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L’Wren Scott was a unique and unusual talent, says Robin Dutt. A statuesque beauty, she was a couturier and stylist whose remarkable pieces graced the forms of, among others, Nicole Kid-man, Penelope Cruz, Renee Zellweger and Sarah Jessica Parker.

Perhaps her most memorable outfit was the embroidered kimono tailcoat from the ‘Tagasode’ Collection which one might say clearly referenced the lines of male sartoria with perchance, a nod to Alexander McQueen at his most Oriental exotic. It is all too evident how both late creators admired the strident line of the best suiting.

Scott was the one-time partner of Mick Jagger before her untimely passing, seven years ago and included in the sale are two bespoke jackets designed especially for him – one clipped the ‘glamouflage’ (pictured) made of black satin, beaded and spangled intensely with sequins and embroidered with English oak leaf motifs, carrying an estimate of £20,000-£30,000.

This is also the estimate for the somewhat ceremonial butterfly jacket where the images of those insects are rendered in petrol and teal blue like those native to South America and again on a field of glinting sequins.

The way the motifs have been applied has something of the official and certainly mayoral about it. Jagger wore this showstopper whilst performing ‘Miss You’ when large screens surrounding the Hyde Park stage showed blue butterflies fluttering to the sky as a tribute to the doomed Bri-an Jones, and recalling the band’s 1969 Hyde Park concert, when white butterflies were re-leased in his honour.

Shall we say…a very different intent to one contemporary artist’s ‘immortalizing’ the creatures on canvas?

Nicole Kidman has said that L’Wren Scott ‘was exceptionally chic and refined’ and Penelope Cruz who met her when she was a stylist recalls her as ‘an incredible talent’.

A total of 55 lots will be offered at the Christie’s (London) auction and proceeds from the sale will be donated to the L’Wren Scott MA Fashion Scholarship at central Saint Martins UAL – a scholarship set up by Mick Jagger in 2015.

Under the Hammer – L’Wren’s couture and bespoke in the Christie’s auction June 9 July 1.

L’Wren Scott was a unique and unusual

‘Rus in Urbe’. It is the city ideal, writes Robin Dutt. It’s that little suggestion of the lure of the countryside in the hustle of the town. Too much, however and it’s just wrong and out of place.
Of course, some might take things to extremes and pronounce that even the colour brown (in any shade) should only be set against a backdrop of trees and grass and not steel and glass.
And Marie Antoinette had a somewhat particular, yet misinformed, idea of the glories of country life for her little town palace – sheep attached to silken ribbon-leads. It was the country idyll gone mad.
But if it is a touch of the great outdoors to team with your city slicker look, seek out the colourful flourishes of one Clare Haggas whose longer and wider-than-average printed pieces soften strident suiting edges with a touch of the ‘romantique’, lending an air of exotic fluidity and more than a dash of colour.
Haggas is an international award-winning sporting artist whose paintings grace many a country house wall or shoot room. These works of art on canvas are the direct inspiration for her scarf designs featuring hares, pheasants and other favourite country birds, leaping fish and statuesque horses.
A comparatively young company; Haggas began in 2017 when she found a fine silk manufacturer in Worcestershire. She is involved in each stage of making and is, as she says, ‘involved in every touch point’.
Silk and silk/wool mixes are ideal for every season and silk alone in particular is good, being warm in winter and cool in the summer months as this age-old material is a natural thermal regulator.
And a silk twill will hold a shape, no matter what that might be, given the wearer’s desire – whether fashioned into a soft jabot or dashingly tied as an example of studied negligence.
The vibrancy of Haggas’ chosen palette – warm russets, gleaming golds, teal or dark blues and dramatic black make for fine, handcrafted statements of sartorial intent – to be scrunched away by the neckline of a shirt or on parade as a flowing painting around the shoulders.
Each product, from a pochette (£35) to a large scarf (£195) is presented in a bespoke box with a hand-written note from the creator. As she says, “The vibrancy of my original artwork is really important to me … each piece I create is like a snapshot in time. Because there is so much movement in the wildlife I study, I want to have that second captured in my work.”
But it’s not all about the importance of sericulture aesthetics. Possibly simply because of them.
From September 2020 to January 2021, her accessories experienced a 300 per cent year-on-year increase in sales of its core scarf range and a 100 per cent jump in web traffic for the same period. It is proof positive that such often ignored details like an expertly rolled edge or the use of that particularly vibrant hue makes all the difference to the scarf aficionado.
Scarves like these become timeless components in any wardrobe and more and more men are finding ways to enjoy wearing them as integral stylistic devices – be it a simple white-piece or a more flamboyant expression of intent.
More on those here  
07943 502 2756
London stockist – Cordings of Piccadilly.

'Rus in Urbe'. It is the city ideal,

Book Review – ‘Palaces of Pleasure’ – Lee Jackson 

By Robin Dutt 

It has been a year of deprivation of many things. And it has to be stressed that, although we might be emerging into the light, we are not there yet. Sociability, shopping, conversation, imbibing and, basically, all aspects of what we knew as normal behaviour pre-Covid have been and will be effected for a time to come.

And it’s a sure bet that if one were able to crystalise exactly what we all were missing in one word, that word would be pleasure. At first, a full Lockdown, then variations of the same by way of a partial one, we all know what it is to be starved of pleasure to such an extent that this goes way beyond the actual pleasure of pleasure itself!

