Tassels In The Air: Nettleton’s $1,500 Heritage Loafer

Thu 27 Feb 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present — Zachary DeLuca
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Collectors of vintage shoes and fans of mid-century advertising will no doubt recognize Nettleton as a preeminent brand from the heyday and early purveyor of the loafer, a term which it trademarked in 1937. Looking to capitalize on its history, Nettleton has undergone a relaunch and introduced its Heritage Line of Goodyear-welted shoes in traditional styles.

The story of the company reads like a heritage brand narrative par excellence. The once-prominent maker, relegated to obscurity by corporate acquisition and diminished production standards, has been reacquired by the founding family with a renewed commitment to craftsmanship.

The price, however, leaves us wondering exactly where in the marketplace Nettleton will find its niche. At $795 for calfskin and a stratospheric $1,500 for shell cordovan — which the brand’s website lists as an “exotic” leather — Nettleton is more poised to compete with the likes of Alfred Sargent and Edward Green than with traditional American stalwarts Alden or Allen Edmonds.

The Heritage Line is comprised of eight models, but the Barrington, a traditional tassel loafer pictured above, and the Bentley, a split-toe Venetian loafer, stand out as the most heyday-inspired styles.

Nettleton has provided this promotional video that claims each shoe possesses “the slow, prideful touch of the artisan,” but fails to state precisely in which country said artisan works:

After contacting Nettleton, Ivy Style was told that the shoes are handmade in Belgium, using leathers tanned in France and soles produced in Germany. A pan-European effort, but at a price point that rivals the finest makers in Northampton. The brand certainly has the history to support a heritage rebranding, but Nettleton’s “Shoes of Worth” beg the question, “Yes, but how much?” — ZACHARY DELUCA

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Brylcreem’s Brilliantly Classic New Packaging

Tue 25 Feb 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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The other day I was browsing the men’s grooming aisle at the drugstore when something caught my eye. Among the Williams Shaving Soap and rancid Clubman after-shave, something was not the same: Brylcreem had changed its packaging.

The update apparently happened last summer. Of course, if you follow the hair cream’s instructions and only employ “a little dab,” one tube will last for so long you’ll fail to notice this kind of earth-shattering news for the denizens of Tradsville.

Considering that the formula is the same, the makeover (combover?) is a clever one. The old Brylcreem packaging made the item look perennial, perhaps a tad iconic, but certainly old-fashioned. But the new Brylcreem packaging — with the founding date of 1928 and the line “brilliantly classic” — has a heritage effect. Previously the tubes looked a bit embarassed sitting on the shelves year after year. Now they look proud of the fact.

If you’re a younger guy who’s never tried Brylcreem, Joe College here from 1965 (or rather, the girl) should inspire you:

And here’s a popular post from our archives, in which septuagenarian Bill Stephenson looks back on the Ivy heyday in “Collegiate Grooming Showdown: Vitalis vs. Brylcreem.” — CC

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Hardwick Files For Bankruptcy

Sun 23 Feb 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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In another example of the high cost of manufacturing in the US, Hardwick has filed for bankruptcy after a federal pension protection agencey ordered the Tennesee-based comapny to replenish its underfunded retirement plan.

Founded in 1880, Hardwick is the oldest privately held clothing manufacturer in America. Ivy Style has discussed the company as the maker of Crittenden Rawlings’ recent updated Ivy sportcoats, and we featured a gallery of vintage Hardwick ads about a year and a half ago. — CC

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International Pipe Smoking Day

Thu 20 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Historic Images — Christian
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This cartoon dates from 1961. It was found here, where the caption reads:

… note the sophisticated, pipe-smoking college man in a letter sweater.  Such folks would be extinct on college campuses by the end of the decade.

On this International Pipe Smoking Day, I salute you through a fog of Three Nuns. — CC

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Black History Month: A Gallery Of Polo’s African-American Models

Wed 19 Feb 2014 - Filed under: 1990-present — Christian
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His brand image draws largely on WASP iconography, and he himself, of course, is a Jew. But that didn’t stop Ralph Lauren from being a fashion-industry trailblazer in the early ’90s when he hired African-American model Tyson Beckford as the new face of Polo.

Since then black models have been a commonplace is the brand’s marketing imagery. And you’ll soon be seeing Beckford again, who recently told Esquire he’s making a return to representing the brand.

Ivy Style continues its proud tradition of being the only WASPy/preppy blog to celebrate Black History Month (we like to think of it as “tradition with a twist”), and herein presents a gallery tribute to the black models of Polo, who wear the clothes as well as anybody, and maybe even a little better. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD (Continue)

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Would-Be President’s Day

Mon 17 Feb 2014 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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Can you spot the presidential hopeful?

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