With apologies to Pierce and Rene…

12/08/2015 § Leave a comment

Because they’ll never be as cool as this.

The (REAL) Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

Ugh, so good.

Stream it here, buy it here.

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Afield: Northern Grade Los Angeles

04/04/2013 § Leave a comment

Northern Grade

Hello from 10,000 feet somewhere above Pennsylvania!  Skyblogging!  As I mentioned earlier, I’m heading out to visit my hometown of Los Angeles this weekend for a pretty awesome two-fer.  My twin nieces just turned ten (oof! double digits!) and Northern Grade, the travelling men’s pop-up, is in town.  I’m actually willing to consider this a three-fer, if the weather manages to stay in the 70s, as expected.

I’m really looking forward to catching up with some familiar faces and meeting a few new ones.  I’ll probably be rambling around in my sweet rental car everywhere from Simi Valley to Manhattan Beach, so do let me know if there’s anything you think I shouldn’t miss.  Over the weekend I’ll be on hand with BKLYN Dry Goods at Northern Grade, which you should definitely check out.  It’s a pretty rare opportunity in Los Angeles to find such an excellent assortment of quality, American-made menswear, accessories and collectibles all in one place and the folks at Pierrepont Hicks always put together an awesome event.  If you see me, please say hello!

Atelier || Lotuff Leather

30/11/2012 § 3 Comments

As I previously mentioned, a few weeks ago I was pleased to accept an invite from Lotuff Leather to visit their workshop in Norwalk, Connecticut.  I was very excited to seize the opportunity to meet the fine folks behind the brand and witness firsthand the craftsmanship that goes into every single piece of leather that bears the Lotuff name.  Fair warning: this is about to be a bit of a photo-palooza, but there was just so much to see and love – I hope you will indulge me!

Lotuff, a New England-based luxury leather goods brand founded by brothers Joe and Rick Lotuff nearly four years ago, is a brand you need to firmly place on your radar.  The Lotuffs, along with creative director Lindy McDonough and a whole host of highly skilled craftsmen and women, take great pride in producing some of the very finest leather items made in America, using techniques honed over decades – and in some cases, generations – of combined experience.  A men’s brand at heart, the all-leather bags, briefcases and accessories that Lotuff creates epitomize the elegant meeting of timeless style, functionality and quiet craftsmanship.

Not only was I inspired by the passion I heard from Joe and Lindy as they discussed their values and goals for Lotuff, but they also deeply affected my personal concept of “luxury” – calling into question some of my own assumptions about the true worth of some of the high-end bags I have lusted for in the past.  My day in Norwalk reinforced the notion that luxury is not achieved by the mere application of a name or a high price point to an item.  But rather, an item is properly considered luxurious in relation to the process, materials and skills that go into its creation — and seeing up close the massive amount of pride that each of the Lotuff craftsmen and women pour into their work brought this into sharp focus.

While this fuller concept of luxury appears to have taken hold in some #menswear circles, it is interesting to note that the majority of women continue to be fine with paying top dollar for cheaply manufactured status accessories.  Indeed, it is difficult to decouple this tendency for status from womenswear’s obsession with fast fashion.  For those of us who find ourselves frequently left wanting by the “it bag” of the moment, the premiere women’s collection by Lotuff is a godsend.  And my leather-scented day spent trying out all the gorgeous prototypes?  Heaven indeed.

For more information, visit Lotuff Leather.

Please say hello to my new best friend…  In. Love.

If you are in New York City this weekend (30 Nov – 2 Dec),
be sure to check out Lotuff in person at this year’s Pop Up Flea.

Pop Up Flea
Friday, Nov 30th 3pm – 9pm
Saturday, Dec. 1st 11am – 7pm
Sunday, Dec. 2nd 11am – 6pm

Drive-In Studios
443 W. 18th Street (nr. 10th Ave.)

The Dandy, The Rockstar & The Gentlewoman {Style Icons: Janie, Esther & Jeeyong}

17/07/2012 § 7 Comments

Janie Cai, Esther Quek and Jeeyong Kang.

Three amazing women, three distinct senses of personal style
that are heavily influenced by menswear.

Believe me when I say serious. girlcrush. (times three).

The Dandy — Janie Cai, fashion director, Esquire Singapore.

Janie is a lady who loves a good hat and a statement lapel (or accessory).  She’s eternally smiling — something of a rarity for streetstyle subjects — and her kits always feel like so much fun.  I’m especially digging her new haircut.

