“La TONKINOISE”, Double Indigo Twill. FW2019 mfsc “Surplus” catalog. Made in Japan.
“La TONKINOISE” is the latest spin on the original MF® design introduced during our days “in-country” sometime around 2015, as we drew inspiration from the controversial and troubled times of the Indochina and Vietnam conflicts for the “Saigon Cowboy” mfsc capsule collection.
The historical settings and Tonkinoise’s story were extensively discussed and illustrated at the time. The shirt was released in two distinct fabrics, “snow” denim and Buzz Rickson’s USN blue chambray.
If the Tonkinoise is loaded with a plethora of details borrowed from several vintage shirts revisited á la MF®, a stand-out feature is the unusual collar pattern. This was adapted from the wind-protectant high neck flippable collar of an obscure vintage US military wool shirt from our archives, sporting a “REYEM, Meyer’s Military Shops, Washington, D.C.” woven label. According to 1917-1918 advertisements from the Evening Star, archived by the Library of Congress, that shop operated at 1331 F Street, N.W. Washington, D.C.
Wouldn’t mind time-traveling for a few hours to take a peak at that shops’ 1918 inventory! Anyone with a lead on a storage facility in D.C. that might be packed with dusty stacks of NOS Meyer’s garments is encouraged to email coordinates to sales@MisterFreedomStore.com for a free bowl of soup.
Back to reality. The buttonhole placket is a fine example of tailoring prowess, all credit going to Mr. Fukutomi, the one and only, Toyo Enterprises’ renown pattern maker for the past 20 and some years. The intricate pattern of the elbow and cuff section was a nod to an old flamethat “Mr. F” mastered the magic of circa 2008. Okagesame de Fukutomi San…
The arcuate shape of the back of the collar is an interesting feature lifted from vintage French shirts of the 1920’s-30’s.
Our fall 2019 interpretation of the Tonkinoise differs from the 2015 versions as snaps have replaced the front and cuffs’ corozo buttons. The collar closure has been inverted, with buttons to the left and buttonholes to the right. When fully buttoned, the collar can be folded down into a “wind-proof” type roll-neck, albeit probably not the most comfortable experience, unless you’re into stiff necks.
The fabric of choice for FW2019 comes out of a long mfsc hibernation, as it was previously introduced with the 2012 GUNSLINGER Pantaloons and GUNSLINGER Denim Jumper. This dark 12.4 Oz. “Double Indigo Twill”, with saturated purple hues, has shown its patina potential since then. We all agreed that it would be a perfect candidate for a shirt with such intricate tailoring. Panel torquing and seam puckering should make for some nice indigo contrasts with normal wash/wear routine. To tone-down a notch the elaborate detailing of the Tonkinoise, we opted for tonal stitching.
The MF® Tonkinoise Double Indigo Twill is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
SPECS: PATTERN: An original mfsc pattern inspired by obscure 1920’s-40’s military shirting and vintage custom-made uniforms.
FABRIC: Double Indigo Twill: 100% cotton dark indigo warp x dark indigo weft, 12.4 Oz., solid white selvedge ID. Dark and saturated indigo color, with subtle purple hues.
DETAILS: * All original mfsc pattern. * ‘Windproof’ high button-up collar. * Arcuate pattern on back of collar. * Double chest pocketing, large uniform-style format. * Intricate tailor-made type buttonhole placket construction. * Selvedge button placket. * Elaborate sleeve cuff/elbow reinforcement pattern, snap closure. * Selvedge side gussets, self fabric. * Snap button front and cuff closure, with complimenting amber brown corozo wood pocket and collar buttons. * 100% cotton thread. * Tonal stitching on outside, ivory contrast chainstitch on inside. * “Surplus” mfsc woven rayon label. * Made in Japan.
SIZING: The MF® Tonkinoise shirt comes raw/un-rinsed and will shrink to tagged size after the initial rinse/dry process.
We recommend the usual protocol before wearing: * Cold soak for about 30-40mn, with occasional hand agitation. * Spin dry and line dry. * Wear briefly before fully-dry to set creases, then hang until fully dry.
This Tonkinoise 2019 edition is considered more like an over-shirt than a trim uniform shirt. I personally opted for a size SMALL, as the MEDIUM fit felt much too roomy. Consider sizing down for a trimmer silhouette if the measurements match your target sizing expectations. When in doubt, compare our measurements with a similar style garment you own and fits the way you like. For a comfortable fit and for layering, consider your usual size in mfsc shirting for the 2019 double indigo Tonkinoise.
