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  • July 29, 2016

    Airport Chic

    HOW TO TRAVEL VIP STYLE

    Actresses, models, singers - celebrities are forever jet-setting across the globe so it makes sense to look to their well-seasoned airport dressing codes to inspire our own. The scarf seems to top their list for must-have accessory on a flight. Indeed the scarf is a multi-tasker while travelling. It not only completes your look on departure and arrival but can be wrapped around you en-route to combat the cool in-flight air-con. Travel perfection.

    Here are our favourite five VIP scarf-wearing travellers and how you can get the look:

    Sienna Miller

    Style icon and actress Sienna Miller jets back from Cannes in a lightweight pale blue wraparound.

    Get the look: Choose the Wispy Superfine Lightweight Cashmere Scarf in Ciel to imitate her jetset style.

     

     

    Kate Beckinsale

    LA-based British actress Kate Beckinsale saunters through London Heathrow in monochromes and graphic print. She softens the overall effect with a scarf in a light stone.

    Get the look: Try similar with the Begg & Co Fiji Lightweight Scarf in Grey Stone.

     

    Bar Refaeli

    Model Bar Refaeli hits stores in Milan airport wearing classic shadesof grey topped by a luxuriously soft silver grey scarf.

    Get the look: Replicate her style with a Washed Kishorn Cashmere Scarf in a similar Flannel Grey.

     

     

    Jennifer Aniston

    Jennifer Aniston touches down in London with her perfect white summer scarf effortlessly draped on. The dark border gives it a ‘designed with a twist’ edge.

    Get the look: The dark selvedge stripe on this Fiji Lightweight Cashmere Cotton Mix Scarf ticks the same boxes as Jennifer’s summer scarf.

     

    Gwyneth Paltrow

    Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow flies from London to New York with a failsafe oversized, soft grey scarf adding the perfect finish to her all black look.

    Get the look: The Oversized Cashmere Mid-grey Superfine Wispy Scarf will create the same effect.

     

     

    Image Credit:
    Sienna Miller - Xposurephotos.com, Kate Beckinsale - Glam Radar, Bar Refaeli - Mailonline, Jennifer Aniston - Instyle, Gwyneth Paltrow - StyleBistro

  • May 12, 2015

    A Very Short History of the Men's Scarf

    Esteemed men's style writer G. Bruce Boyer takes us from ancient China to Hollywood's Silver Screen glory days in his enlightening whistle-stop historical tour

    G. Bruce Boyer, photo credit- Permanent Style G. Bruce Boyer, photo credit- Permanent Style

    G. Bruce Boyer has more than forty years experience as a noted men’s fashion editor, style writer and fashion historian so is the voice of great knowledge on all things sartorial and menswear related. For fifteen years he was the men’s fashion editor of the US magazine Town & Country and has also contributed to an impressive list of US publications including Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes, The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Rake. He is also a prolific writer of books on the history and the direction of menswear including Elegance, Eminently Suitable, Rebel Style: Cinematic Heroes of the Fifties and Fred Astaire Style. He is contributor and consultant to The Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion and he co-authored Gary Cooper: Enduring Style with Cooper’s daughter Maria Cooper Janis. He has also worked closely with The Museum at The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. In 2013 he was asked to co-curate its Ivy Style exhibit and contribute to the accompanying book Ivy Style: Radical Conformists. Along with Patricia Mears, Deputy Director of The Museum, he also co-curated the exhibition Elegance in an Age of Crisis: Fashions of the 1930’s and co-authored the resulting book.

     

    A Very Short History of the Men's Scarf by G. Bruce Boyer

    The beginnings of wrapping a length of cloth around the neck are, like many things, lost in the mists and bogs of time. But there is one definite point in the timeline we can note with certainty, thanks to a group of industrious Chinese farmers who decided a few years ago (1974 to be exact) to dig a water well in their local district of Xi’an, the capital of an small agricultural region of Shaanxi Provence in Northwest China.

