When You’re Hankerin’ For A Little French Holiday

“These shoes were made for walkin’…”

A little French holiday simply brings out the best in everyone. The frissons of Saint Tropez, catching a thief in Cannes, strolling in the vineyards of Burgundy and you are off in another world. Can’t you just sense a change in your temperament when you are sitting down with a chilled kir and an open Michelin map in front of you.

There is a sense of anticipation and excitement. A little French holiday is just the ticket to bring back your smile. My father claims that I’ve been on holiday ever since I left the States to work in Paris. That’s fathers for you all over.

Out our local, Cafe Brazza, everyone is talking holiday over their morning espresso and warm croissant. Shoulders are shrugged and hands are waved with passion and gusto. This year, there is a strong focus on nostalgia. Think Les Vacances De Monsieur Hulot by Jacques Tati and you get the gist.

As cinema buffs know, Tati’s film will put in you just the right mood for a little French holiday. Analyzing current trends, the people we know are booking simple holiday’s where pleasure is easy and honest. Picture black and white photographs from the Sixties and you will catch my drift. When I think of a little French holiday, I see an endless ream of Polaroid photos like a garland of clamshells hanging over a beach cabin. Speaking of a little French holiday, the natives are quite simply a different race when summertime blazes in the Hexagone in full glory.

Recently, the weather in Paris has stirred my memories of Brittany. It must be all that rain mixed with sunshine. Eating gallettes de sarrasin washed down with country cider at the Breizh Cafe in the Marais just the other day must have triggered my flashbacks as the rain came down in sheets in the street.

All joking aside, the evenings are now long and the sun doesn’t set until after 22h30. Quite a delicious feeling, I must admit. It’s like having two days squeezed into one. The queues at Bertillon for ice cream and sorbet are long. People are in shorts and sandals. The café terraces are packed, and no one is in a hurry.

Far from the city, the Parisians are tan, relaxed, and content. Everyone is talking about where is the “hot” place to be. The general consensus is that Calvi, Nice, l’ile de Rê, and Hossegor are the in places this summer.

To people outside France only Nice will strike a bell. As in all things, style demands focus. To sport the right look, use the local holidaymakers as your style guide for inspiration. In Paris, people choose their attire with deliberation. Issues of cost do arise, but it is more about being style savvy. The French Touch, which seems so easy to do, is quite difficult to get right.

sailing copy 2_french-holiday_redddherring
“Dancing to the back beat of your own drummer…”

I won’t say that it appears in their genetic coding, but I will say that there must be something in the water. Perhaps the trendy, Montcalm from the Pyrenees has trace elements we should be more aware of. Women seem sexier and men seem to have that certain unfussy dash which shows true élan. On holiday, the national mood swings and everyone wants what I used to refer to back in the States as that Cape Cod wind swept and sea bitten cool. Although dress codes vary across the country, there is one thing that you will notice. Style is timeless and effortless. There is a simplicity that anyone with a sense of aesthetics can achieve with just a pinch of effort.

If you go to any of the 4 locations I have cited, bring nothing with you. Everything can be bought on location: the right clothes, the perfect bathing suit, suntan oil and even a toothbrush.

Trendy Calvi
Of all the holiday hot spots, Calvi wins hands down as the trendiest place to be seen yet another year. You can spot the in crowd by their sunglasses. By far the shades of choice are Ray Ban aviators. Shirts are loose and of white cotton or linen mix. Dior beach towels dominate La Balagne, Chloe bags with a long strap swing across the chest and Sonia Rykiel dominate the “big” names.

Some of the women look like escapees from the chic stores such as Colette on the rue St Honore. Last summer, there was a woman with long blond hair, wearing a long evening dress calling out, “Marcello, Marcello” in one of the piazzas.

Recently, the French press has been running feature after feature on how chic Corsica is as a holiday destination. It is true that the coast on the side of Calvi is ravishing. However, most of the best coves are only accessible by boat, read the word “yacht”. The island has diverse eco zones and offers any adventurer every thing they need to subscribe to the Gypset.

Nice Is Back In Vogue
This Riviera destination has always had allure. Once an Italian city, you can feel straight away that it has more in common with la dolce vita. Not far outside of town is the charming port, Villefranche-sur-Mer. Last year, the town celebrated yet another anniversary of the Rolling Stones mythic recording, “Exile On Main Street”. In this town, it is only rock ‘n roll…

As you float through the narrow streets, turn up the volume on your iPod when listening to “Plundering My Soul”. To get the R&B vibe, rent an red Alfa Romeo coup for touring the countryside.

The Nicois attitude is very 1970s in the best sense of the term. No one on this side of the Riviera has hang-ups when it comes to bathing and lazing about in the sun. The Fitzgerald’s got good and lost down here and so can you. On the beaches and coves, women flaunt the gifts which nature has endowed them with without any complex. Men for the most part where a tiny slip in black.

The Promenade des Anglais still holds the magic for which the Riviera is justly famous. The lights at night along the magical palm studded crescent will delight the most jaded palates. Bling-Bling is common, but it just adds to the party flavor. The major religion here is sunbathing with fervour. Everyone seems so healthy. Of course the Mediterranean cuisine with its emphasis on fresh, local, and organic play big. Indulge in the real Salade Nicoise and you will see what truly makes this salad a French classic. Eaten on location has nothing to do with variations consumed elsewhere whether in France or worse overseas.

What I have always loved about Nice in summer is the town truly sparkles. Old Nice is where the action is and wears its Italian sense of style with nonchalance. If you feel at home with the gingerbread people, artists, and designers, you will absolutely love the fireworks display on Assumption.

Seeing the light show reminds me of that famous scene in Hitchcock’s, It Takes A Thief, starring Grace Kelly and Cary Grant. The whole area reeks of high heels, Rolex submariners, and Rivas. The opulence can be enjoyed as a perfect antidote to the any economic crisis psychology fostered by the grey skies and high seriousness in Northern latitudes. Come down and party. After all, everyone here is an exile from some street.

BCBG Paradise at L’ile de Rê
The BCBG tribe have colonised l’ile de Rê. It is as if everyone from Neuilly and Versailles decided to hold a Downeast clam bake just outside of Seal Harbor. At the beach, Portes-en-Rê, it will feel like old home week. Bad taste and bling have been outlawed.

Style trends are preppy. Find yourself a vintage Madras sports jacket to go with your Bermuda shorts. Leave your socks at home. Let your feet rejoice. Ralph Lauren would feel right at home here. The beaches are sand and the smell of Atlantic salt clings to the hair and skin. The island is very civilised and delightful for cocktails and late evening shindigs with family & friends. Bring a bag jazz records featuring Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, and Eric Dolphy. It will give you the ideal soundtrack to plan excursions. If you need to shake your booty, skip this place and head straight to Ibiza.

Cool Hossegor
Further down the coast as you hit the Landes country is Hossegor. It is home to the French kahuna and you can surf your heart out. The surfing style is everything. Quicksilver board shorts and wet suits predominate. Because of the surf attitude, American trends and brands run big here. Even vintage Levis jeans are common currency among the surf set.

The younger crowd of pretty young things to quote Evelyn Waugh, is particularly keen on bright colours reminiscent of the late 1960s and flamboyant prints. There is quite a Venice Beach scene here. After a heady day on the surf, there are enough clubs for you to dance the night away until dawn.

Getting Here
All major airlines land at Paris-CDG and provide excellent connections to internal flights or train links.

