Going Places: The Norman Hilton Lookbook

A few months ago we annouced the return of the Norman Hilton brand with a great new tweed sportcoat with natural shoulders, soft construction and a three-inch lapel. Now you get to see the jacket in action.

I teamed up with Fred Castleberry of Unabashedly Prep and the guys at Prepidemic to create a Norman Hilton lookbook for the media and prospective retailers. Chris Callis, Woody Hines and Dennis Sarkozy did the styling, Fred shot the photos, and I wrote a page of copy.

The guys did a great job creating atmospheric campus shots styled with modern fashion sense. Of course we’re always most critical of ourselves. I tried to make the copy sound slightly retro. It’s a bit clumsy in places (a first draft, I kept waiting for changes), and in one place I used summa cum laude as an adjective. That’s probably not technically correct, but then so are a lot of things when it comes to style.

See the entire lookbook here. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

25 Comments on "Going Places: The Norman Hilton Lookbook"

  1. Great lookbook! The retro copy works, as do the photos. Finally someone decided to take a 1960s pattern and just rebuild it, with “updating” being done to the presentation and not the actual garment.

  2. I like the results.

    Am I the only one “troubled” ( too strong a word) by the collar tab on the right rather than the left?

  3. Amazing LookBook — its clean; the colors are very appealing – it just looks fantastic!

  4. Thanks, guys!

  5. I think it’s better to be pithy than verbose with a catalog like this. One line that really bothered me was “sea of outsourced mediocrity.” If this hasn’t already gone to print, you might want to edit that out. Because your text is anchored in nostalgia, bringing the reader back to present tense makes the line anachronistic and the sentimentality disingenuous.

    Boom goes the dynamite. Take my suggestion for what it’s worth, just my first reaction. Your blog is a lot more professional than others. Keep up the good work.

  6. NaturalShoulder | February 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm |

    Very well done by the team. Are there any plans to expand the offerings to suits as well?

  7. Beautiful but a little late for F/W, isn’t it? Are there going to be S/S jackets?

  8. NatShoulder: I think Nick will probably wait to see how wholesaling the sportcoats goes. He just started this project, is selling the sportcoats direct and is now looking for retail accounts. Once he lands some I’m sure you’ll see the collection expand.

    But you can always see him for bespoke and get exactly what you want.

  9. Oh dear. Naff in extremis. How many cliches have been crammed into this depressing piece of inanity? Hey let’s just rip off all those lousy campaigns where a square jawed model of anonymous beauty acts dumb around an Ivy clad campus and we like try and make it look like something J.Crew/Polo/Boden/Hackett etc etc have been boring us with for years. Doomed – you’re doomed – and you deserve to be because this is just drab and breathtakingly uninspired…

  10. That was from England, by the way:

    (IP: xxxxxxxxxxxxx, customer11874.pool1.Enfield-GLN3000-BAS0001.orangehomedsl.co.uk)

    While you’re certainly entitled to your opinion about the images being clichéd, none of those companies has any direct ties to Ivy campuses. Nick Hilton is actually based in Princeton and serves its community, so it’s quite logical to shoot on the campus. The Norman Hilton brand was also historically popular in campus shops. So following your line of argument, one could just as easily say finally a photo shoot comes along that legitimately deserves to be shot on an Ivy campus, unlike your examples of J. Crew and Hackett.

  11. The use of the word “naff” wasn’t your first clue?
    I’m not sure exactly what Reg is objecting to here. The lack of verisimilitude? Of course no one plays football in a blazer, and nobody at Princeton (save maybe the dudes in the photos, if they actually go there) dresses like this.

    The “derivative” aspect of it? Polo/Hackett/J.Crew sell jackets. Lots of jackets. Being neither a communist nor a staving artist, Nick Hilton wants to sell jackets too. Lots of jackets. The fact that this resembles the competition is merely an indication of the fact that NH knows the market into which it is entering.

    I’ve been saying that J.Press should have done something like this years ago.

  12. ScoobyDubious | February 8, 2011 at 5:57 pm |

    I’m just baffled why these middle-aged UK folk have nothing better to do than cyber-stalk this site and post attacks under various lame psuedo-identities. It’s constant (besides being petty, small, and juvenile) and really speaks to mental instabilities. For a site that they supposedly loathe, they sure spend enormous amounts of time and energy talking about it EVERY DAY.

    Why don’t they just ignore it? Is it jealousy? Massive insecurities? A desperate need for attention? Attempting to fill a gaping hole in their otherwise miserable crippled impotent existence?….Or just their obviously severe need for medication? I suspect all of the above, in large doses.

