For many years the 1981 BBC miniseries “Brideshead Revisited” has been my favorite film, if you can call a 10-hour book adaptation a film. It had been enough years since I’d last seen it, and so I decided to watch again between Christmas and the New Year.
A great book or movie will constantly yield new insights and nuances, and as you change, you see the work differently. To paraphrase a famous literary critic, your “Hamlet” at 20 is not the same as your Hamlet at 40 or 60.
Apparently this theory applies to clothing as well, for among the many fine outfits in “Brideshead,” one stood out that I didn’t seem to remember, and it was like seeing it for the first time. It’s an outfit that Charles, played by Jeremy Irons, wears on the transatlantic voyage, and looks straight out of a Laurence Fellows drawing for Apparel Arts in the ’30s.
Charles wears a shirt, crewneck sweater, and silk scarf tucked like an ascot. And on top is a superb double-breasted herrringbone coat. It had been a long time since I had a sudden case of sartorial desire, and this coat was love at first sight. Herringbone is my favorite pattern, and there’s nothing quite like the swagger of a double-breasted coat.
So presented as eye candy for you and torture for me is the image below, which I found on the web and which is naturally made by Ralph Lauren.
I was also able to find this brown version from Ben Silver, though it’s no longer available.
I was going to post this yesterday but it’s a good thing I held off. Last night, while bashing balls on the Brooks Brothers golf simulator, I spotted the coveted coat on a browsing customer and asked if I could take his picture. He politely obliged, confirmed the coat, as suspected, was from Ralph, and said he had the camel version as well. When I told him the shot was for Ivy Style, he said, “Oh, the Japanese book?” Turns out he was thinking of “Take Ivy.” Also turns out he’s a Yalie.
One more thing: if anyone has one of these in size 38 or 40 and wants to temporarily swap for my camel polo coat for the rest of the winter, shoot me a message. — CC