THE FUSION ColleCtioN London: 15 New Bond Street, Harrods & Selfridges & Co www.georgjensenstore.co.uk. Additional stockists: 0207 499 6541 WeBritons were once the undisputed champions of conspicuous consumption. The inventive, indulgent 18th century created a hunger among middle-class Englishmen for exquisite things –
furnishings, elegant china, intricate brocades and all manner of fancy buttons and sparkly baubles. But today it seems sometimes as if the West has bowed gracefully out of the business of luxury, and ceded it’s place to the East. International luxury goods houses are seeing their profits soar in China and India and the Middle East. The new rich in Beijing, Mumbai and elsewhere are keen to demonstrate their appreciation of finery: buying luxury apartments and forking out millions for works of art. Sometimes they even buy whole shops – Harrods can look forward to a bright future under its new Qatari owners.
Finally, J.R.H. McEwen discusses his grandfather James Laver’s legendary law of fashion, which is as true today as when it was first coined in 1937. We hope you find it all entertaining and informative, and look out for our next edition in 2011. guide to luxury and style by Freddy Gray
But beneath all the global razzle-dazzle, we should not forget that much of fashion’s flamboyance revolves around a core of British ingenuity. That’s why the key theme of this edition of the Spectator Guide to Luxury and Style is one of national pride. All manner of the world’s most distinguished men, from rap stars to cabinet ministers, treat Savile Row as a place of pilgrimage, which is why we’ve asked Damian Thompson to say what makes the perfect English suit. British silver is enjoying a richly deserved renaissance, which Claire Adler describes on page 24. And, as George Binning reports, the British-made umbrella remains the utmost symbol of refinement, even in the absence of rain: Winston Churchill took his British brolly to ward off the sun when he met Monty in the north African desert and dapper Africans have followed suit ever since.
The Swiss may be famous for their horology, says Simon de Burton, but Britain has always made some of the finest watches in the world. China and the Philippines may boast the largest shopping malls in the world, but British shops are like catnip for the super-rich and super-fashion-conscious worldwide, so Leah McLaren explores the new shoe hall at Selfridges and we interview William Asprey, owner of the quintessentially British luxury goods brand, William & Son.
It would be churlish to ignore the rest of Europe completely, so Lucinda Baring stocks up on designer skiwear for the winter and Henry Deedes praises the Parisian shirtmakers Charvet. We also cater for those of you with refined culinary tastes. Robert GoreLangton flies to Azerbaijan to taste their caviar on your behalf, and Kirk Leech discusses the unresolved controversy over foie gras.
For all the aspiring chefs among Spectator readers, Ed Howker, who usually investigates political corruption for the magazine, diverts his skills to find out what goes into making the finest Japanese kitchen knives. Elsewhere, Celia Walden tells us how to spot that odious creature, the dressed-down politician; art dealer Jack Wakefield explains how to start a collection for under £10, 000; Charlotte Metcalf tries on some absurdly large diamonds at Sotheby’s; and Harry Mount spends a sumptuous weekend in a fine English house, Biddick Hall.
the spectator a guide to luxury and style | Autumn 2010 | www.spectator.co.uk