Tally-ho, chaps! While the phrase ‘Eastwood sheepskin’ may prompt readers to envisage the tattered waistcoat worn sub-poncho by the Man With No Name in Sergio Leone’s spaghetti westerns, this garment — infinitely cooler, improbably enough — is better suited to the mess tent than the sun-parched plains of Civil War New Mexico. It’s also very much in situ in the modern environs populated by contemporary, debonair men who, when the mercury flees south, want to combat the chill in style.
Made from stone-coloured sheepskin with ecru wool, the coat boasts an imperious collar with a fastening leather strap — winter, in one of these, is just something that happens to other people — while the made-for-combat credentials inherent in the cut are complemented by antique brass buckles, military buttons, epaulettes and a half belt on the back.
Leather, suede and shearling specialists Cromford Leather Company was founded as The General Leather Company in 1971 by Savile Row-trained Alan Sprooles and Peter Goodall. Having accumulated a portfolio of clients including Margaret Howell, Mulberry, Daks and Holland & Holland — not to mention Paul Weller, the Queen and numerous T.V. and film production crews — the brand was renamed in homage to the Industrial Revolution’s birthplace in Derbyshire (with its impressive apprentice programme, Cromford Leather Company has always been a big champion of domestic manufacturing and commerce: at the start of the enterprise, Sprooles and Goodall would explore London’s Leather Lane in pursuit of the best possible quality skins).
Their small team of artisanal men and women scrutinise every skin with fastidious zeal before selecting them, while every garment is handmade in London. Their range of bomber, flight and other hide-based apparel (there are also leather and suede versions of the Eastwood) is huge, eclectic, and takes the phrase “spoilt for choice” to delicious new heights when one visits their store at 56 Chiltern Street, Marylebone (where they also do made-to-measure and a bespoke service).
We all have garments we expect to own for life — especially those that improve over the decades — but some are forgotten about for long periods. This piece is an investment that will always be returned to the focal point of your wardrobe now that the nights have drawn in — even if world war II airman fantasies have never even crossed your mind.