Article Title: When You’re Hankerin’ For A Little French Holiday
Photographs: ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at
RedHerring is the digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring redddherring.tumblr.com

Summer Is Cocktail Time

“When you’re torn between a margarita and a mojito…”

Cocktail time takes the sting out of sobriety. Now that it’s summer, it’s the perfect way to welcome a new season. Now take my cousin Muffy. She knows a good frozen daiquiri when she sees one. What I love most about my dear cuz is she doesn’t let small stuff get to her head, know what I mean. Open a newspaper and you’ll catch my drift. Reading current events and you feel buffaloed: riots, revolutions, horrid weather and the like. I wonder, do buffalo celebrate cocktail time?

So, Muffy dear, you will be pleased to know that Summer 2015 is going to be pure cocktail time. Everyone in Paris is wearing their chinos above the ankle. If that’s not enough reason to celebrate cocktail time, pink and kelly green are style favorites. Now where was I? Oh yes, looking for the crackers. Can’t eat chopped liver without crackers, what. Now, I remember. It’s about Muffy. She is so Madras, don’t you know.

I mean, even in winter she is up to her eyes in plaid. Cocktail time can do that to a person. My Mum says she is adorable. True she is most at home on the golf course or at our summer cottage off the coast of Maine. She is however, in her element anywhere, particularly at cocktail time. Can you imagine, it’s all down hill now that we’ve hit summer. It’s raining in Switzerland according to Louis. And in India, they’re heading to +100.

My gosh, I think I need a drink at this point. Wait, it’s too early for a G&T so I better stick to a cup of tea. Over the last few years, the tribe has seen the publication or re-edition of many books on the lifestyle and dress sense of American classics. These include “Take Ivy” by T. Hayashida, “The Ivy Look” by Graham Marsh & JP Gaul, “Preppy: Cultivating The Ivy Style” by Jeffrey Banks & Doria de la Chapelle, and “A Privileged Life” by Susanna Salk. By far the biggest hit has been the sequel to the Official Preppy Handbook by Lisa Birnbach.

“Because everyone loves a good party…”

With the craze for everything “vintage” reaching new heights, a new readership will feel right at home cuddling up with the OPH. It is perfectly suited to our troubled times. The humor alone makes this volume worth a couple of drinks. The book addresses all things Preppy: attitudes toward money, the right schools, pukka careers, suitable sports, political correctness, reality TV, and believe it or not even polar fleece.

The book has the charm and verve of the older version, but has been re-tuned like a grand piano. With artisanal gin such as Hendrick making the rounds at all the hip parties in the London last weekend, Lisa’s book has brought back into focus the tribe of Americana beloved the world over for its fascination with labradors, G&T soaked cocktail time, Camelot, yacht clubs and the old school tie.

It is probable that a copy sits permanently on the night table of Ralph Lauren, who has fashioned his empire on a dream established in 1635 on the rocky shores of New England.

Today’s new readership won’t remember the 1980s, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, or those all night parties on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard when the OPH came out. True Prep’s renewed attraction harks back to a Golden Age of American life. Think of those TV chestnuts such as Leave It To Beaver.

“Every preppy’s favorite summer sandwich…”

To get into the mood, why not go over to the drinks tray. There’s plenty of ice still left, and the shrimp cocktails are simply fab. Cocktail time must be the best time of day. Even my own memories are a bit fuzzy. Pink Gin can do that to a fellow. I can attest to being there. Well, someone carved my name into the balustrade at the Asticou. Thursday nights was the Biggie during the summer. Swing orchestra and fine dinning. The guys all sported deck shoes, Nantucket Reds, blue blazers and button down collar white shirts.

The gals were elegant, suntanned and wore a lovely pearl necklace handed down by their grandmothers. Nobody talked of name brands. However, we all knew where to get our clothes, which were formally or casually worn with nonchalance. With the endless rounds of drinks and smoke, everything was picture perfect. Nobody smoked electronic cigarettes at cocktail time. Like Audrey Hepburn once said, “It’s like kissing through a veil”. Sailing by day and imbibing at night to sounds of clinking glasses gave us a rhythm and many occasions for much laughter.

Summer brings al fresco lunches on secret island coves, the smell of pine and salt in the air, and the endless rounds of touch football on the beach. On other days, we would head over to Beals’s Lobster Pound with its wooden picnic tables for steamers, corn on the cob, and homemade blueberry pie. Can’t you just hear the voice over the PA, “Ah, numbah 54, your lobstah is ready!”

All these images are frozen in time not like margaritas but on the Internet for the intellectually and culturally curious. It’s an American version of the world of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. Now the original readers are be a bit older today. Some are inter-married and some have traveled the world. The good news is they’re all still partying their boat shoes off.

So why has this trend for all things ivy come bouncing back? Well, for one thing, “vintage” is super trendy in fashion circles. Secondly, this lifestyle provides a good template not to loose your moral compass. Everyone needs sense of humour in a crisis, don’t you think. Thirdly, when it’s all said and done, it’s about “ease and confidence”. My own grandmother would have used one of those terrible politically incorrect adjectives, and said it was a question of “breeding”.

However, like with all luxuries, lifestyle “branding” has gone democratic in our global village. You might have a cottage in Hyannisport or Portofino. It doesn’t matter any longer what is your spiritual persuasion or the origins of your family. You can call your dog “Toussaint” or “Gladstone”. Nobody is fussed. It is about style, savoir-faire, and behaviour.

Even across the pond in towns such as Florence, a city of elegance, gentlemen can be seen wearing lime green or coral trousers, white polo shirts topped off with an old tweed jacket or linen blazer. On their sockless feet are loafers or boat shoes. Wrists generally sport an inherited old gold watch obviously inherited from Dad. No one pulls off style better than the Italians. So much so that certain Italians have purchased some of the very companies who manufactured the original clothes. Think of Brooks Brothers.

To sample today’s preppy style at its best, take an online visit with Ralph. You needn’t have been born to the Ivy spoon to glide into his vibe. All it takes is a little imagination. Lisa Birnbach will teach you the ropes; the rest is up to you.


Article Title: Summer Is Cocktail Time
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

4 Hot Tips To Swingin’ In Paname

“Because you love Paris Fashion Week…”

With June here, the floodgates are open to another wild season of frivolity in the City of Light. For Paname fans there are many hot choices to eat, drink, and let out your inner party animal. Here are our 4 hot picks for swinging in Paname.

SoPi is old news to Panamers. However, this neighborhood continues to sizzle across the board. There’s a new steakhouse serving up aged beef to down for just up the road from Alex Haircuts. These guys continue to trim and cut the hottest locks in town. Best of all you can spot anyone who has been to Alex. His cuts are distinctive and highlight the best in the barber’s art.

Once you’ve got the SoPi look head over to Glass. It sits next to a typical Pigalle sex shop. Don’t be put off by the guerrilla outside or the unassuming neon sign. Be prepared to wait like a sardine in an enclosure before you’re given the green light to enter the bar.

“When you love a make believe ballroom…”

The ambiance is dark and the crowd is always in party mode. One of my colleagues says this is where disco jive meets dacha dive. The big ticket this season is Tattoo You. No, they are not selling signed copies of the Rolling Stones record. It’s the must drink cocktail of the season made with mezcal, ginger, grapefruit, lime and beer. Drink two of these and you’re ready to cha-cha.

