Through the (Operation) Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There
Alice Walsh, of the wonderfully leftfield luxury men’s accessories brand Alice Made This, presents some highlights from her military-inspired new collection
Article by Nick Scott
The military has given a great deal to the canon of men’s style: not least Aviator glasses, the Gabardine trenchcoat and many of the underlying tenets of Savile Row tailoring. But for Alice Walsh – British designer and founder and director of men’s accessories brand Alice Made This, which mines the bountiful resource that is British industrial engineering, manufacturing and raw materials – growing up as part of a military family has been a huge contributory to her creative yen.
In her latest collection, Walsh introduces a collection of cufflinks and pins inspired by military symbols and produced using military accoutrement manufacturing techniques. Her partner in the venture is Firmin & Sons, a 350-year-old, Royal Warrant-holding company and the sole remaining comprehensive ceremonial design, manufacture and supply house in the UK. Firmin & Sons is the proud owner of the most impressive medal, badge and button dies collection in the world, one which includes the original dies cut for the buttons worn by Admiral Lord Nelson.
Walsh’s prime inspiration is the simple geometric icons which created a unique graphic language across the military from the end of the Napoleonic wars onwards. The result? “Clean, refined, utilitarian accessories with an air of military decadence,” as Walsh herself puts it.
Riddle got Walsh to pick out some highlights of a collection which – like all of Alice Made This products – offers customers accessories with a million stories attached to them.
“A lapel pin using the company’s military tailoring process, this piece can be worn with a tailored jacket, knitwear or outerwear,” explains Walsh. “It uses a technique known as Goldwork using silver wire and is made by the London Atelier, Hand and Lock.” RRP £220.00
Orde Gold Cufflinks
“Made using our Military Hardware process, these cufflinks are produced by a British military accoutrement making factory that has been honing its craft for over three centuries. Beautifully classic the pieces are inspired by military operational symbols. Made from solid gold they are refined chic at its most utilitarian. RRP £2100.00
Orde Gold Lapel Pin
Lapel decorations are an underused accessory in modern menswear in an age where the magnificent boutonnière is considered strictly wedding regalia. “This solid gold pin decorates your lapel neatly and graphically”, says Walsh. RRP £560.00
Benedict & Orde Cufflinks
“These solid silver links are made in the same way as the Orde”, she says. “They’re our first reversible cufflink, and allow you to get two pairs out of one”. RRP gold-plated £125, or silver £300.00
Benedict & Arnold Cufflinks
Gold plated brass with low baked enamel detail. These are a more accessible price point. Also reversible and use a low baked enamel colour detail (white) as a graphic mark on the surface of each piece. RRP gold-plated £125, silver £300.00
Enquiries: www.alicemadethis.com. Products available from Mr Porter