Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Duke

And I'm not talking about John Wayne (also a style icon in his own right). No, I mean the Duke of Windsor, that source of style originality and perfection. He was the man that men of his time would look to for sartorial inspiration: the style icon of the period.

And his closet shows us why.

So, let's dig into the Duke's closet. The following photos are from Sotheby's catalog of the Duke's estate sale after his passing.

Click to enlarge photos.
The Duke's dressing room at the Paris residence with a suit in medium weight worsted with darker blue checking. The jacket is dated 16/11/56 by Scholte, London and the trousers dated 3/4/57 by Harris, New York. Jacket has side vents and substantially padded shoulders.

A double breasted navy wool suit with Grenadier (front buttons) and Welsh Guards Officer (sleeve buttons) buttons, worn on the 1936 Nahlin cruise. Jacket by Scholte, London labelled H.R.H. The Prince of Wales 25.4.31 Made of lightweight navy worsted. The matching pair of trousers were made by Forster & Son, London.

Grey and white ribbed suit with Royal Yacht Squadron buttons. Later inserted side vents. Jacket by Scholte, named and date 1938, and trousers by Forster & Son. The Duke was photographed in the USA in this suit in 1943.

A Tyrolian suit by F. Humhal, Vienna. 1937. Grey Loden cloth with oak leaf appliqué, horn buttons and green piping to trouser side seams.

Prince of Wales check sports suit. Jacket by Scholte and stalking trousers (modified plus-fours) by Forster & Sons. 1923. Altered in the mid 1930s when a zip was inserted. Came with the removable blue cotton plus-four linings we've heard so much about (more on those below).

A rust Harris tweed golfing suit, 11.12.24. Jacket by Scholte, trousers by Forster & Sons. Jacket has a convertible collar for cold weather (I assume this means a button to which the lapel buttonhole fastens). Trousers "cut high in the waist and originally supported by an inner elasticated girdle to maintain a looser hang. The hems curve under to fasten to the cotton plus-four lining.

Pecan brown and beige wool Shepherd's check suit, 1934. Jacket by Scholte, trousers/plus-fours by Forster & Sons. I would say those are crescent hip pockets but i can't be certain.

Check tweed sport suit, and perhaps the greatest suit i've ever laid eyes upon, 1930. Again, the hip pockets would appear to be crescent.

Rothesay Hunting tartan lounge suit with shaw collar. Made in 1897 apparently for his father, George V. re-tailored to fit DoW with a Talon zip added in place of the button fly. Apparently this suit triggered a vogue in tartan in the USA in the 50s.

Hunting Lord of the Isles tartan evening suit. Jacket by Scholte dated 8.6.51, Trousers by Harris, New York. Jacket has side vents.

The morning coat and trousers worn to his wedding, with a different waistcoat. Jacket by Scholte is a herringbone cashmere weave and is marked H.M. The King, 25.1.36. Waistcoat matches the jacket and marked same. The morning trousers are by Forster & Son and marked 9.6.32 This was bought by the CEO of Kiton for $27,600.

A midnight blue worsted formal evening dress suit, 1937. Jacket probably Scholte, trousers by Forster & Son

A dark grey worsted 3-piece morning suit. Jacket and DB waistcoat by Scholte, marked 9.6.31 Trousers by Forster & Son marked 10.6.31

A dark green double-breasted corduroy shawl-collared dinner jacket with Beaufort Hunt buttons. by Scholte, dated 12.10.59 and a pair of H. Harris, New York, trousers in navy herringbone wool and cashmere marked 1.2.56

A beige and Brown houndstooth check suit, 1932. Jacket by Scholte has side vents. Trousers by Forster & Son. (For some reason, the photo was reversed.)

Navy pintripe suit with Royal Yacht Squadron buttons. Jacket by Metzel, New York and trousers by H. Harris, New York, 7.21.44

Two aluminium wallets with town clothes, and one for sports clothes. Inside are paper sheets with swatches of fabric attached. Hand written notes say where each garment is located (NYC, Paris, The Mill (French country retreat)). From the catalogue blurb: "It serves as a very interesting and useful record of his entire wardrobe around 1960 . . . The swatch boxes show that he owned approximately 15 evening suits (of which six remain), over fifty-five lounge suits, of which thirty would have been kept in Paris. Only six or so remain of these, and only five of them relate directly to the swatch boxes. The majority of the formal and Highland dress detailed in the swatch boxes still remains in the collection as the Duke kept most of his formal wear in Paris and his Highland dress at The Mill, where he was fond of wearing it in the evening." This seems to me to be an excellent idea for someone who has multiple residences and a massive wardrobe.
Source of this photo: The London Lounge
Here is that button-in cotton plus-four lining we heard about above, though it doesn't seem to be in the same pair of trousers as described above. These trousers actually appear to be the 1934 Pecan brown and beige wool Shepherd's check suit that was also shown above.
Just one oddity of a man who was very specific and detailed about his clothing.
Photos and descriptions from The London Lounge and The Fedora Lounge.


Jonas Fred said...

Wonderful photos. The crescent pocket detail is fantastic. Thanks for putting it up so soon.

Jonas Fred

Jonas Fred said...

Hey Will,

Just wondering are you any good at sketching? If so check out the newest post with a sketch in my blog.

Jonas Fred

WDL said...

omg! where did you land these photos? Is there a new publication??

or are they all from the FL?


(who is now convinced he needs a golfing suit)

Will said...


All are from the FL. It's in an old thread in the suit section, about a year to a year and a half ago.

Anonymous said...

Thank you ever so much for these pics!

I'll be adding a blog post with a link to your site soon. More readers to come.

You should get some ads on your blog. Money's always nice when it's in one's own pocket.


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