    The conspiracy theories, bizarre lies and multiple fake identities are just glaring symptoms of someone in dire need of professional help. Someone on the other side of that small pond should really intervene and help break the grip of obsession that’s got hold of this poor sad creature. I say that in all sincerity. The only “game” is in his unbalanced head.

    Well, ironically the more hits this site gets, the more that CC will garner in advertising. But for those who don’t “get” how the web works that must be maddening.

    Even more ironically, the disturbed fellow won’t take this as objective criticism from an outside observer. He’ll claim it’s CC’s alter-ego just confirming his retarded fantasies, and think it’s a battle-cry for more of the same.

    More $ for CC I guess…

  13. Using “summa cum laude” as an adjective is not an error; it is both an adverb and an adjective (as well as being a noun)

    Adverb: In order to graduate summa cum laude, a student must have a minimum of a 3.9 grade-point average.

    Adjective: Summa cum laude graduates must have a minimum of a 3.9 grade-point average.

    Noun: There were no summa cum laudes in this year’s graduating class.

  14. Lookbook? The amateur-hour photography and retarded styling REALLY detract/obliterate the details of the garments. I was very excited when I learned of the new Norman Hilton labeled offerings… fantastic specs. This exercise is a real turn-off though. Would have loved to see some serious attention paid to the product, as I believe it is something special. Maybe check out some actual functioning lookbooks. This wannabe multi-page lifestyle branding crap stinks.

  15. Speaking as a middle aged UK person; I think the Norman Hilton lookbook is a nice piece of work, for what it is. The colours in the pictures are great and the clothes look good against that background. It’s advertising material not a great work of art, it’s designed to make us aspire to own their clothing. By their very nature the pictures in such productions are contrived and run the risk of being, dare I say it, a bit naff. Periodically I receive a catalogue from a british mens clothing company which is no different, it invariably features two ‘army officer type’ male models depictured wearing the clothes in upmarket surroundings. There is always an elegant young female on hand who is shown draping herself around either or both of the men, giving the impression that their is something happening between the three of them! It always makes me smile but not buy the clothes!

  16. Richard Meyer | February 9, 2011 at 3:59 am |

    Jackets: Very nice Trousers: Bad Overall effect: Good

  17. Bill Stephenson | February 9, 2011 at 9:01 am |

    Nick Hilton’s father and grandfather were Princeton alums, and his studio is about a mile from the campus. Seems like an proper setting.

    It would be great if this line takes off. Based on interest in Ivy here and elsewhere, there would seem to be a market that is seeking this style, but with little luck, in all of the sources that carried lines like this, at one time. Nick’s trousers are sold by Ben Silver, seems like this and similar vendors would be a natural. OCL’s etc.

    It would also be a positive step if actual students in this setting dressed like this. At this time, the outfitter of choice across from this campus seems to be an army navy surplus store.

  18. First picture (running prep) taken in Holder Courtyard, right? My son lives behind one of those windows showing over his left shoulder! I can almost see him if I look hard enough. Nice shots.

  19. ScoobyDubious writes: “I’m just baffled why these middle-aged UK folk have nothing better to do than cyber-stalk this site and post attacks under various lame psuedo-identities. It’s constant (besides being petty, small, and juvenile) and really speaks to mental instabilities. For a site that they supposedly loathe, they sure spend enormous amounts of time and energy talking about it EVERY DAY.”

    Easy, ScoobyD. Our British brethren are a bit down on their luck: lost the Empire, can’t afford much of a navy anymore, NHS is a disgrace, whole country practically taken over by the WOGs. Therefore some are spending their personal declining years lashing out at the USA which their national propaganda mills (BBC, Guardian, etc.) depict in an even poorer light than does Al Jazerra. Sure Team USA has its own problems but we’re not hopeless (yet) like the UK (RIP).

    BTW, great photos and sports jackets, CC. Looks like your career move from CA to NY is paying off.

  20. ScoobyDubious | February 9, 2011 at 10:49 pm |


    I was referring to a specific small group of internet bullies led by one specific sad cretin. Don’t know if you know the whole story. Feel lucky if you don’t.

  21. Wallace Hainault | February 9, 2011 at 11:17 pm |

    These are clothes for youngsters and should be taken as such. When I was 13, one of my first independent clothing purchases looked like the black and red jacket in the violet tie strangulation photo. I think the cutoff here is 25 with an outside age of around 30. Styles live longer when they get a bit of re-imagining and adaptation.

  22. Wallace Hainault | February 9, 2011 at 11:20 pm |

    That should be blue tie and violet shirt above, or is it a pink shirt shot in a bad light?

  23. Chris- the copy is well done, makes one eager to wear and live in… has that 1950s spirit and energy, kudos.

  24. Mazama,

    That has to be the single most insightful comment I’ve ever seen on this blog.


    Nice job on the lookbook. I wish all involved lots of success.

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