Maybe I am as crazy as my friends say. Maybe they are right to shake their heads at me. Maybe I would just end up looking like a young Hugh Hefner wannabe (also known as the rare twenty something actually creepy enough to get rejected from OK Cupid.) Now, I’ll be the first to admit that my recent interest in robes (coupled with my current pajama obsession of course) isn’t exactly normal. And sure it’s quite possible that I have gone a bit off the deep end with this one, but I really can’t help but wonder what ever happened to the good ol’ house robe? Read More
I knew this day would come. I have finally reached the inevitable menswear milestone of developing an (un)healthy obsession for the Nepenthes family of brands. All good dogs may go to heaven, but all good bloggers eventually find their way to the land of Engineered Garments, Needles, South 2 West 8, and all the other rare and remarkable brands that line the racks at the Garment District’s only worthwhile menswear emporium. I had originally intended to write about Engineered Garments today, because this past week I purchased, and subsequently fell in love with my first piece of EG ever, an act that also happened to coincide with their release of their latest look book. But I’m sure at this point you all have already seen that collection elsewhere so instead I’ve decided to write about my favorite subrand of the Nepenthes umbrella -Rebuild by Needles.
Before sponsors. Before blockbusters. Before 3D. Before Indie. Before stylists (the “adult” equivalent of having your mom pick out your clothes for you,) Cannes was just Hollywood’s “business trip,” where the fame hungry would petition to become headliners and the anointed lounged along the French Rivera by day and drank their way through galas at night. Now, I’d be remiss to ever proclaim any celebrity as being entirely genuine but at least these personalities from the late fifties to early seventies looked the part. Whether they were walking down the red carpet, or simply sitting poolside, there was an authenticity to their style that’s hardly ever seen in Hollywood today. Hell, maybe I’m naive, or I’ve just watched a few too many old movies lately, but I’d like to believe that even if the cameras weren’t around, these actors and musicians would’ve dressed just the same.
Before the linebacker shoulders, safety pinned sportcoats, technicolor critter coats, metallic brogues, and Hell-raiser headdresses, Thom Browne was just a fresh-faced, grey flanneled purveyor of high hems and short suits, a designer that depending on who you ask either made the suit relevant again, or tarnished the reputation of American tailoring. There was an odd purity to Thom Browne’s (the brand) first handful or so of years, as Thom Browne (the man) made the leap from Club Monaco to his own project. While the runway show has now become Browne’s personal theatre in the round, from which he present spectacles that could easily be confused with scenes from a Nantucket horror story, in his early days Browne was merely a party of one, filling a dual role (that he still holds today) as both designer and poster boy - the first enlisted member of the “Thom Browne army.”
Every step forward comes with a look back.
When I started this site a couple years ago, it had always intended it to be a record of my own learning process, as I studied “the classics.” You see, back then it was my belief that menswear was just some sort of side hobby for me, and that down the line my interest in all this would really only manifest itself in my daily wardrobe, so I figured I should focus on the more staid side of menswear and hopefully one day I’d end up as the best dressed guy at some non-menswear related workplace. All this changed as I got further and further down this fully-canvased rabbit hole though, as the more conservative side of things no longer seemed applicable to my lifestyle. By the end of this week, I’ll have finished college, and started working full-time at a menswear brand, and yet now that “the real world” is here, I’ve never felt less interested in being a traditionalist.
When Gianni Agnelli inherited the family business in 1966, he was not only placed at the helm of Fiat, Italy’s automotive pride and joy, he was also given control of the Agnelli’s various other endeavors, including his hometown’s daily paper, La Stampa. While Agnelli passed on just over a decade ago, his legend has only increased over the years, and so La Stampa decided to scour their personal archives for photos of their iconic former CEO and put them together as an entire site dedicated to L’Avvocato. Flipping through the site is akin to picking up an Agnelli photo album – it starts with his early years as a boy in Turin, moves into his time as the head of Piat, and closes with his sunset years back in Turin. The site (which looks like it will have three more updates over the next few month) shows that no matter what the era, Agnelli always had that impeccable style that earned him the title “The Rake of the Rivieria.” Here’s just a sampling of the site’s photos, each one teaching a different lesson than the last, so take some notes cause there’ll probably never be another man like L’Avvocato ever again.
One of my all time favorite projects is the “Buildings of Disaster” collection by Constantin Boym and Laurene Leon Boym. The Boym’s took a series of twenty or so infamous locales from American history, covering everything from the Ford’s Theater, to the New Orleans Superdome, to the Lorraine Motel, to the Neverland Ranch, and recreated them as little bonded nickel tsotchkes. The palm-sized sculptures were a collectable reminder of what we’d like to forget, and I was reminded of them this past week, when I came upon an old photo from the Partners & Spade store on The Scout, which showed a salvaged “Lehman Brothers” trucker hat.
