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Stylepedia

Mr Porter's Glossary of Men's Style

Valentino

Since Mr Valentino Garavani retired from his namesake fashion house in 2008, the design responsibility has laid in the nimble hands of Ms Maria Chiuri and Mr Pier Piccioli, former assistants to the master. The menswear has gone from strength to strength in recent seasons, with the collections a luxurious and snappy take on modern tailoring and evening wear.

Valextra

Founded in Milan in 1937, Valextra produces leather goods that define elegance and luxury, shunning logos and letting excellent craftsmanship speak for itself. Valextra bags and wallets, distinguished by their clean lines and superior quality, are manufactured in Italy using fine leathers; apprentices shadow the master craftsmen so the requisite skills are passed down through the generations.

The trademarked name - which has since become the generic term - for the hook-and-loop fabric fastening invented by French engineer Mr George de Mestral in the mid-20th century, which is today widely used as a fastening on shoes and clothing. A Velcro fastening consists of two strips - usually made of a synthetic fibre such as polyester - one side of which has hooks and the other loops. When the two sides are pressed together, the hooks embed into the loops creating a strong bond. Indeed, two square inches of Velcro can apparently support a weight of 175lb.

Velvet

A woven fabric, usually of silk or cotton, with a distinctively lustrous finish and a napped, short-pile surface. Velvet was very expensive to produce before advances in weaving technology, so it was traditionally associated with nobility. In 1399, King Richard II decreed that his body should be swathed in velvet when he died. Read more about velvet jackets

Vilebrequin

In 1971 in Saint Tropez, the same year the Jaggers married in the exclusive Côte d'Azur resort and Mr Slim Aarons photographed the louche, jet-set crowd in vibrant technicolour, a young sports journalist named Mr Fred Prysquel developed the first pair of Vilebrequin shorts. Seated on the terrace of the famous Café Sénéquier overlooking the port, Mr Prysquel pulled off the chequered tablecloth and cut out the pattern for a pair of swimming shorts, quite unlike the figure-hugging styles which were popular at the time. Once Mr Prysquel alighted upon the perfect material (a durable and fast-drying spinnaker canvas, inspired in part by the sailing culture of Saint Tropez), the Vilebrequin range was born, and the shorts soon became renowned for their stylish design, and superior comfort and practicality.

Named after the French word for "crankshaft", partly because the founder was a motoring enthusiast, and partly because he liked the odd-sounding word, Vilebrequin has always retained a fun side, with its matching father-and-son shorts and jaunty prints. That is not, however, to discount the serious style and quality of Vilebrequin shorts, which are made in Europe, with 32 different manufacturing phases required for each pair. Read more about Vilebrequin