A friend who works for an auction house attended Sotheby's Duke and Duchess of Windsor Sale. His three volume set of catalogs are noted with his impressions of lots - - mostly silver and clocks -- and on the last page of the catalog he scrawled, "...it would appear all these two people ever did was play cards and eat."
As much as I would like to have made off with his catalog set...it's far too large to stuff down one's trousers (Perhaps if my trousers were pleated and made by H Harris I'd a gotten away with it), I finally secured my own set of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor sale sans any thievery on my part. Should you be inclined to do the same ... a word of warning. If, like me, you find yourself in a tony upper east side book shop and see this volume for sale...fend off any impulse to purchase it for $250. Rather, go on line to Alibris or Abe and secure a copy for $30. Which is probably what the owner of that book shop did.
If you, like me, enjoy peeking into other people's medicine cabinets and poking around in their sock drawers looking for methods of birth control - - You're gonna love this catalog. I can pretty much guess which readers of The Trad already have this catalog. But I would offer it up to anyone, with sartorial interests or not, as one of the most perplexing, interesting and beautiful books I have ever owned. Not bad for thirty clams.
This week I'll post photos of the Duke's closet. After the winter of 1936, the Duke had a lot of spare time on his hands. And he threw that spare time at his closet. Sotheby's reports in 1960 he had, " ...fifteen evening suits, fifty five lounge suits and three formal suits." There's no mention of Odd Jackets, Smoking Jackets or Blazers. One can only guess.
I own two Smoking Jackets and I'm not sure why. One reason may be cost. I didn't pay full freight for either one. The second reason may have to do with my natural inclination towards being an asshole. One Christmas I wore a Smoking Jacket at a home dinner party with the Golf Foxtrot's family. Black Watch tartan trousers, monogrammed black velvet slippers, double cuff shirt with enameled fox head links, a Black Watch ascot and a black velvet Smoking Jacket trimmed in quilted green silk and tied with a tassel belt. What a hit I made.
Lesson 57. Just because the Duke of Windsor wore it doesn't mean you can.