Dandy & Rose

Bespoke Western Shirts, Handmade in England


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Happy New Year!

Around the world, 2016 has been in many ways a strange, sad and alarming year  .

But looking back on my own year brings many good memories and moments of achievement. I survived the grilling that came with passing the halfway point of my PhD and had a productive – and fun- research trip to Nashville. A definite high point was having a Dandy & Rose shirt put on display in the Country Music Hall of Fame’s ‘Featured Western Wear Designer’ exhibit. It’s such an honour: I don’t think I’ll get my head around it until I see it in person, which I hope to do in 2017.

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I wrote a lot of words and made a lot of shirts in 2016.

Now for 2017!

Wishing followers of this blog a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


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Two Berry Classics

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Jim Lauderdale’s shirt in Liberty’s print ‘Wiltshire Berry’

Last week I was in something of a panic because this shirt had dropped off the postal radar: last recorded as leaving Heathrow, the US postal service had no record of it. But in a minor Christmas miracle, it reappeared on its way from New York to Nashville on Monday and arrived just in time for Jim Lauderdale to wear it on the festive edition of Music City Roots, the weekly live radio show he hosts, a couple of days ago.

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I always think this red colourway of Liberty’s classic print ‘Wiltshire Berry’, shouts ‘CHRISTMAS’. I have given it green piping and a celebratory mix of green and red snaps.

At the end of the show, Jim led the jam session that closes Music City Roots in the Chuck Berry classic ‘Johnny B. Goode’. I’m sure the pun was unintended but – well, a classic berry fabric and a classic Berry tune: what could be more pleasing?

Click here to watch a video clip of the jam.

 


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I’m a Shirt

I’ve been home from Nashville for just over a week now. It was my longest visit yet – almost a month, ending with the week of the Americana Music Association Festival and Conference  – and I have so many memories. I’ll be writing about the music I heard in the November issue of Country Music People, but I have also been reflecting on some Dandy & Rose highlights.

This year’s AMA week was extra-special for my best customer, the singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale. As usual he was everywhere – sharing wisdom on conference panels, performing his songs solo and with a fabulous band, and playing the genial host at the Honors and Award Show at the Ryman Auditorium; he was also presented with the Wagonmaster Award for Lifetime Achievement by the country star George Strait, who has recorded 14 of Jim’s songs. It was quite a moment and I was thrilled to be able to witness it.

One of my own favourite moments of the week came the next day, when I attended a conference panel on songwriting given by Jim, Lori McKenna and Radney Foster.

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I was surprised, when Jim took his seat, to see that he was wearing one of the first Dandy & Rose shirts he ever bought, back at the end of 2012.

It’s made from a Liberty print called ‘Dragonista’, a kind of psychedelic oriental vision, with men in traditional Chinese dress riding dragons, interspersed with random antique pots. I am specially fond of it; I feel it was the shirt that kicked Dandy & Rose into life, starting when Paste Magazine tweeted that Jim and Buddy Miller were “the two best-dressed men in Austin” during SXSW 2013. Jim told me that he got a big reaction to the shirt whenever he wore it. Later in the year, he wore it for his appearance on ABC’s ‘Nashville’. You can see that appearance here

YouTube – Nashville: Scarlett’s Opry debut

If I made the shirt today, it would probably look a little different, but I love it and am proud of it just the same.

But my favourite thing about this shirt is that it was the subject of my only ever press review. Well, to be fair, it was Jim’s review. My work was only reviewed by association. But it still counts!

In 2014, Ann Powers opened her review of Jim’s ‘I’m A Song’ like this:

“I recently ran into Jim Lauderdale at a party in Nashville, and I couldn’t tell if his shirt was made of silk or cotton. Covered in fiery little dragons that seemed to flit around inside its piped seams, it was a beauty. Lauderdale told me it was made of breathable material and that it came from London. Its cheerfully theatrical boldness exemplified the style of the Grand Ole Opry, too, with a cosmopolitan and slightly ironic twist.

Lauderdale’s music is like that shirt: immediately charming, with flashy touches that complement smoothly executed subtleties.”

For a start, it was a brilliant piece of journalism and I wished I had written it. And then, I loved that Ann had compared my work with Jim’s music, which I have loved for so long, and even more what she had said about it. I have always admired his ability to take his vocal, musical and imaginative gifts, polish them, add a lot of technical skill, then do something wacky with them. I once heard him described as a ‘creative technician’ and the phrase immediately chimed. That’s what I, in my much less impressive way, would like to be, too. I loved Ann’s idea of flashy subtlety, as well: my shirts may be brightly coloured and boldly patterned but I aim for a refinement of taste and skill, enough to complement the detailed work of the brilliant textile designers whose work I rely on. I was so touched and amazed to read that she had seen that in the shirt I had made, that she had ‘got’ what it was about, and articulated it better than I could have myself.

