Welcome again to the Register, Favourbrook's monthly buffet consisting of digital canapes stuffed full of our favourite finds from all over the internet, encompassing everything from style and culture to the weird and wonderful. This issue sees us hunkering down for February, a godforsaken month whichever way you shake it. Whereas March teases us with signs of Spring, February takes what little optimism we might be harbouring and douses it in freezing fog, muddy shoes, and perma-rain. So we're rallying the proverbial troops with stories of joy, compassion and incandescent personalities. Spring is indeed coming - don't believe a word of what February says...
Many of you reading this will be familiar with Hilary Mantel's award-winning oeuvre so her magical dexterity with words will come as no surprise. Written on the 20th anniversary of the death of the Princess of Wales, Mantel's profile for the Guardian is of a person we thought we knew, but of course all we really understood was a simulacrum of that person, a genie in a bottle whom we'd summon to pour our collective emotions into. Mantel's profile seeks and gloriously finds the real Diana in a piece of prose spun with gold. It is at once serious, adoring, critical, honest, introspective, challenging and inspiring.
"She is like John Keats, but more photogenic: “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” If Diana is present now, it is in what flows and is mutable, what waxes and wanes, what cannot be fixed, measured, confined, is not time-bound and so renders anniversaries obsolete: and therefore, possibly, not dead at all, but slid into the Alma tunnel to re-emerge in the autumn of 1997, collar turned up, long feet like blades carving through the rain."
I don't know about you, but since being locked down and sporadically house-bound for the best part of the year, I've been consuming marmalade in industrial quantities. Toast is, naturally, the most obliging recipient of the viscid orange conserve, but the nation's favourite fruity gloop has on more than one occasion found itself obliterated in a concoction of gin and triple sec, swimming about a cocktail glass (if you haven't discovered the breakfast martini yet then I can thoroughly recommend). Having gorged oneself on countless continental breakfasts, I can say with some certainty that marmalade is a particularly British obsession, so I was thrilled to come across Olivia Potts' brilliant essay on Paddington's breakfast, lunch and dinner. Did you know, for example, that marmalade is the only conserve to have scaled the mighty Mt. Everest (thank you for the ride Sir Edmund Hilary), or that the Spanish city of Seville produces almost 4 million kilos of bitter oranges every year, almost entirely for export to Britain?! Put your bread in the toaster and ready the butter...
Style File: the perfect sartorial "at-home" jacket
NAVY VELVET COTTON
CARDAMOM VELVET COTTON
February is not the easiest month when it comes to style and that's for a normal year. Throw in lockdown, working from home, zero socialising, and sporadic walks, and the sartorial conundrum becomes not what to wear but whether one should bother getting dressed at all! Of course, at Favourbrook, we very much advocate putting clothes on (especially when going for walks in public!), but the question remains how to tick seemingly opposing boxes: comfortable for lounging but smart enough for some self-respect; able to look smart when popping out, but equally casual while kicking around at home. How do you balance it all out, when tailoring is overkill, but another day of loungewear will make you lose the plot? We think we've constructed a pretty good solution in our Artist's jacket. It's an elegant slim-fitting traditional Nehru collared jacket that we have crafted in a rust velvet and a rich navy, finished with heavy antique brass buttons to the front, and one loop of braid on the cuff. While it has the sartorial nuances of, say, a traditional smoking jacket, the silhouette is altogether more modern and casual thanks to the Nehru collar construction. Warm and protective, lightweight and functional, it can very easily be worn with a smart pair of trousers for that business zoom call, but equally with a pair of jeans and boots when making a run for it outside. In the evening, the velvet makes itself right at home on the sofa without ever feeling lazy, thanks to its sartorial heritage. It is, in short, brilliant if we don't say so ourselves!
Sartorial enthusiasts will undoubtedly recognise Hugo Jacomet, the man behind the Parisian Gentleman blog. That shock of long white hair does tend to stand out from the crowd, but then that is Jacomet's sartorial raison d'etre, too. A great advocate of everything classical menswear, Jacomet has been a great voice in furthering the cause of tailoring and educating neophytes and enthusiasts alike in the nuances of dressing well. His podcast, which he hosts with fellow tailoring maven Sonia Glyn (who also happens to be his wife), is a trove of classic style wisdom and practical advice for both men and women and well worth going back through the archives, if for nothing other than the sonic honey that is Jacomet's French accent and Glyn's mellifluous American tones.