Hep cats munch on hotdogs and homemade pickles when they’re not bobbing up and down like fish bait. No this is not Studio 54, but the lights on the dance floor will give you dirty dancin’ flashbacks. If you can’t get in, try Dirty Dicks across the street. DDs specialize in Mai Tai’s. Pretend you’re in a re-make of South Pacific. Throw caution to the winds, Bali Hi style.

“Because you love smoke ‘n mirrors…”

In case you find yourself near the Louvre, check out Le Fumoir. Since it’s opening, it’s been packed out day and night. Punters love the food while tipplers go big on their cocktails. We counsel booking in advance. No point in being turned away at the door. If you want to pretend that you’re living in a Scott Fitzgerald novel order a couple of gin fizzes. If you really want to go big time, make them pink. This was Zelda’s favorite. Great place to people watch and have a stellar lunch.

“When you’re seeking out Montezuma…”

For something a bit out of the ordinary, we recommend this taqueria. Think Montezuma and Indiana Jones. Perfect for stoners who love anything grilled. Although the eating area is just large enough to swing a cat, right behind the back wall is one of the best cocktail lounges in Paris.

Their margaritas kick ass and will put you under the volcano in no time. Who knows you might even meet a Malcolm Lowry wannabe. Reminds me of a place I knew in the West Village. Speakeasy gravitas laced with the casualness to keep you smiling. Their tacos and tostadas should soak up all that alcohol. To top the evening off you could head to Chez Castel in Saint Germain. Just bring someone with long sleek legs. Then you’re guaranteed to get in. Cheers!

Article Title: 4 Hot Tips To Swingin’ In Paname
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

The Timeless Style Of IGN Joseph

“When you’re looking for something special…”

Now, it won’t come as a surprise to our audience that we are big fans of Ign. Joseph. His solid reputation has been built over a decade of producing some of the finest shirts for discerning gentlemen and lovely ladies. They are made by some of Europe’s finest artisans and use some of the loveliest fabrics I have ever touched from top Italian textile mills.

His style sports an effortless grace where elegance is clearly the bottom line. As a keen eye, he has managed to marry artisanal excellence that captures the spirit of Europe’s heritage when it comes to luxury. Pour Ignatious a glass of fine claret, and he will start to regal you with stories of living masters of craftsmanship.

“Because elegance is timeless…”

Did you know for example that over two thousand years ago, the elegance of fine textiles reached Europe from Asia via China, India, and Ceylon to the trading centers of Italy? Fortunately for us, the Italians continue to build on this tradition and still manufacture some of the worlds finest textiles. To his credit, Ignatious Joseph captures these traditions with effortless luxury, and they are the signature of his collection.

The Spirit of Ign Joseph now includes men’s dress shirts, women’s blouses, fine silken neckwear and accessories all produced by men and women whose families perpetuate the legacy of craftsmanship styled to our times. His collection features
crisp colours, soft, hand-stitched collars, fine woolen and silk fabrics.

For women he has captured a line of exciting enamel and silver ornaments to wear with his garments. I can picture him as a modern day Marco Polo, marrying the best from the East and the West. He even produces carefully blended soaps to wash your clothes so his fabrics do not loose their remarkable qualities. Ignatious understands that great style is beyond fashion. It’s a question of great taste and reflects the personalities of the creators as well as the people who wear them.

“Why wear trainers when you can stroll the boulevards of Paris on velvet…”

Take for example his blue velvet slippers. The moment I laid eyes on these beauties, I had to collar a pair. No better way to sip cocktails on a cafe terrace. Now years ago, certain gentlemen would wear these at their country homes after dinner while playing billiards over cognac and cigars. However, today’s gent is more likely to wear them strolling about town sockless with a casual insouciance. What I particularly admire is that IGN Joseph captures a sense of romance that is both sensuous and sensible. They are made exclusively for IGN.JOSEPH by a traditional family firm in Italy’s Tyrolean region.

“Because you love to travel in style…”

As he has recently stated, “The delicacy of each detail makes no sacrifice to mere fashion. Like the finest highland teas of my native Ceylon, they have been selected with the eye and skill found only among those who truly understand the composition of the liquor of life– robust enough for everyday and fine enough to caress the most demanding tastes.”

When it comes to shirts, IGN Joseph is the cat’s whiskers. Here’s a timeless classic.

“Perfect for that weekend in Portofino…”

No formal shirt is complete without neckwear that is equally exhilarating. IGN.-JOSEPH ties harmonise well with the shirting, whether one prefers the classic long knots or the slightly eccentric bow. All are handmade and can be had in light weaves for warm seasons or slightly flamboyant folded silks. Whatever you choose, you will certainly cut a dash.

One of the latest hot spots in the J-Line is his travel gear. Forget those cumbersome suitcases or logo branded canvas. This bag conjures up journeys on seaborne and airborne Clippers. Talk about standing our in a crowd. The more you get to know Ignatious Joseph the more you feel you’ve discovered a long lost friend. His combined and carefully selected elements will undoubtedly enhance your wardrobe.

His brand is the distillation of years of experience capturing the crafts that have made European, esp. Italian clothing style the benchmark of sartorial quality in the business world and beyond. As he so eloquently states:

Embrace the inimitable because true individuality in style is not the watch—but the time itself.

Article Title: The Timeless Style Of Ignatious Joseph
Photographs: all courtesy of IGN. Joseph

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

Italian Shirts Fit For A Prince

“Because you love all things Italian…”

Every now and again, I come across shirts fit for a prince. What I absolutely love about these IGN. JOSEPH shirts is the cut, the feel, and the great styling. His shirts are clearly for connoisseurs.

In certain circles, this term has an air of pretension. Not here. Making great shirts is an art form. Not many houses have the artisans with the skills to craft something built to last. When you find such a shirtmaker, you can take off your jacket and not be ashamed that the shirt is too tight or hangs like a bag.

Now for those of you unfamiliar with Ignatious Joseph, let me introduce this fine gentleman to you. IJ is an evangelist for craftsmanship and style. He is immaculately attired with the dignity and poise you’d expect from someone with great taste. Not many men can pull off wearing red or green shoes and not seem naff. IJ can and does so with panache.

He has spent his career crusading for good taste, and many guys have religiously followed his style cues. He is a regular feature at Pitti Uomo and his shirts are sold in some of the most fashionable stores in both North America and Europe. So, why haven’t you heard about him before? Simply put, many gentlemen don’t brag about their shirtmaker. They prefer to be discreet.

“When great things come in beautiful boxes…”

What Ignatious doesn’t know about fine shirt making is clearly not worth knowing. Although his shirts are ready-to-wear, the detailing and work on his shirts are rare and sometimes not even found on bespoke shirts. All his garments are manufactured to his exact specifications in Italy. Sorry, I can’t mention where. It’s a trade secret. The fabric comes from the finest Italian mills. One of my favorites is a blue and white check. It is as soft as a baby’s bottom.

Since he understands that God is in the details, all his shirts are hand finished and feature mother of pearl buttons. Moreover, the collars are non-fused. This means you look smart but don’t feel as if someone is trying to choke you to death. His collar cuts quite a dash, and will sit splendidly inside your bespoke jacket.

“Perfect for baccarat at Portofino…”

Personally, once you try one of Ignatious’ splendid shirts you will be spoiled for life. Why not just order a baker’s dozen and give yourself a leg up before you head out to Portofino for the weekend.