If there was ever a company of disaster, it would be Lehman Brothers, and so it got me thinking about all the ephemera that’s left behind in the wake of our country’s many disgraced corporations of the aughts – companies that thought they could game the system and remain immortal. We’d like to scrub these companies from our history, but all the boastful hats, fleeces, gym bags, and other random items that these companies ran off during their fat remains even long after their names disappear from bold faced headlines. And so, I give you my “Companies of Disaster” series, a sampling of ephemera from eBay auctions of the litter left behind.
“I’ve eaten here two out of the past three nights,” I said as I take my seat, but if I was being honest I would’ve say “I’ve drank here two out of the past three nights.” Don’t get me wrong, the fish tacos at Tacombi are reason enough to stick it out through the hour or so wait at the garage turned taqueria, but for their michelada’s, I’d gladly sit through a wait three times that length. Or at least figure out a way to steal their recipe. Much like the tacos, the michelada’s in this city are pretty hit or miss, running the gamut from murky mixes that look straight from a Mexico City tank, to inferno hot concoctions that seer your tongue off before you ever even get to order. For my money though, Tacombi’s take on “Mexican gatorade” is the ideal. It’s just the sort of thing that’ll bring you back to life after a day out in the sun. They’re refreshing and clean, but back just enough of a kick to keep you from passing out at the table once that mid-afternoon summer slump hits. I could give you a recipe below for you to try to make these at home, but that wouldn’t do it justice, so if you happen to be in the city I recommend you head over to Tacombi now to get your name on the waiting list. And for those of you that aren’t, well I guess you’ll just have to wait a bit longer.
The Draught Dry Goods tale is the type of story that reminds me of why I started this site to begin with. The brand was started by Montana native Caesy Oney just two years ago, but has already become one of the most talked about brands in menswear today. Oney, who is a photographer by trade and a craftsman at heart, is a one man machine – designing, sewing, shipping, and promoting Draught Dry Goods all on his own. It’s Oney’s creative background that makes DDG one of my favorite young brands, as his bags seem to have more in common with art pieces than the staid black leather pieces that are found in most accessories departments these days. I had a chance to speak with Caesy about the brand’s past, process, and future.
To start things off, I understand you’re background is in photography, how did you make the move from that into accessories?
I enjoy making all types of things. The transition into a career as a designer felt pretty natural, but I am still very passionate about shooting when I can budget the time to do so.
How has your background in fine art impacted your approach to design?
My background and education in art most recognizably informs my studio practice. I also find myself fetishizing some of the things that I make, which was a common trope of art school, albeit a not-so-healthy one. Given my current business model, which requires a lot of production time in the studio, it’s not uncommon for me to become emotionally invested in some of the things that I produce. I want every Draught Dry Goods piece to exist in a grey area of art and design, with an emphasis on the art, but not as sad.
Especially in this day and age, it’s nothing short of impressive that you not only handle the design, but the manufacturing of your products. Where’d you pick up your sewing skills from?
I learned to sew while in college. I’ve also cut my teeth in the past few years doing this as a job. Producing everything I can in-house keeps me honest, and is an integral part of ensuring that Draught Dry Goods operates as an effective personal learning tool.
A few weeks ago I gave you all “the only photo you’ll need this spring,” but I’ll be honest, I’m already over this season. For the past month or so, we’ve all basked in the warm haze of sun-filled afternoons, only to wake up the next day and discover dreary mornings that call once again for down filled jackets and more than a few layers. I for one feel duped, this is not the tranquil season I was promised after a seemingly never ending winter, this is an inconsistent, insult of a season that makes a mockery out of all spring’s that have come before. Have you had enough of my strained, mid-week prose yet?
Anyways, since I have personally declared this spring to be dead to me, I would like to bypass it as soon as possible and skip straight to summer, which brings me to this photo, which has been occupying crucial real estate in my bookmark bar since I first came across it nearly a year ago. But alas, it’s time to set this image free upon the menswear masses once again. I’m sure you too have seen this photo before, in fact, you probably follow the very Tumblr that I found this photo on to begin with (all credit to Antonio, I only hope we see some elements of this photo in an upcoming collection for a certain brand.) I often begrudge the internet for erasing all traces of a photos actual origin, but here I am guilty of that very act. I couldn’t tell you who took this photo, or where it’s from, but I can give you an overwrought analysis as to why it’s the only photo you need for this summer.
First off, dark shades that actually fit this guy’s face, not swallow it whole. Below that, we have the open, lightweight patterned shirt with lower armholes, and a loosely cut body. It might “anti-fit,” but make no mistake, it still fits. Of course, this guy went with white denim, which I’d say is one of those few “summer staples” that every blogger and magazine back issue says you must own, that you really must own. And hey, his espadrilles actually match his surroundings, which is more than I can say for most people that I see wearing them (myself included of course.) Interestingly enough the look is broken up by an unexpectedly traddy ribbon belt, with what looks like some sort of engine turned buckle on, which leads me to suspect that this fellow is a Connecticut Yankee in Re Arturo’s Piazza.
So there, I just gave you nearly four hundred fifty words on a single photo and I couldn’t even tell you it’s source. Gee, what a long, strange week it’s been.