Clarks Desert Boots

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The Fast Show – a UK TV show from the mid-1990’s  – had a wealth of characters created by Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse – amongs others. One particular favourite was “Louis Balfour” – played by John Thomson – who was the oh so slightly pretentious presenter of “Jazz Club” with a catchphrase – when all else failed – of “Nice!”. You rarely got to see his feet but my bet is that he would’ve worn Clarks Desert Boots

See here a sample of Jazz Club The Best of Louis Balfour’s Jazz Club

Now you have to follow this, Louis was cut from a very similar cloth to a couple of Art Masters at my last school. They insisted on being called “Chris” and “Steve” as indeed I suspect they were their real names and as 6th Formers it seemed odd to continue with “Sir”. They wore corduroy jackets – in brown and country green – one with contrasting leather elbow patches – they had a penchant for practical Farah Hopsack trousers – don’t ask – and each had several pairs of iconic Clarks Desert Boots.

Quite what desert there were planning to cross in leafy Cheshire was uncertain but none the less these two were simply the coolest guys in the school.  “Steve” with his long hair even drove a late reg VW Beetle – click here to our previous post Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined – you can imagine he was already ice cool to me.

Assured not to be bitten by scorpions nor rattle snakes, Clarks Desert Boots to this day are an iconic and a highly flexible wardrobe essential that you can wear with jeans, moleskins or chinos and they will always look the part. Just avoid wearing in the rain – they are suede and, after all, are intended for deserts!

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C. & J. Clark International Ltd, (“Clarks”) was founded in 1825 by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Street, (Somerset, England) where its HQ is still based – although manufacturing is now predominantly undertaken in Asia. Clark’s continues to be 84% family owned.

Since 1879 the Clark’s trade mark has been the distinctive Glastonbury Tor with the St Michael’s tower.

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The Desert Boot was launched in 1950 having been designed by the co-founders, James’, great-grandson, Nathan Clark, a serving British Army Officer based in Burma. It is said that the Desert Boot was based on the unlined boots made in the bazaar’s of Cairo for returning British Army Officers during the Second World War.

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Post War the Desert Boot saw adoption by the Mod Culture in UK, the Beatnik Culture in the US and were known to be a favourite of the Student anit-capitalist demonstrations in Paris in May 1968.

Why not be like Steve McQueen or Liam Gallagher and get a pair of Clarks original Desert Boots – please click the links below the images below to be directed to AMAZON – the two links show the full colour range available.

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Clarks Desert Boot, Men’s Derby, Braun (Cola Suede), 10 UK

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Clarks Originals Desert Boot, Men’s Derby Lace-Up, Brown (Brown Sde), 9 UK 43 EU)

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Images courtesy of C & J Clark International Limited

Filofax, Stabilo Boss and Post-it Notes

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I was at our son’s school’s Speech Day and the Head of KS5 – what we used to call the Sixth Form – was addressing 26 Year 13 pupils in celebration of their graduation. All 18 to 19 year old boys and girls.

Two of the girls were referred to as having “particularly severe highlighter addictions”. No, they weren’t prone to slope off for a chemical hit behind the Bike Shed – unlikely to still exists at a school where behind “the virtual reality white board” or “elaborate holographic image” is more likely – but I digress. He wasn’t inferring any noxious ingestion, but to the over use of Stabilo Boss highlighter pens invented by a member of a Bavarian pencil dynasty, Günter Schwanhäußer.

We will all recognize the Day-Glo coloured inks used by Stabilo Boss for highlighting text in books, plays and other literature. It seems that these pupils’ use has progressed to the almost clinical.

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This got me thinking. These student are barely Millennials yet they are using – some apparently to excess – a technology that has been around since 1971, with the original yellow Stabilo Boss, the world’s best selling highlighter. They are continuing to use this aging tech, but why? Primarily because as it promises, as per the Ronseal advertisement “It does what it says on the tin”!

I have been discussing with my eldest daughter, now 23, that there seems little sense in discarding technology simply because it has been superseded by something newer – see our previous post on the Braun Calculator Braun Calculator – which in essence may not be better but just newer. We agreed that there were many good reasons to continue to use a favored product, if it delivers the required function. It may also be wise to revisit those products that have served well over the years but may have got slightly left behind by the enrapture of the new.

This got me thinking about those products that perform brilliantly, without unnecessary song or dance – and deserve re-discovery. Filofax is one such item.