A dearth of fun and joy breeds depression, lethargy, introspection, negative thoughts, boredom – and much worse. Artificial diversions are simply that. Nothing can take the place of the real thing.

So, Lee Jackson’s latest book on the subject is one we can enjoy for its rich detail and its focus on what pleasure meant to our species in specific environs two centuries ago and of course how this has changed – if it has, in essence, at least. Venues may come and go but that human expectation to enjoy life is still the same – increased though in our age, by so much choice of venue and experience.  But this throws the effect of the pandemic into sharper focus. Take away our pleasure, our enjoyment and we become less – in every way.

Palaces of Pleasure highlights everything from the Gin Palace to the Music Hall, the Dancing Room to the Pleasure Garden, the Exhibition Room to the Seaside. For our twenty-first century, read pubs, theatres, nightclubs, parks and galleries. But then, as now, the seaside is a huge British tourist draw and one so many of us missed in this last year, unless you happen to live by it. And how we took our scepter’d isle with its countless resorts for granted.

All of these diversions are essential to the well-being of the human psyche and how we came to value that taken for granted coffee in a cafe with a friend as opposed to having to book a time slotted table and sit socially distanced and don the mask when you needed the loo. And what of sport?

As a football-loving nation, we were all quickly reminded that it is not simply watching two teams battle it out. The ‘society of the stands’ is crucial and that feeling of ‘being there’.

Jackson’s book could not have been better timed, for we are still in the grip (though lessening) of the Covid crisis but with a less than sure vista regarding certain beloved pleasure palaces of our own, perhaps never to open again and which we all thought would be there forever. By the end of all of this, everyone will have lost a favourite establishment.  Will we ever take pleasure for granted again? Knowing what we are as a species, we forget – and adapt.

But one thing is for certain, pointed out by D.J.Taylor, writing in the Wall Street Journal – ‘pleasure is, at bottom, a deeply serious business’.

Palaces of Pleasure’ by Lee Jackson is published by Yale University Press. £10.99 

Image shows: A busy gin palace bar with customers buying drinks. Coloured etching by G. Cruikshank, c. 1842. Wellcome Collection


Book Review - 'Palaces of Pleasure' -

A co-creation between Rolls-Royce and Maison Hermes has resulted in the bespoke Phantom Oribe, described by its owner as a ‘land jet’, writes Robin Dutt.

The vehicle’s rich green and tempered cream hues match the glazes of antique Japanese Oribe ware, of which Yusaku Maezawa who commissioned the project, is a dedicated collector.

Perhaps the opposite in appearance to kintsugi (the breaking and expert mending of pottery adored by many Japanese as symbolic for the beauty is imperfection, Oribe is a masterclass in perfection –  even though this ‘perfection’ can involve purposefully deformed shapes to emphasise the unique.

But there is nothing deformed about the Phantom Oribe. It is quite simply perfect – if such a thing exists.

Torsten Muller-Otvos, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars says: “This magnificent expression of our pinnacle product represents a landmark for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, bringing together two houses with more than three centuries’ combined experience and heritage.”

And Michael Bryden, Lead Designer, Rolls-Royce Collective, believes that this car is “a fusion of East and West, ancient and modern, serenity and exhilaration”!.

Hermes leather, something the company has been associated with since its inception in 1837, is proudly on display and also features in less visible surfaces in the form, for example of, linings and the decanter stowage compartment.

In addition this revered French house commissioned an artwork based on a design by artist and illustrator, Pierre Peron (1905-1988) which runs the length of the car’s fascia. Monsieur Peron was responsible for creating several of Hermes’ signature silk scarf designs, known and collected internationally.

And, as one might expect with this exemplar of Rolls-Royce innovation, there is a good deal of shining, gleaming silver metal bodywork to further emphasise the undoubted element of unmatchable streamlined chic and sleekness.

The late guitarist, Pete Overend Watts of the sensational glam rock group, Mott the Hoople whose outlandish dress sense is still memorable said of his also unusual locks, that he originally used “Ford silver car paint on my hair and went on to Rolls-Royce silver. Image is everything!’”

It certainly is.

The E-Type Jaguar – 60 years of a motoring icon


A co-creation between Rolls-Royce and Maison Hermes

Stephen Appleby-Barr is a skilled painter of costume and still life subjects. He brings the lushness of the capture of materials and fabrics to life with an unashamed sense of luxe and the exotic.

He certainly stands comparison with other masters who have a way with the depiction of fine and indeed, stately dress, such as Boldini, Sargeant and the recently and sadly departed Howard Morgan.

These fine painters were inspired by epochs of clothing caprices in gowns and frock coats – in both relaxed and more formal ways.

And, Appleby-Barr shares their love of light and dark and the deliberate staginess that looks alluring and dramatic, inspired by fine velvets, crisp shirting, degage cravats and vivid prints.  His technique has been described as ‘the concept of life arrested in stillness’.

The show, in collaboration with Carolyn H Miner, reminds of the artist’s confidence with fantastical, never poised or perfect environs, deliciously sueded in purposeful gloom. These images expose lush treasure troves of thought. It is refreshing to see a new master inspired by the past’s sartoria.

Until 14 May at Robilant + Voena, 38 Dover Street, London W1 4NL. (By appointment. 020 7409 1540) – Robin Dutt 

Stephen Appleby-Barr is a skilled painter of