Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Monday, 17 December 2007

V&A jewellery gallery to open in May


A press pack from the V&A arrives with details of the opening, in May of the new William and Judith Bollinger Gallery which will tell the story of European jewellery during the past 800 years. There will be jewelled pendants given by Elizabeth I to her courtiers, diamonds worn by Catherine the Great, the Beauharnais Emeralds which Napoleon gave to his adopted daughter, and tiaras worn by the Empress Josephine. And Lady Mountbatton's 'tutti frutti' ruby sapphire, emerald and diamond bandeau, bought from Cartier in 1928.

In the unlikely event of you not possessing any world-ranking jewels, the V&A shop is commissioning several new ranges, affordable by the likes of us .

And if you can't get to London, buy the catalogue.

Pure Cashmere


A few weeks ago I wrote about one of my favourite things to wear, indeed what I'm wearing right now, Pure Cashmere. I've bought several brands of cashmere sweater but Pure do the best range of styles, best fit, softest wool, and crucially, the best colours, because they dye the yarn not the garment.

I'm delighted that Pure is now an advertiser on this site. Indeed they have a 20 percent off promotion at the moment, see the banner up top or side panel at the right. And of course if you order your sweater from this site, then I can buy another.

They do ship to the US, according to one of my regular readers.

Book of the Week


The Lodger: Shakespeare on Silver Street by Charles Nicholl.

The facts of Shakespeare's life are so meagre that it is difficult to produce more than a monograph without considerable speculative padding. Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World a few years ago, placed Shakespeare at the centre of his time, of the political events of the period. Nicholl has an entirely different task. At the beginning of the last century a manuscript was discovered showing that Shakespeare, while living as a lodger in a house on Silver Street in London, was called as a witness to a legal dispute about the failed payment of a dowry. Nicholl recreates the ordinary, everyday life of the neighbourhood, the street, the house, and even the kind of furnishings of the room in which Shakespeare wrote. It's as if we are seeing Doris Lessing going out to the corner shop to buy a tin of cat food. There is an increasingly eerie sensation as we move closer and closer to the fabric of Shakespeare's reality: the playwright among one of many neighbours earning a living, buying and cooking food, stopping to talk on the street. In the end we are no closer to this man's incomprehensible genius, but we do understand that he took his influences not from thin air, but the lives of those around him, brief forgotten lives given an additional meaning by falling beneath the gaze of one who would change the way we think and feel.

You can buy it here


or here

Public service message: the party shirt


Every year a certain senior male executive appears at a certain UK newspaper's Christmas party in what he calls his party shirt. The fashion desk moves to the opposite end of the room. This year drastic measures have been taken to preempt the appearance of the party shirt.

I am sure The Thoughtful Dresser's male readers are far too sophisticated to wear a party shirt, but perhaps you'd like to print this out and hand it to friends:

. . . don't be tempted to wear "party" clothes to the Christmas office do. It looks desperate, uncool, irritatingly chipper and unforgivably Brentian. By all means dress up a bit. Wear one of your better suits, carefully iron a decent shirt, leave your trousers in the Corby that bit longer - and then set about thoroughly ruining the lot. (Office parties, like weddings, are a social war zone, where the agony of the banging hangover is matched only by the horror of discovering ripped and stained battle scars in your brand new Prada whistle.)

If you overcook the outfit, with, say, a garish, swirly "party" shirt or unfunny Santa cufflinks, for instance, you are painting a picture of a man who gets pathetically excited at the prospect of free booze, talking to women and spontaneous gynaecological Xeroxing.

Thought for the day


In the factory, we make cosmetics; in the store we sell hope. Charles Revson