From Janie, take a carefree attitude and a love for nattily mixed textures…

The Rockstar — Esther Quek, fashion editor, The Rake.

Esther’s self-assured composure and amazing hair choices have me a bit intimidated, even from pictures.  But I love it.  She is a master of the necktie — and did you notice her tie bar game?  So, so good.  I love her approach to layering and pattern-mixing — and her omnipresent dark glasses?  Completely badass.

From Esther, take a sense of boldness and a love of color and contrast…

The Gentlewoman — Jeeyong Kang, fashion director, GQ Korea.

Of the three, Jeeyong’s sense of style is probably my favorite.  There is a calmness to the way she dresses — it is simple and elegant and communicates a sense of seriousness.

From Jeeyong, embrace a sense of confident simplicity.

Images via: You Just Got Spotted [1 and 2], The Sartorialist [1], All the Pretty Birds [1 ], Vanessa Jackman [1 and 2], Rock the Trend [1 and 2], STREETFSN [1 and 2], Stockholm Streetstyle [1, 2, and 3], Guerrisms [1], Streetpeeper [1], Citizen Couture [1 and 2], Tommy Ton for Style.com [1], and a few random finds courtesy of the Tumblrs and the Googles.

Improper Bostonians

22/05/2012 § 5 Comments

I’m off to Boston for a few days on business, and I thought it would be the perfect time to share this set of photos I discovered in the Life Archive.  They were taken in 1949 at the original Filene’s Basement, then called the “Automatic Bargain Basement” for the automatic schedule of its discount percentages (pegged to the number of days the item had been on sale).  Created in 1909 in the basement of Boston’s flagship Filene’s department store, Filene’s Basement was eventually spun off as its own entity and outlived the department store until it too became defunct in 2011.  Fun fact: it’s actually where the term “bargain basement” originated.

Sadly the gorgeous original flagship store at Downtown Crossing in Boston, built in 1912 and where these photos were taken, was largely demolished in 2007 after Filene’s went out of business.  Because only the building’s facade was landmarked, developers were free to gut the interiors of the building, which also dated back to 1912.  When those developers lost funding, the building was just left gutted — a huge, gaping hole with the facade looming like the ghost of sales past.  (I haven’t been to Downtown Crossing lately to see if anything has changed at the site — has anyone?)

In these photos, Life photographer George Silk captured the annual $11 suit and topcoat sale at Filene’s Basement.  Just like today’s sample sales, customers started forming a line for the 8:30am sale at 6:30am, and made a mad dash as soon as the doors were flung open.  In less than three hours, 5,000 garments were sold.  In the article, entitled “Improper Bostonians” (which you can read here), Life delightedly informs us that a 200-pound woman fainted and had to be carried away, a blind man was nearly trampled and a man posed as a salesman and swiped someone’s $11! 

Nice to see sample sales haven’t really changed all that much in over
60 years, even if the customers do look a little more refined!

Taken by George Silk for Life Magazine, via the Life Archive.

All Dressed Up…in Los Angeles.

23/04/2012 § Leave a comment

Richard Gere adds Armani to the echelon of California style with its debut in American Gigolo (1980), which I recently revisited thanks to Lizzie’s suggestion.  A seminal moment in menswear, it marked the introduction of a new Italian aesthetic that became characteristic of the decade.

**Update 5/4/2012 — The blog Clothes on Film did a fantastic rundown of the costuming, which you can find here.

I especially love how the film captures the westside at that moment when the 1970s were turning to the 1980s, and watching a 30 year-old (and let’s face it, beautiful) Gere as he navigates the city as one of its “best boys.”  Other high points include the Blondie-infused soundtrack, Lauren Hutton, and the fact that Gere’s character lives in Westwood, which is where I lived before moving to New York.  

Portrait by Herb Ritts, 1980.
Part of “L.A. Style: Herb Ritts” at the Getty Center.  Details here.

Also: just a quick note to let you know I’m in Los Angeles for a few days!  I wanted to surprise my parents, and they read this thing, so I couldn’t mention it beforehand.  Happy to report my sneak attack was successful!

