Apparel Arts-The Coronation Number Advance Spring 1937…or… “My goodness, what in the world shall I wear to my meeting with Hitler this afternoon.” Sorry—couldn’t resist throwing the brick at the beginning of this yarn versus Orange Croc-ing you at the end.
Early Spring 1937…The folks at A.A. were obviously guiding merchants towards capitalizing on the big event across the pond but more importantly perhaps, the sartorial gravitas of Edward VIII.
That’s about where his gravitas peaked and it’s probably a good thing that his younger brother throned Britannia through the War. Had this little fop remained on the throne, echoes of his grandmamma an ‘ems Battenberg Saxe-Coburg-Gotha brogue would have wafted through Buckhouse like the smells from a red hot Spam sputtering skillet. (Premature metaphor...it would be another six years or so before Spam would begin its twenty year reign as a British essential)
Oh my goodness young Duke. You have no idea what's ahead of you.
The Beau of the Twentieth Century...thank you--thank you Wallis, for putting something on this ole boy that Ajax wouldn't scrub off. Winston, find this boy something to do. Bahamas maybe?
But lets give the boy his due. He could without much thought, contrive game changing sartorial rigs. I'd pay money to know what kind of rigs Wallis contrived for the boy. I would NOT however, want to see pictures.
Admit it, you'd wear this rig if you could get away with it. I've got similar on right now. Shut the ___ up.
Listen, if he did nothing else for the world, I give him high praise for bringing brown suede brogues out of the Country and in to Town.
I suppose a Coronation issue would be incomplete without some obsequious nod to the subjects, still loosely and vaguely knitted together, 1937 style, forming the Fading Empire.
The Burdened White Man...we call him...Cletus.
Two obviously Walesian textures here...Fair Isle-ish vest and a glen-wales-Urquhartesque plaid.
But then...almost as if A.A. knew that Eddie-Eight was gonna soon become the Travelling Windsor...The Worlds Travelling House guest, the Coronation issue turns decidedly horsey-country-leisurely.
Tatty patina. Newmarket style. You can't buy it...you've gotta wear the hell out of it to achieve the real deal. Butcept Polo, J.Crew, Rugby and others will "stone wash-vintage-ize, beat the shit out of, weather, hand craft" or whatever on your behalf, in an effort to get you to the patina on time. With an upcharge of course. "Tatty patina" ... sounds like a sun damaged nipple.
And we learned over here from our cousins...over there.
A quintessential classic. Brown and gray flannel. Shut up.
Visual queues in concert with colour and textural evidence of what a proposed contrivance might net out to be. And yes, over the years since 1937, a swatch or two, even a page or two, might be AWOL from an A.A. issue.
In a heartbeat. But you knew that already. With Crocs. Orange.
But then the Coronation issue makes an unscheduled stop...juxtaposing a gaggle of university men reading Esquire and talking about socks and stuff.
Picture a similar scenario today. Instead of killer swathings and shoddings, the fratty or eating club boys would be wearing ass-crack cargo baggies, backwards baseball caps and tweeting some nip-slip story from the previous evening's Red Bull-Adderal-Jagershots soirée. And no, I'm not cynical. I've already told you to shut up-twice.
So there you have it. A glimpse of A.A. amidst the Edward VIII buzz. A short-lived, thankfully, whiff of milquetoastian whateverishness. But dressed better than anyone in history.
Onward. With 20 Apparel Arts volumes from which to spin yarns and tell lies.
A.(Apparel) D.G. II