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For all of its pejorative connotations with the now uncool 1980’s Yuppie Culture (you may need to explain that to our younger readers) I still have one and use it regularly. A friend has recently adopted a family version in green and based I her kitchen to record “troop movements” in her weekly agenda. I really enjoy its versatility and purpose.

I know a Filofax is not at the leading edge of new tech. You can download a business card smart reader App to populate the contact fields on your I-Phone and most Filofax’s don’t give you an electronic reminder prior to your meeting. Naturally without a digital search function you need to engage your brain to remember where you have scribbled a note or phone number. A Filofax this is an enduring and stylish way to maintain your data – and also probably doesn’t need to be GDPR compliant!

Products from the LeFax business founded in Philadelphia by JC Parker in 1910, by 1921 were imported into the UK by London printer Norman & Hill. In the mid- 1980’s the company changed its name to “Filofax”. The popularity of the Filofax was phenomenal but a fad. The Letts Filofax Group in 2012, after several corporate takeovers, was acquired by HSGP Investments.

For me the coincidence of two technologies, the Filofax and the Post-it, are inextricable.

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At a certain point in the 1990’s an optional extra to the Filofax range was a dispenser for various sized “Post-it” notes adding definition and colour to the reminder flags that were stuck to your Filofax entires. A product of such amazing simplicity, again its long term reliability is akin to staple or the paper clip. I challenge anyone not to see the practical sense in using the brightly coloured notes as a powerful aide memoire.

If you have had any experience of signing of legal documents there has evolved a short hand that a “Post-it” flag indicates, without any end for direction from your advisors, where you signature is needed. Again, we have an indelible reliance on a product launched in the late 1970’s.

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3M had a patent until 1997 under the “Post-it” brand. They were originally small yellow squares of re-adherable, removable and temporary small notes. The name “Post-it” and the yellow colour remain 3M trademarks. The late 1960’s research of a Dr Spencer Silver and his colleague Art Fry resulted in the launch of the “Post-It” product in 1979. A litigious claim settled in 1998 appears to have acceded to the role of inventor Alan Aaron in the development of the “Post-it” with the 1974 disclosure to 3M of his “Press-on” memo sticky note invention.

Add to your collection of reliable – unpowered and analogue – well designed business and social tools by clicking the following Amazon links – appearing below the image.

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Stabilo Boss Highlighters Original Colours + Pastel Shades Complete Set 15

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Filofax The Original Personal Organiser – Red

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Filofax Personal Nappa Leather Zipped Organiser – Black

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Post-it 3M 654-TFEN Notes, 76 x 76 mm – Energetic Colours, 6 Pads (100 Sheets Per Pad)

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Image credits – with grateful thanks – Filofax, 3M and Schwann – Stabilo Boss.

AesthetIcons – Happy New Year

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For this, my 250th AesthetIcons’ post and first of the New Year, I am going to be a little self indulgent, introspective and, perhaps, somewhat overly analytical. Many of you will have read my praises of the “aesthetic” and the “iconic” – often both – but I want to regroup in order to further develop Aestheticons.com.

What may be aesthetic and/or iconic, is probably in the eye of the beholder. Clearly, it’s primarily subjective. Indeed, I am happy that not all of us with love the same designs. Conversely, it is entirely possible to appreciate something that we don’t particularly like. The Toyota Prius, whilst I recognise it may be iconic – in a curiously evolutionary way – it’s just not particularly aesthetic!

Not all will appreciate my almost clinical devotion to the products produced for over seventy years by the Stuttgart based Porsche AG, from the earliest incarnations of the 1950’s with 356 to the most recent iterations of the Porsche Targa. To me, Porsche cars are the very definition of what is both Aesthetic and Iconic.

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The use over many hundreds of years of Icons by the Russian Orthodox religion gives us much of the substance to our present day usage of the expression – although the etymological root of the word itself comes from the Greek “eikōn” meaning “image”. Whether worship of icons is entirely sound is a matter of personal faith but they do present a focus for devotion.

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The word “iconic” is often used in the media as short-hand for “famous”. Is David Beckham an “icon” – possibly – he was certainly was an amazing footballer who is now using his brand equity for commercial and philanthropic purposes. Coco Chanel, the originator of the Little Black Dress and the wonderful No. 5 perfume, is often described as an icon and her creations are equally titled. She also very ably ticks the box that spells ”Aesthetic”.

Kim Kardashian is described as having her own “Aesthetic” aside from her charms I struggle to see this as being more than “style”. This may result from the relationship between the host of a Twitter or Instagram account and their legion of followers, who, sadly, are unlikely to ever see yet alone meet their icon! For me Aesthetic is adjacent to “Art”. Essentially, the viewer’s reaction that confirming the objects status – again entirely subjective.