Visit: Ignatious Joseph

Article Title: Italian Shirts Fit For A Prince
Photographs: ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

Why Hipsters Love Tumblr

“Because you’re reaching out to a trendy audience…”

Mainstream social media mavens appear exclusively focused on the usual suspects, i.e. LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Pinterest and SnapChat have their advocates. The key to social media is come to grips with which channels are best for the content you intend to foster.

Are your stories content driven? Are your messages visually driven? Do you wish to combine the visuals with the story? Does your target community audience respond to your purpose of engagement?

“Every picture tells a story…”

True enough, many firms like to concentrate their attention, read resources on major channels with maximum input. However, it can be the more specialized platforms, which might be your best bet when building your marketing strategy.

Our experience has been that a successful marketing campaign should focus on ingenuity. This is the less travelled field in marketing because it’s harder to calculate and the messages need to be more of a conversation than an advertising pitch. In fact, certain studies reveal that the more sophisticated online audiences become in their social media consumption that they relish the creative touch with human outreach. This implies building your platform with authenticity.

Authenticity can only be driven with content. When this is established naturally and within constructed parameters, the story and images sell your messages. In our humble view, we therefore recommend to fashion brands in particular to harness the power of Tumblr.

“Everyone likes something to chew on…”

Tumblr has been around since 2007. The platform is not as sophisticated as others, and the templates can be constrictive. A little creative coding on your side can alter the visual layouts. Tumblr addicts on the other hand love this platform. It has a Polaroid feel, and as vintage fans recognize what is old is now new and exciting. People are rediscovering ways of tapping and using visuals as if they were part of a garage band. Viewers love it for its sense of the raw power it can execute.

At first glance, the platform appears unmanageable. Take the time to examine examples of micro blogs you enjoy. Investigate different templates, and you will appreciate the individual context at which Tumblr excels.

Promoting your brand on Tumblr will take time and not a small amount of sweat equity. Since the platform crosses text, video, photos, and quotes find a mix which suits you best. Considering the world lives on their smartphones, recognize that images and videos hold sway. Don’t shy away from content driven texts, but use sound bites. You can even have your audience click links to another platform by pasting in an invisible url taking your audience to a platform where content driven text is more appropriate or to a place where they can shop your content blog.

The key call to action on Tumblr is to generate envy, must haves, humor, flavored with a strong hipster vibe. Perhaps this is why the hipsters deserted Facebook a long time ago in favor of micro-blogs.

The Seduction Of Visuals
Seduction is the principle rule for blogging. However, Tumblr is more than a blog. It’s a social media platform with great potential. Capture the attention of your audience with wit and great pics and you are one step closer to building and growing your audience of dedicated followers. Followers reblog and spread the wealth. Isn’t this what you want? Of course it is. Remember, balance is key.

Brevity Is The Soul Of Success
Once you have grabbed the reader’s attention, the reader should understand what you’re talking about. When there is a connect, your post will be re-blogged. Likes will be generated, and your site will be followed. Pay close attention to hashtags. Like on Twitter, hashtags matter.

“Everyone likes quirky, even off the wall…”

You understand that it is important to be quirky, and even off the wall…”
Secondly, Tumblr users “value” their time. Translation: your audience has a short attention span. They want to be spoon fed. Give it to them in light and strong doses. Do not use a heavy hand. This is not the social media platform for this technique. Therefore, make the distance between the user and you evaporate. This is why we counsel being short and sweet.

Someone once asked me, “Why don’t Tumblr users read?

Good question. This almost demands a philosophic response, which is not the subject of this post. The take-away is clear: use language judiciously.

The best way then to get the content delivered to your followers is with Social Media Integration. One platform is not enough. Interlink your social media channels. Many organizations do this via Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Follow the strategy called the Digital Donut so that content is fresh on each channel. Overlap in theme, not in content. Open an Instagram account. Tumblr practitioners are keen advocates and link their Tumblr accounts accordingly.

This will improve the face of your brand in users’ eyes, but also will get your content some traffic on other social media sites via Tumblr. You should pay particular attention to integration with Instagram due to its popularity among the Tumblr audience.

Concerning Themes
Tumblr gives you the opportunity to choose or even design your own theme. Make the layout attractive and compulsive. We recommend surfing existing blogs and see what works. Then design your blog to be different. Why copy what exists? This is common sense, but you’d be surprised.

Hipster Humor Works
Humor is cultural. Think through which audience you are seeking to communicate with. Not all cultures share the same sense of humor. Humor also has the power to level the playing field. The key to hipster humor is irony. If you have a unique voice, Tumblr will be perfect to express this side of your brand. The zeitgeist which drives this platform is youth. Youth is not a question of physical age. It is a question of being in touch with current style trends.

Now that you have a taste for Tumblr, why not take the leap forward!

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications consultancy under the WCW Group brand.

For further inspiration
Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane

Seersucker ‘n Bourbon In New Orleans

“Because you fancy a walk in the garden district…”

Flaunting seersucker in the sweltering heat is a hat trick. The people of New Orleans do it best. Perhaps its the mint juleps, iced bourbon, eating Po’ Boy sandwiches, or all that jazz.

Recently, I was getting monsoon flashbacks while stalking out first editions of William Faulkner and jazz vinyl. Fortunately, I was sporting a pair of Madras shorts, white polo shirt and a gray ‘n white striped seersucker sports jacket. Actually, the jacket was slung across my shoulder in this heat. But these are trifles.

Anyway you cut the watermelon for dessert, New Orleans is a thriving multicultural bouillabaisse with style and elegance. There is no better city I know to listen to Billy Holiday on a late summer evening.

“When you’re in the mood to swing…”

Speaking of style, we can thank J.Haspel for the seersucker suit, a genuine preppy wardrobe stalwart. This fabric was discovered in British India. Now, if a cloth can stand up to the humid heat of Chennai, it can stand up anywhere. Personally, were I in India, I’d opt for a lungi. However, lungis are not likely to make style statements in Old Easy. No siree! In fact, I’d probably get bounced out of The Commodore quicker than you can say jack rabbit three times backwards. Better stick to a sleek seersucker and crisp white shirt.

For the style curious, Haspel has been cranking out crackerjack seersucker since 1909. Although this brand will be unfamiliar to all but the preppy savvy, it’s certainly worth a detour to this town and pick one up. I for one just love those gentlemen, who have been responsible for keeping this American institution alive with their custom. To the firm’s credit, it continues to embrace classy instead of pandering to the vulgum pecus.

The creator of the seersucker suit, Joseph Haspel was also famous for never wearing socks. I’d love to credit him with this preppy style reflex. A social networker of the highest water, he pulled off a Richard Branson by swimming the Mississippi fully clad in his seersucker suit. It was a brilliant promotional coup for his innovative wash ‘n wear fabric. Before you could say drip dry, seersucker was adopted as a badge of summer nonchalance. It’s not surprising that the Ivy crowd took it up in spades in early 1960s.

Damon Runyon referred to this suit as “a badge of affluence.” 

Continuing to perpetuate the firm’s heritage of good taste, Haspel offers everything a gentleman needs to embrace warm weather. They do not however, offer Mint Juleps. For that you will have to repair to the Commodore’s bar in center of town.

“You’ll know what I mean when you miss New Orleans…”

Article Title: Seersucker ‘N Bourbon In New Orleans
Photographs: (1)brooks brothers (2)archival (3)Haspel

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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Polo Shirts Come Of Age L!VE

“From the hipper side of the preppy universe…”

“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”

(This is not a quote from Bilbo Baggins.) – Walt Whitman

My current collection of polo shirts are ready for the dust heap. Its time to buy replacements. For casual chic, nothing beats polo shirts in my view. The existential question debated between self and flesh and blood was which ones?

