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Posts Tagged ‘shopping from france’

Aspirational Aviators

June 4th, 2018

I’m swooning over the French aviators (and their uniforms) found in a new  Flickr album uploaded by archival image maven, Pillpat. Check it out, noting all the new-to-my-eyes, sartorial details: unique pullovers, cool tunics, curious collars, striped socks and military-duty clogs. Sign me up for any branch of service that issues such lovely off-duty garb (off-duty, in this case, consisting ofcafe confabs and larky posing for the camera). Marking these snaps as catalog fodder for my aspirational clothing company.



Brand appreciation – Arpenteur

February 20th, 2014

While I prefer to shop from the past, one of my favorite modern brands is Arpenteur. Based out of Lyon, France, Arpenteur makes simply styled, sturdy, heritage inspired clothing in wools and cottons. While the Arpenteur line is rooted in traditional French workwear, the cuts are slim and the overall look is very clean and contemporary. The basic line includes work jackets, knits and trousers. I was lucky enough to meet with the founders of Arpenteur at the recent (capsule) show in New York. I was impressed by the brand’s attention to  detail from their selection of regional fabrics to their unique, Herge inspired logo work.  Here are some snaps from the show.
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Shopping from ebay: Beaulieu Movie Cameras

August 5th, 2013

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One of my most prized, obsolete possessions is a Beaulieu S2008 Super 8 motion picture camera.  I’ve owned this camera for over twenty years without using it to shoot a single frame of film.  I purchased it in the 90s from the original owner who advised me to replace the decaying battery.  After costing out my options, I discovered that a replacement battery would cost more than the camera was worth.  As it were, I’ve held onto the non functional camera as evidence of an era when film and motion picture cameras were designed to be both functional, durable and beautiful.  In researching my own camera, I discovered all sorts of terrific print ephemera on ebay including operating manuals, lens boxes and magazine ads.  I’m posting a few of my favorite examples plus hero shots of several stunning Beaulieu motion picture camera models. 

Wishful Shopping – Wakouwa Deck Shoes

July 16th, 2013

Wakouwas in the window at Anatomica (Paris)

I’m heading to London in a week for London Edinburgh London, a 1400k randonnee.  I’ve just assembled all my bike gear (which includes many non archival, ziploc packed servings of powdered nutrition).  Sadly, I’m going to have very little space in my luggage for non cycling garb. At the moment I’m boiling my travel garb down into a single outfit I can wear on the plane and than for five days in London. What I’m missing is the perfect pair of comfortable canvas sneakers. Many of my pals prefer Superga, Tretorn or Chuck Taylors.  What I want is a pair of  made in Japan, Wakouwa deck shoes. I’ve been wishfully shopping for Wakouwas since I spotted them in the window at Anatomica in Paris.  You can buy them through a few US stockists but alas, most don’t sell them in smaller sizes for women.  At Mohawk General Store, you can even buy them in Yves Klein blue.  If you have a secret Wakouwa source, or could suggest a stylistic alternative, let me know.

Shopping from 1938 – Unis Sport Catalog

November 26th, 2012

PDX messenger and Jack Taylor enthusiast, Joel Metz, forwarded along this amazing french catalog for Unis-Sport, an early sponsor of the Tour de France.  I’m reposting product highlights in case you’re in the market for a tailored ensemble for bike camping or cyclo-tourism.   My own mail order form –  post marked 1938 – will include a request for a wool pullover with the Tour de France logo and a pair of the Raynaud model leather cycling shoes.  Shop for yourself…


Shopping from 1926 – Catalogue Messner

August 10th, 2012

Students returning to college in the Fall might consider shopping from the 1926 Louis Messner catalogue for the perfect campus cruiser. Louis Messner sells a broad range of fenders, racks, bars, bells, grips, pedals, lights, pumps, saddles and frames. Ditch that impractical fixed gear and build yourself up a fully fendered Luxe Dame or Garconnet with enclosed chain guard, robust front rack and elegant leather luggage.


Catalogue Messner images courtesy Pillpat (Agence Eureka).

Archival Pillpat

June 26th, 2012

Favorite Archival source for print ephemera, Pillpat, posted these vintage playing cards from Tops and Tails, a game from Austria. While the rules of Tops and Tails are lost on me I love the larky illustrations of my favorite outdoor pursuits. I encourage you to print out the cards and generate your own topsy turvy comb0s – cyclists riding hobby horses, alpinists sporting tennis skirt, etc.

