fashionistas will be out in force for the Costume Institute Gala, which takes place at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The most popular supermodels and most talented

creators are treated to an evening of decadence and opulence. Dress code: Tuxedos are strongly recommended for gentlemen… and perhaps even the ladies, like singer Rihanna who made a splash in 2009 with her Dolce Gabbana black tuxedo, leather gloves and high heels. Cannes Film Festival Mid-May 2012 Cannes, France

Inaugurated in 1929, the Monaco Grand Prix is ​​one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious automobile races. The circuit takes in the port of Hercules and the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, making overtaking very difficult on its tight bends. And the most popular location to view the race? The terrace of the Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo. Dress code: Vintage sunglasses, hat, scarf and leather driving gloves are the accessories of choice. Add linen trousers and jacket, and you will be safe to shine in Monaco!

Henley Royal Regatta End of June 2012 Henley-on-Thames, UK

Royal Ascot Mid-June 2012 Ascot, UK

Each year, the English high society gathers for the Henley Royal Regatta in the last week of June. Undoubtedly the most famous regatta in the world, the event began in 1839 and is recognized both as a sporting event and social activity for the elite. but also as a social activity elitist. Dress code: Chic summer wear is required – the dress code dictates beige or white cotton pants, a navy blazer, tie and hat for gentlemen.

Perhaps the world’s most mediacovered event dedicated to the film industry, with its famous red carpet and 24 steps to glory. Dress code: On the red carpet, all eccentricities are allowed, but the traditional tuxedo is still the best choice. Monaco Grand Prix 27th May 2012 Principality of Monaco

With its fast horses, extraordinary hats and royal appearances, the Royal Ascot meeting is the world’s foremost race meeting and is the prestigious event par excellence of the British sporting calendar. Mid-June 2012 will be the 301st edition… Dress code: Hats are de rigueur for all guests. While the ladies have the freedom to wear very modern and colourful garments, the men meanwhile are bound by the traditions of dark tail-coats. A colourful flower to match your tie will bring a touch of freshness.

The Durban International Film Festival (DIFF) End of July 2012 Durban, South Africa

Widely recognized as one of the most prestigious film festivals on the African continent, the DIFF programme features more than 250 international films, with the emphasis on African cinema. Dress code: More relaxed than Cannes, the dress code allows for a mixture of traditional African outfits and more formal wear such as tuxedos and gowns for the gala evenings. Marie Hocepied




In people we trust

Fast and fastidious: The logistics of high fashion

© S. Papandropoulos

Bespoken meets the team of six that completes the final, decisive link in the customer service chain: Scabal Logistics.

The Scabal Logistics team. From right to left: Martine Capenol, Francesco Bisschop, Le Hieu, Vu Tran Ba Hoang, David Smets, Oscar Vleminckx

Global Brand Scabal fabrics and finished clothing are available through tailors and fashion retailers in more than 65 countries. The job of supplying this network of customers from a central source in downtown Brussels falls to the Scabal logistics department – a dedicated team of specialists shipping several hundreds packages every day.




The team handles all three divisions of the company’s business: individual fabrics cut lenghts, accessories and finished garments. Scabal’s renowned fabric bunches are also packed and shipped here, as are promotional items, retail support material and even the copy of Bespoken you are now reading. These

items travel round the world at a more leisurely pace than customer cuts and clothing. “Scabal works with a group of global freight companies,” explains Le Hieu, Scabal Shipping Manager “selecting the most economical solution for each particular shipment and destination.”

Short and rapid chain At the heart of Scabal’s business in Brussels is the supply of cut cloth to customers. From more than 5,000 articles of stock fabric, up to 800 individual fabric cut lenghts are dispatched around the world every day. “Our day ends when the shipper’s truck has left,” says Martine Capenol, Scabal Warehouse Manager. Scabal logistics specialists are the final link in a five-step chain that starts with an incoming order. After entering this order in the computer system, it passes through sales to the cutting department. After the wizards with the scissors have done their work, the cloth moves on to packaging and dispatch, all in the same 3,000 m² warehoused operation.

which come in a range of sizes to suit all possible cloth sizes. To prevent the cloth from moving and creasing in transit, cuts are packed tightly with airbags.

‘Our day ends when the shipper’s truck has left.’ Fully automated process

Orders received by lunchtime are dispatched the same day, and most are sent air express for next-day delivery to the customer.

When an order is packed, weighed and ready for shipment, Scabal logistics staff takes over. Some consignments require complex handling. Frequently, certificates of origin are required, depending on the destination country, which Logistics obtains through chambers of commerce or local embassies of the destination country. Certain types of fabric also require close attention, and specific export documents.

