Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Lion Brand Sportswear: The revival of an iconic polo-shirt.

I like heritage. I like brands with a heritage. I like products with a heritage. Heritage means there’s a story behind it. And most of the times, a great story. And there we have the Lion Brand of sportswear. After more than 50 years... So, let’s look for the story. And apparently there’s indeed a story to it. A love story ! 
No wait, there are 2 love stories to it ….  Ooh, wait a minute, there are 3 love stories to it !  And let me explain that to you.
To make a long story short, it was passion that led to the creation of the brand, love that led to the 'termination' of the brand, the sacrifice, and love and respect that led to the ressurrection of the brand.
1.   Starting the brand
Lion Brand Sportswear was founded in the USA in 1954 by Antonio Rosenbaum. As a Boston based company, Lion Brand Sportswear manufactured the finest Sports and Leisure wear and was known for their durable and breathable qualities. Inspired and encouraged by the “Ivy League”, Lion Brand Sportswear supplied among leisure wear also sporting goods for their athletes. Besides his passion for clothing Antonio was also a true fan of the Ivy league sports. By observing the athletes he always wanted to improve the comfortability of his products.

Antonio Rosenbaum in 1954
2.   Stopping the brand
After many years creating the finest quality goods Antonio met the love of his life Rietje, a girl from The Netherlands. They fell madly in love and got married. Rietje suffered from homesickness and Antonio knew what he had to do. He closed down his Boston office and moved to Europe with his new wedded wife. Unfortunately this was the end of one of the most luxury sportswear brands of America!

The original 1954 advertisement
3.   Re-starting the brand
Now after more than 50 years we are delighted to relaunch Lion Brand Sportswear. Our goal is to create luxury pieces by working with the best European suppliers with a fine regard for detail. In “Legacy of Lion Brand Sportswear” we reintroduce “The 1954 Polo Shirt”. This authentic 1954 slim-fitting polo shirt is crafted from durable and breathable cotton pique and finished with our unique embroidered Lion.
And you want me to let you in on a secret ? It's the grandson who's putting his energy and ambition in putting the brand back on the world map ! So it all stays in the family, with the rightful owners.
Originating from the sports in a Waspy , Preppy surrounding, the Lion Brand Polo now doesn't ignore it's origins. However fitted into a more contemporary slim fit look,  it combines excellent with jogging pants, but also with jeans or elegantly with chino's underneath. They still remain that classic polo, you know. I wear them under the obligatory navy blazer with brass buttons, giving it that aura of preppy-ism back. I respect that feeling for tradition,  the fact that it's a re-edition, the classic elegance. 
Besides, every order is delivered in a fancy luxury box, which represents the house-style. It is in fact so nice that I keep the polo's in their when washed and ironed. Once again, an iconic brand is ressurected !  The polo's are available in an array of colors. All yours to discover on http://www.lionbrandsportswear.com/
Think New England's clubby atmosphere, tennis and golf clubs, riding a vintage convertible down the Cote d'Azur, ... enjoying life in a relaxed atmosphere. The soft cotton piqué ensuring a soft wear, the slim fit an elegant look.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

The fabulous MG MGA 1600 Coupe (1959-60): The power is in the curves...

The MGA replaced the older T-type cars in 1955 and represented a complete styling break from the older vehicles. 
As it was so different from the older MG models it was called the MGA, 
the "first of a new line" to quote the contemporary advertising.
MG MGA 1600 Coupe was powered by a updated 1588 cc engine that produced 78 bhp (58 kW; 79 PS).
A top speed of 96.1 mph (154.7 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 13.3 seconds. 
The styling of the car was undeniably elegant. Its aerodynamic design and two-seat open-body was stylish and sporty. 
The vehicle sat very low to the ground providing an excellent center of gravity. 
This improved the handling and cornering ability.
Amber or white (depending on market) front turn indicators shared with white parking lamps,
 separate stop/tail and turn lamps in the rear, and 1600 badging on the boot and the cowl.
Around 2,800 MGA 1600 and 1600 De Luxe models were made. 

Bexley Kent Gomme II: A classic for fall & winter...