It seems that an adopted definition of an “Icon” is that the subject acquires its title through familiarity, use and enjoyment, especially, over a number of years.

Whilst New York’s Chrysler Building – see our previous post here Chrysler Building, New York City– or the Guggenheim Museum – see our previous post here Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and London’s Battersea Power Station – see our previous post here Battersea Power Station are undisputed icons of world architecture and they enjoy substantial praise for their aesthetic values. Is it time alone that has cemented these giants into the public’s consciousness, appreciation and nostalgia? Can London’s The Shard by Renzo Piano, The Gherkin by Foster and Shuttleworth or Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao see our previous post here Guggenheim Museum Bilbao hope to stand shoulder to shoulder with these masterpieces? Obviously yes, but it is much more than a question of  merely adding time.

It seems that there are certain icons that are loved and cherished that fail, taking their brand equity with them. Some of the familiar brands that have disappeared recently include: The US airline, once the emblem of the “Jet Set” international travel, Pan Am collapsed into bankruptcy in 1994. Hummer, once the Schwarzenegger of SUVs, in 2008 General Motors sensing the end of the road for conspicuous consumption tried to sell the brand but due to a lack of commercial interest in 2010 the doors were shut. Woolworths, the Home of Pic’N’Mix, largely due to the 2007 Credit Crunch, filed for Administration in November 2008, closing all stores within a couple of months. Athenasee our previous post here – Tennis Girl and Friends – founded in 1964, the home of student poster decoration, entered administration in 1995.

Some truly iconic brands have been saved and thrive, evolving into new markets whilst ensuring the continued affection of fans. These include: Falcon Enamel Wear see our previous post here – Falcon Enamelware Bugatti was founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, following years at the leading edge of motor racing the factory was bombed in WWII and with Bugatti’s death the business was eventually acquired by Volkswagen in 1990s today producing £2.0m supercars. Moleskinesee our previous post here – Moleskine Notebook the original manufacturer, a France-based family, ceased production in 1986 following the death of its principal. The brand was very successfully revived eleven years later by Italian publisher Modo & Modo.

I am particularly determined to revive – see our previous post here – Woods & Sons “Beryl Ware” crockery – quite simply the most familiar crockery that you have known for years, as used in all manner of cafes and, I suspect, you’d love to own. Do you remember the Husky Quilted Jackets? Loved by English Princesses and Milanese businessmen – with the corduroy collar and cuffs that came in fire-engine red, marine blue and Hunter welly’s green – see our previous post here – Hunter Green Wellington Boots My research has shown the brand was acquired in a corporate buy-out but I challenge you to find a new Husky jacket.

My interests in the Aesthetic and Iconic are unlimited by genre, item or product type. There are the new and old, the familiar and less familiar. As we evolve, our core philosophy remains constant – to celebrate beautiful things. We will continue to curate and to introduce our audience to iconic designs. I relish the journey!

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Image Credits with thanks: Porsche AG, Volkswagen, Falcon Enamel Wear, Hunter Wellingtons, Moleskine, Tudor Watches, Chanel.

Aestheticons’ Lady’s Guide To Perfect Gifts for Men

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Ladies, OK, I admit it – we men are not easy to buy for. So Aestheticons has done some of the leg work for you. Our recent affiliation with AMAZON allows us to offer you a carefully selected range of gifts for Men – as you’d expect from us they are all great looking, iconic and design classics. We can assure you that they will be perfect to show the men in your life just how well you know them and their impeccable tastes…….Please enjoy! PS. You’ll need to do the wrapping!

Oh….and there’s nothing stopping Men buying for themselves or other Men!

After each image there’s a link to the Aestheticons post – if one already exists – which is then followed by the AMAZON link for ease of purchase.

Clothes

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Levis 501Levi 501’s

Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Stonewash), 34W x 32L

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RM Williams boots – RM Williams “Craftsman Boot”

R.M. Williams Craftsman chocolate/suede, Größen:45

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Woolrich Shirt –Woolrich shirt –

Woolrich Men’s Sportsman Chamois Long Button Down Shirt, Dark Navy Heather, XXXL

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Bass weejuns – Bass Weejuns Penny Loafers

Bass Larson Mens Leather Loafers Wine – 9 UK

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Dr Martens – Dr. Martens

Dr. Marten’s 1460 Original, Men’s Boots, Aztec, 10 UK

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Vilebrequin shorts Vilebrequin swim shorts