    To cut to the chase, what they discovered when they started digging was the now famous terracotta army of Qin Shih Huang, China’s first emperor. When he died in 210 BC, his terracotta “army” – molded statues of 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots, and over 650 horses, all life-sized and exquisitely detailed – was buried with him. It was a stupendously unparalleled archaeological discovery. For costume historians it was a particularly auspicious find because these statues gave clear evidence of what sort of clothing was worn in that part of the world over a thousand years ago.

    Terracotta warrior, photo credit - Your Shot National Geographic Terracotta warrior, photo credit - Your Shot National Geographic

    Or at least what sort of clothing warriors wore. These men were dressed for battle. One of the more interesting details shows that many of them wore scarves, and that they tied them in much the same way we tie our scarves today: the cloth was folded around the neck back-to-front, and then looped so that the ends hung down the front of the chest. It’s so interesting because we see the same sort of garb worn in the same way on Roman soldiers depicted on the famous triumphal column of the emperor Trajan erected in Rome in 113 AD. The bas relief spiral frieze that celebrates Trajan’s military campaigns again clearly shows soldiers wearing scarves.

    Trajan's Column, photo credit- St Andrews Trajan's Column, photo credit- St Andrews

    Art historians have surmised that these scarves might have been symbolic badges of honour befitting exceptionally brave warriors, because we don’t have much evidence that scarves were worn by the common populace. But other historians have noted that we simply don’t have many statues or other evidence of what ordinary people did a thousand years ago. Or that soldiers may in fact have been smart enough to invent ways to keep their necks warm and even ward off a sword blow or two. It’s worthwhile to remember that many styles of dress have evolved from military use.

    Which brings us to the next point, another military connection. During the Thirty Years War in Europe (1618 – 1648), Croatian mercenaries in the pay of the French King Louis XIII were accustomed to wearing long, colourful, knotted neck cloths as part of their battle dress. When these troops succeeded, these festive-looking accessories became wildly popular in Paris. It’s believed that the French word “cravat” is a corruption of the word for Croat. Whether true or not, it very nicely brings us ‘round the corner and up to the door of the modern age.

    Somewhere along the timeline since then, this military neck cloth divided into the necktie and the scarf, but that had not yet happened when the most famous practitioner of tying a bit of cloth around the neck came along. George “Beau” Brummell (1778 – 1840), that consummate Regency dandy known for having a way with a strip of starched muslin, raised the accessory to a badge, not of field battle, but of prestigious society acceptance. A.B. (After Brummell) neck cloths would never be just a matter of protection.

    Beau Brummell statue in Jerymn St, photo credit- wikipedia Beau Brummell statue in Jerymn St, photo credit- wikipedia

    In the Nineteenth Century, men’s neck cloths began slowly to shrink, and adapt themselves, to the newer fashion of smaller shirt collars and frock coats. But small, silk neckties could hardly be expected to take the place of neck cloths in inclement weather. And so, by the dawn of the Twentieth Century, scarves – the manly word “muffler” had now come into existence as the name for a scarf that was long and narrow, rather than a folded square – became a distinct standard part of a gentleman’s wardrobe. The men’s fashion magazine Men’s Wear noted in 1928 that “All the best dressed men show a generous amount of muffler above the coat collar and the muffle is folded always in such an apparently careless way that it appears to have blown up about the neck by the wind.” A bit of sprezzatura seems to have always been an accent of scarf wearing with well-dressed men.

    By the 1930s it was all there: Tartan cashmeres and white silk formal scarves, paisleys, school stripes, jacquarded patterns. About this time Hollywood’s influence was also seen, as the debonair Fred Astaire started to wear a silk scarf as a belt, and Cary Grant, among other well-accoutered actors, favoured a cashmere muffler with his tweed sports jackets.

    Fred Astaire, photo credit- Fine & Dandy Fred Astaire, photo credit- Fine & Dandy

    Advances in scarves since then seem to have been more in the nature of finer fabrics, those whisper-weight cashmeres and gossamer blends which have truly made them dulce et utile, a chic complement to the contemporary wardrobe, a nice note of disclosure of the style and personality of the man who wears one.