Please refer to sizing chart for measurements, reflecting a 30mn cold soak/spin dry/line dry process, resulting in minimal shrinkage. The raw measurements are given for reference only, as the numbers that actually matter are post soak. We do believe that shirts, as most washable garments, should regularly be laundered according to use.
CARE: Launder when needed. We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling when washing. Machine wash. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry.
Potential attractive patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear. Please note that the dark indigo might cause color transfer, and potentially “bleed” on light-colored garments, furniture, and skin.
Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane “SPORTSMAN” mfsc catalog, Fall/Winter 2019 (made in USA)
FW2019 Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane “SPORTSMAN” mfsc catalog additions.
FFW2019 MF® “Baloo” Black edition, black tea-core cowhide..
FW2019 MF® Californian” Lot.54BB, NOS Cone Mills denim.
FW2019 MF® “Ranch Blouse” and “Californian” Lot.64, indigo x black ‘Midnight’ denim edition.
FW2019 MF® “Ranch Blouse”, indigo x black ‘Midnight’ denim edition.
FW2019 MF® “Californian” Lot.64, indigo x black ‘Midnight’ denim edition.
FW2019 MF® “Speedways”, NOS ‘beatnik green’ corduroy.
FW2019 MF® “Campus” Jacket, ‘Stallion’ edition, black tea-core cowhide.
FW2019 MF® “Sportsman Chinos”, NOS 2×1 denim.
FW2019 Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane mfsc collections.
Our Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane Fall/Winter 2019 contribution to the world of Menswear fashion this up-coming season will consist of three groupings, FW2019 “PIOUPIOU”, “SURPLUS” and “SPORTSMAN”.
The “PIOUPIOU” collection is our 2019 theme-based capsule collection.
The obsolete term “Pioupiou” was a happy-go-lucky nickname given to French soldiers heading out to the frontlines on the onset of WW1. As the “Great War” (1914-1918) dragged on, and trenches of the Western Front revealed their terrifying reality, the sobriquet quickly changed to “POILU” (literally ‘hairy’), ’tough guy’ or badass in period jargon…
Our collection is loosely inspired by French military-issued garb of the 1910’s to the 1930’s. It blends period utility uniforms and revisited vintage civilian attire into contemporary wearables, following the usual MF® “might have been” design approach.
The FW2019 “PIOUPIOU” line-up, all garments produced in Japan, will consists of: 1) “MECANO” Jacket:
* Indigo cotton/linen HBT, 15 Oz.
* 14Oz. SC 401 “Hawaii” selvedge denim. 2) Pantalon “LE VAILLANT”:
* Indigo cotton/linen HBT, 15 Oz.
* 14Oz. SC 401 “Hawaii” denim. 3) Chemise “POILU”: * 100% cotton blue sateen/popeline dobby stripe
* 100% cottonwhite sateen/HBT dobby stripe. 4) Chemise “M-35”:
* 100% indigo Linen plain weave.
* 100% cotton indigo stripe ticking, 4.5 Oz.
The “SURPLUS” collection, our twist on classics and all-original vintage-inspired creations, produced in Japan, will consist of: 1) “MATTOCK” Jacket:
Heavy Corduroy, camel color, 14 Oz., with “Troy Blanket” lining. 2) “MULHOLLAND DRIZZLE-KING” Jacket:
100% cotton “Cachou” Brown canvas, 13 Oz. Also shown on the photos is a DIY beeswax-treated prototype. 3) “TRAILBLAZER” Shirt:
100% cotton Brushed Sateen, Rust color or Prussian blue. 4) N-1H Deck Jacket:
100% cotton Jungle Cloth, 14 Oz., “Mulholland” brown. 5) “TONKINOISE” Shirt:
“Gunslinger” double indigo selvedge twill, 12.4 Oz.