Packaging itself is an art. Cut lengths are carefully rolled and folded creasefree and then packed in carton boxes,

Passage for most shipments is rapid and highly automated. When the order is ready for shipment, an operator

clicks ‘ship’ and passes automatically to a fulfillment page where the weight of the package is computed and combined with other order information to be fed into the fullyintegrated shipping label generator. “All this happens in seconds,” says Le Hieu. “Using this process in our fulfillment chain, we are able to manage a large volume of orders with a surprisingly small workforce. We aim to get every order right, every day. Our customers depend on it.” From a logistical point of view, customer care means no borders and no loss of time. It’s not surprising to learn that a Scabal client located in Sydney who sends an order on Friday morning, will receive his delivery the following Monday, meaning that his cut length has travelled 16,753 kilometres in just one weekend. Similarly, a US order received in Brussels in the morning, will be delivered the following morning to wherever the client desires, either the United States’ East or West coast. Nigel Bishop

THE TEAM Le Hieu is the Shipping Manager, with 20 years’ experience in Logistics. His golden rule is ‘ just in time’: the management system that produces only what is required, in the correct quantity and at the correct time. In his spare time, Le travels. He’s travelled south across Europe, west to North America and east to Asia. Almost as far as Scabal cloth. David Smets has spent his eight years at Scabal in the Logistics Department and understands the importance of precision. He continues a family tradition of working for the company with both his mother and grandfather previously employed by Scabal. He seems to carry this through to his private life: David is a martial arts expert and exponent of the very precise Bikram Hot Yoga (26 postures, 90 minutes, 40°C). Francesco Bisschop believes the most important rule in shipping is to keep a cool head. He should know: he’s worked for 23 years in Scabal’s logistics hot house. His hobby is video gaming; you need nerves of steel for that.

Vu Tran Ba Hoang is the new boy in the department. His future certainly looks bright: his motto is “order, tidiness and punctuality”. Three essential qualities for running a global shipping business. Oscar Vleminckx has seen more than anyone how Scabal has grown over time. In his 39 years with the company, shipping quantities have doubled, doubled again, and carried on doubling. Oscar has probably shipped something like half a million Scabal packages to customers, from Valparaiso to Vladivostok. We wish him a happy retirement next year. Martine Capenol is the new Warehouse Manager, and her responsibilities stretch beyond shipping. But no other department is more important in her mission to provide the highest possible customer satisfaction – an attribute she learned during 25 years in the management of an international car textile production plant.




PAST – Present – Future

Openings, birthdays and so much more… Scabal in Poznan

coolness of a pop star like no other. His distinctively trademarks are his voice and his extraordinary outfits on stage. He ordered tuxedos from the Velvet and Deluxe collections. And the winners are…

Recently a new Scabal store was opened in the city of Poznan. The shop is located in the peaceful neighbourhood of Cytadela district. There, you will find the newest collections of Scabal fabrics and can order not only classic made-to-measure suits, but also formal wear, jackets, made-to-measure shirts and ready-towear garments and accessories Between tradition and modernity

Happy birthday, Mister President!

Once again, Scabal has given its support to the Golden Shears competition for tailoring apprentices and students from all over the UK. The three winners are Yingmei Quan, 29, apprentice at Welsh & Jefferies, Savile Row won the Golden Shears. Ichiro Suzuki, 30, student at the Royal College of Art, whilst also working part-time at Henry Poole, Savile Row won the Silver Shears. Finally, Lucinda Holbrook-Hase, 26, from Worcestershire, won the Rising Star Shears. The cream of the British tailoring industry were present to celebrate and support the future of their unique and highly specialist trade.

© Mayk Azzato

On the catwalk

Scabal’s Frankfurt retailer Stephan Görner created several tuxedos for the German popstar Silvio D’Anza. This singer is known as the pop star among tenors, with an edge that blends the charm of a classical tenor and the 66



Last spring, Scabal sponsored the Agressia Group Fashion show, held in the prestigious five stars hotel Kempinski of Sofia, Bulgaria. Bulgarian Prime Minister, local actors and pop stars and other VIPs attended this exclusive event.

This year, Scabal is proud to pay tribute to its Chairman: J.-Peter Thissen. In fact, 2011 celebrates his 80 th birthday and his 50 years of experience in the textile industry. The Scabal group was founded in Brussels by German self-made man Otto Hertz in 1938. J.-Peter Thissen, who was considered as Hertz’s most valued colleague, arrived in Brussels at the beginning of the 1970s to ensure that Scabal would further develop as a multinational corporation. Thissen is considered as a rare personality, combined an overflowing spirit of creativity with a clear business mind. At 80, he still works everyday for Scabal, along with his son Gregor, who is CEO of Scabal.

