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Badass Guys: Mad Jack Churchill

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The mouthful of a name that Jack Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill carried with him was shortened by history to just “Mad Jack.” The main reason for the change is that he was a borderline psychotic crazy person who didn’t fear death the way most normal people should. Mad Jack spent his time after graduating military college riding his motorcycle around India and learning to play the bagpipes, pretty much because “fuck you” – that’s why.

Many war heroes are afforded mere moments of history’s spotlight. But, Mad Jack Churchill did an insane amount of badass stuff, that we at VK Nagrani are lucky enough to talk about all the cool shit he did over the course of World War II.

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1. Entering the War

After he got tired of all that nonsense, he joined up with the famous Manchester Regiment of the British Army so he could get in some quality Nazi killin’ time while the gettin’ was still good. When he got to France, the Blitzkrieg was effectively fucking all kinds of everything up, and the Brits were getting pushed with their backs toward the sea, doing what they could to slow the ever-advancing Kraut army.

Mad Jack had a few ideas up his finely pressed sleeves. He led some guerilla missions and small raids on German supply depots, leading the assault on his motorcycle and armed with only a BOW AND ARROW and his trusty Scottish broadsword, to presumably fuck their shit up Braveheart-style. When a fellow conscript asked him why he didn’t get with the times and put the broadsword away when he went to battle, Mad Jack replied:

In my opinion, sir, any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.

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'Mad Jack' Churchill with his War Bow; 6' tall, with an 80-lb pull. The only documented archer to inflict casualties in WW2. See SWNS story SWMADMAN; A dashing WW2 hero who captured 42 German troops armed only with his trusty Scottish sword has been ranked as one of the world's greatest adventurers. Lt Colonel John Malcolm 'Mad Jack' Churchill is featured in a new book compiled by the Norwegian Royal Explorers Club which honours the finest explorers and adventurers of all time. Churchill is known for his daring exploits, including making the last recorded bow and arrow kill in wartime, saving 500 people in Jerusalem from certain death and capturing German soldiers with the use of his Claybeg (corr) sword.

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2. War Hero

Word of Mad Jack’s raids spread throughout the ranks and morale was as at an all-time high. During one such raid, he was shot in the neck, but the Devil wouldn’t take someone so crazy so he sent him back to the only place he loved more than the battlefield – England. He was awarded the Military Cross for Bravery after rescuing a wounded British soldier from German ambush. There weren’t many Nazis around to kill back in civilian life, so Mad Jack got back into the war game again – this time joining an elite unit called the Commandos. He was reportedly unaware of what exactly a Commando was at first, but was all about it – probably because it sounded super intimidating, and that was totally his jam at the time.

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3. The Capture of Maaloy Island

Jack was the leader of Number 2 Commando, his own regiment inside the group, and was responsible for taking out artillery batteries on Maaloy Island. After landing an insane amphibious assault on their beaches, he did what most insane people would do, and busted out his bagpipes and played “The March of the Cameron Men,” to get his men all pumped on patriotism and bloodlust. As he neared the front of the line of war, he unslung his sword from its sheath, while wading in knee-deep water and began shouting at the top of his lungs:

 

COMMMANDOOOO!”

 

Two hours later the island was captured, and the folks back at British High Command received a telegram from the frontlines that read:

Maaloy battery and island captured.  Casualties slight.  Demolitions in progress.  Churchill.

That day he, and 50 of his Number 2 Commandos, took 136 prisoners and caused an unknown amount of casualties. But, knowing how badass this dude was, it was probably a lot.

Stay tuned to the VK Nagrani Blog for more of our Badass Guys Series!

 

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VKN Lessons In Style From: Jon Hamm

There are quite a number of similarities between Jon Hamm and his hard-working, hard-drinking Mad Men character, Don Draper (or Dick Whitman, if you’ve actually seen the show). While both men are effortlessly cool and ooze charm, Jon Hamm has mostly only borrowed Don’s well-tailored and classic style, not his habits of philandering and womanizing. Like his on-screen counterpart, Hamm is most comfortable in suits with neutral colors and traditional prints.

Hamm calls his style “aggressively casual”, an oddly appropriate term for someone who always seems so done up, yet is always so collected and cool. We here at VK Nagrani have learned a lot of Lessons in Style from Jon Hamm and we’re here to share them with you!

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1. Seasonal Suiting

Jon Hamm has a well-known penchant for suits and looking great in them. He knows how to cater his look to the weather. Year round, Hamm tends to his selection of earthen and neutral tones like a seasonal garden. In the summer months, he sports well-tailored fabrics in light and sandy colors like taupe, with a muted breeze colored dress shirt.

In the cooler days of the year, he opts for black-brown suits with thin pinstripes and patent leather shoes. Hamm will always go for the matching pocket square and tie, that is often in stark contrast with the colors of the suit, yet somehow still never break the office-ready ensemble.

