Barbour boost and a Balenciaga breakthrough
How do you wear yours? Waxed or quilted; fitted or oversized; collar popped? However you wear your Barbour, or the Boyf’s Barbour, I can guarantee it hasn’t seen mud yet, or a bracing rural wind. The closest my Barbour has been to a countryside cow is the leather oyster-card holder with permanent residence in those roomy pockets.
Last week Barbour posted an operating profit (don’t ask me what that means) of £17million – an increase of £5million since 2010. That’s a lot of North London urbanite/curiously wealthy East Londonite/loaded faux-farmer spending.
I’d like to call the Barbour jacket honest, but in reality it’s not: it’s unashamedly arrogant. A host of ‘after-sales care’ and wistful brand history swing-tags, Liberty linings, and those free Barbour pins that look curiously like ‘Head Girl’ badges from a proper nice school.
The arrogant Barbour’s story is an interesting one. From protecting hardy North-East fisherman and dockyard workers, to providing waterproof home comforts to soldiers in WW2. So far, so honest and hardworking. Then the Duke of Edinburgh fancied one in 1974, and Barbour received its first Royal Warrant. By the Eighties, Queen Liz and Prince Charlie got jealous, and issued Warrants too. The Barbour smugly made its way through the aristocracy-aspiring and the Sloane set through Princess Di, before disappearing and popping up a decade later on the backs of Kate Moss and Alexa Chung.
Walk London’s streets today and play Barbour spotting: city-boys in fitted quilted navy numbers, leggy girls in cut off denim and oversized moss green Barbour waxed classics, yummy-mummies in lightweight belted Barbour. A long way from dockyards and fishing boats, by a cool £17million.
Here’s an interesting paradox for you: a model who presents a cookery show. Kind of irritating right? Just think of all those rich sauces and creamy desserts, not spending a lifetime on her hips…
And the model in question? Jourdan Dunn. Yes, the one that had the baby and still has sample-size hips, waist, and thighs. (Those models, eh.)
The show, called ‘Well Dunn with Jourdan Dunn’, will air on Jay-Z’s Youtube Channel ‘Life and Times’. Just to prove that Mr Z has fingers in all pies, the channel will soon cover fashion and architecture as well as music and food. (Let’s hope he’s taken a few hints from mate Kanye on how not to do fashion.)
According to those in the know, Jourdan’s prevalence for tweeting pictures of home-cooked dishes makes her a ‘foodie.’ We all eat, cook, and like to boast-tweet pics of cake/posh brekkie/roast dinners; does that make us foodies too?
A ‘foodie model’: the proof, as they say, will be in pudding. And, ahem, the show.
Finally a man talks some sense! And not just any man: Nicolas Ghesquière, fashion genius and helm of Balenciaga.
The Wonder God (as he will now be officially known) recently said – wait for it – “a good cut should come in big sizes too.” Hallelujah!
Now to those outside of fashion, this statement is far from extraordinary and rightly so, as it is pretty damn obvious. But in fashion, this is revolutionary. Finally, after the fashion editors listened to the real women, the designers are listening to the fashion editors: fashion is not just for the size 10’s and under.
Nicolas (Wonder God) admitted that when he first became Creative Director, the Balenciaga look was “very skinny”, but went on to explain that at the beginning they didn’t have fit models, and so “did fittings on the girls at the studio” who were “often quite petite.”
That was 15 years ago, and he no longer believes that good cut means small size. “That’s what I want to focus on – it’s the cut, not the sizing, and if people see that they can wear something in a big size, then I did my job.”
Thank you, Nicolas. Now enlighten your designer mates yeah?
- Natasha Slee @TashaLouiseS