Last night I attended an event graciously hosted by Allen Edmonds, who chose the classic/funky Norwood Club to show off its latest shoes.
Fred of Unabashedly Prep and I were the last to leave, having a long catch-up on the world of style blogging and the menswear industry.
As two guys from out west who came to New York later in life, we swapped tales about the curious denizens of this strange city, so many of whom eventually become apathetic, numb to the point “where they don’t know what’s cool anymore,” said Fred, or else have their innards all torn up by frustrated ambition and obsessive competition with their peers, as I noted.
I think when you come to New York in your thirties (including the final two weeks of your thirties, as I did), you’re just excited to be here and take the adventure of life as it comes. Arriving late to the party was more the result of an inward-driven life journey, and you’re here because it’s the best place to do your thing. This as opposed to those who come directly from school to take their place in an established system of rewards and failures, relentlessly evaluating whether or not they’re making it, according to the standards of the Manhattan fishbowl.
Anyway, for a guy who lacks the common sense to keep his feet warm in winter, Fred displayed a perspicacious grasp on the workings of the fashion industry, and I suggested he might be a great fit on the business side of the industry, not just the creative.
Time will tell, but in the meantime Fred continues to pull together tightly edited blog content, and as I’d been meaning to do a pointer post to his recent William F. Buckley tribute, sharing drinks last night seems the perfect peg.
Many of the WFB images will be familiar, but nevertheless they make for a compelling collage when grouped together. Buckley is a polarizing figure (not unlike Fred himself, or me, or anyone else who has the attention of an audience), but I hope that whether you’re red or blue, right or left, you’ll find the images enjoyable.
I’ll end with a telling WFB anecdote. Buckley had an Old Money penchant for understatement and an abhorrence of ostentation. He liked number-two pencils and peanut butter. Likewise, the friend of a friend once had a glimpse inside of Buckley’s suit coat, and was suprised, or maybe not so much, to find a label marked JC Penney. — CC
Today I chatted on the phone with my old man, who remarked just as he was about to hang up that Barnaby Conrad died last week at the age of 90.
I mention it here because while I never met the man — who is described in the San Francisco Chronicle as a bullfighter, diplomat, man about town, author, painter, owner of a North Beach night spot in one of San Francisco’s golden ages, and a patron of the arts — I had drinks with his son, Barnaby Conrad III on my last night in San Francisco before moving to New York.
Appropriately it was in North Beach, and Barnaby, who’s bi-coastal, told me he was showing his own art at his wife’s New York gallery the following week, which turned out to be my first night out on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Like his father, Barnaby was a man about town who didn’t settle down until well in his forties. He’s also a painter and writer, though I’m not sure whether he ever fought bulls.
The late Barnaby (pictured above sharing a drink with Tyrone Power) attended the Taft School and went on to Yale, which his son also attended. He was a J. Press customer while a student, and remained so for many years until salesman loyalty sent him to a competitor. Richard Press remembers:
Back in the ’50s the J. Press West Coast road salesman, Sam Kroop, outfitted Conrad during his road trips to San Francisco. Conrad bought from J. Press while at Taft and Yale, and when Kroop left the Clift Hotel where he showed in San Francisco, he regularly held court for his customers on the J. Press tab at Conrad’s El Matador nightclub. Kroop took our mailing list when he sneaked out with another of our employees to take over Arthur M. Rosenberg, and unfortunately took Conrad along with him.
Though bullfighting brought him renown, his Renaissance Man talents and passions kept him well occupied. His Wikipedia entry has this great anecdote:
In 1958, Conrad was gored almost fatally in a bullfight that was part of a charity event. After learning of the incident, Eva Gabor is said to have run into Noël Coward at Sardi’s in New York and asked him, “Did you hear about poor Barnaby? He was terribly gored in Spain.” Coward replied, “Oh, thank heavens. I thought you said he was bored.”
Both father and son are a great inspiration to cultivate all of one’s talents and life to the fullest. Though if you’re going to tangle with bulls, at least take it down a notch and try bullriding. — CC
On this final day of the year, Ivy-Style.com is proud to present its first-ever Golden Weejun award to Richard Press for his outstanding contributions to the Ivy League Look.
In addition to being Ivy royalty by birth, Mr. Press has a record year in his service to the clothing genre. For starters, he moved to the Upper East Side from the wilds of Connecticut to be where the action is.
And the action was largely centered around the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Mr. Press earned the nickname King Richard for his singular contributions to the “Ivy Style” exhibit, which included not just donating items but styling the show, giving lectures, and leading tours.
On top of that, he continued to pen his “Golden Years” column for Ivy-Style.com, work on his memoirs, and even got his picture taken by Rose Callahan.
Congratulations, Richard, and we all look forward to seeing you in your gilded penny loafers. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
The state of New Hampshire has lost one of its most celebrated congressman, the feisty Republican Warren Rudman, often described as a crotchety New Englander, and the people of American have lost yet another exemplar of the patrician charm of a well rolled buttondown and rep tie worn slightly askew. — CC
Clark Gable is largely remebered as one of the glamorous menswear icons of the 1930s, along with Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, and just about every other star from the Golden Age of Hollywood.
But as he aged and fashions changed, Gable evolved with the times and shed his double-breasted suits with nipped waists and squared shoulders, and settled into buttondowns, discrete ties and natural shouldered jackets. He kept the signature mustache, though.
Gable is seen here in a series of photos by Sid Avery taken in 1957. (Continue)
If Romney’s speech last night at the Republican National Convention left you nonplussed (or perhaps even filled with terror), and Obama likewise leaves you feeling the victim of false advertising, consider Magoo as a write-in candidate when you visit the polls this November.
Magoo is a candidate all trads can get behind. He knows the best way to convince the working man that he can lead the nation is by wearing a finely made jacket and tie, not by attempting to actually dress like the working man. (Continue)