The issue was settled on the basis of which polo shirts are robust to take the beating the open road provides and their countless washings. My second criteria has been one of my pet peeves over the last few years: nothing made in ailleurs. I might admire these countries for many things, but when it comes to heritage and integrity I want to be able to rely on the actual provenance of the brand.

Thirdly, I appreciate when my polo shirts have integrity. This term is open to a never ending debate. F&B defines this as the cut. He prefers those polos with a slimmer silhouette. He claims this gives him more lank. He’s over six feet and feels short. I don’t know what you think, but this is ridiculous. Needless to say, bucked up by a couple double espressos we set forth in the summer rain to sort out the polo shirt conundrum.

And then it hit me like a ton of Lego. Of course, the old stalwart Lacoste. So we toddled over to their flagship store on the Champs. All the product ranges are on display, and better still the sale is in full throttle. If you are seeking iconic preppy classics, you will find this establishment polo shirt heaven. The brand today is not fussy or starched. It’s young vibrant and I believe if Rene Lacoste was vivant today, he’d love what the firm is up to. It’s a perfect example of how not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

All the shirts are 100% long fiber Egyptian cotton and made here in France. You heard that right folks. At the original factory in Troyes. Not shabby, what do you think! The colors are steadfast and do not bleed nor do they shrink unless you do what someone I know by the name of Cracker did. Namely take her white polo shirts and boil them at 60 degrees centigrade.

“Perfect if you are one of the seven samurai…”

For the hipper side of preppy, I recommend Lacoste L!VE. My F&B went gaga over a grey T-shirt featuring a tattooed Japanese sumo wrestler in the style of Hiroshige. Before you could say, lunch at Frenchie-To-Go three times backwards, he was waxing lyrical about each collection as well as unearthing creativity behind the latest. Clearly Lacoste has taken tradition and gave it a goodish twist.

I myself am quite content with the classic polo in terms of color and size. Allows me just enough room if I want to be self indulgent at the next BBQ cocktail party we’re headed to later this evening. Our host, a beak by the name of Brother Whitefish says, he’s featuring Tutu by Miles Davis.

Content as clams, we walked out of Lacoste with a dozen summer shirts between us. Pure preppy polo heaven I thought as we headed to the metro. Get over here post haste, if you want to profit from this exceptional sale. Cheers!

Article Title: Polo Shirts Come Of Age L!VE
Photographs: Lacoste

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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Putting Loafers Back Into Weejuns

“You didn’t get all dressed up for me…”

Spring is here in all its glory. You can smell the heat with the sun on your face. No Oxford lace ups today, thank you. I want loafers comfort and relaxed elegance sockless and fancy free. No loafers are more Ivy style than Bass Weejuns. This iconic shoe has been admired by the Italians, the French and adored by the Japanese.

Let’s face it, sports shoes outside the gym are naff. They send the wrong stylistic notes. Weejuns on the other hand, offer causal grace when strolling the boulevards of Paris. They’ve adorned the feet of Steve McQueen, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, and yours truly. They won’t go amiss on your feet either. Think Cape Cod or Southampton and you’ll be reaching for your Weejuns.

Curiously, loafers first made its appearance in New England in the 1930s. The first firm to construct the model on a mass scale was G.H. Bass and sold under the trademark, Weejuns. This soft and causal shoe was an instant hit.

In those days, New England and particularly Maine was the bastion of American shoe manufacturing. Today with minor exceptions, the shoe industry moved to other shores. Bass Weejuns however, can still be procured. If you are blessed, you might be able to scrounge up a vintage pair somewhere online.

“Foot candy worthy of Hyannis Port…”

Just last week, I accidentally stumbled into a Parisian boutique, which is selling an English overstock of the originals sent from the States in the 1960s. I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

In case you are wondering how the shoe was nicknamed loafers, I’ll tell you. In American slang, the term refers to someone who just lounges about. Because it has no laces, it is easy to slip on and off. Therefore, it is considered the “lazy” man’s shoe. The welt is Goodyear. Casual from the start, they embody what some call the Ralph Lauren style. Ralph Lauren has been strongly influenced by the aesthetics of New England. Examine his current shoe collection. Loafers of various persuasions always dominate.

Some loafers sport tassels in the front. This gives the shoe a slightly more formal appearance. Allen Edmonds is responsible for introducing this style trait. For cordovan purists, Alden remains the loafer of choice.

“Nothing beats casual elegance…”

The French Touch
In France, the artistic director of Weston, Michel Perry was inspired by American loafers and created the “108”. His loafers embody that French je ne sais quoi. Weston’s have adored the feet of Francois Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac, and even the former president, Nicolas Sarkozy. The house has given an assortment of names to the shoe over time such as the “Janson-de-Sailly” in honour of one of Paris’ most exclusive lycees. It is considered by the French to be the Rolls Royce of loafers. It is available in most sizes and widths. Now if you have feet as wide as bear’s paws, you can still find your size. Best of all, these French loafers include hand stitching and over 200 manual operations.

Many loafer mavens however, prefer those designed by John Lobb, whose prêt-a-porter line is owned by Hermes. The current “Buckingham” version is quite retro and is a big hit in European circles.

Off the Champs Elysees on the rue Marboeuf, is the establishment of Berluti. Olga Berlutti designed a special pair of loafers in the 1960s for Andy Warhol, which has since become a signature icon of the house. Parisian dandies are swept off their feet by this model with its cured Venetian leather.

“Darling, I’m impressed…”

Probably one of the hottest name brands in loafers is Tod’s. Despite the American sounding name, Diego della Valle established his firm in Italy. Their shoes are renowned for their rubber nubs on the sole of the shoe. The glove leather sobriety has generated an army of followers.

Just check out their book, The Italian Touch, and you will see why. You will soon find yourself reaching for the phone in order to book tickets to Tuscany. The Italians have an unwavering knack for taking English or American products and turning them into something extraordinary.

At first glance, they look like they are made in the USA. On closer observation, you notice the quality of the leather, the softness, and the styling. These loafers could only be Italian. Nobody has mastered causal chic like the Italians. Giovanni Agnelli may have loved American brands such as Brooks Brothers, but he put everything together with “La Dolce Vita” élan.

Article Title: Putting Loafers Back Into Weejuns
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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All Aboard The Paris Hanoi Express

“Because you love making new friends…”

All aboard the Paris Hanoi restaurant express. Sounds like an Agatha Christie novel. Can’t you just picture the dialogue: “Oui, mon ami Hastings. The rouleaux du printemps at Paris Hanoi are a délice. And the nems are perfection.”

“Are you sure Hercule? I mean, wouldn’t you rather fancy an Indian curry than Vietnamese food?”

“No Hastings, I would not. The mix of the raw and the cooked at Paris Hanoi is good for the little gray cells. And the parfum, c’est magnifique!”

“When you love the beauty of SE Asia…”

Now Poirot, certainly travelled on his belly to recoin an old phrase from the little general. I can’t blame him. This restaurant, Paris Hanoi, will not disappoint for its saveurs in the kitchen. Located at the heart of the Bobo universe deep in the eleventh, P-H is pure Paname.

