Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's all in the details: Manhattan 2014

Ignacio Quiles, Dandy Wellington, Matt Deckard

I’m continuously neglecting putting pen to paper or even fingers to keyboard. Something I’ve shied away from for the last few years… just a lot of trauma I guess. Best hopes dashed on some fronts and losing both my parents in quick succession… Just not the recipe for taking time to sit and concentrate in the ways I’ve done in the past.

To the blog (We still use that word? It’s quite groggy).

I went to Manhattan to work out some hats and attend MRket menswear show with my fellow chaps from Stetson. That may be the important part, and bits on hats and hat care and hat creation are often my strong suit, but that information will come with future posts and videos. What I want to talk about is the sharing of knowledge and the fun that was had after all those hours pounding the pavement while wearing various pairs of shoes.

I met and hung out with many interesting and captivating New Yorkers…

Me and Gibson Frazier
Let’s start with Gibson Frazier. I didn’t expect to be surprised by the intellect, but you’re always going to be taken a back when you meet in person, someone that just has that “it” quality that used to be often talked about, but is rarely defined. He’s a playwright that often does cameos on the big screen and television, but primarily has worked at the keyboard writing breakthrough artistic pieces… newer ones having strong online kickstarter backing. I first learned of him through a movie he put together in 1999 called Man of the Century where his character lived his affinity for the past and was a man of the 1920s from hat to spats, living in the world of the 90s. You need to see it. That’s acting chops put to their test.

We met at the Norwood, a classic social club that looked exactly like what you’d imagine Manhattan would have, with a ledger to sign in at the door to boot.
Great art on the walls, small tables with conversations happening and someone to come by offering a cocktail every time your glass looked as though the ice were all you had left. We sat, talked sartorial past and future, art and acting, and just had a very good conversation. It was (to use my California wording) awesome.

That was one of the greater highlights of the visit, but there were many others, like meeting with Rose Callihan and Kellfire Bray. Rose is the photographer that catalogued the nuances of the dandy set of today in the new book I am Dandy. A book that is in a way the culmination of the well-dressed movement that’s been coming back to this world, a world that has had a serious bout with being lackadaisical toward dressing in general, and this is the book showcasing the generals leading the resistance. We met at The Rum House where luckily enough Jesse Gelber and Michael Arenella had already setup shop owning the place with some intoxicating swing and jazz music. The talk was intellectual and humorous, going from adventures to see some of these fellows, to tales of the nightlife in New York. Kellfire was a man with great gravitas with a tight grasp on fit and detail when the conversation went to suits.  You two were fun, and Rose… I need my book signed!

Rose Calahan sporting a prototype Stetson
I don’t want to fill this blog with too much to read about, as most people expect a video nowadays… but I absolutely must say meeting DandyWellington … well, when it comes to getting the classics perfect, he’s an expert. Not just in dress, but also in playing the period music he’s mastered. His mode of dress is as suave as his voice, and his skill on the dance floor… well he looked just as at home there as well.

Ignacio Quiles (Sartorial Pairings); It takes a lifetime of riffing on classics to make those classics look balanced and acceptable to many that just have an eye for now. He’s perfect at it. As we walked one of the halls of the latest New York menswear trade shows I lost a suspender button somewhere along the way… he replaced it using a pin from one of the venders tables. Not just quick thinking, quick styling. The look after made me wonder why I had a button sewn on there in the first place. Later that Monday we had a profound conversation on how clubs featuring bands should turn down their ambient music between sets so that patrons can take a breather from focusing on the entertainment to talk.

What else to say… Had a lovely conversation with CharleyMarcuse and Rory Duffy, an amazing tailor and winner of the Savile Row Golden Sheers award. Much about cutting jacket to be open or cutting them to be closed, At the time we were getting more and more tired as we went to a local Irish pub to continue talking about the slightest minutiae on fitting the hardest to fit individuals when it comes to bespoke tailoring.

Me swinging with Gin Minsky
Thank you for all the dances Gin Minsky. Meeting Bernard Delgado and Jack Newcastle is always captivating conversation about the best of what is New Yorks Nightlife. And to Laura, our Archivist at Stetson. I don't know how many hours we dug through the history and talked the state of clothing in general, but it was all smashing to see and learn and know.

Woman looking uncomfortable on bicycle while wearing awesome helmet

Laura Kimsey looking smashing

When you go to New York and you want to swing dance… see George Gee!
Dandy being Dandy
Michael Davis… We need to talk more about suits!

Now from Dallas… Matt Deckard.

Oh… by the by, check out the new Stetson hats at JJ hats!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Respecting Hollywood's Spectacles

Shoes, trousers, jacket vest, shirt, tie... all of these items are important; Hats too, Yet none of those things are as important as the glasses you put on your face. 

When I originally decided to wear the wire rimmed P3 style seen in the images below, I did so a bit out of fandom of the Indiana Jones look sported by Harrison Ford, and, a bit more out of the fact that I hadn't really seen a pair of glasses that just suited my own long oval face shape nearly as well. 

The P3 style frame is a circle but with three points pushed out making in slightly triangular. The military actually started using shapes like this over the traditionally round frames issued to troops in the 1920s and 1930s due to the fact that the shape kept the lenses from spinning. If the wearer had a astigmatism correction, a correction that is meant to bend the light entering the eye so, the P3 was just better than a circle which unfortunately easliy allowed the lens to spin, nullifying the correction's effectiveness. But enough about the shape...

Hollywood keeps using the darn things over and over and over again. The particarlar go to brand is that from Berkshire Chase in London. A gold coated wire rimmed style with a brown mottled celluloid that circles the lenses and part of the arms. 

It's just a quite accommodating style. Very timeless. I decided to go with them myself about 17 years ago when most people were wearing glasses that were rimless floating lenses with titanium arms. Glasses that were nearly invisible on the wearers face. I've grown up wearing glasses, they accentuated your identity, and to have something that was there and hiding yet not wasn't what I was into, so I went with the Beaufort P3 from Berkshire Chase particularly because they stood out at the time. Nowadays oddly enough my glasses look like background when seen around eyewear wearers with their thick black Zylonite frames. 

That's all for now. Keep an eye out and you'll see these from scene to scene.