Fall, …   aaah that cosy time of the year when we all think of roasted chestnuts, sparkling fireplaces, hot chocolate milk topped with whipped cream, delicious stews, cosy lit rooms, etc…. Well, all that is very nice and indeed so true. 
The Kent, as its sister the Paddington style, is a true formal and timeless shoe but it is also a definitely resistant shoe, perfectly adapted to a rainy weather. Indeed, its upper leather is quite” water resistant”. You will also be seduced by the great walking deportment its rubber outsole brings. At last, you will love its derby shoe for its distinguished and sober lines as well as its exceptional fit. The Kent is lasted on the new Bexley last, the n°69 ®, with generous proportions.

But we have to admit that it’s also the time of year that brings us cold winds and thus scarfs, rainy days and their umbrellas, muddy trails and our sturdy shoes. I say sturdy, because we don’t want to ruin our sleek and elegant suede loafers. That summer wear, and even sockless days are definitively over, at least for this year that is. Out come the boots, bottinnes and swimms.
Bexley brings us affordable stylish shoes. And these shoes do exactly what I wanted them to do. A sole that gives me a decent grip, ample space for the toes to wear thicker socks to temper the cold. Especially since I’m not going to wear the leather soles all day in snow and rain….

The model is quite a classic, with several brands claiming the design. Very popular in p.ex. Paris, by the BCBG-crowd, preppy ans Sloane-rangers all around, during winter times. So now I was ready for the rough endurances. But were the shoes also ready ?
Lately I’ve been walking and cycling a lot, not my choice, however needless to say that my general condition improved a lot. As a famous soccer team trainer once said: ‘Every disadvantage has its advantage’.
Anyway, back to the facts. When they were brand new, they fitted like a glove. Soft and smooth. For about a week. And then I had to walk 2 km in the rain, and afterwards, ride about 4 km in a dreadful pouring rain. They were soaked. I didn’t really treat them afterwards. Just a quick polish after 2 days. After that, the fit wasn’t anymore what it used to be….. Hardened leather, tighter on the sides, pinching the toes. Not a pleasant experience. But I admit I’m to blame. So a good treatment what was needed !
Fed the leather to nourish it again, then polished them decently. Broke them in again in normal cold weather. Fit was a bit better again. And then it happened all over again.
2 km walk in the rain, then 8 km on the bycicle. So soaked again. But this time I let them dry as you are supposed to let shoes dry: Filled with crumbled up newspaper, away from heat sources. Then fed them again, and a very, very decent polish.
They now fit like a glove again. Look nice, and are worn in perfectly, and in a very short time. So when looking for a very affordable pair of winter shoes…. I can recommend these.

More information on www.bexley.com.
Bexley stands for great shoes, all-time classic models, affordable quality-price ratio. 
P.S.: Website in english & french (French brand), fast shipping when ordered online.

Specs of Bexley's derby shoes:
- Construction : Goodyear Welted or Blake Welted 
- Leather Outsole
- Upper: Oiled Leather
- Lining: Leather
- Insole: Leather
- Welt: Leather