The way Paris Hanoi has been popping up in the French media of late, you would think that Parisians have just discovered Vietnamese food. Au contraire. What is happening is a Southeast Asian food renaissance with French finesse. Add the simple fact that this has become a tout Paris favorite, and you’ll understand why the lines outside the door pack this place to the rafters.

In terms of style and decor, the ambiance is simple and clean. The food is light and flavorful punctuated with lime, fresh mint and coriander. There is a freshness about this place that more typical joints in this genre simply lack.

“Because you’re in the mood…”

The vibe is fashionista. You are guaranteed to be sitting cheek to jowl with models, artists, and designers. Foodies adore the aromatic and perfumed flavors Vietnamese cuisine delivers when prepared by the right hands. The kitchen is run by three brothers: Mido, Jean-Phi and Hando. The beauty of their artistry is arranged on the dish. It is hard to know what to order first.

I recommend starting with a Vietnamese salad, spring rolls or nems. Afterward, go for a Bun Bo Hue, Pho, or brochette de poulet. Whatever you decide, I counsel coming with friends so you can share in the plentitude. If you find it hard to choose, look at the dishes of your neighbors and point. We came with the RedHerring gang recently. My gosh, I thought I was at a fiesta. Chilled Sinhga beer was making the rounds. People laughed, slurped and crunched away.

One word of caution: the crowd is dense. So either come early or late. Opening times for lunch are noon. Cash only. Don’t expect the waitress to smile and say: “Hi, my name is Babette and I’ll be your waitress today”. However, the food is glorious and Paris Hanoi is worth the visit.

After your meal, you might be tempted to buy the restaurant’s cookbook, which was published last year by Marabout. The recipes are easy to make and the book is a delight to the senses.

Bon Appetit!


Paris Hanoi
47, rue de Charonne
75011 Paris

Article Title: All Aboard The Paris Hanoi Express
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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Dateline Florence: Because You’re Hell Bent On Leather

“For those lovely evenings…”

Hell bent on leather for a gentlemen is not a question of S&M. It means finding the right bag. Bridle leather is stiff, but Italian leather is sprezzy.

Enter Wanny Di Filippo, the founder of Il Bisonte. To meet with Wanny in the flesh is quite a treat. Now, if you have never heard of Il Bisonte, you are in for a surprise. If you are an old Bisonte aficionado than you will rediscover why you fell in love with this brand. This firm of artisans was always hell bent on leather.

Launched 40 years ago in tiny workshop-boutique in Florence, Il Bisonte embodies La Dolce Vita. Walk down any street in this town and you are overwhelmed with creativity and beauty. Every church is adorned with Renaissance masterpieces. Eat at a local trattoria such as Vini, and you will never go home. No wonder Florence has such a reputation for splendor and leather craftsmanship. The setting is so inviting that Gant Rugger made Florence their narrative for their Team Americano collection two seasons ago.

Before I get carried away, our story begins in 1970. It is here in the heart of town on the narrow via del Parione the whole show kicks off. Before you can say Michelangelo three times backwards, Wanny is making leather handbags, travel satchels, briefcases, leather wallets, belts and accessories.

For anyone with a leather fetish, your lust will definitely be satisfied here. The leather products stand as a testimony to Wanny’s good taste, craftsmanship, and understatement. The shop captures his DNA, which in essence incarnates his vision of beauty. What is it that gives Italians the innate quality to do such wonderful things with leather?

Many have tried to imitate Italian leather techniques. No one has ever succeeded. It seems genetic. Unique leather treatment techniques are coupled to unalloyed craft of the highest caliber. Just touch a pair of Wanny’s driving shoes. The skin is soft and the patina is magic. Last time I was in town, I succumbed to pair in cognac. Although there are a multitude of color choices, the natural shades age best. They quickly take on your personality . So what is it that makes this brand so special?

“When you are looking for something soft as butter…”

The secret lies in the use of natural vegetable-tanned cow-hide. The leather arrives at the store in the purest, palest tan. It darkens with time, sunlight and handling. Years ago, I asked Wanny why the bison logo. Here’s what he said:

“I’ve always been fascinated by the peace and strength bison convey. For centuries these animals were the very source of life for the people who roamed North America. Nowadays, it is a symbol that I proudly use to sign my product.”

These are the words of a true romantic. What I also admire about the man is his authenticity. The firm refuses to sell out in the old meaning of this term. Il Bisonte is infused with the idealism of the 1960s and 1970s. For lovers of all things preppy, you cannot go wrong here. There are no gaudy gold buckles or “in your face” logos on Il Bisonte products. Just outstanding quality and unique design.

Considering the times in which we live, the firm manages to perpetuate this legacy with sustainable growth. Although the articles are no longer made in their original workshop, they are still manufactured the old fashioned way in the Tuscan countryside.

The best term I can use to describe the house style is simplicity. The founder continues to work and takes real joy in shaping with his own hands the designs he conjures up each season. No wonder the store has such a cult following. Just ask one of the cognoscente to show you their bag or wallet.

Recently, I paid a visit to the store’s Paris branch, and I collared a catalog. You’ll never guess what? The catalog is in Japanese. It features the entire Bisonte range for both men and woman. The Japanese recognize great leather craft as easily as they can identify the freshest sashimi.

Since I am in the market for a briefcase, I found just what I was looking for and light as a feather. As the delightful sales woman and I spoke about the details, I could picture Wanny Di Filippo holding the bag himself sauntering around Florence. Perhaps this is also part of the brand’s allure. He is a complete original. This gentleman doesn’t just make leather goods. He is an artistic eccentric, who loves waistcoats, colorful scarves, and is not adverse to excellent cigars.

“Home on the range…”

I totally appreciate why Wanny lives and creates in Italy. Here living well still resonates with the fervor that continues to give meaning to La Dolce Vita.

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Article Title: Dateline Florence: Because You’re Hell Bent On Leather
Photographs: (1) curated by ES (2)(3) Alessandro Moggi

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane


Dateline Paris: In The Heart Of Papa Sapiens

“Where the roots of terroir run deep…”

Paris is home to some of the finest food stores in France. One gem I know you’ll want to discover is Papa Sapiens. This amazing boutique is located at 7, rue Bayern in the seventeenth. Let these French food specialists fill your larder with treasures.

The guys ‘n gals who run this place are fanatics of organic charcuterie, artisanal beer, wine that won’t give you a headache, chickens which glow, and even Breton biscuits from Belle L’Isle. Best to come with a donkey. This way you won’t have to struggle with the metro.

“Because you love to shop with your donkey…”

Let me just whet your whistle further. Bread fans will adore the sour dough rye that puts Poilâne to shame. Here you can nab candied tomatoes from Marc Peyrey, cornichons from the only French grower left in the country, jam made in copper vats, and this is just for starters.

The enterprising souls who launched this venture are Alexandra Lepage and Christophe Perruchas. They are hospitality incarnate and offer tastings on just about everything in the store. One particular weakness of mine is jabugo.

Do you know that eating this pork fat is actually good for you? I thought not. Not just any fat, mind you, but the fat from Patta Negra. This pig is semi-wild and cured in Spain. Its sole diet consists of acorns, herbs, and weeds. The taste of this meat will melt on your tongue. French doctors claim the fat has the same quality as pure virgin olive oil. Not bad, what? Papa Sapiens sells a wine from the Jura, which is the perfect accompaniment. Tastes a bit like sherry, but is more complex, and is in fact one of the greatest wines this country produces. So what’s happening?

