PG editorial for DANDY Magazine

Hugo JACOMET

 

Gentlemen

I am now a contributor to each edition of  French print publication DANDY Magazine.

This new collaboration put aside – contents are left at my entire discretion – I also wish to salute DANDY for progressively re-centering their editorial line on masculine elegance and on the delivery of feature stories aimed at real connoisseurs.

So here is the PG editorial that was just published in the 35th edition of DANDY Magazine, translated for your reading pleasure :

Hail Britannia…

By Hugo Jacomet

Gentlemen,

To call the relationship between France and perfidious Albion complex would be the sweetest understatement. To put it mildly, it has never been perfectly cordial, even though the historical animosity has fortunately since dimmed to a slightly childish mockery.

The mutual defiance, while still very deeply rooted in spirits both sides of the Channel, is now fortunately limited to being crystallized in a few symbolic events like the famous annual Crunch (in Rugby) that – sadly – England tends to win  (I am writing these lines with a heavy heart)…

Despite this, just this once, we will make it our duty to pay tribute to our British “friends” and salute their work, exemplary across the board, for the promotion and preservation of their tradition, including those that will be the subject of the following lines.

In the last few years, the British have multiplied far-reaching communication and awareness efforts to support their traditional crafts in a scope that France seems to be simply incapable of…

This movement to support British sartorial and shoemaking skills motivated the establishment of the Savile Row Bespoke Association. Among its initiatives, let’s quote a wonderful exhibition, The London Cut, instigated and created by the ubiquitous James Sherwood (who recently penned the excellent Savile Row with Thames & Hudson). The goal of the exhibition was to educate on the use of the “Bespoke” word, by showcasing the guidelines on pattern, handwork and assembly techniques required to legitimately pretend to this prestigious label.

The national BBC 4 followed suit (no pun intended) with the production of four delightful 52 minutes documentaries on Savile Row and the plight of its tailors to stop the invasion of mainstream sportswear manufacturers near their sanctuary of discreet masculine elegance.

Then, BBC 2 produced the excellent documentary The British Style Genius, in a passionate plea to defend tailor culture. It was broadcast in England during prime time slots (that is, not at 2 a.m. on an obscure cable channel).

We could also recommend Why Style Matters?, a very good piece on the work of Ozwald Boateng that proves that traditional tailoring culture and modernity can easily go hand in hand.

But the coup de grâce  was just dealt by the online edition of Esquire magazine UK. It recently posted a wonderful feature on an 8 day road trip in 8 instalments at the heart British craftsmanship. This series titled MANUFACTURE and presented by the very public Patrick Grant (Norton & Sons) will take you on an exploration of the fabric, cashmere, leather and knit makers industry that is the pride of the UK. This fabulous voyage includes stops at legendary Reid & Taylor, William Lockie, Todd & Duncan, Johnston’s, Joshua Ellis and Fox Brothers for fabric and cashmere, Garyhahine Harris Tweed and Luskentyre for tweed, John Smedley and Corgi for knits, and Ettinger and RBJ Simpson for leather.

This hall of fame of British know-how brilliantly shows that globalization is not an end for traditional craftsmanship, and that quality labels are very much able to survive competition from China and India.

What if we did the same in France? What if such publications as Dandy and Parisian Gentleman could create, with the help of large national medias, similar programs to showcase and promote houses and artisans deserving of national attention?

Based on the skittishness of mainstream media in France however, such a project is sadly unlikely to ever be undertaken.

But it would certainly enjoy a quality audience: our country too abounds in exceptional artisans throughout its territory. Houses like Simonnot Godard in Cambrai, who make beautiful handkerchieves and pocket squares, still hand rolled, les tanneries du Puy in Velay who make some of the most beautiful boxcalf in the world, the Weston manufacture in Limoges and the workshop of Hervé Brunelle in the Aisne that makes exceptional lasts and shoe tree, to only name a few.

The British have understood that marketing, communication and tradition can converge.

Why can’t we?

HJ