Photography by Giovanna Castiglione.
GREEN SHAG (670 Queen St. W., 416-360-7424, greenshag.com)
You know those ads for Dos Equis beer? “The Most Interesting Man in the World”— the one who is sky-diving in the morning before performing neural surgery, then hosting a lunch/lecture in Paris at the Pompidou Centre, followed by attending the ballet in New York and rounding off the day jamming at CBGBs? Yeah, that man. Now imagine him as Pierre Berton.
You’ve walked into Green Shag.
The Queen Street store’s motto is: “Think Evel Knievel meets Cary Grant.” They dress men on Bay Street and those who like to experiment. They offer custom apparel from head-to-toe: bespoke suits, shirts, pants, ties, cufflinks, socks and boxers.
Victoria McPhedran, the creative director, and I sat down to discuss a little bit of everything last week. First, the suit.
“I see a return to the late ’60s, early ’70s. A little bit of Mad Men, still very fitted in the jacket, with more of a peak to the lapel and a longer line.” Think Pacino in Serpico. “The shirt itself will also remain sleek and fitted but the collar will be longer.”
What of the pant? “I see a wider leg, a higher waist and a return to the single pleat.” That sounds like Valentino, or my personal hero, Fred Astaire. (Gentlemen, trust me on this, the person that you care for wants to be taken in your arms and waltzed the night away. Pick up the phone, set the date, wear a jacket and tie, bring an iPod to share. Hold that person close to you; tell them how you feel without a word.)
What caught my eye looking at a jacket on a judy was the possibility for detail. “I think the pocket square will be a big element of the overall look this season and next,” Victoria says, “so I’m thinking of lining the breast pocket with a pocket square that can be pulled out on a whim.” That could be heart attack material for Ben Mulroney. And it’s way more interesting than the usual bright coloured lining or a double vent. Ooh, double venting.
At this point, my BFF arrived. He’s getting married next month and he’s having a few shirts custom-made for the occasion. Victoria was in her element. Out came the swatches of fabric to match his existing suit and then more swatches for the shirt colour and trimmings. There are a dozen or so collars and cuffs to choose from (mostly French, to our pleasure).
Oh, the intricate folds for the cuffs, masculine origami for the wrist. I, to be honest, had never really thought much about buttons or the five or six different types of possible stitches—inside, outside, upside down. My friend went with antique bone, its mother-of-pearl quality reflecting the pale blue dapple of the shirt.
Inside the collar and the fold of the cuff, there was a Victorian geometric print in bone and grey. “May 2010″ will be embroidered inside the neck to commemorate the event. Every measurement taken, every option discussed, then discussed again, we left Shagged, and a pleasure it was.