Wednesday, March 11, 2015

"No stripes please"

At the LRB blog, Inigo Thomas considers the sartorial flair or lack thereof of Guy Burgess:
From Moscow, he carried on paying his annual membership fee to the Reform. He banked at Lloyds on St James’s. His clothes came from tailors on Jermyn and Bond Streets. The actress Coral Browne, who met him in Moscow, bought clothes on his behalf and sent them on. Their correspondence was the inspiration for Alan Bennett’s play An Englishman Abroad.

‘Thanks for your kindness in shopping for me and visiting my mum,’ Burgess wrote in an undated letter. ‘I really begin to think that English women, like Russian ones, are better characters than men.’ He tells Browne he is impressed not only with her shopping but with her thoroughness: she knows how to ‘dot the ‘i’s in “miaow”’. Having had suits made for him and ordered Homburg hats with their rims turned up from Locke’s, Burgess has a last favour to ask: pyjamas.
What I really need, the only thing more, is pyjamas. Russians ones can’t be slept in – are not in fact made for that purpose. What I would like if you can find them is 4 pairs (2 of each) of white (or off white, not grey) and Navy Blue Silk or Nylon or Terrylene [sic] – but heavy, not crêpe de chine or whatever is light pyjama. Quite plain and only those two colours… Don’t worry about price… Gieves of Bond Street used always to keep plain Navy blue silk. Navy and white are my only colours, and no stripes please.
(Reminds me rather of this....)

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