Archival Clothing - Made in USA

Posts Tagged ‘shopping from David Mamet’

Duckbill Review

October 11th, 2010

Original Filson duckbill offerings

A duckbill cap was the first item I ever purchased from CC Filson. A decade ago, you could buy a Filson duckbill cap in tin cloth, shelter cloth, cotton poplin or wool. Filson even offered a short billed model (my personal favorite). The original duckbill version was fitted and came with a leather sweatband. Filson has dropped the wool and poplin models and switched over to a one size fits all model with a cotton sweatband.

I have a small collection of caps that I rotate through the seasons: poplin for summer, tin cloth for fall, wool for winter and shelter cloth cloth for spring. The duckbill cap makes for an ideal cycling cap. The long bill keeps the sun and rain out of your eyes and the low profile, four panel crowd closely hugs the head (making it possible to tuck the hat under a bike helmet).

I’m unclear on the origin of the duckbill style but there may be a military connection. A gent at the Pacific Aviation Museum in Honolulu once mistook mine for a WWII military reissue.

Unlike a baseball cap with a stiffened brim, the pliable, unstructured duckbill takes on an origami shape that makes it ideal for carrying in coat pocket or bag. Perfect for protection during a sudden squall.

A few sample duckbill caps from my archives:

Original Filson duckbill in tin cloth

Filson duckbill in cotton poplin

Filson short duckbill

Filson wool duckbill

Shopping from David Mamet: Hunting Suits

October 1st, 2009

Apparently, I missed the news that filmmaker David Mamet started his own line of vintage inspired, outdoor clothing in 1999 under the Joseph Morse Company label. Here’s what I learned from the Cambridge Companion to David Mamet:

Perhaps Mamet should have waited a decade to launch his clothing brand. Per earlier blog posts, I remain fascinated by how well stocked his films are with newly popular heritage brands like Barbour, Woolrich and Filson. In Heist, a film I have not seen since 2001, Gene Hackman wordlessly walks through the opening scene of the film in an all-waxed cotton hunting ensemble. Although I’m unsure of the make of the field jacket (it looked Filson until I saw the pocketing), I’m pretty sure Hackman’s bag is a J.W. Hulme Co. English field bag (or a rebadged version offered by Orvis). Another blogger will have to document the make and model of Hackman’s shotgun and field notebook.

While Mamet’s own brand of nostalgia may have failed, I disagree that the past and its historical styles cannot be repeated/improved upon/multiplied into the future. Perhaps Mamet was meant to offer his items exclusively through the visual catalog of his films rather than by way of flimsy retail outpots like Banana Republic (a point of sale for his original line). For the pricepoint, and for sizing options, I prefer shopping directly from Mamet’s movies themselves (coming up next: Winslow Boy).

I read that the motto of Mamet’s clothing line was Quiet in the Woods. This must have been the overarching direction for Hackman’s hunting ensemble in the opening scene of Heist:

Heist (Mamet 2001)

A hypothetical look at Hackman’s ensemble by way of a vintage print catalogue from another age:

Archival Addendums:

Ibex Loden vest

Slumming: Barbour quilted vest

From the Times: Filson Tin Cloth Vest

April 24th, 2009

From left, Richard Poe, Kristine Nielsen, Laura Benanti and Amir Arison in Christopher Durang’s new comedy at the Public Theater

On April 7, friend Brad W. and I both noted the stage right presence of a Filson Original Hunting Vest in a page C6 NY Times review of the play, Why Torture is Wrong, and the people who love them. Indoors, the tin cloth vest looks newly minted and out of place, like it just came off the shelf of a Filson flagship store.

In past blog posts, I’ve noted the presence of Filson and Barbour brands in David Mamet movies. I’m wondering whether Mamet’s influence on Broadway now extends to dressing principal characters in American heritage clothing brands?

While I’ve tried to champion oil finished Filson tin cloth as an indoor fabric, I’ve rarely seen this practice adopted by anyone other than Tin Cloth Monday participants. The original tin cloth hunting vest works well for indoor wear given its extensive, purse-like pocketing and ventilating arms holes.

Several years ago I had a local seamstress add some additional upper pockets and a brass grommet to my own tin vest. As it were, I ended up selling it on ebay due to irreconcilable sizing issues (it wore more like an A-frame tent). A photo:

Refab Filson Hunting Vest

Early (198x?) Filson catalog

Shopping from Mamet: State and Main (2000)

February 11th, 2009

Barbour Beacon (?)
Factory Seconds (Filson?)

Filson Duckbill Hat & Aussie Oilskin Jacket (make?)

Plain Wool Jacket (Labonville?)

Truckload of Hunting World luggage

Khaki Cotton Hunting Vest (make?)

Wool Engineer’s Jacket (make?)

Filson Duffle (foreground)

Woolrich Railroad Vest

Barbour Beacon (?) and Moleskin Jackets (discontinued)

Wool Shooting Jacket (make?)

Classic Knitwear

Nine years before the mainstream media caught up with the heritage brand movement, David Mamet was costuming his central characters in Barbour and Filson and providing them with Filson and Hunting World luggage and accessories. Though I prefer Mamet’s The Spanish Prisoner for complex plotting and Steve Martin, State and Main (2000) contains more cameos by classic heritage brands than any film in recent memory (outside of The Queen). In the very first scene, in the very first shot, in fact, William Macy and a colleague are shown standing outside of a small town sporting goods store. Both characters are wearing Barbour coats (both discontinued models: a Barbour Beacon and a Barbour moleskin jacket). On the sidewalk, outside of the sporting goods store, is a rack of Woolrich or Filson wool jackets in a red shadow plaid. The jackets are identified as “factory seconds” by a hand lettered sign (stop, pause and shop from that rack!). Almost every scene in State and Main contains the visual punchline of a preferred archival clothing item: Skookum style collegiate knitwear, a Filson duffle bag, a full truckload of Hunting world luggage, multiple Barbour jacket models, Australian oilskins, khaki hunting vests, green plaid jackets, etc. I’m not sure how well the archival costume narrative ties back into the film’s story, but for me, the clothing items constitute a kind of autonomous fashion show within the film (which even works in slow motion, or on pause, without the benefit of character dialogue or music).

For reference, here are a view images from the original Barbour catalog featuring the Barbour Beacon (a lighter weight waxed cotton spin-off of the Barbour International):