Friday, 29 November 2013

Arabian Night and Day

As my BA flight left Abu Dhabi and hurtled down the runway into a starlit midnight blue Arabian night my thoughts turned to the day's proceedings. I had arrived in Abu Dhabi to celebrate the opening of a Hackett shop in the newly opened prestigious shopping mall La Galleria steps away from the recent arrival of a Rosewood hotel, where I had the good fortune to be staying.

At breakfast sitting on a terrace I gazed out and marvelled at the amount of building works being carried out as Abu Dhabi bids to compete with it's sister city Dubai a mere hundred miles down the road. For a City  that is currently celebrating only it's forty second birthday it is making remarkable inroads to achieving it's rightful place as the capital of the United Arab Emirates. I noticed on the adjacent table three British chaps who were all wearing similar slightly crumpled lightweight suits that were in tones of khaki and tan and worn with white shirts and striped ties it struck me that they looked like they could have been from the Foreign Office or Times  war correspondents from the 1960s, only a film Leica camera would have completed the picture.

Surreptitiously I tried to take a snap at which point my battery failed and I missed my Cartier Bresson moment. I made a mental note to wear on my trip to Bahrain in a couple of weeks a similar outfit. I managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing and took a taxi to the Mosque an incredible and imposing building that dominates the Abu Dhabi skyline. I had never before been inside a Mosque and the scale of this one was overwhelming the size of a football pitch with a beautiful and intricately hand woven carpet throughout.  

I had lunch at a revolving restaurant called Tiara that gave me an overview of the whole city and the islands it it is built on, unlike Dubai there was no need to manufacture the islands. I sampled the most delicious lemonade with fresh mint, in fact I followed it with another. With sightseeing done with I spent the afternoon engaging with journalists which in the event turned out to be a lot of fun. Our party in the evening attracted the great and good Abu Dhabians with Arabian Gentleman turned out in their traditional white robes leaving me to ponder how on earth do they manage to keep them so immaculately white. No sooner have I put on a tie then I have spilt something down it.

Now at thirty eight thousand feet the stewardess welcomed me back and so soon and handed me a pair of pyjama's -- not quite in the realm of Derek Rose the eponymous nightwear manufacturer, but now I am being finickity. Having changed into my PJs I found my bed already made up. I wondered if the blue sky thinkers at BA had ever thought about developing onesies. Would I ever take a selfie in a onesie, never, too poncy!. Goodnight. 

Jeremy Hackett

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Top Hat

Following on from my last blog about Globetrotter, one day I was in our Sloane Street shop and chatting to the staff  in our formal wear department when they said that several customers had requested that we stock hat boxes for their top hats. 

Giving it some thought, I decided that Globetrotter would be the perfect maker.  

I am convinced that my fascination with Globetrotter stems from the fact that in the 1940s my Grandmother ran the luggage department of the long gone Army and Navy stores in Victoria, where you could buy anything from a suit to a garden shed and it would be dispatched to serving military personnel in the then British Empire. My Grandmother looked after the requirements of such luminaries as Winton Churchill, providing him with Globetrotter cases. 

I decided that the hat box would be made in black with grey corners reflecting morning dress kit. I then had the base of the box lined with striped morning dress trouser material and the lid with dove grey waistcoat fabric. 

With silk top hats now commanding huge prices it seems only sensible to invest in one of these handsome boxes - if only to prevent someone sitting on your extremely valuable hat and crushing it. 

Jeremy Hackett

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Globe Trotting

Realising that I had a world trip ahead of me I decided that I needed some grown up luggage for the trip that was to take in Australia (for pleasure) onto Singapore and Japan (for work).

I headed to Globetrotter in Burlington Arcade where I chose three suitcases from the Expedition range made to celebrate Sir Edmond Hilary's conquest of Mount Everest in 1953 (although the only heights I would be scaling would be the eight floors of Isetan in Tokyo the largest Men's store in the world, by escalator naturally).

1930s advertising display inferring that Globetrotter
cases are as strong as an Elephant. I couldn't agree more.
The cases were dark green trimmed with brown leather, to add a touch of colour I had them monogrammed in crimson so that anyone would think twice before trying to steal them. They were lined in green Ventile cotton - the same material that Sir Edmond's outerwear jackets were made from.

My monogrammed Globetrotter trio

Ventile is a cloth we have used at Hackett in the past and is a tightly woven cotton that can stand up to extreme weather. Twenty years on I still own a jacket made from this illustrious fabric. 

Vintage Ventile cotton outerwear jacket by Hackett circa 1992
For once packing was a joy as I was no longer cramming my suits into duffle type bags, rather I was able to lay my suits out neatly and despite being in the cases for nearly a week I was able to wear them immediately upon arrival in Tokyo.

Arriving at Heathrow, laden down with my set of Globetrotter cases and with admiring glances from porters to staff at the BA check-in desk a thought occurred to me... Thank goodness I wasn't travelling by Ryanair because their excess baggage charges would have bankrupted me.

Surely you're not going away again?

Jeremy Hackett