A man’s choice of barber is as personal as his choice of priest, finds Nick Foulkes after a trip to Geo F. Trumper
Illustrated by Christian David Moore
The past may be a different country, but it’s not always a distant one. In an age of online instantaneousness, it’s refreshing and, oxymoronic as it may sound, rather novel-yes, novel-to be vouchsafed a glimpse of our retail past. I don’t mean the forensically re-created stage- set sort of past, but a shop that has decided not to engage with all aspects of the 21st century.
Geo F. Trumper is one such place. It’s a slice of gentleman-liness that appears to have felt an heroic indifference to the past six or seven decades. Of course, there have been concessions to modern times-there is, naturally, a website, just as there is a telephone and electric light, but rather than gorge on the technical banquet of 21st-century retail, Trumper’s has treated modern times like a menu from which what is left out is as important as what is selected.
Instead of a ‘designed’ interior, what the Curzon Street branch (the original or, in modern parlance, flagship store) resembles is the trichological equivalent of the celebrated Jermyn Street fish restaurant Wilton’s, right down to the wooden booths into which one disappears to have a trim.
In this, Trumper’s evokes the mystical link between barber and barbee, confirming the confidential nature of the bond of understanding that exists between a gentleman and his hairdresser, creating an environment not dissimilar to the one enjoyed with one’s cutter in a tailor’s shop or, if one is of that persuasion, a priest in the confessional.
There is an agreeable authenticity about it, the Edwardian glass-fronted cabinets displaying all manner of gentlemanly knick-knacks, gew-gaws and gimcracks glint invitingly and, above them, pictures of various members of our Royal Family hang with a cheerful unevenness.
To my mind, the frosted-glass flasks of Trumper’s lotions, extracts, eau de colognes and aftershaves, with the little gilt metal screw top in the shape of a coronet, are unimprovable as far as packaging for dressing-table unguents is concerned. As well as being filled with one of my favourite fragrances-the famously brisk and invigorating Extract of Limes-they impart an air of elegant manliness to even the most effete and dandified of dressing tables-and I speak from experience.
From left to right
Nephrite jade disc mounted cufflinks in 18ct white gold, £1,730, Longmire (020-7930 8720; www.longmire.co.uk); Superocean heritage chronograph 44 watch, £5,670, Breitling (020-7636 5200; www.breitling.com); Peridot cabochon oval cufflinks in 18ct rose gold, £6,700, Longmire (as above); Egyptian cotton white facecloth, £4, The White Company (0844 736 4222; www.thewhitecompany.com); Star Classique watch, £6,500, Mont Blanc (0845 504 0111; www.montblanc.com); De Ville Prestige power reserve watch, £8,350, Omega (0845 272 3100; www.omegawatches.com); Button cufflinks in 18ct yellow gold with mother-of-pearl insert, £3,290, Longmire (as above); Vintage regulator white-gold dial watch, £8,500, Asprey (020-7493 6767; www.asprey.com); Terre d’Hermès limited-edition eau de toilette, 100ml, £72, Hermès (0845 602 1073; www.houseoffraser.co.uk); All grooming products, including safety razor, £54, Geo F. Trumper (020-7272 1765; www.trumpers.com); Sink, soap dish and shelf, all Catchpole and Rye (01233 840840; www.catchpoleandrye.com).
Photographed by John Laurence Jones, styled by Hetty Chidwick
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