“It’s time to take stock…”

France is in the midst of a food revolution and Papa Sapiens is just the tip of the iceberg. It is pure Paname and is being driven by intersecting factors. People no longer are content with industrial food, which lacks character and is insipid. They want the real deal. Parisians in particular are obsessed with terroir. Because of globalization, great products are harder to find. Supermarket chains are clearly the worst offenders with their relentless drive towards mediocrity.

Fortunately, organic products have gone mainstream. Thankfully, we have people like the folks at Papa Sapiens, and a new generation of entrepreneurs committed to excellence. New magazines such as 180C are acting as catalysts to a public ready to alter its eating and drinking patterns.

For French foodies, this is great news. Bon Appétit!

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Article Title: Dateline Paris: In The Heart Of Papa Sapiens
Photographs courtesy of papa sapiens

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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Visit RedHerring: Life In The Fast Lane



Where Nautical Meets Naughty

“When do you think the boat will be ready…”

Where nautical meets naughty? Well, I’ll tell you. It’s in the Haut Marais district of Paris. Sounds a bit like Rodgers & Hammerstein’s, South Pacific, don’t you think? Thank goodness for all things, Saint James. I’m waiting for the big kahuna, Mai Tai in hand. Makes me feel like if a catch a wave, I’ll be standing on top of the world.

Earlier this morning, I begin fishing around in my mahogany chest for that Saint James jumper. You know the one, which flaunts horizontal stripes. I am feeling rather naughty today. Here awaiting my inspection is my favorite navy with red horizontal stripes. It is just the ticket to brave nature and be nautical.

Now, were I Jean Paul Gaultier, I’d dispense with my nautical Saint James jumper and paint my chest. My son claims that I never really grew up. What he is really pointing out is my continual love affair with striped nautical jerseys and sailing shirts with three-quarter sleeves.

Originally made for the French Navy, the Saint James sweater and shirt have been immortalized by the likes of Coco Chanel not to mention a whole bag of other celebs. Just think, this nautical style was loved by Picasso and Brigitte Bardot. The Japanese buy them by the box load. Just last weekend, I saw a gaggle clean out the store in back of Place de la Madelaine.

“Because you love all that jazz…”

With the St Trop’ crowd, Saint James remains the nautical standard. Yes, I know there are others, but this one to quote Jeeves, “stands alone“. Speaking of Jeeves, I wonder what the blazes is keeping that man. I’ve been waiting for my tea for ten minutes now. Nothing rockets my engines better than a good morning cuppa.

If you are in France, be sure to put the factory where Saint James is still made on your must see list. The firm is located in Ducey. It’s the sort of place people dream of. What’s the term I’m looking for? Ah, yes. There it is: buccolic. It’s a fortified town of only 3,000 souls, and it straddles Lower Normandy from Brittany. It is a jewel of a region. It is also a hop, skip, and a jump from Mont Saint Michel.

Now, the Mont has always been part of the St. James logo. The coastal flats are still home to grazing flocks. Although the wool used no longer comes from here, they still manufacture in Normandy. When you visit, Yannick Duval, the company director will explain to you the fabulous evolution of Saint James, and how this region gave birth to a wealth of knitting expertise, which is still used. The people who work at Saint James are proud of their enterprise.

Did you know that 400 tonnes of wool are used per year?

I thought not. I am sure though that you do remember that it was Coco Chanel, who made the sea shirt into one of the hottest unisex styles of all times, when she first introduced them into her Deauville shop in 1917. The rest as they say in show business was history.

The French refer to this classic as the Mariniere. With years of experience under their belts, the company understands that both the wool and the cotton behave differently depending on the humidity in the air. Speaking of the wool, it is a natural fiber, which retains the original lanolin. It has a dry, some would say, rough feel to the touch. It is this sought after quality that makes the item indispensable to sailors and style mavens alike. Since workwear has been gathering more steam among the Fashionistas, it is no wonder that major designers such as Junya Watnabe and Jean-Paul G. continue to work with the firm.

“When you’re sailing to Tortuga…”

Recently, I treated myself to another Saint James jumper in ecru wool with the navy stripes. Well, considering the damp climate, it made sense. The dry wool which is perfected and unique to this part of the world is ideal for European climate.

Listen to this: Did you know that each stripe represents a victory of Napoleon over the English at sea? Interesting, what! Such trivia makes owning these jumpers such a pleasure.

Ah, there’s Jeeves now with my tea, not too hot, not too cold, and not a drop in the saucer.

Article Title: Where Nautical Meets Naughty
Photographs: (1)(2)curated by ES (3)Saint James

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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Dateline Greece: Why Homer Is Always Relevant

“Because you’re waiting for the water taxi…”

Sailing Greece, I discovered that reading Homer is always relevant. Shrouded in mystery, he is so contemporary. Imagine breaking crust with this gent. I found wine dark seas pursuing dolphins and the children of Odysseus such as the Colossus of Maroussi. George Seferis was heartbroken every time he thought about Hellas. Once the blinding blue is etched on your mind, you will too.

Sailing Greece is more to me than my love of boats. Perhaps, the Retsina went to my head more than 20 years ago. Playing backgammon and idle chatter with fishermen can do this to a chap. The people are charming and natural story tellers. I’d love to state that I met him in Piraeus. Perhaps we all have. From the first moment sailing Greece, I encountered a light that pierces the soul and gives birth to love.

“Look dolphins…”

As a creature of rational habits, Greece stimulates my blood. There is nothing to comprehend except the appreciation of bouzouki.

On my maiden journey, I was swept away with Syrtaki and Zebekkiko. I cavorted through the tavernas of Athens until I was shanghaied to the shores of Sifnos. There I encountered authenticity, worthy of verse. At first, I thought it was the heat and ouzo. The ancient rivers run deep. Circumstance brought them out. Before I knew it, I was off with Pan to God knows where. Clearly, sailing Greece is not for the foolhardy.

I am reminded of that haunting quotation in the Revelations of St. John The Divine (1.Rev 1.8):

“… I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

Saint John always did have a way with words. I’d like to think he was inspired by the pleasure of sharing a table with friends eating grilled octopus marinated in wild oregano.

Tavernas are a showcase for theatre. It’s the place your inner being demands to be refreshed. You see, sailing Greece is an odyssey to the core of your own being. It’s where the soul arouses the senses of charmed moments, laughter, and contemplation. Who knows, you might even learn to dance! Conversations are whispered and on other occasions animated. You’ll simply love tavernas for the camaraderie not to mention the food.

Sailing Greece, head for Crete and tales of the labyrinth. The freshness of the bread is perfect to rub olive oil or to nibble a crumbly piece of feta. Take port and rejoice. When it comes to the table, seasonality still carries weight. What could be better than a dozen mezes spread across a checkerboard cloth.

Take the two sisters who run the Dome Hotel in Chania. They make the most amazing rose petal jam you will ever taste. Eaten with Greek yogurt and you will start re-evaluating your career options. This is a good town to begin. When possible, leave your car and walk in the hills. Let the landscape act as your guide. Let your feet start you off on your first journey. Who knows Gnosis may not be far behind.

In the winter, stews hark back to antiquity. The meats, vegetables, and herbs simmer for hours giving slow food its original content. Stuffed peppers can be found in many cultures, but few are flavored with sultanas, nutmeg and mint.

“Because no man or woman is an island…”

Curiously, each dish has a story culled from someone’s grandmother. I love the fact that Greek cuisine is based on the humblest of ingredients such as chic peas, wild greens, garden vegetables, yogurt, and fish.