Red carpet

It seems that clients have acclaimed the new design. Scabal’s Corner Printemps de l’Homme, 4th floor Boulevard Haussmann, 64 75009 Paris, France T. +33(0)1 42 82 55 33 SCABAL on the MOVE

During the last Cannes Film Festival, Scabal held an exhibition dedicated to the link between the brand and the Hollywood film industry. Since its first appearance in The Godfather in 1972, Scabal is renowned as one of the most important fabric suppliers to Hollywood. The brand has provided fabrics for major productions such as Titanic, Golden Eye, Men in Black, Casino and Wall Street I & II. The exhibition was kindly hosted by Radisson Blue 1835 & Thalasso Cannes, where an entire lounge was dedicated to Scabal.

After more than 55 years spent on the Boulevard d’Anvers in the heart of Brussels, Belgium, Scabal’s headquarters are going to move. Scabal stays in the same district and will undertake major transformation works on its current warehouse located just behind the Boulevard d’Anvers. All the departments of the company will be grouped together in one building for a better coordination of all the services. Scabal will build a brand new showroom and a company restaurant for the employees, with a VIP corner dedicated to its clients. The move is expected for the end of the year 2012.

Germany, where the Mercedes-Benz headquarters are located. At each stage of the competition, Scabal’s Elegance Trophy honoured the smartest player with a pure silk tie – a gift that was very much appreciated by all the players. Bespoken Club in London

The Bespoken Club is a Scabal initiative to bring luxury brands that share the same values together and organize exclusive events for valued customers. For the first time, an edition of the Bespoken Club will be held in Scabal’s flagship store on Savile Row, London. The privileged guests will be invited on Thursday 15th September by Scabal, Maserati, City Jet and Audemars Piguet to discover their newest products and enjoy special promotions. Russian edition of Bespoken LegenDAry CLoTheS

дресс-код для юрисТа отличительная черта профессии – костюм юриста – не меняется на протяжении веков. Bespoken обращается к истории и перспективам этого особого «костюма».

Elegance on the green

«Так как на каждом косТюме просТавляеТся имя его владельца, порТные проявляюТ небывалую педанТичносТь в процессе шиТья, вкладывая в свое дело забоТу и насТоящую сТрасТь». все началось с религии костюм с 33 пуговицами, что символизирует возраст Христа на момент его смерти, произошел от сутаны священников, которые выполняли роль юристов в средние века, а его черный цвет намекает на скромную монашескую жизнь. и сегодня он выступает в качестве «уравнителя» – на первое место ставится защита интересов гражданина, в каком бы костюме она не осуществлялась. кристофер вангеель, адвокат Antwerp Member, замечает: «Все юристы настолько привыкли к своим платьям, что воспринимают их как часть профессии. Этот костюм – богатый на различные исторические ассоциации – стал униформой и свидетельствует о некотором конформизме». костюм, который необходимо надевать на каждое слушание, стал своего рода фетишем: «Обычно у юриста за всю жизнь бывает два или три костюма. И даже когда он совсем ветшает, адвокат побоится сменить его на новый, так как есть предрассудок, что после этого удача может оставить его», объясняет вангеель. Этикет, конечно, стал менее жестким за последние столетия, но традиции, связанные с этим костюмом, до сих пор очень уважаются. на самом деле, совсем немногие юристы осмеливаются носить свою униформу вне здания суда или таким образом, чтобы это задевало старших членов коллегии.

Successful renovation

костюм и аксессуары костюмы различаются в зависимости от страны происхождения, но традиционно включают в себя белый воротник, рабат, эпитогу и парик. рабат – это мягкий белый хлопчатобумажный сложенный элемент, помещаемый поверх воротника. Эпитога же, введенная наполеоном после Французской революции, – это кусочек ткани, накладываемый на левое плечо. изначально эпитога состояла из двух полос меха горностая, который затем заменили кроличьей шерстью. известный

