Buying Zorro’s Pea Coat
This is Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., the first Zorro and one of the original well-dressed gentlemen of Old Hollywood.
He was also the owner of a pretty spectacular wardrobe, including 34 shoehorns, five ascots and three matching velvet tuxedos in ruby, sapphire and chocolate colors.
And now, it’s all going up for auction…
If you wear a 40 regular jacket or a size 12 shoe (and you can get around the potential ick factor of estate shopping from the star of Gunga Din) there’s some pretty awesome stuff to be had.
The good stuff starts around here, with that ruby tuxedo and those shoehorns very much in evidence. Like most 30s movie stars, he was a stauch devotee of British tailoring; most of the jackets are from Stovel & Mason in Westminster, including an unexpectedly on-trend navy DB. He also had quite a shoe collection and an extremely handsome pea coat. And while auction estimates are certainly no guarantee, most lots are going for just a few hundred dollars, when it’s easily worth five times that.
The auction itself doesn’t start until September 13, but that’ll give you time to arrange a flight to New York for the appointed date. Even if you aren’t buying, it’s great to see what a well-built wardrobe looked like in those days. Almost all of it is custom made in one way or another, and the off-the-rack stuff is usually something genuinely bizarre like this Chinese pongee lounge shirt.
He was never one to turn back in the face of danger.
- — Russell Brandom