Autumn’s theme: the lyrical American West
I like to have a theme when putting clothes together for a new season of the year and this autumn is no different. I’ve been trying to pin a name to the items I’ve been buying, ‘Academic’ was close. Annie Hall era Woody Allen is an influence but that didn’t quite describe what I had in mind (although the Walden print T-shirt by superlative bookish T-shirt dons Out of Print definitely fits with the Academia slant). I’m definitely not saying Preppy (though that’s an influence I will always hold dear) as I’m feeling quite English and, anyway, I’ve read far too much Bret Easton Ellis to have any illusions about Ivy League education.
What brought it all together was stepping into the Riflemaker gallery, one of my favourite art spaces in London. From early shows featuring William S. Burroughs and Julie Verhoeven this tiny establishment always manages to take you down the yellow brick road of artistic freedom. Inside, I remembered with a pang that I’d completely failed to attend Stuart Pearson Wright‘s exhibition of Western themed paintings earlier this year – paintings combining American rural whimsy and self-dramatisation, featuring himself as all sorts of classic masculine ideals. From cowboy and matelot to frontiersman, Mr Pearson-Wright is the focus of most of his own paintings. With the show long-since dismantled, the rather lovely gallerist gave us a private viewing of two of Mr Pearson-Wright’s amazing works.
So, what I’m envisaging is neither lumberjack nor nautical, but the combination of chunky, authentic clothing that suggests at least some of the time spent in your log cabin might be devoted to reading. Neither is it uniquely American. It’s the idealism that counts.
Below is a selection of my AW purchases so far. The second item is from the very impressive Signature range by L.L.Bean, a classic American brand ripe for reinvention and definitely on top of its game (incidentally the boyf has since made off with this fighting mallards sweater, being more able to pull off the burly woodsman look).