For some unknown reason, moments after I land at London Heathrow I begin saying "pop," as in "Let's pop in for some coffee." It is hardly the most attractive turn of phrase and strikes me as totally affected but I do not seem able to control myself. So it should come as no surprise that I popped into Drakes on Clifford Street the other day, where Michael Hill was kind enough to show me around.
The Clifford Street store adds odd jackets, rainwear, made to measure shirts and a few other categories of clothing to the neckties, scarves and pocket squares that are Drakes core products. And, despite the presence of the other lines, it comes as no surprise that neckties represent half of the store's business. They include the usual wovens of course, but this season the lead is played by wool challis, complemented by wool and silk pochettes in the same seasonal patterns. Throw in a madder silk scarf or six and you have the quintessential fall product display in the photo.
Madder and challis of course are the best possible complements to the season's jackets. A challis tie looks great next to a madder square, while a madder scarf or necktie is a very nice foil to a wool and silk blend in a tweedy breast pocket. And there are choices aplenty this year.
Sadly, upon leaving Drakes I popped into Starbucks for a coffee. There is one every couple of doors along Picadilly these days and it was not until I was seated that it dawned on me that this space had for many years been occupied by one of my favorite book sellers. Just what the world needed: one less book store and one more Starbucks.