парик – аксессуар английских юристов – был введен в оборот во Франции в 16 веке, откуда и попал в великобританию. парик обладает цветом седых волос и изготавливается из лошадиной гривы. местные традиции в англии юристы носят белый съемный воротник и парик. а под костюмом у них брюки в серую полоску и специальный «адвокатский» пиджак. дизайн также различается в зависимости от выполняемой юристом роли – защитники (адвокаты) носят открытые черные костюмы с рукавами в форме раструба, пуговицами и тесьмой. советников ее величества называют «шелковыми» из-за богатства их открытых шелковых платьев. ношение парика с 2008 года не считается обязательным при рассмотрении гражданских дел, но до сих пор требуется в уголовном суде. в 2007 году в европе попытались привести юридический костюм к унификации, позаимствовав самые лучшие элементы из разных стран – итальянский басон, двойной испанский рабат на шнуровке, английский парик и красные пояса средиземноморских судов. может быть тогда стоит и изменить цвет костюма с черного на синий – официальный цвет ес? костюм, пошитый специально для вас Такой костюм полностью изготавливается вручную. с каждого юриста снимаются мерки – рост и ширина плеч. платье производится из панамы, саржи, микрофибры, тонкого хлопка, шерсти, шелка или атласа. носить его можно около 15 лет, а хранить – всю жизнь. «Раньше все костюмы в основном шили из шерсти, но в последнее время весьма популярной стала микрофибра, так как ее очень удобно носить и она не промокает», отмечает марк ван Хоув из компании Albert, уникальный портной из антверпена и сотрудник Scabal на протяжении 50 лет. он по-настоящему уважает традиции и уделяет огромное внимание качеству отделки, так что предпочтет задержать работу, чем сдать ее хотя бы с незначительным недостатком. на костюм уходит около пяти метров ткани, а основную сложность представляют складки, расположенные на плечах и в середине спины, также известные как «canons d’orgue» – их порядка двухсот. Так как на каждом костюме проставляет-

ся имя его владельца, портные проявляют небывалую педантичность в процессе шитья, вкладывая в свое дело заботу и настоящую страсть. английская фирма ид рэйвенскрофт занимается пошивом костюмов и изготовлением париков для юристов уже более 300 лет. она была основана в 1689 году и стала официальным поставщиком королевской семьи. во Франции монополией на пошив этой одежды обладает компания Ponsard & Dumas, которая была основана в 19 веке и сначала занималась разработкой костюмов для священников, а затем обратила свой взор на одежду для магистров, адвокатов и профессоров университетов. к новому стилю справедливость беспристрастна, и черный цвет костюма призван подчеркивать это впечатление. по этой причине кристоф вангеель решил запустить линию «Toga 125», знаменующую 125-летие адвокатской коллегии антверпена. он обратился к Scabal с просьбой предоставить ткани участникам конкурса в качестве спонсорской поддержки. в рамках этого события многие дизайнеры и студенты школ моды постараются создать модель костюма не только практичного, но и соответствующего тенденциям современной моды. вангеель поясняет концепцию конкурса: «Юридическая система – негибкая и традиционная, она опирается на древние принципы. Моей идеей было несколько оживить имидж правосудия, добавить в него немного энергии и современности без отрицания традиций. В результате этого должен появиться новый стиль». Таким образом, в мае 2011 антверпен – бельгийская столица стиля – превратит свои суды в настоящие дома моды. жюри, составленное из известных бельгийских дизайнеров, представителей юридической профессии и журналистов, выберет лучшую модель нового костюма. совет юристов затем одобрит новый стиль, и имя победителя будет увековечено в истории. вангеель в предвкушении: «Это объединяет вроде бы никак не связанные друг с другом миры – юриспруденцию и моду. Я уверен, что благодаря этому событию, лицо правосудия станет более человеческим». «Toga 125»: творческий конкурс, спонсируемый Scabal Cécile de Forton

Костюм – традиционный символ правосудия 60

Last spring, Scabal has totally renovated its corner located in the department store Printemps in the heart of Paris. The new decoration is inspired by the British roots of Scabal and Parisian traditional architecture.

For the first time, Scabal was proud to sponsor the 2011 edition of the Mercedes-Benz Trophy alongside renowned brands such as Bang & Olufsen, Callaway and Deutsche Bank. Twenty-four rounds of golf were planned for Belgium and the world final was held in Stuttgart,






After the success of the first Russian edition of Bespoken, Scabal has decided to continue its efforts and has also produced a Russian version of the edition you are holding in your hands. Other international editions of the magazine are planned, with China and India likely to be next. Jérôme Stéfanski





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Scabal Made-to-Measure +52-55-5660 75 40 or

PORTUGAL +351-275-954 827

Scabal’s flagship store in Savile Row, London

viSit SCABAL’S fLAGSHip Store At 12 SAviLe roW, W1S 3pq London, pHone +44-20-77 34 89 63, HAZeL.EDMONDS@SCABAL.Com or tHe SCABAL CornerS in Le printempS de L’Homme, 4tH fLoor, 61 rUe CAUmArtin, 75009 pAriS, pHone +33-1-42 82 55 33 or +33-1-42 82 40 32, KAdeWe, 1St fLoor, tAUentZienStrASSe 21-24, 10789 BerLin, pHone +49-30-219 18 530,



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MR. fabric is back in this edition you have met the ‘winter face’ of mr. fabric — in our next issue, you will discover his summer side. light fabrics such as linen, mohair and cotton will be celebrated. reserve your copy, which will be delivered to your home, at




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In this 9th edition, BESPOKEN presents Scabal's new concept "Mr.Fabric", a bridge between the design and the technology side of cloth and th...

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