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Duke of Windsor style note

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mack11211, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. mack11211

    mack11211 Well-Known Member

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    Dear Folks: Doing some research last night, and found an article written at the time one of the major auction houses was putting his wardrobe and household effects on the block. This was around 1997. I actually went to the viewing, and was able to see and fondle many items. I even tried on a servant's jacket -- the Duke's were way too small, as you will read. I wish had known as much about suit and pant construction than as I know now. I just remember that his pants were very strange. Since so much of this board's posts are about the relative size and shape of different clothing details, it is useful to remember that, although the DoW was a small guy, he never looked it in photos because everything was made perfectly proportionally to him -- even his wife [​IMG] -------------------- From the article: The duke wasn't without other surprises, particularly in his clothing choices. Most men's wardrobes, says Taylor, are a disappointment of dull, solid colors. His was full of patterns, dots, spots and textures, in improbable combinations. "The wardrobe of H.R.H. The Duke of Windsor is undeniably the most important wardrobe of male clothing ever to come to auction. The duke was one of the leaders of fashion of his day, and preferred to set fashions rather than follow them," says Taylor. The former king's fondness for tartans, Fair Isle sweaters and plus fours for golfing set styles on the golf course for decades. He once wrote: "I believe in bright checks for sportsmen. The louder they are, the better I like them." It's fair to blame him for the long reign of gaudy golf clothes - and for elasticized waistbands. The duke invented an interior, elastic girdle that allowed him to skip wearing suspenders. Yet he wasn't a big fashion spender, according to "The Heart Has its Reasons," the duchess's autobiography: "For some time after our marriage, I was puzzled by the fact that while he was the acknowledged leader of men's fashion, he rarely bought a new suit." The former king had not only arrived at a fairly unchanged style at the time of his marriage but also remained the same size: the 5-foot-7-inch royal had a 29-inch waist and wore a size 37 or 38 jacket well into old age, says Taylor. He died in 1972. Thousands of photographs in the collection help illustrate the couple's fashion sense, but quite often, the original item surfaced in the Paris house. "They kept everything. That's why his wardrobe is so historically important," says Taylor. Their possessions weren't widely scattered after the duchess' death in 1986 because an unlikely preservationist purchased her Paris home and its contents, the source of the Sotheby's auction. Mohamed Al Fayed, the chairman of Harrod's department store in London, and owner of the Ritz Hotel in Paris, bought and soon restored the house to its 1950s splendor. He returned many valuable items that had been removed during the declining hears of the duchess. The upcoming sale will benefit Al Fayed's children's charity. Taylor hopes that some charity-minded customers bid on the clothing. She'd particularly like to see the duke's wedding suit purchased and donated to the Metropolitan Museum. That way, it can be reunited with the suit his wife wore on their wedding day.
     
  2. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Well-Known Member

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    I went to an exhibition of the Duke's clothes years ago at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Besides being very small, most of them were greenish, somewhat hairy, heavy-looking, and consisted of loud plaids. Yes, I know they looked good on him as the great style icon. But I could never figure why they did.
     
  3. gorgekko

    gorgekko Well-Known Member

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    The difference between men like him and men like us [​IMG]
     
  4. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Well-Known Member

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    Despite our best efforts and sometimes ridiculous expenditures.
     
  5. armscye

    armscye Well-Known Member

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    I spent a good two hours examining his clothes at the Met in New York. He was indeed a small man, and most of the fabrics tended toward the heavy as noted.

    But I also noted a lot of interesting details that DID justify his style icon status. He wore midnight blue tuxes with black trim, to create contrasts. His seams and buttonholes on suits seem terribly overbuilt and overcoatish by today's standards (one lapel buttonhole looked like it belonged on an industrial fireman's uniform, triple reinforced). I suspect that was to again create architectural lines. His colors were a breath of relief from the black of the day. And his trousers were from what I could tell very loose, in the Cambridge style, but also hung well, unlike the typical peg trouser of the turn of the century (remember he used Scholte for jackets-- his pants were made in the US often). One other thing was his thrift-- apparently many of his suits were made by cutting down garments from his larger father. That shows a sense of respect for the past and reverence for family that I can identify with.
     
  6. Giona Granata

    Giona Granata Well-Known Member

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    Greenish ... loud plaids ... heavy fabrics ... there is always something to learn.
     
  7. sartoriale

    sartoriale Well-Known Member

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    On the Kiton site under history, there are some garments fron the collection with pictures and description.Kiton
     
  8. YoungFogey

    YoungFogey Well-Known Member

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    Good thing for Western Civilisation that he was in reality devoid of both these attributes.
     