What I also find uncanny is that consumption is based on products sourced locally. Perhaps this is why dishes with similar descriptions are often quite different from one part of Greece to another. Take the spicy shrimp served on the island of Symi. The shrimps are tiny, briny, and laced with spices reminiscent of Asia.

Even the ubiquitous country salad, can vary tremendously. When it comes to Greek wines, imbibe. Most think of Retsina and turn up their noses. Although I love this simple country wine properly chilled on a hot summer’s day, the country produces some outstanding vintages grown across Macedonia and the Peloponnese. The Mecouri family do a red wine to die for. I once made a blind taste test with a close friend in the wine trade from Bordeaux. He was blown away when I told him the wine was Greek.

With thousands of islands to visit, you are spoiled for choice. Eschew the places mass tourism destroyed. The mysteries of Eleusis await anyone with an open heart. Mingle with the people and feel their pulse. And don’t forget to keep a copy of Fagel’s Homer in your pocket.

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Article Title: Dateline Greece: Why Homer Is Always Relevant
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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How To Identify The French Touch

“Some claim the French Touch is in the tap water…”

Fashionistas love the French Touch. Who doesn’t! Invited to a charming restaurant, I jumped at the chance to pin down the undefinable. We foregathered at a rather discrete gem at the far end of the rue Saint Honore. At the table were a distinguished cast of cognoscenti. With cocktails in hand, we set about our business.

Table talk centered on a host of topics. One pundit wondered whether you had to be born here to craft or brand the French Touch. Another stipulated that it was not an issue of ethnicity. She said, “It is a question of expressing a style vernacular suitable to our distinctive culture and heritage”.

A blue suited fellow exclaimed, “There’s more hear than meets the eye. Are we focusing on style or mere fashion?”

I could feel his lament for I knew how much he treasured French artisans and their distinctive sense of craftsmanship. His view was that craftsmanship has suffered in recent years. However, one great thing I have always loved about this country is its capability to renew its traditions. Style must be contemporary to be valid.

The hotter the debate got, the more I mused that we were arguing over terminology. I wondered what Molière, the French dramatist would have brought to this round table. Hey, Paris has a latin soul, but it was nothing several Mojitos couldn’t cure. As the starters arrived, the general consensus was that identifying the French Touch is similar to spotting a sea dragon riding the wind.

Our guests, I might add, were not hide bound bores. Quite the contrary. They relished innovative design, new players as well as more established houses. Off the record, one Lagerfeld disciple added: “Luxury brands like any other retailer deal in bottom lines. Fashion is a world driven by constant change. However, we must set the mood and the tone. Stagecraft fuels the imagination and gives special meaning to the fashion shows in Paris.”

It is true that Creatives directing major brands try to cajole and persuade an ever-fickle public. Magazines such as Vogue focus on shaping taste and generating desire. However, despite the glossies, predicting the next big thing is akin to watching the weather forecast.

Some of our set claimed that fashion is designed in a showroom. Others stipulated that it was branded in the street by savvy souls who know how to put it all together. In reality, the French Touch draws its inspiration from multiple sources. Where the concept of timelessness was once a by-word for quality, today French luxury is the effervescence of shooting stars. Take a journey over to Louis Vuitton on the Champs-Elysees showcase. Engage with the current zeitgeist.

“It’s hard to beat the French Touch when it comes to style…”

Real style is intangible and is intrinsic to a person’s persona. The concept of The French Touch is not any different. It is easy to identify, but quite difficult to replicate. It is as one lovely figure among us noted, “a state of mind”. The French actress, Marion Cotillard encapsulates the French Touch to perfection in Woody Allen’s film, “Midnight In Paris”.

Lea Seydoux is another beauty who radiates the French Touch.

Just imagine you are dining with her. She is sheepishly looking at you with those hypnotic eyes, and then says in that most Parisienne of voices: “Mon chou would you care to share a bottle of Foufoune. If this happens to you, you are done for. Cuite. Take it from me, you’ll fall in love and most likely live here for the rest of your life.

For those who aspire to capture this French look, study Audrey Hepburn for guidelines. Although she was not French, she was not born in the States either. There is something quite mystical about her persona. She captivates. In her film with Fred Astaire, she causally remarked, “I am not beautiful; I have a funny face.” Ever the gentleman, Fred Astaire responded, “What you call funny, I call interesting.”

Audrey knew she had allure. Her clothes personified her character not the other way around. She was an ambassador for Hubert de Givenchy, and wore his clothes with panache. However, because her beauty was so natural, she was just as much at home in a pair of jeans. This is not just style but real class.

Perhaps the best personification of the French Touch is Ines de la Fressange. Several years ago, she published La Parisienne, which was an international best seller. The book oozes with French style cues. Today, Ines is 50-something, and just as captivating as when she modeled for Chanel. She is living proof that the French Touch is not about age. It’s about being classy.

Visitors and designers alike claim that in this city men and women dress better. They certainly carry themselves differently. Body language also impacts on how someone can make clothes and accessories stand out. This is where that certain je ne sais quoi comes into play.

“Because you want a touch of class in Paris…”

That something special is well articulated in Ines book. It is also lovingly captured by fashion photographer, Scott Schuman. He has the uncanny knack of demonstrating how personal and organic the French Touch, really is. Anyone can look great; it is a question of attitude, not money. Visit his website, The Satorialist. There are reams of pictures taken in Paris, which encapsulate the French vibe.

I have another dear friend who claims that The French Touch is in the tap water. Drink the water at will he laughs and “voila”. Here, I am not so sure. The “Chateau Robinet 2015″ is barely drinkable. Perhaps, the water he was referring to, came from Reims in bottles, labelled, Bollinger. Baudelaire claimed that all French women had beautiful legs because they spent half their lives walking up and down countless flights of stairs.

Someone remarked to me just the other day that everyone should have an uncle called “Christian”. It is true that Dior had certainly added to the modern vocabulary of contemporary woman. His feel for shape and color were unique. He knew how to drape fabric across a woman’s body. His genius was to let a woman’s body speak with its own voice without calling attention to the clothes. Elegance is always a point of subtlety.

Away from the world of haut couture, Paris has a vibrant street style culture. It draws from native and foreign influences. Some of the current trends are drawn from workwear and vintage military apparel. For example, a trend gathering steam is the craze for French vintage military jackets. Those sailor shirts made popular by Coco Chanel are back big time. Times at Saint James couldn’t be better. Designers have been borrowing workwear concepts for ages. Jean-Paul Gautier is just one of the best.

Want to laugh?

One of our readers was asking what color do dapper French gents prefer for shirts. At first, I thought this was an existentialist question. I was about to consult my annotated copy of the Being & Nothingness by Jean-Paul Satre, and caught myself saying, “Wait a second. Color is personal”.

The French like the Italians are fond of blue and white stripes of assorted persuasions. This classic can be worn with or without a tie. Speaking of ties, the bow tie has made a smashing comeback. This would have pleased my father no end. I find that bow ties are not only great in summer, but pass muster all year round. In case you would like to start fostering a collection, why not head over to Charvet near Place Vendome. Talk about the French Touch!

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Article Title: How To Identify The French Touch
Photographs: curated by ES

About The Author
Andrew Scharf shares enchanting stuff on the topics of marketing, innovation, talent development, coaching, enchantment, and craftsmanship. He is also the head Koi at RedHerring, a digital communications agency under the WCW Group brand.

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