HTSI editor’s letter: Sir Jackie Stewart’s fridge and other treats
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Few things have delighted me in recent months so much as the contents of Sir Jackie Stewart’s fridge. The legendary racing driver is our Aesthete this week and, as is standard in our interrogation, we like to poke around. We have become accustomed to the carefully arranged bottles of rare condiments, homemade fermentation projects and champagne that seem the standard answer as to what people keep in their refrigerators – although Terry de Gunzburg’s fruit platters excited a flurry of reader comments when we published hers last week.
Hurray for Stewart, then, whose vegetable drawers reveal not courgettes and green stuff but a buffet of classic chocolates – dozens and dozens of miniature Mars bars, Twixes and Milky Ways. How he manages not to gorge on them all immediately (as would unquestionably be the case in our house) offers a clue to the discipline required to win three World Drivers’ Championships. Or maybe it’s just the inevitable hangover from growing up when sugar was still strictly rationed. I find Stewart’s stash especially charming, one of the odd revelations one always finds in The Aesthete. The column peeks into the corners of a personality that other interviews can’t get close to, which is why, some 14 years after its introduction, it remains my favourite item in the magazine.
More food and charm in our Cult Shop, which this week visits Paul Rothe & Son in Marylebone, a delicatessen that has been serving freshly made sandwiches and a bewildering array of mustards for more than 120 years. I have often passed the tiny premises near Wigmore Hall in London and marvelled at its Formica interiors and immaculately stocked windows. Such institutions are increasingly rare in city centres as local residents move out towards the suburbs and landlords drive up rents. Paul Rothe & Son represents a wonderfully simple luxury: it is unique, consistent, immensely popular with everyone (from local labourers to opera singers and film stars) and has only become more valuable with time.
On the subject of which… this week’s cover story takes us inside the French horology academy Lycée Edgar Faure, which has produced a clutch of fascinating young independent watchmakers. While artisans with any talent in this elite field have typically followed a fairly standard career path, these graduates are challenging the orthodoxy that to make it as a watchmaker you have to train with or work at a big Swiss house. Brian Ng meets the next generation of apprentices as they learn the codes of complications and casings (OK, so you can probably tell I’m no expert), while Beat Schweizer photographs the class of 2023. It’s reassuring to see young people learning crafts one might otherwise assume are the preserve of their elders. It’s highly likely these young students will one day be horology’s next stars.
From the rarefied to the far more quotidian: this week’s fashion shoot by Antoine Harinthe and Benjamin Canares focuses on that wardrobe hero, denim, highlighting the humble work material reinterpreted in designer hands. Putting on a denim shirt always makes me think that summer has really started, and these images put new twists on clothes that improve with every wear.
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