  9. dorian

    dorian Well-Known Member

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    I agree....

    He was 100% hitlerific... (just made that word up, methinks)
     
  10. RJman

    RJman Well-Known Member

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    Think I saw it on a Dave Letterman Top Ten list (of words that should never be invented) back when he was on NBC.
     
  11. dorian

    dorian Well-Known Member

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    Damnitall. [​IMG] Oh well, back to the drawing board for my contribution to the English language.
     
  12. Will

    Will Well-Known Member

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    The greenish and hairy attributes come from the 16oz and heavier tweeds he was so fond of.

    Will
     
  13. gorgekko

    gorgekko Well-Known Member

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    At the risk of going to bat for a person with fascist sympathies:

    It should be noted that the Duke of Windsor was hardly the only aristocrat, or Brit for that matter, who had early fascist sympathies. Oswald Mosley and to a lesser extent Arnold Spencer-Leese, after all, had quite wide followings made up of people from all economic classes.

    Also, the Duke's appreciation for Adolph Hitler is more conjecture then substantiated fact. There is a wide gulf between admiring Hitler before the war, as a good many Americans did, and actively supporting him during the war. I have seen little to contradict the notion that the Duke was interested in doing whatever he could for the British wartime cause but was instead sent to govern Jamaica.
     
  14. armscye

    armscye Well-Known Member

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    Um, actually it was the Bahamas, where he was sent to minimize the possibility that Herr Mustache's invading paratroopers might capture the entire royal family at once during the planned invasion of 1940...

    And, um, actually, he was no more a Hitler sympathizer than Time Magazine, which named Herr Mustache "Man of the Year" in 1936. Hitler in those pre-Warsaw days was widely regarded as a freely elected bulwark of free enterprise against the Communists...

    And, um, actually his "disloyalty" to family and country consisted of declining to accept a ceremonial job in the family-owned business, in order to marry a woman he loved for the next forty years.

    Facts are, so, um, inconvenient sometimes...
     
  15. imageWIS

    imageWIS Well-Known Member

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    Green, you mean for FARMER?

    Jon.
     
  16. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    Actually, there is evidence of some Hitler sympathy on the duke's part. It's not clear how far it went, but it was there.

    He was not sent to the Bahamas because of the kidnap plot nonsense, which in any case no one in Britain knew about at the time, and which the British government did not take seriously when they did find out. He was sent because Churchill couldn't stand him. Churchill also thought that because his past admiring comments about Hitler had not been retracted, they served as a rallying point for certain elements of British society who wanted to make a deal with the Nazis and used the duke to paint their own appeasement as still somehow respectable.
     
  17. armscye

    armscye Well-Known Member

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    From the San Diego Union Tribune:

    "The most famous governor general (and hence the historical hook of our visit) was the late Duke of Windsor, who along with his American wife, Wallis Warfield Simpson, was ensconced in Government House between 1940 and 1945."

    "The diminutive duke came by his title after he abdicated as King Edward VIII so he could marry Simpson, who was in the process of divorcing her second husband. The duke and Simpson were shipped off to the Bahamas by King George VI and Winston Churchill during World War II to get them far away from Europe and their chum, Adolf Hitler. "

    The fear was not of an abduction, but rather an invasion. In the summer of 1940, as you may recall, Hitler had 20 divisions waiting by their barges in the French channel ports, any weapon heavier than a pocketknife had been left behind at Dunkirk by the fleeing British Army, and Goering was burning two percent of London each night. Len Deighton wrote a great speculative novel called SSGB about how easy it would have been for Hitler to roll up England in a month. In his book, the Gestapo imprisons the entire royal family in the Tower of London as a living symbol of national humiliation. That apprehension was precisely why the DOW slipped out of town by cruiser.
     
  18. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    There is the small matter of crossing the channel. Even Napolean couldn't pull that off. Rule Britannia.
     
  19. gorgekko

    gorgekko Well-Known Member

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    Sweet merciful Jesus. How could I make that mistake.

    As I said, I don't doubt that there are some unsavory aspects of the Duke of Windsor but the argument on what he ultimately would have done as king during WWII and to what extent he was a fascist will never be resolved, at least to my satisfaction.
     
  20. Horace

    Horace Well-Known Member

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    Is this your source? A fifth-rate newspaper in a twelfth-rate town? Or is this an excerpt from something serious?
     

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