The “SPORTSMAN” collection, our on-going catalog of classics and all-original vintage-inspired creations, made in USA, will consist of: 1) “BALOO” Jacket, Black Edition: USA-sourced MF® exclusive black tea-core (chashin) cowhide, brushed cotton flannel lining. 2) “RANCH BLOUSE” Midnight:
16 Oz. “Midnight” selvedge denim, indigo x black twill. 3) “CALIFORNIAN” Lot.64 Midnight:
16 Oz. “Midnight” selvedge denim, indigo x black twill. 4) “CALIFORNIAN” Lot.54 Buckle Back: NOS Cone Mills 13 Oz. selvedge indigo denim. 5) “SPEEDWAYS” Jeans: NOS 100% cotton corduroy, “beatnik” green. 6) “CAMPUS” Jacket, ‘Stallion’ Edition: USA-sourced MF® exclusive black tea-core (chashin) cowhide, unlined. 7) “SPORTSMAN CHINOS” Frontier: NOS 10.5 Oz. 2×1 rigid denim. 8) “GI” HENLEY”:
NOS indigo rib knit, 100% cotton. 9) “MUSETTE” MF 7161: (pictured above with the “Pioupiou” Collection) NOS waxed canvas, navy blue, chainstitch. 10) JD “SCUTTLER” Cap:(pictured above with the “Pioupiou” Collection) NOS French workwear woven stripe, 100% cotton.
Drop dates for these FW2019 Mister Freedom® x Sugar Cane mfsc pieces should start beginning August 2019, as production in ethically-operated Japan and USA factories completes.
Each garment will be fully documented on this blog at the time of release, and the whole line-up will be available from www.misterfreedom.com and our Los Angeles brick & mortar store. A selection of mfsc FW2019 will also be available from fine retailers around the World. Email email@example.com or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
If cabaret extraordinaire and Art Deco muse Josephine Baker’s banana skirt instantly raised eyebrows in 1925, her apparently innocent frivolous rendition of “Petite Tonkinoise” in 1930 would take many more years to spark controversy and criticism. In the song, she interprets Mélaoli, an Annamite damsel enamored with a French soldier deployed to the Tonkin region. For the wordplay-in-French amateur, Mélaoli is a not-so-clever phonetic quip involving bed (lit) activities.
Ms. Baker’s version of the song, although rewritten for a female singer and stripped of its original 1906 lyrics popularized by the jovial Polin, an army barracks’ favorite, still carried its risqué colonial tone. Nothing yet politically incorrect for the France of the 1930’s however, and the song was a huge success. By popular demand, an updated version was even recorded by the artist in 1953.
With enough sexual innuendoes to make Wynonie Harris blush, the original “Petite Tonkinoise” is a chanson of its time, today mostly remembered for its stuttering verse “ma Tonkiki, ma Tonkiki, ma Tonkinoise”. Don’t listen to it twice or you’ll be humming it in the morning.
Annamite traditional attire (1800s)
“Petite Tonkinoise” 1906 music sheet, strangely featuring a Japanese lady.
Josephine Baker, Folies Bergère,”Folies du Jour” revue, Paris (1926-27). Photo Lucien Waléry
Josephine Baker and Chiquita, her cheetah pet (1930)
Josephine Baker collecting clothing for Japanese American babies, Los Angeles (1952 Toyo Miyake Studio)
Not forecasted in the song was the fact that some of the fruits of those exotic military campaign idyls would one day stroll the French countryside, in refugee camps such as the CAFI of Sainte-Livrade-Sur-Lot (Camp d’Accueil des Francais d’Indochine in the Southwest of France), anecdotally located a few miles from where I spent many summers as a kid. Vietnamese families of veterans fallen during their Indochine campaign also joined the camps ranks.
Following the Geneva Accords of 1954, Franco-Vietnamese families who supported the French occupation of Indochina, and gained from it, started fleeing the homeland to escape communist retaliation. The French government, juggling with its first post-colonial hot potato, relocated the refugees in hastily-built facilities. The communities’ fate often fell into bureaucratic oblivion.
Neglected for decades, the CAFI of Sainte-Livrade-Sur-Lot was being renovated when we drove by in 2014. Some still called it home at the time.
Incidentally, and unrelated, about 60 miles from the CAFI, stands the majestic XIV Century Château des Milandesonce the home of, by then decorated WW2 veteran, philanthropist and activist Josephine Baker, and her ‘rainbow tribe’. She, her husband, and their international adopted family of twelve lived there for years. I remember visiting the castle some 35 years ago.
CAFI Sainte Livrade original facilities before demolition, (July 2014)
B&W Rainbow Tribe and colorful Château des Milandes
Josephine Baker, husband Jo Bouillon, and partial Rainbow Tribe.