Vilebrequin Danse du Feu Swim shorts – Men – turmeric – XL

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Lacoste Pique Lacoste Shirt

Lacoste Men’s L1212 Original Polo Shirt, Blanc (Blanc), Medium

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Ralph Polo – Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt

Ralph Lauren Polo Shirt Men’s Classic Fit Solid Mesh (M, Bright Yellow)

Car T shirts 

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Porsche 911 Targa Porsche 911 Targa Evolution of Man to Porche 911 T shirt

Mens Evolution of Man to PORSCHE 911 TURBO T-Shirt S – 5XL (Large, Black)

Alfa T shirt

Alfa Romeo Spider T shirt Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider

Men’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider T-Shirt Indigo Blue, Large

VW KG

Karmann Ghia VW T Shirts  Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN GHIA 1970 STENCIL MENS T SHIRT CLASSIC CAR (LARGE(42-44), CHARCOAL)

Dino T shirt

Ferrari Dino – Ferrari Dino T shirt

Ferrari Dino Classic T-shirt L

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Classic & Sports Car Magazine Subscription – Sunbeam Alpine – Bond’s first car

Classic & Sports Car

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Hunter Wellingtons Hunter Green Wellington Boots

Hunter Men’s Original Tall Wellington Boots

Le Chameau

Le Chameau Boots The Country Is Calling – Be Prepared!

Le Chameau Chasseur Heritage Kevlar Mens Wellington Boots Green – 42 EU

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Barbour Waxed Jacket Barbour Jacket

BARBOUR CPS0819 MWX Jacket Men XL

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Converse High Tops Converse – Chuck Taylor All Star

Converse Unisex-Adult Chuck Taylor All Star Hi-Top Trainers, Black- 8 UK

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Rab Jacket Rab Down Jackets

Men’s Microlight Alpine Down Jacket

guernesey-jumpers

Guernsey Jumper – Guernsey sweater

Traditional and Genuine Guernsey Jumper – Navy (46)

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Gloverall duffle coat Duffle Coat – by Gloverall

Gloverall Men’s Classic Duffle Coat, Grey (Grey),44 UK (54 EU )

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Hackett’s Moleskin Trousers – Hackett’s moleskin trousers

Hackett Men’s Slim Fit Moleskin Chinos 36 Regular Navy

CK Briefs

Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Men’s Basics Button Front Boxer Briefs, Black, Medium

PS Socks

Paul Smith Socks

PAUL SMITH Mens Cotton Socks Maroon Red Pink Polka Dots One Size

FOTL T Shirt

Fruit of the Loom T Shirts – Fruit of the Loom – T shirts

Fruit of the Loom Men’s Heavy T-Shirt Pack of 5, Heather Grey, X-Large

Tools

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Opinel Knives – Opinel Knives

Opinel Trekking Knife No.8 with Leather Thong

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Swiss Army Knives Victorinox SwissChamp

Victorinox Swiss Champ Pocket Knife – Red, Medium

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Leatherman Wave Leatherman “Wave”

Leatherman Wave LT650 Pocket Tool

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Maglite – Maglite D3 cell torch

Maglite ST3D016 3D Cell LED Torch – Black

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Wahl clippers – Wahl Clippers

Wahl Super Taper Hair Clipper

Stuff

chanel-egoiste

Chanel Egoiste – Chanel Egoiste

Chanel Egoiste Eau de Toilette – 100 ml

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Go Pro Camera – Go Pro Hero 4 camera

GoPro HERO5 Session Camera – Black

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Zippo Lighter – Zippo lighter

Zippo Armor Lighter – Brushed Brass

Oculus 1

Oculus Rift – Oculus Rift – a future classic?

Oculus Rift + Oculus Touch Controller

Casio Calc 2

Casio MS-8 Calculator – Casio MS-8 calculator

Casio MS-80VERII 8 Digit Currency Desk Calculator

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Eastpack backpack – Eastpak backpack

Eastpak Padded Pak’R Backpack – 24 L, Traditional Navy

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Rayban’s Wayfarers Ray-Ban Wayfarers

Ray-Ban 2132 New Wayfarer

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Apple 9.7 inch IPAD New 9.7″ iPad

Apple iPad Pro 9.7″ 128GB Wi-Fi – Space Grey

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Weber Grill – Weber Grill

Weber Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Barbecue 57 cm Black

B&W Zepplin 1

B&W Zeppelin – Bowers & Wilkins – Zeppelin

Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Wireless Speaker – Black

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Roberts Radio – Roberts Radio