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2. Black Ties Matter

If you can’t be Jon Hamm, maybe you should take a lesson from his style-book and step up your black tie look. He is the current reigning champion of the classic black tie look that hits all its marks – seen above in a silk lapel and white dinner jacket. When it comes to tuxes, Jon Hamm is very traditional in his approach. Why change what’s been working since the beginning of time?

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3. Accent with Accessories

Since he likes to dress in muted colors, accessories are his way to throw some flare into an outfit. He takes what is traditionally a very serious winter look – solid black pea coat, smoky gray pants and classic leather shoes – and hams it up Hamm style with vibrant blue patterned socks. The man takes a classic look and makes it absolutely his own.

Jon Hamm is a man’s man, and this is reflected in his outfits – he wears extremely well-fitted clothing that is held together with confidence. He uses color and pattern to great effect to blend in and accented accessories to stand out. There are many lessons to be learned from him, but rule number one is still always: don’t be unattractive.

Keep it bookmarked to the VK Nagrani Blog for more Lessons in Style from your favorite famous icons!

 

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The Oslo Jacket

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I love hoodies. I do not know exactly why, but perhaps because it was a staple during my youth and through college and reminds me of when life was so much easier.

As I grey, I needed to create a hoodie that was stylish and far more sophisticated than the local mall alternative.

For the gent who still remains young at heart but understands that a level of sophistication must be maintained.

Be young, be cool, but still elegant.

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The Details:

We combined baby Alpaca with Alcantara sleeves and created the most bad ass hoodie on the planet.

The interior is lined with “batskin” and the jacket has an open zip on the chest which allows you to reach into interior pockets without unzipping.

My favorite is the dual action front pockets.

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“Always Evolving.” – VK Nagrani

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This Men’s Wear Shop Is Not for Everyone

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Lounging on a cerulean leather chair at his store on the Lower East Side, a glass of Bunnahabhain 12-year-old Scotch in hand, Vivek Nagrani talked about the two types of men who frequent high-end clothing shops.

“There’s Banker A, who goes to Harvard, Goldman and buys a Lamborghini,” said Mr. Nagrani, 44.

That’s not his usual customer.

“Or there’s the guy who went to community college (his parents had no money),” he said, “but he loved finance and made his way to the top. Our client tends to be that guy. Top of the industry, but he had to earn it.”

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And that guy, Mr. Nagrani said, doesn’t like to go with the crowd, even when it comes to his clothes. That’s why, since starting his first full collection in 2013, Mr. Nagrani has offered limited editions, with each item numbered on an inside tag. The pieces are made in factories and workshops in Italy or Peru. Suits start at $1,800, and the shirts range from $350 to $695.

Mr. Nagrani entered the business in 1999, when he formed a partnership with a French factory in an attempt to make the ultimate men’s socks. His plan worked: Esquire declared his product “the best dress socks in the world,” and his clients include Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

Mr. Nagrani, born in Pune, India, and raised in Northern and Southern California, sold what he called “junk toys” before his foray into socks. He built the business from there.

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Lessons In Style From: Jude Law

One of England’s finest exports, Jude Law has brought his classically British gentleman look stateside. He’s played a variety of roles from Russian sniper to Dr. Watson – yet only a few of these characters have had any real impact on his personal style. He has a charming, yet approachable appeal to his clothes that is casual enough for any occasion.

Here’s what we here at VK Nagrani have been able to glean from Hollywood icon Jude Law:

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1. Blazer & Tee

Jude has a great eye for tees and blazers, as seen above. He approaches formalities with the idea that tailoring be sharp, comfortable and chic as hell. While he isn’t necessarily known for being an icon of fashion – he never looks bad. His outfits tend to consist of a quality cut jacket or luxury wool trousers.

The idea here is to maximize both look and comfort.

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2. Go Bald in Style

Losing your hair isn’t something you can control, but how you handle it is well within your grasp. Jude is handling it with style. He likes to cover up the hairline every once and a while, but for the most part embraces it. When he does decide to don a headdress, he usually goes for a black beanie that is very Brooklyn in personality.

The beanie is emblematic of his cool and casual persona when worn with a suit (a well-tailored suit, obviously), but he dons the beanie equally well wandering around the boroughs on an autumn day layered with a cashmere cardigan, cotton tee, and bundled scarf close to the chest.

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3. Leather Vintage

Like a young Marlon Brando or James Dean, Jude can take a simple look like the basic trouser/tee combination and make it sing. Heavy cotton or wool chinos add some heft to the ensemble and a tucked-in, muted gray V-neck complete the look.

But the real credit here goes to the leather jacket. Bomber style with ribbed hem and sleeves – modified to modernize and sharply bring the fit in. He looks ready to ride around like a rebel without a cause.

Jude Law’s appeal is that he is calm, cool and understated in fashion sense. Keep it bookmarked to the VK Nagrani Blog for more Lessons in Style editions.

 

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