Josephine Baker, Légion d’Honneur ceremony (1961)
Before we drift even further off-topic, let’s mention that it is not as an homage to the song risqué verbiage or nostalgic colonial content that we have chosen to call our latest Saigon Cowboy shirt “La Tonkinoise”, but as a reference to bygone days of exotic advertising, and to that shirt plausible origin as a 1930’s-40’s Tonkin tailor made garment.
Our Tonkinoise is loaded with details gathered from several vintage shirts. Most of the details are concealed but a stand-out feature of the Tonkinoise is its specific collar pattern. It was adapted from a wind-protectant high neck flippable collar, the fancy feature of an obscure vintage US military wool shirt from our archives. Militaria experts might be able to easily ID this shirt model, but I admit not being familiar with it. We reduced the size of the original collar, which looked too much like a crackerjack flap to my liking.
Our own Champollion, Cristian ‘Champ’ Dascalu, is responsible for identifying the barely readable woven label of that vintage shirt as saying “REYEM, Meyer’s Military Shops, Washington D.C.”. It is likely that Jean-François himself would not have figured out that Reyem is Meyer spelled backwards, so we consider the Champ’s finding one giant leap for Mankind.
Champollion at work
To spice things up, we opted for a contrasting rainbow chainstitch on the inside of the shirt, a nod to an old stunt we pulled years ago, and a reference to the multicolored embroidery often featured on vintage Vietnam ‘Party’ jackets, and not necessarily to Doritos.
As with our recently released Garrison Shirt, the Tonkinoise buttonhole placket is another example of tailoring prowess, courtesy of Toyo Enterprises pattern maker Mr. Fukutomi. The intricate pattern of the elbow and cuff section is yet another nod to an old flame. The arcuate shape of the back of the collar is an attractive feature lifted from vintage French shirts of the 1920’s-30’s.
The two fabrics we chose for the Mister Freedom® Tonkinoise are two old acquaintances. The first one is the ‘snowy’ Lot.A 2×1 selvedge slubby denim of the MF® Appaloosa Shirt, this time milled in Japan to the exact specs of the original NOS fabric we had used in 2013.
The second option is the Buzz Rickson’s USN-type blue chambray, previously featured on two mfsc garments, the Chambray Patrol Shirt and the “Cholon” Continental.
The MF® Tonkinoise is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.
Note: Featured in some of our photo rigs are a well-worn pair of MF® x Palladium “Palladenim“, inspired by vintage French jungle boots.
FABRIC: a) “Snow” denim: Dark and slubby 10 Oz. 2×1 indigo blue denim, White/yellow line selvedge ID, milled in Japan. b) “BR” blue Chambray: Buzz Rickson’s all cotton blue chambray, 1940’s USN mil-specs, selvedge with white/blue line selvedge ID, milled in Japan. The Chambray version of the Tonkinoise is only available in the US.
* An original mfsc pattern, inspired by 1930’s-40’s military uniform shirting. * ‘Windproof’ high button-up collar. * Arcuate pattern on back of collar. * Tailor-made type buttonhole placket construction. * Selvedge button placket. * Intricate sleeve cuff/elbow reinforcement pattern. * Concealed rainbow colored chainstitched accents on the inside. * Selvedge side gussets, self fabric. * White corozo wood buttons, aka ivory nut. * 100% cotton thread stitching. * Made in Japan.
The MF® Tonkinoise shirt comes raw/un-rinsed and will shrink to tagged size after the initial rinse/dry process. We recommend a ~30mn cold soak, spin dry and line dry. This shirt is true-to-size, with a fitted yet comfortable silhouette. If you are generally a Medium in mfsc shirts, you are a Medium in the Tonkinoise.
Both shirt options will shrink to approximately the same size.
Please refer to sizing chart for measurements. Please note our measurements reflect a 30mn cold soak/spin dry/line dry process, resulting in minimal shrinkage.
It is obvious that the raw measurements are given for reference only. If they reflect the difference in shrinkage of both raw fabrics, the measurements that actually matter are the post soak measurements. We do believe that shirts, as most washable garments, should regularly be laundered according to use.
CARE: Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
Machine wash. Cold water, gentle cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling when washing. Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear. Please note that the dark indigo blue denim Tonkinoise ‘bleeds’ a lot at first, and color transfer will temporarily stain light-colored garments and furniture.