Gabriel Cash: You don’t know anything about electricity, do you?
Ray Tango: No.
Gabriel Cash: As long as you’re only touching one wire and you’re not touching the ground, you don’t get electrocuted.[Thinks about it for a moment]
Gabriel Cash: Um, right?
Ray Tango: I don’t know.
Gabriel Cash: I don’t either.
Unless you’re zip sliding down the telephone wires whilst escaping the confounds of a federal penitentiary, how important can a belt be in your life? (See Tango and Cash). Belts yeah? Swack ’em on, keeps up the slacks, jobs a guddon’. I am of course paraphrasing my Dad who it’s safe to say, isn’t an avid reader of Drapers. (Neither am I for that matter but you get my point). But perhaps this glib remark he gave at my announcement of visiting a belt specialist, Elliot Rhodes, highlights the very problem the accessory industry has. How do we change peoples perception, their attitude to how a belt is not only an adornment to the wardrobe, but the fulcrum in which everything else rotates?
Like a best kept secret, I found the Elliot Rhodes store tucked away down a crevice off St Christopher’s Place. Elliot Rhodes has three London stores in Sloane Square, Covent Garden and Marylebone. Each offers on-site custom sizing and a personalised styling service to offer customers specialist assistance in finding the right belt for their requirements. The belts are designed in-house in the London headquarters but are manufactured by the finest craftsmen in Italy and Spain using locally-sourced raw materials.
The rich inimitable musk of leather announces itself perspicuously when you enter the store. The Marylebone store has an elongated space, running perpendicular to a latticed wooden-wicker counter, behind which hung two monumental cinematic 50’s posters, neither films I’ve seen. It’s walls caressed with floor-to-ceiling fireman poles and dense wire cables, ringleted by the shark-skin belts, Alligator hide, Ostrich and a plethora of other exotic leathers. All sourced legally and dillgently traced from farmed locations. For those conscious minded, there’s also the optionality of printed crocodile and various other lizard skins, including python.
I agonised over the colour and styling, periodically holding the leather to my nose like a delicious vial of aftershave. Choosing the strap was only half the battle won, next – The Buckle. It’s perhaps a hackneyed cliche to call these 1st world problems, but really, it’s a wonderful place to be in life, where ones preoccupation for a solid hour is whether the perforated brass buckle ties neatly with the lizard print mahogany-hued leather strap. As I was pre-warned, the in-house artisans can measure and tailor a belt within minutes. Designing the style is the real calorie burner. But a joyous and compelling one.
From gunmetal plates to ones that house real Magnum Shells, there is an absolute orgy of buckles to choose from. After a quick measurement from the affable artisan Carlos, he then tailors the belt to your exact requirements, allowing in inch here for ‘holiday weight’ an inch there for ‘fighting weight’ and somewhere in the middle will be your ‘walking around weight’. This takes a mere couple of minutes, amazingly, before it’s wrapped around a holding foam, slipped into a branded purple drawstring bag, before finally sealed in a tubular paper carry, also branded.
Articles related: Check out why the belt size matters.
Also available in store a selection of accessories including limited edition money clips, contrast wallets and occasional trays, passport holders to name a few.