Clark Gable and Jean Harlow in “China Seas,” (1935).
It’s often been said that every man wants to look like Cary Grant, while every man wants to be Clark Gable.
A few months ago Seraphic Secret was screening one of our favorite Gable-Harlow movies, China Seas, (1935) the story of a brassy dame, a gruff sea captain and piracy on the high seas.
For a good portion of the movie, Gable wears a distinctive jacket with roomy, gusseted pockets, bi-swing shoulders, and a half-belted back. During the 30′s this style of jacket was common. It has a wonderful chin-up military feel.
In vain, Seraphic Secret searched for such a jacket, but, alas, could not find one.
After a great deal of research we hired Enzo Caruso of Santa Monica, a talented, old-school tailor—Enzo doesn’t even use email—to make this jacket for yours truly.
Here’s my Gable inspired jacket, hand-tailored by the great Caruso.
The fabric is a four season wool-chashmere blend. The bi-swing shoulders allow for freedom of movement and the half-belt creates a trim silhouette. Enzo’s tailoring is impeccable.
Here’s another view of the back. I opted for a classic single vent. The fabric is a tiny blue-gray herringbone from Holland and Sherry, Savile Row-London. Unfortunately, my photos do not do justice to the rich but subdued color.
From the front the most noticeable feature are the gusseted pockets. Enzo and I decided to dispense with the pocket flaps which is on the original. The right pocket has an inner pocket in which I can place my iPhone. I like two button jackets. Unless a man is quite tall, three front buttons tend to bisect the figure reducing height.
The jacket has working buttons, originally called “surgeon’s sleeves.” It’s the kind of detail you never see on ready to wear. The buttons are genuine horn.
There was some left-over fabric and Enzo surprised me with a gift of this matching scarf. Whenever I wear the jacket at least one person asks if they can touch the fabric: “Oh, that’so soft!” they invariably exclaim. Okay, I’m no Clark Gable, but in my Gable Jacket I feel connected to a legend and to the movies I love.
Naturally, Gable and Harlow get all lovey-dovey. What’s the lesson we learn, kids? When you have the right wardrobe and a well-crafted screenplay you always get the girl.
The Ninth Annual Ariel Avrech Memorial Lecture featuring Joel B. Pollak, Editor-in-Chief of Breitbart.com, has just been posted. Just cruise on over to the sidebar on your right, navigate upwards a bit and you’ll find it either as a full video or audio-only download. I deliver introductory remarks.
Karen and I wish all our friends an inspirational and fashionable Shabbat.