As this wonderful Summer runs its course, preparations for Autumn & Winter are underfoot at Casa Michelsberg.
This weekend, a fresh batch of logs was delivered, and during a family shopping trip to Waitrose, I found myself drawn – like a slavish moth to the fire – towards my amber coloured friends in the spirits section.
Now is the time for Mr Tanqueray to exit stage left, as Messrs Hine & Hibiki take centre stage in my theatre of sin.
On the fabrics front, it’s all change too.
Before my Italian cloth Partners, Ariston and Loro Piana, downed tools for August and headed off to sip Aperol Spritz on their sun-beds, they delivered their new Autumn & Winter cloth collections.
Whilst I’ll always have a place in my heart for wonderful British cloths like Moon Tweed and Fox Flannel (whose profile seems to be growing stratospherically at the moment) when it comes to innovative weaves, flair, oomph and pizazz, Italian weavers are in my mind, the very best.
Our new in-house collections offer a wonderful selection of soft, sumptuous fabrics, but it is a bottle-green Cotton & Silk Corduroy suiting, from a 19th-century Italian mill in Pontoglio, which has really caught my eye.
Corduroy, like moleskin and velvet, is a cotton based fabric and has a soft, indulgent handle. It feels comfortable and has a casual, dependable, relaxed air about it.
Often associated with old-fashioned Oxbridge professors and people who (paraphrasing Alan Clark) ‘don’t have to buy their own furniture,’ it’s also been worn by rock stars and hell-raisers like Jagger and Dylan.
Like all things of a sartorial nature, it’s about attitude and how you wear it.
The timeless, classic English country look will always, and quite rightly, have its place – it’s the antidote to the noise and bluster of a Pitti Peacock – but speaking personally, I prefer something with a bit more glamour.
It’s very en vogue to wax lyrical about the charms of corduroy tailored in a relaxed, unstructured Neapolitan style, but check out this cocktail suit by Mark Powell for “The London Cut” exhibition in Florence, 2007
Strong roped shoulders, shawl-collar, fishtail cuff, it’s a thing of beauty.
The thing I love about the corduroy from Pontoglio, is the addition of silk, which, as you can see below, gives it a wonderful sheen and the sniff of decadence that just makes me smile.
After all, the party season will soon be upon us, Black Tie comes to the fore, and what better than this raffish number to charm the pants off a fur-clad lovely in Courcheval 1850.
For those of you, tut-tutting at my childish impudence and flashy pretensions, fear not.
I have sensible 15 ounce corduroy from Hardy Minnis in muted tones that will blend in beautifully with your pheasant embroidered silk tie, gingham shirt and Chippendale dresser.
Next week, I’m off to Portugal with my family for a final hurrah in the sunshine, and then, it’s back to work and the countdown to Christmas.
Flannel suits, boeuf bourguignon, log fires, cashmere socks, long baths with a good book (and a Hine Rare VSOP) – life, my friends, could be worse!