Friday, November 18, 2016


• Jaguar Classic stelt ‘nieuwe originele’ XKSS voor aan de pers in het Petersen Museum in
Los Angeles
• De unieke auto werd volgens de authentieke specificaties uit 1957 gebouwd door de
ervaren vaklui van Jaguar Land Rover Classic
• Negen exemplaren zullen met de hand worden gebouwd in het Verenigd Koninkrijk;
vanaf 2017 zullen ze aan klanten worden geleverd
18 november 2016, De eerste authentieke Jaguar XKSS in bijna 60 jaar
maakte zijn internationale debuut in het Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. De verbluffend
mooie XKSS, in de kleur Sherwood Green, werd door het technische team van Jaguar
Classic gebouwd als aanloop naar de productie van negen auto’s die in 2017 aan klanten
over heel de wereld zullen worden geleverd.
De XKSS, die vaak als ’s werelds eerste supercar wordt beschouwd, werd aanvankelijk door
Jaguar ontwikkeld als straatversie van de D-type, de winnaar van Le Mans die van 1954 tot
1956 werd gebouwd. In 1957 gingen negen auto’s, bestemd voor de export naar Noord-
Amerika, verloren tijdens een brand in de Jaguar-fabriek in Browns Lane, in de Britse
Midlands. Als gevolg daarvan werden er slechts 16 exemplaren van de XKSS gebouwd.
Eerder dit jaar kondigde Jaguar aan dat zijn Classic-afdeling de negen ‘verloren’ XKSS
sportwagens ging bouwen voor een select groepje vaste klanten en verzamelaars. De
nieuwe, unieke XKSS die in Los Angeles werd voorgesteld, is de culminatie van 18 maanden
onderzoek en zal als blauwdruk dienen voor de negen zogenaamde ‘continuation’ auto’s.
Deze negen auto’s zullen volledig nieuw zijn, met hun toenmalig chassisnummer uit het
XKSS-chassisboek. Alle auto’s worden nu verkocht tegen een prijs van meer dan £1 miljoen
per stuk.
De XKSS is de tweede ‘continuation’ auto van Jaguar, na de zes Lightweight E-types die in
2014 werden gebouwd. Bij dat project leerde het team auto’s ontwikkelen die trouw blijven
aan de oorspronkelijke bouwspecificaties. Deze kennis werd nog verruimd met de
ontwikkeling van de ‘nieuwe originele’ XKSS.
De XKSS die in Los Angeles werd onthuld, is een authentieke ‘continuation’, gebaseerd op
een combinatie van originele tekeningen uit het archief van Jaguar en moderne technologie.
Het technische team van Jaguar Classic scande verschillende versies van de XKSS uit 1957
om een volledig digitaal beeld van de auto te maken, van het koetswerk tot het chassis, met
alle nodige onderdelen.
Net als in 1957 is het koetswerk van de XKSS opgetrokken uit een magnesiumlegering. En
omdat de originele mallen niet meer bestaan, maakte Jaguar Classic een nieuwe, speciale
mal op basis van de originele koetswerken uit de jaren ‘50. De koetswerken van de negen
nieuwe wagens zullen op deze mal worden gevormd, aan de hand van een traditioneel
proces dat ‘hand-wheeling’ wordt genoemd.
Op basis van de oorspronkelijke frames maakten de ervaren ingenieurs van Jaguar Classic
een CAD-ontwerp voor de bouw van het chassis. In samenwerking met het Classic-team
maakte framebouwer Reynolds – die bekendstaat om zijn 531-buizen – nieuwe, speciale
onderdelen op basis van imperiale, in plaats van metrieke maten. De frames zijn met brons
gelast, net als de chassisbuizen van een authentieke XKSS.
De ‘continuation’ auto’s zijn uitgerust met klassieke Dunlop-schijfremmen met een Plesseypomp,
en Dunlop-banden met geklonken tweedelige magnesiumvelgen.
Onder de motorkap schuilt de 262 pk sterke 3,4 liter grote zescilinder-in-lijn uit de Jaguar
D-type. Deze motor heeft volledig nieuwe gietijzeren blokken, nieuwe gegoten cilinderkoppen
en drie Weber DC03-carburatoren.
Binnenin kreeg de ‘nieuwe originele’ XKSS perfecte reproducties van de originele Smithstellers.
Alles van het hout op het stuur tot het leder op de zetels, via de messing knoppen op
het dashboard van de XKSS, is net als in 1957.
De specificaties werden slechts licht gewijzigd om de veiligheid van de bestuurder en
passagier te verbeteren. Zo werden voor de brandstofcel robuuste, moderne materialen
toegepast om het gebruik van moderne brandstoffen mogelijk te maken.
Vanaf dit jaar zullen de wagens voor klanten met de hand worden gebouwd. Elk van de
nieuwe XKSS-wagens zal naar schatting 10.000 manuren kosten.
“De XKSS is een van de belangrijkste wagens uit de geschiedenis van Jaguar. We hebben
ons dan ook geëngageerd opdat de ‘nieuwe originele’ XKSS in elk opzicht volkomen trouw
zou zijn aan de auto van toen,” aldus Kev Riches, Engineering Manager bij Jaguar Classic.
“Van het aantal, de soort en positie van alle gebruikte klinknagels – meer dan 2.000 in totaal
– tot de Smiths-tellers op het dashboard, alles is net zoals bij de originele wagens. Zo hoort
het nu eenmaal.”
“Het programma voor de XKSS ‘continuations’ benadrukt de ongeëvenaarde knowhow van
Jaguar Land Rover Classic,” aldus Tim Hannig, Director van Jaguar Land Rover Classic.
“We hebben ons geëngageerd om de passie en het enthousiasme voor het illustere verleden
van Jaguar te voeden, door buitengewone wagens, diensten, onderdelen en ervaringen aan
te bieden.
Jaguar Land Rover Classic is perfect geplaatst om in deze groeiende liefde voor klassieke
wagens te voorzien; in 2017 gaat een nieuw wereldwijd hoofdkantoor open in Coventry, goed
voor een investering van £7,5 miljoen. We kijken ernaar uit om deze activiteiten te doen
groeien, door onze bestaande klanten te ondersteunen en door een totaal nieuwe generatie
liefhebbers over heel de wereld aan te spreken.”

