“Submerged in water

The peaceful sound of my breath

I am transported”

Haiku –

To my horror, the day is almost already coming to a close and what with the humid climate at the moment in London,  A-Gent of Style has had pools on his mind all day.

I thought I would therefore share with you some of the outdoors pools that have recently grabbed my attention.

Some are elegant and serene, others are stylised or just natural, some are unusual, quirky even arresting, and others have the WOW factor.

Whatever their style is and whether you prefer natural, salty, choppy waters or the calm and soft ones, whether you are stuck on a train or behind your desk, these pools should have the power to bring you the escapism they symbolise and that you deserve.

So come and dive in:



The name of René Gruau has been synonymous with fashion, beauty and advertisements since the 1940s and beyond, and its recipient famous for some of the most iconic and enduring illustrations of the 20th C.

A-Gent of Style was in France last week and was flicking through old fashion magazines until he came across an advert for Guerlain’s Eau Sauvage by Gruau and was amused by its, ahem, cheekiness (you’ll immediately see what I mean when you scroll down the retrospective later on). This prompted A-Gent to look further into the world of the illustrious illustrator.

The famed artist, born in Italy but raised in France, is particularly associated with the house of Dior and its 1950’s ‘New Look’ and probably most remembered for his sublime depictions of fashions from the ‘Golden Age’ of haute couture through his collaborations with Dior and other fashion houses like Schiaparelli, Fath, Balenciaga, Chanel, Balmain and Givenchy, music-halls such as Le Moulin Rouge and Le Lido ( Gruau was influenced by Belle Époque artist Toulouse-Lautrec) and his colorful and vivacious portrayals of women in fashion magazines like Elle, Marie-Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Flair.

But Gruau also revolutionized the concept of masculinity and the imagery of the modern man and this is what A-Gent of Style would like to focus on today.

His advertising campaigns either captured elegant, debonair gentlemen for magazines like Club and Sir: Men’s International Fashion Journal or the carefree everyday through a bold color palette (he very often used the sacrosanct trilogy of black, white and red or orange), relaxed lines, slim silhouettes and a touch of humour depicting the modern casual, confident man with humour and sex appeal . Some of his images of partial male nudity were considered shocking even revolutionary at the time, like for instance the 1966 adverts for Guerlain’s Eau Sauvage after-shave featuring a man in various states of undress. Oh la la.

René Gruau is now the subject of a beautiful book Gruau: Portraits of Men that was published last year by Assouline, renowned for its luxury lifestyle titles, which regroups the artist’s oeuvre and previously unpublished work from Gruau’s personal sketchbooks.


If you want to treat yourself twofold, why not go and pick up your copy at Assouline‘s newly opened, first London boutique at the opulent Art-Deco Claridge’s. And once you are there, why not undulge in an Afternoon Tea in the Foyer or a cocktail at Le Fumoir (A-Gent of Style’s favourite London bar) whilst feasting on your new glossy hardback! That’s A-Gent of Style’s plan for this Saturday afternoon.

Decadence at its best.





 “Travelling from the capital of cool to the capital of fashion, we think the Eurostar needs an urgent make-over.” – Christopher Jenner, globe-trotting designer.

A-Gent of Style
has been a regular voyageur on Eurostar since its launch in 1994 and his student days in France; as I was boarding this most cherished train on my way back to London last night after a wonderful long weekend in France, I couldn’t help but daydream about the fanciful, conceptual project South-African, UK-based designer Christopher Jenner envisaged for the Eurostar.


Emotively layered with various references, Jenner’s splendid hybrid version takes cue from the luxury means of transport of the golden age from the turn of the past century and also from futuristic visions: I couldn’t help but pick up visual associations with the Orient-Express, First Class seats on aeroplanes, David Collins’ Bob Bob Ricard and Japan’s ‘Bullet Train‘.

In essence, Jenner’s visionary Eurostar would be brighter, more spacious and isolated and ultimately glamourous.

There would be individual cantilevered, high-backed wing chairs-cum-booths providing privacy, noise reduction and a cozy place to relax and enjoy the panoramic views. A tribute would be paid to the original colour palette but this time the cocooning seats would be made of white material with a ‘gaufraged’ pattern and the inner upholstery would have a vibrant lemon fabric ornamented with deep-tufts.

These modern-day ‘porter chairs’ would provide ultimate luxury: reclinable armrest providing services for air, power and connection, retractable footrests, adjustable headrests and high-tech screens behind each seat.

The carriages would be finished in carbon fiber, have polished brass detailing on the seats and all the way up to the olde worlde luggage racks (one of my favourite specifications here) and the floor would be covered in rubber wood, have no harsh corners and will curve seamlessly up to dado  window level.

What A-Gent of Style would like to see (or even work on!) is the staff sporting bespoke uniforms and branding that would match the aesthetics of the train. Imagine boarding the Eurostar and being greeted and served by ushers and usherettes dressed like Virgin Atlantic cabin crew in their newly designed Vivienne Westwood uniforms or any outfits designed by the fantastic No Uniform, the award-winning uniform design company which is responsible for some of the most striking outfits in the hospitality, corporate and retail worlds – think Bob Bob Ricard, Skylon, Gaucho Grill, Crème de la Mer, The Goring and many other established brands. Now that would be glamourous!

Let’s hope this divine conceptualisation materialise one day.

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