Field Notes: Rag & Bone F/W 2012

11/02/2012 § 2 Comments

Was very excited to attend the rag & bone F/W 2012 show last night!  In the hustle and bustle of the arrivals my eagle eye was pleased to spy Garance Dore, Susie Bubble, Hanneli, Grace Coddington, Amanda Brooks and (!!!) personal spirit animal Caroline Issa at Pier 57 before the show kicked off.  And kick off it did…

Jewel-toned, layered, richly textured and patterned with a gentlewoman cavalry aesthetic from London by way of India, I found this latest rag & bone collection much more to my own personal preference than the preceding F/W.  The footwear, outerwear and gloves inspired my material desires like you wouldn’t believe. Like this coat above.  So amazing.  Of special note were the leather accessories (a nod to body armor) and the gorgeous textiles.  Have you ever heard of — let alone seen! — a gradient herringbone?  Genius.  On the runway, set to music by Thom Yorke and House of Pain (the show finale was set to this), the models completely embodied the battle-ready feel of the collection, with their grimly set faces, determined marching, mussed hair and severe eyeliner.  Whatever kind of winter we might have in 2012, designers Marcus Wainwright and David Neville have prepared the rag & bone woman to take it all in stride.

Sidenote: This post is about to be quite long, so I will place most of it after the jump — you’re going to have to humor me because there is way too much goodness to share.  I suppose if you don’t like frock coats, leather, fur or booties, you may want to skip along to the next post.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Remix: Il Palazzo

24/01/2012 § Leave a comment

Il Palazzo
Prada Fall Winter 2012 by Miuccia Prada

What Power Art Thou (The Cold Genius)
Aria from King Arthur by Henry Purcell, 1690
(Klaus Nomi’s version is even more famous)

Plaza
by John Foxx, 1980

Power Play: Prada Fall/Winter 2012

18/01/2012 § Leave a comment

“Coriolanus has grown from man to dragon.”

“O, me alone! make you a sword of me.”

“I do beseech you,
By all the battles wherein we have fought,
By the blood we have shed together, by the vows
We have made to endure friends, that you directly
Set me against Aufidius and his Antiates;
And that you not delay the present, but,
Filling the air with swords advanced and darts,
We prove this very hour.”

As I delved deeper into the Tragedy of Coriolanus by Shakespeare, Miuccia Prada’s Fall Winter 2012 menswear collection debut in Milan last week felt perfectly spot-on, with its old-world, militaristic influences and dramatic staging — apart and aside from the appearances of actor/models Adrien Brody, Gary Oldman, Willem Dafoe, and Jamie Bell.  While Style.com can give you a more in-depth look at the clothing, I felt Scott Schuman best captured the feel of the show in his moody and darkly-lit photos.  Remarkably easy to envision any one of them demanding to be “made a sword,” is it not?

All images via the Sartorialist.
Text from the Tragedy of Coriolanus by William Shakespeare.

Shortlist #3 ~ Pop Up Flea Edition

05/12/2011 § 3 Comments

This weekend I joined nearly everyone and their momma and attended the 4th annual Pop Up Flea put up by A Continuous Goldberg.  Happy to support quality goods and the craftspeople who make them, I did come away with few small items of note.

Billykirk No.155 card case with flap.  I’ve been in the market for a card case for a bit as I previously purchased a gorgeous mother-of-pearl antique case that proved a bit too delicate to be tossed into my purse.  I was able to choose the leather, stitching color, add my initials and watch the whole thing come together in minutes, completely original and just for me.  I’m especially looking forward to seeing the leather with a bit of age on it.  Want your own?  Head here.

Sidenote: My beautiful calling cards are also made right here in New York by the folks at Terrapin Stationers.

Items of note: green stitching and the external pocket.

Pierrepont Hicks Field Bow Tie.  Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve officially entered bow tie territory.  A festive bit of tartan and shantung, this reversible tie is going to be perfect for the impending holiday season.  I’m very excited to wear my first bow tie — once I can master tying it, that is.  This tie is now unfortunately sold out, but do peruse the rest of the Pierrepont Hicks bow ties and neckties, all lovely and all made in New York.

Sea Salt Soaps from Three Potato Four.  Made from a Swedish formula with an invigorating, fresh scent, this sea salt soap caught my eye first with its clean packaging and completely sold itself once I took a whiff.  Added bonus: it’s made in the USA and is also good for shaving.  You can purchase your own from Three Potato Four here, a lovely Philadelphia vintage home decor and curiosities shop with a great online storefront you can visit here.

Gun dog print from Wooden Sleepers.  I got a dog!  Well, kinda.  Was pleased to pick up this vintage print of an English Pointer from Brian Davis of Wooden Sleepers.  It’s one of a kind, so you can’t have mine, but you can keep your eye on the online shop in case Brian finds anything similar.

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