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Iconic tassels ? Make them in Cordovan. By Carmina....

The traditional tassel loafer by Carmina in Horween Shell Cordovan, classic burgundy color. Finished with  a bark-tanned leather sole from Rendenbach Jr. in a refined Goodyear welt-construction and with a soft calf lining. Style made on Forest last. Semi-rounded last with comfortable fitting.
For those who don’t know Carmina, the famous shoemakers from Mallorca: The Carmina Shoemakers brand is the masterwork of the well-known Pujadas / Albaladejo family, who’ve been making shoes since the end of the 19th century. It was one of the first companies to install a Goodyear shoe manufacturing facility in the Balearic Islands in 1905. 
Well known for the undeniable quality of their shoes, Carmina is adored worldwide, which is natural considering the enormous influence the family has had on the ‘quality’ shoe market segment.
Carmina Shoemakers is also specialized in working with Horween Cordovan leather. It’s a fact that their mastering absolutely needs to be mentioned. Their exclusive line of elegant models should aspire the discerning gentleman. With a quality-price ratio that is extrmeley excellent, certainly when you compare them with the more-known international brands.
And the fact that Cordovan has become more and more exclusive in the last years…
 About shell Cordovan leather:
Shell cordovan leather comes from the muscle beneath the hide in a small area around the rump of a horse. The shell is a layer of very dense fibers that, after a lengthy tanning process, yields leather that is particularly shiny and durable. When cordovan shoes scuff, a simple rub will erase the scratch. But since its ancient discovery by the Moors in the Spanish city of Cordoba (the town from which its name is derived), the material has been far scarcer than cow leather. A single horse provides only enough cordovan for a single pair of shoes.
Adding to its cost is a long processing time. At Horween Leather in Chicago, a major supplier to brands like Alden and Allen Edmonds, cordovan takes six months to tan. To compare, its Chromexcel leather made from adult cows takes just 28 days to finish. Finished cordovan can cost up to 10 times more than high-quality steer leather.
The current shortage only piles onto that baseline scarcity, and its effects are being felt all over. At Leffot, a high-end men's shoe store in New York, many luxury brands only offer their cordovan shoes made-to-order. While the shop stocks several styles by American label Alden, which start at $750, a pair of black seamless oxfords by shoemaker Saint Crispin's, which will set you back $2,400, take 10 weeks to arrive. The Armoury, a men's boutique in Hong Kong, was forced to cut the wide range of styles it once carried from Spanish shoemaker Carmina to focus on a few that it could actually physically have in stock. "[The rest] just took forever," said Alan See, the store's founder. And Colin Hall, the chief marketing officer at Allen Edmonds, cited delays of up to a month for a pair of black oxfords.
As for the cause of the shortage, the answer lies in the complex dynamics of the hide market. The cordovan supply is determined by the consumption of horse meat, explained Nick Horween, the company's 30-year-old vice president and the fifth generation in his family's business. A century ago, when horses were still common transportation and horse meat was widely eaten, hides were plentiful.
But today, with world-wide consumption of equine flesh declining, hides are limited. Mr. Horween estimated that the company processes just 15% of the horsehide it used to take in when his ancestors started the company in 1905.
The cordovan shortage hit hard in late 2012. Suddenly, the raw shells stopped arriving at Mr. Horween's tannery. He described the supply drop as a "cyclical interruption," though he declined to elaborate further, citing sensitive supplier relations.
In the clubby world of men's high fashion, there are rumors and theories. Some blame hide speculators who snapped up skins as the price of leather was about to rise. Others point to Chinese shoe manufacturers, saying they bought up entire horsehides—which include both the coveted small rear shell pieces and the cheaper and larger front pieces—in lieu of more expensive steer hide when prices for the latter spiked to historic highs in 2012. However, there is little proof of either.
Matthew Abbott, technical sales director at tannery Joseph Clayton & Sons Ltd., based in Chesterfield, England, said the supply of hides was also hurt by a horse-meat scandal last year in the U.K. "There was nothing wrong with the meat, just that it was misidentified," he said. "But I suppose people didn't want anything to do with horse for a while."
Nevertheless, there is a glimmer of hope for those seeking a pair of loafers or oxfords. Mr. Horween reported that the hide supply began to return to pre-drought levels at the end of the last year, which means cordovan supplies for shoemakers may soon be back to normal. His advice to covetous shoppers: Sit tight. More is coming soon. That doesn't quite mean that cordovan shoes will be plentiful, however. "It's still not as much as the market wants," said Mr. Horween.
For meticulous men, there are few accessories as coveted—and expensive—as shoes made from shell cordovan leather, a material prized for its durability, shine and resistance to creasing.
And the fact that the tassel loafer is an all time classic. I remember friends of my parents already wore this model 40 years ago. And it has known its up and downs, but it always comes back. That’s what a truly iconic shoe is all about…
The Carmina tassel  loafer in Horween shell Cordovan, truly one to consider ! They are one of the finest shoemakers in the world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Morgan Aero 8: A Dandy Among Dandies

