The Last Of The Buttoned-Down Artists

Fri 14 Nov 2014 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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The Heckscher Museum Of Art on Long Island is currently running an exhibit on the brilliantly whimsical work of Richard Gachot.

Gachot attended Yale in the 1950s, and, as you can see in the video above, never lost his taste for buttondown oxfords.

With so many artists eager to desecrate icons while sporting the physicial appearance usually associated with the homeless, it’s refreshing to see the 81-year-old looking dignfied and celebrating Americana in a quirky, and not pretentiously ironic, way. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

Tempus Fugit

Thu 13 Nov 2014 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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cc5

Five years ago today, a fresh-faced young pup, I left California for New York.

Now I’m a big-time big-city bigshot with a Chipp on my natural shoulder.

It’s a smelluva town. The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down. And people in cars run you into the ground. — CC

 

Measure Of A Man: The Martin Greenfield Memoirs

Wed 12 Nov 2014 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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Martin Greenfield, the Brooklyn-based tailor who has, over his long career, made clothes for Brooks Brothers and J. Press, has just released his memoirs. Entitled “Measure Of A Man: From Auschwitz Survivor To President’s Tailor,” the book is available from Amazon for $16.79.

To learn more about Greenfield, check out this great video, which is full of information not only on the man, but how your clothing is made. Also, the New York Post ran a great excerpt from the book, with a typically sensational headline “The day a Holocaust survivor got revenge on his tormentor.” And finally, Breitbart has this interview with Greenfield discussing his memoirs. — CS & CC

 

 

Elegance Week: A Staple That Has Stood The Test Of Time

Tue 28 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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gbbAs Ivy Style’s Elegance Week continues, assistant editor Christopher Sharp presents this homage to the man who wrote the book on the subject.

* * *

I can still see myself sheepishly sliding a black paperback, face down, across the college bookstore counter like a schoolboy buying a nudie magazine. The book was Bruce Boyer’s “Elegance.”

I am not sure if my discomfort purchasing the book was because at that time people did not obsessively talk about clothing, or if I thought in my youthful preciousness I should have already been a grandmaster. I certainly wasn’t, but I wanted to remedy that.

I had been surreptitiously studying fashion. There were old Hollywood movies and lesser-known charming British films that that had interchangeable characters who all wore tweed and effortlessly smoked pipes. They all knew something I did not, but what? For clues I mined the New York Time fashion supplements, GQ and Esquire. I read Molloy’s “Dress for Success,” which was like an auto mechanics manual for business dress of the ’70s. I scrupulously took stock of those around me. But something was amiss: there had to be good clothes somewhere in this world, a way to recognize them and a way to wear them with aplomb.

Then came the black book. For years I would tell anyone who would listen that Boyer’s book was the key. Some have described it like having someone introduce you their tailor. In Boyer’s book I found a narrator’s voice like a great uncle, knowledgeable about all things sartorial. The essays were mini masterpieces of storytelling. It wasn’t “wear this, don’t wear that,” but “here are some staples that have stood the test of time, here is the backstory, and these are some of the establishments you can trust.”

I should add that I also have a personal fondness for Mr. Boyer, because he was very kind to me when I was starting off. In the age before the Internet, he actually answered my letters. In the time before eBay, he recommended sources and even talked me off the ledge when heavyweight Viyella disappeared from the market.

I have read “Elegance” so many times there is an indelible yellow thumb print were I have turned the pages thousands of times. Today I no longer read the book as a novice, but as a seasoned fellow traveler. The nostalgic me wishes I better knew the world he wrote about then. I would have loved to have looked at the shirting samples with Fred Calcagno, master cutter at Pec & Co., or to see the glorious tweed bolts at Langrock. But because of Boyer’s initial influence, I have been fortunate to meet Richard Press, Paul Winston and George Graham.

I think I sometimes channel Boyer when I write a piece for Ivy Style. I find myself using a word or two he would use, like “ersatz” or “deus ex machina.” But in truth, like another one of my mentors, Richard Merkin, Boyer helped me find my voice, whether it’s written on the page or expressed in something more subliminally sublime, like a perfectly chosen pocket square.

In the foreword of “Elegance,” Boyer writes, “Those whose appearances we admire wear their clothes with a certain sense of comfort and propriety of style we often call elegance.” Mr. Boyer is elegant, but am I elegant? There is the rub. My epiphany is this: elegant is a word like hero, and no man should elect himself. It is for others to bestow the honor, and those chosen must humbly accept it. Shall we say with elegance? — CHRISTOPHER SHARP

 

Happy Birthday Ralph Lauren

Tue 14 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Personae — Christian
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Today is the 75th birthday of Ralph Lauren, menswear’s great editor, as Bruce Boyer likes to call him. In his honor, here’s a tight little edit of some of his looks and ventures over the years. — CC (Continue)

 

Portrait Of A Gentleman In The Age of iPhones

Tue 7 Oct 2014 - Filed under: Clothes,Personae — Christian
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Yesterday I popped into Paul Winston‘s place and immediately noticed something different. Paul was wearing a jacket. In all the times I’ve visited him, it’s either been balmy weather or the heater’s been cranked up. But yesterday was cool and crisp outside with no climate-controlling inside, and Paul confessed to feeling a bit chilly.

I immediately took out my iPhone and snapped a few shots, only to discover when I got home that they were all a blurry, disappointing mess. I’ll never again count on a telephone to do the job of a camera. I’ve tinkered with the files in iPhoto in the vain effort of amelioration, but the shot above doesn’t do justice to the great full-body I took that unfortunately l00ks like Paul is sitting across from you at a three-martini lunch.

The addition of the tweed jacket made Paul the epitome of the Old Money Look, and all you young fogeys should immediately copy this outfit for an air of degagé sophistication. The sportcoat is 35 years old and made by his family brand Chipp. It’s three-button and undarted, but with shaping at the waist — one of the things that distinguished Chipp from Brooks and Press, Paul pointed out. His emblematic tie depicts vintage fire trucks.

But my favorite part of the outfit is the contrast between the frayed shirt cuffs and the collar pin, a masterpiece of Advanced Style.

Below the waist the tour-de-force of nonchalance is complete: grey trousers, white athletic socks, and half-destroyed camp moccasins. I want to be old enough to be this cool. — CC (Continue)

 
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