Archival Field Trip – Alex Singer (Paris)

April 11th, 2012
Alex Singer shop in Paris, France

Outside the Alex Singer shop in Paris, France

Gabe and Sara outside the Alex Singer shop

Last August, post Paris-Brest-Paris, we had the pleasure of visiting the Alex Singer shop on 53, Rue de Victor Hugo, in northwest Paris. The historic Singer shop has a reputation for producing some of the most stunning, steel cyclo-tourist and racing bikes in the world. Visiting the Alex Singer is like shopping from the past. Vintage and modern bikes share the same floor space. A side showroom is filled with deadstock cycling shoes and wool jerseys – all in their original packaging. Since I’m set for bikes, I limited my purchases to a few Alex Singer caps and a fetching leather style pouch. Here are some snap views to round out my report:

Gilles Berthoud bags in Alex Singer shop

Gilles Berthoud bags in Alex Singer shop

Gilles Berthoud bags on display

Alex Singer porteur bike

Alex Singer porteur bike

The Singer shop porteur – my all time favorite

Love both the custom Singer front rack and shop floor tile

Bill A documenting a bike bound for Paris show

Leather cycling shoes in Alex Singer shop

Leather cycling shoes in Alex Singer shop

Catch and release leather cycling shoes

Alex Singer bicycles in the shop

Alex Singer bicycles in the shop

Alex Singer cycling cap

Alex Singer bicycles in the shop

Shopping from the ceiling

Guest Post: DIY Vintage French Skiwear

March 14th, 2012

Andrea Cesari of Unsung Sewing Patterns guest posts on her most recent find: men’s and women’s anoraks and ski pants patterns from France.

Collecting vintage home sewing patterns that are designed primarily for function rather than fashion takes me down some interesting paths. In twelve years of collecting I’ve managed to acquire what may be the oldest surviving pattern for men’s work wear; ladies’ “sack” aprons across several decades; men’s outing shirts with button-on sleeves from the 1910s and ‘20s, 1920s gymnasium suits, WWII era women’s utility clothing designed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and just recently, 1950’s French ski wear.

Late in 2011 a large lot of French home sewing patterns started showing up on eBay. The patterns, which dated from the late 1930s through the early 1960s, were mostly for women’s clothing with typically soigne French styling. But tucked in amongst the listings for blouses and skirts and car coats were two patterns for men’s and women’s ski wear. Sans doubt, these needed a home in my collection!

Outerwear patterns represent a very small portion of the pattern companies’ catalogs and of that tiny sliver, patterns for clothes for winter sports are even less common – usually patterns for skating outfits for girls and women and snow suits for children.

The patterns for these men’s and women’s anoraks and ski pants are quite unusual. The patterns are undated, but the illustration style points to the 1950’s, and at a guess, I’d say the first half of the decade. The first winter Olympics after the war was held in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 1948, and Frenchman Henri Oreiller took home gold and bronze medals in alpine skiing.

Henri Oreiller of France winning the downhill ski race in the 1948 Winter Olympics, St. Moritz, Switzerland.

A combination of a recovering post-war economy and national pride in their French Olympian may have led to increased interest in skiing and inspired the designers at Patron Modelè to produce these designs in the early 1950s.

Because no separate instruction sheets were provided for these patterns, careful examination of the limited instructions on the envelope is required in order to understand the construction. Let’s look at the ladies COSTUME SPORT first.

The full-cut pull-over anorak features an attached, gathered hood (capuchin fronce,) drawn in with an elastic around the face. The anorak is gathered in at the waist (taille fronces) with a drawstring. This nipping in of the waist assures that anorak won’t interfere with arm movement. Two small pockets with flaps (poche et rabat) are applied at the bottom the plastron front opening.

The pleated-waist trousers are cut full through hips and thighs for good mobility and are pegged at the ankles with a series of darts in both the front and back before being sewn onto narrow bands. Good-sized pockets in the trousers provide a place to stash mittens.

Both garments would probably have been made from woolen materials, although if I had the money, I’d be very tempted to make the anorak out of heavy, matte finish silk twill.

The gentleman’s style is very similar. The anorak includes design features you’d find in any good men’s jacket pattern, including two-piece sleeves and a vented back. A center front zip (fermeture) opening as well as zipped chest pockets are appropriate for sportswear, along with good-sized patch pockets at the lower edge. The sleeves are gathered into wrist bands.

Again, the waist of the anorak is drawn in with an elastic (possibly one of the most wonderfully unpronounceable french words ever: caoutchouc.) The removable hood buttons to the anorak.

The fly-fronted trousers are pegged by means of darts (pinces) both front and back. Darts at the front waist remove some of the fullness from the seat and there are good-sized pockets. I had originally thought that the crotch was gusseted for reinforcement but on closer examination of the layout, it appears that the trousers are cut so full through the hips that they wouldn’t lay out on the fabric and had to be pieced.

The instructions and illustrations on the envelopes provide a remarkable amount of information, but success in making up these patterns would depend on a pretty high degree of skill. Most seams would need to be hand-basted before machining, and the seams would then need to be clean finished for both durability and comfort.

Both patterns are unprinted and do not appear to have been used, although the envelopes had been unsealed.

— Andrea Cesari,
Chief Cook and Bottle Washer at