In the car world, even in the British one, Morgan is a rare bird. Founded in 1909 by Henry Frederick Stanley Morgan, they have defied the odds by staying completely true to their founder's principals. 
They never went for world domination, poured millions into developing a V12, or thought that running a Formula 1 team would be a great idea. They just made cars, as they have always done. By using engines and gearboxes from BMW, Ford, and Mazda, they could concentrate on the bodywork and other parts of the car, many which are still made by hand. This resulted in legendary cars like the 3 Wheeler, 4/4 and Plus 8. Any of this cars will already be considered a choice of a Dandy, simply by being a Morgan. Although the technology in them is very current, they seem to come from a different era.

Among this already unique line-up of cars, there is even a dandy among dandies: the Morgan Aero 8.  Morgan themselves refer to the design as influenced by prototype cars from the 1930's, while in fact, it looks more like a modern variety of the Plus 8 was transported back to us from the future. Its silhouette is unmistakenly a Morgan, as is the fit and finish. Crafted largely by hand, it is somewhat of a paradox with its modern look. Or is that a secret British characteristic? Modernizing your products but staying true to craftsmanship where it counts?

In the case of the Aero 8 you sit on soft leather seats, surrounded by real wood trim, and looking over the bonnet that houses a 4.8 liter V8 made by BMW. Producing 367 horsepower and a whopping 370 lb/ft the Morgan is much faster than most will probably give it credit for. It is for gentlemen in a hurry, and that is mainly thanks to the fact that Morgan has been able to keep the weight down to 1.180 kg. This thanks to the use of aluminum.

It takes 4.5 seconds to reach 100 km/h, but although most gentlemen who own an Aero 8 will appreciate its ability, few will seize it in an unstylish way. This is partially given in by the Aero 8 unique look, with the sleek fenders that come down from the front wheel, to the boat shape of the back of the car with its lushes tail lights. The decklid of the Aero 8 can automatically lift up to store the mohair soft-top. Optional you can also get a hardcover for the winter days, when you also have a zip in liner for your Barbour.

For that the Aero 8 is too exceptional, even a touch eccentric. The majority of its owners probably fits the same bill, since they could also have opted for a 911 or F-Type, but in fact went the Morgan way. Not only that, they choose the dandy among Morgan's, and that is something you do out of personal pleasure.
Written by Mr. Martin Green

more info on http://www.morgan-motor.co.uk/

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