Roberts Revival iStream2 DAB/DAB+/FM Internet Radio – Duck Egg

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Anglepoise lamp – Anglepoise Lamp

Anglepoise Original 1227 Brass Desk Lamp – Deep Slate

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Brooks Saddle – Brooks bicycle saddles

B17 STANDARD HONEY

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Artemide Tizio lamp – Artemide – Tizio lamp

Tizio 50 Desk Light Black

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Mont Blanc Rollerball – Mont Blanc Rollerball pen

MontBlanc Meisterstuck Platinum Line Ballpoint Pen – Black

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Amazon Kindle Fire – Amazon Kindle Fire

All-New Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, 8″ HD Display, 16 GB, Black — with Special Offers

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Moleskine Diary – Moleskine Notebook

2018 Moleskine Large Weekly Notebook Diary 18 Months Hard

Billingham 2

Billingham 225 Camera Bag – Billingham 225 Camera Bag

Billingham 225 Canvas Camera Bag With Tan Leather Trim – Khaki

Le Creu 5

Le Creuset Casserole – Le Creuset – Flame Kitchenwear

Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron Oval Casserole, 29 cm – Satin Black

Bose 35 c

BOSE QuietComfort 35 – BOSE – Future Design Classics

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

Soundlink-Revolve

BOSE Soundlink Revolve – BOSE – Future Design Classics

Bose SoundLink Revolve Bluetooth Speaker – Triple Black

Duralex Provo 1

Duralex Provence and Picardie Glasses – Duralex Provence  and Duralex Glass – Picardie

Duralex Super Strong Provence Tumblers Tumbler Glasses 8.8oz / 250ml (Box of 6) – Height 98mm

Duralex Picardie water glass 360ml, without filling mark, 6 Glasses

imperia

IMPERIA Pasta Maker – Imperia pasta machine

Imperia Italian Pasta Gift Set

Dualit Combi 3

A Dualit Toaster and a hamper of great holiday treats….. Holiday Breakfast

Dualit Combi 2+2 Toaster 42174 – Polished

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Images all courtesy of manufacturers

Moleskine Notebook

Probably one of our most recent design classic the Moleskine comes from an Italian manufacturer, papermaker and product designer and was co-founded in Milan in 1997 by Maria Sebregondi.

Moleskine produces stunning re-imagined classic notebooks stylised to follow the aesthetics of a ‘traditional’ black notebook with rounded corners and ivory-coloured paper. Bound in cardboard with a sewn spine that allows the notebook to lie flat. An elastic band is used to seal the cover, a ribbon bookmark is included along with an expandable pocket inside the rear cover.

As the historical note found in each Moleskine’s expandable pocket tells us, legendary authors, including Hemingway and Chatin and artists, Van Gogh and Picasso, used simple rectangular black books with rounded corners sealed with an elastic strap as made by a small French bookbinder. Indeed it appears that this notebook was Bruce Chatin’s favourite and it was he who christened it “moleskin”.

In 1986, the family owned manufacturer of the little black notebook in the French city of Tour went out of business which prompted Chatin, prior to his departure for Australia, to try to buy as many copies as he could, with little success.

Maria had the idea of resurrecting the iconic notebooks and put it to Modo & Modo who subsequently trademarked the Moleskine brand and began production. By 1998, Modo & Modo were producing 30,000 notebooks a year.

In 2006, with demand apparently outstripping supply, Modo & Modo SpA was purchased by the private equity firm, Syntegra Capital. In August 2006, investment fund Société Générale Capital purchased Modo & Modo SpA, and invested in its continued expansion and diversification, changing its name to Moleskine Srl.

In March 2013 the company announced an IPO, becoming a joint-stock company and renamed Moleskine SpA.

Moleskine’s assessment of their simple and beautiful product is that “it represents, around the world, a symbol of contemporary nomadism, closely connected with the digital world.”

My Moleskine Notebook: I have used two notebooks for years Moleskin is my preferred notebook when travelling or in meetings. Its ivory acid free paper is very forgiving for my scruffy handwriting and its size sits well next to my iPad.

Given the final comment from Molekine, just above, I have been in numerous meeting particularly with those involving either an entrepreneur or an investor in the world of digital media and the vast majority arrive with a pen and their little – usually black -Moleskine.

There are other beautiful colours available, my wife particularly loves the red version, which I suspect stands out well in the dark depths of a large handbag.

Your Moleskine Notebook: Please feel free to share your experiences of Moleskine notebooks. We’d really like to hear them.

Photo from Moleskine