So on that day in Nashville a few weeks ago, when I realised that the reason for the ‘Dragonista’ shirt’s reappearance was that the panel was to be chaired by Ann Powers, I was delighted. I made sure to go and speak with her afterwards and thank her for her words. I told her that because they meant so much to me, I had made them into a poster that I keep on the wall in the Dandy & Rose workroom.

PowerPoint Presentation

There  were three new additions to Jim’s Dandy & Rose wardrobe this year.

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He was out and about in these, and in some other favourites during the week. I specially loved seeing him wear his new passion flower shirt for his 125th appearance on The Grand Ole Opry.

And of course, I took the opportunity to pose alongside him whenever I could!

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Tulip Mania

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six' 7

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’ back yoke

I was a little sad to see the tulips pass from my garden a couple of weeks ago. They are so exotic, with their  vibrant, polished petals and encompassing shape. No wonder that, when they were first introduced to Europe from the Islamic world in the sixteenth century, they were considered  precious objects of status. In the 1630s their value boomed so high that a phenomenon known as ‘tulipmania’ happened, with frenzied trading making many Dutch merchants enormously rich; when the ‘Tulip Bubble’ burst, they lost everything.

But anyway, never mind the history lesson. Here’s a shirt. It is made from an art nouveau style Liberty print representing tulips. It comes from last year’s Spring/Summer range, but it’s based on a furnishing design from the 1890s. So elegant.

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six' 6

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’

It’s always difficult to decide what to do with a favourite print in a favourite colourway. Some red piping might have been nice, but I really wanted to see those tulips bending in the breeze, so I have gone with my first instinct – to cut the yokes on the bias.

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six' (2)

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’

The shirt has short sleeves, which I have faced with plain pale blue fabric to match the leaves in the print. The pocket flaps are faced in the same fabric, but that will be the wearer’s secret till he lifts them to put something in his pocket. The topstitching is in the same pale blue colour. The pearl snaps are grey.

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London's art nouveau Tulip print 'Ten Six'

Short Sleeved shirt in Liberty London’s art nouveau Tulip print ‘Ten Six’

It has turned out so sharp and snappy, I just had to photograph it with that top pearl snap done up!


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On angels’ wings

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This print by Liberty of London, Eben, was inspired by the wings of angels depicted in fifteenth century manuscripts, like this one in the margin of Les Grandes Heures de Rohan.

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Angel, Grandes Heures de Rohan, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Circa 1430.

All power to the monk who painted the angel above, he did a great job and everything, but I think he forgot to colour in the wings.

Still, we’ve put that right now.

I think this might be the most colourful shirt I have ever made. It’s winging its way to Nashville and its new owner, Jim Lauderdale.


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Twinkle, twinkle….

Photograph by Anthony Scarlati

Photograph by Anthony Scarlati

For the first show of Music City Roots’ Fall season, host Jim Lauderdale showed off both a new bluegrass song and a new Dandy & Rose shirt.

The song, a sprightly number, is called Don’t Count Me Out and he opened the show with it – the video is here:

http://new.livestream.com/MusicCityRoots/live/videos/64354366

The print is new too, from Liberty’s Autumn/Winter 2014 range. It’s called  ‘Midnight’.

It’s one of my favourites ever, with its dazzling details and darkly beautiful colouring. I finished the shirt with a fancy stitch and sneaked in a burgundy collar stand – we all need a little warmth next to our face at this time of year!

Liberty say that the design was ‘hand drawn in ink on tracing paper’ then shaded with graphic pens; it was inspired by the night sky over the Isle of Bute in Scotland – hence the twinkling, exploding, shooting stars in amongst the paisleys.

There are four colourways. Liberty printed them on denim as well as on the tana lawn that I used for Jim’s shirt. A few days ago I was in Liberty’s Regent Street store and couldn’t resist buying a metre of denim in that hot orange and pink colourway – I plan to make myself a skirt as soon as I’ve got a couple of hours to spare!


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How very Gram

It’s Americana Music Association week in Nashville, and although I haven’t made it over this year, I have sent a few shirts out there to represent Dandy & Rose. And I’ve just seen one of them make its debut live on Music City Roots’ livestream.

Music City Roots on Livestream

http://new.livestream.com/MusicCityRoots/live

Host Jim Lauderdale’s shirt is  in ‘Poppyseed Dreams’ from the Liberty Autumn/Winter 2014 fabric collection. It seemed to call his name – the poppies made me think of Jim’s musical hero Gram Parsons’ famous ‘Sin City’ Nudie suit

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I love that warm orange in the Liberty print,  mixed in with the vibrant purple. Liberty say that the design incorporates the Indian spices  ‘pepper, cardamom and vanilla’ along with the poppies and is inspired by Indian textiles and by The British Museum’s recent exhibition ‘The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur’.

 

Photograph by Anthony Scarlati

Photograph by Anthony Scarlati