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The Huntsman

Read all about how our Chairman, Pierre Lagrange, kitted out his Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake with our latest AW16 Machir Tweed.

I suppose it all began with the Airstreams. I have long had a hankering for the timeless American trailers. I was facinated by their design. So after purchasing historic Savile row tailor, Huntsman, I was quick find the perfect excuse to combine Huntsman’s bespoke tweeds with the silver-aluminum caravans.

Having experienced their amazing comfort while camping in Yosemite, Napa and Big Sur on one of my American road trips, it was a quick and easy decision for me to restore two vintage 1960s land yachts. My Hampshire house is small and cannot be extended – I would not get planning permission, as it’s in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – but I wanted to create two extra bedroom suites so that all guest could stay with us during shooting parties. The airstreams were perfect.

For one model, I chose a purple check, reminiscent of flowering heather and briars on the Scottish moors; while the other trailer got kitted out with the checks the colours of local ploughed fields. For each, the craftsmen produced a mood board to complement the tweeds. The end result involved covering the walls with wood panelling, adding polished antler handles, soft lighting and other details to make the two bedrooms suits a pair of cosy cocoons. We chose to keep part of the aluminium exposed inside, though: a bright, curved ceiling that reflects the light and makes it dance and play as if on water.

The first guests raved about the womb-like sleeping experience. Before we knew it, as soon as they received their shooting invitations, guests were clamouring to sleep in the Airstreams.

Fresh from that success, the idea came to me to treat my 1966 Aston Martin DB5 Shooting Brake to a bespoke tweed interior. Indeed, while most of the other examples (David Brown only made 12 of them) are now museum pieces, I actually try to take mine to shoots all around the country and have driven it many times to Drynachan in Inverness-shire, the Moors in Yorkshire and the valleys of Exmoor. While the car was originally made for shooting trips, with the hatchback for loading dogs and guns, I felt it appropriate to have some protection in the interior in order to respect the car’s age, and the idea of using one of our bespoke tweeds came up.

With the silver-birch interior, our recent grey checks were a natural fit for seat covers and as a quilted blanket for the back, in which the dogs could rest after all their hard work. As all wearers of tweed know, it is the perfect material and fears neither mud nor water. Now, just looking at the photos, you could be fooled into thinking the car had been fitted with those covers originally – such are the standards of our craftsmen who worked on those patterns. Maybe that’s an idea for the next models – reviving Aston Martin interiors from the 1920s?

Last but not least, drives back from faraway shoots can be long, and those old leather interiors are not always made for such journeys. Tweed seats have substantially improved comfort – something of which we are told the Queen is well aware, having cloth-covered seats in some of the royal cars And if it’s good enough for Her Majesty….

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