Being an English gentleman, or at least, being like an English gentleman is considered to be an art that takes talent to master. In many ways, this is the British version of what the French call art de vivre or what the Italians refer to as la dolce vita. A British gentleman is known for his impeccable manners, wit, sense of dignity and passion for the finer things in life. Most importantly, the British gentleman is known for his natty style. After all, he does come from the land that gave us the Savile Row bespoke tailors! Here, we aren’t talking about a casual, let-loose kind of style where anything goes. The Englishman takes his style very seriously – his formalwear even more so – and believes that an ensemble is incomplete without a full complement of accessories. To name a few – tie, pocket square, tie bar, collar bar, cufflinks, hat, umbrella, pocket watch, wrist watch, lapel flower, lapel pin… and the list goes on. It is safe to say that there is a strong focus on accessories that add to one’s aura and enhance one’s quality of life.
While on the subject of English gentlemen and their accessories, I recently chanced upon Lapis Bard, an English luxury accessories brand. Its interesting name piqued my interest instantly. Turns out, Lapis Bard is named after the blue semi-precious stone, Lapis Lazuli, and a bard, who is a poet of sorts, someone who composes epics. I was later invited to check out the English brand’s luxurious collections and I have to say that I was very impressed.
The collection, which is oh-so-English, is largely comprised of writing instruments, along with cufflinks, belts, valises and leather wallets. The brand is young but still appears pretty assertive in terms of its identity – it represents the quintessential English gentleman, and his string of accessories.
The collection is largely divided into three lines – the Classic series, under which there are the Twill and Oxford series, the Contemporary series, with a more modern offering, as you would expect, and finally, the Avant Garde not just Indigo series.
The collection of pens is really quite amazing – all the pens have a sturdy resin body, which render them extremely light. As for the pen clips and metal trimmings, you can choose from the silver rhodium plating or the gold plated option.
I heaved a sigh of relief to see a host of ink pens staring back at me from the display case. Thankfully, Lapis Bard remains insistent on producing an iconic product, which seems to be dying a slow death. In fact, the fountain pen has become somewhat of a luxury item these days. These fountain pens, each have 14 carat solid gold nibs and you have the option of getting a fountain pen with a changeable cartridge or one in which you can physically fill ink. (Word of advice to the travellers out there – to protect any accidental spillage due to pressure changes in the aircraft, the changeable cartridge is your safest bet).
In addition to the fountain pens, there are roller balls and ballpoints, in the same designs. In terms of design, the Oxford series of pens caught my eyes with their Oxford motifs, appearing as a texture on the body of the pen.
Finally, the cufflinks, which are unbelievably simple and elegant. You have the option of black onyx and rhodium plating or lapis lazuli and rhodium plating.
So here’s my verdict: the brand comes across as quintessentially English. All the series have names like Oxford and Twill, which are key words in the English fashion vocabulary, while other series bear names of trendy London areas like Belgravia and Mayfair. And I find that really charming!
For me, what stands out most strongly is the understated elegance of the collection. I always say that men’s accessories should stand out by quality and detail, and must be as understated as ever. Lapis Bard seems to have captured that essence so perfectly.
Always remember, being a gentleman is an art…
Photography – Vishal Jolapara