  • March 31, 2015

    Trend Talk

    Angela Bell, Begg & Co's consultant designer as well as founder and designer of luxury Scottish fashion label Queene and Belle, reveals her inspirations for the current collection

    Angela Bell, Begg & Co's Consultant Designer Angela Bell Begg & Co's Consultant Designer

    What first appealed to you about working with Begg & Co?
    I loved the craftsmanship and quality of their product, and I also admired the fact that they produce ultra lightweight luxury scarves using traditional techniques, it was a lovely mix of heritage and modernity. It's very much what I do with Queene and Belle but completely different to my own collection with Begg coming from weave and my collection being predominately knit.

    What was the original Begg & Co brief?
    I worked with the team to create a brand concept which comes from a traditional/classic base but modernising it by giving the scarves a contemporary twist. Everything we do comes from this point and is the underlying theme to every Begg & Co collection.

    What was the starting point for Spring 15 then?
    The starting point for Spring was taking traditional tartans, ginghams and madras checks and reinterpreting them into our ultra lightweight Spring qualities, this forms the basis of the collection.

    The wispy Lowland and Avignon are a beautiful re-interpreted view of Scotland which is timeless yet pepped up with their bloom colour inspiration - lightweight and perfect for modern life.

    Begg & Co's Wispy Superfine Cashmere Lowland Tartan Scarf is available online now Begg & Co's Wispy Superfine Cashmere Lowland Tartan Scarf is available online now

    The Cottlea Broncho and Burma (coming soon) are fresh and cool coming from their madras and gingham inspiration, they work perfectly with casual summer khaki's and denim. I always think of how each and every scarf is going to be worn, how I would wear it myself or see others wearing it.

    What are the other key themes for the season?
    I am a lover of the Naga tribes (tribal people from North Eastern India and North West Burma) and the textiles they create. I have found them a continual source of inspiration for the Begg & Co collection and for Spring the new Nagas style is the Cottlea Maravar (coming soon) which has been designed in three colour combinations, it's a beautiful check which looks like a stripped down tartan - timeless and cool.

    The final inspiration for Spring is the work of artist Ellsworth Kelly, I love his simple blocking of colours, it is like looking at traditional checks in their most basic form and I thought that would be a fresh way to play with colour in the womenswear collection.

    Ellsworth Kelly, Angela's inspiration for blocking ideas Ellsworth Kelly, Angela's inspiration for blocking ideas
    Ellsworth Kelly, Angela's inspiration for blocking ideas Ellsworth Kelly, Angela's inspiration for blocking ideas

    Styles like the Wispy Ellsworth, Cava Donan, Staffa Murano and Wispy Kelly Rose were all inspired by this theme.

    This picture inspired the Kelly Rose Wispy print This picture inspired the Kelly Rose Wispy print

    And what else has come through?
    Well in my own work I love looking at other ways to interpret camouflage, so I brought this to Begg via the Cottlea Berber Camo (coming soon) it combines a traditional Berber stripe with a traditional khaki camouflage and the resulting scarf is a great piece to be worn with denims.

    How do you decide what colours will work through the collection?
    I always like to think about what is on-trend in fashion but I also think about how people are going to wear things. With those two things in mind a scarf will literally speak to me and I will know what colours will work. Overall though I tend to go with traditional navy's, grey's and beige's because those bases reflect the luxury of the expensive yarns and they take on shots of colour so beautifully. This season I used the gorgeous pale greys and beiges as warps and wefted them with pops of fluo yellow, pink and blue in the Staffa collection, the Venetia, Murano and Mayanmar are great Spring scarves to lighten the mood and set you up for summer.

    Fiona Curran inspiration for fluo and natural colour pallets Fiona Curran inspiration for fluo and natural colour pallets

    What are the best bits about working with Begg & Co?
    My background is fashion design specialising in cashmere knitwear so working with a luxury weaving based brand is all new to me. It is really magical to see what can emerge from the finest strands of yarn on a warp, how they are crossed with the colours coming through on the weft - such beautiful things can be made. It's really inspirational.