Old School: Road Trip to Cambridge

The site will be quiet this week while I take my first road trip since moving to New York. I’m renting a car — let’s hope I remember how to operate it — and driving up to Cambridge on assignment for The Rake to profile The Andover Shop and its legendary founder, Charlie Davidson.

In previous chats on the phone, I’d asked Charlie about George Frazier, author of the spectacular 1960 Esquire essay “The Art of Wearing Clothes,” and have previously pitched my Rake editor the idea of doing a piece on Frazier.

So I finally got around to ordering a copy of the Frazier biography “Another Man’s Poison,” and right there on page two is a mention of Charlie, referred to as Frazier’s best friend in the last decade of his life.

Charlie is notoriously press shy. Will I come home with a story about him, Frazier, or something else entirely? I’ll find out soon enough, and the most exciting assignments are always the ones where the material dictates the story.

I think I first heard about Frazier in the late ’80s in Richard Merkin’s GQ column. There was someone who said the height of elegance (at least in summer) was a tan cotton suit, pink oxford shirt and black knit tie. I could swear it was Merkin talking about Frazier.

The blogger Maxminimus writes about the Davidson-Frazier-Merkin-jazz connection here, and there are also some remarks about Frazier and Charlie in this Merkin remembrance by Richard Carreno.

Here’s a great quote by Frazier in “Another Man’s Poison”:

What the hell ever happened to the sense of style of the campus, to undergraduates with taste?

Frazier died in 1974. Charlie Davidson has been around to witness ever further decline.

While in Cambridge I’ll also be checking in with Denis Black at J. Press and hope for a follow-up to my previous interview with him.

In addition to meeting with these old-school gents, I’ll also have a look at a certain old school founded in 1636, meet with Ivy Style contributor Zachary DeLuca and Giuseppe of An Affordable Wardrobe, and stock up on pipe tobacco at Leavit & Peirce.

Stay tuned for photos and reports, and in the meantime follow the antics on Twitter. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

16 Comments on "Old School: Road Trip to Cambridge"

  1. the next time you go to cambridge take a picture of of a harvard building that is IN cambridge, not allston. that photo is from the lame hbs (harvard business school) – home to shitty parties and clueless opportunism. take one of widener, or better yet sever hall, both IN cambridge, and both on the lovely tercentenrary theatre…

  2. Yeah, yeah… I already had to change this image once since I couldn’t find any ones I liked when searching for “Harvard Square.” I think that image came up when I searched for “Cambridge.”

    Thanks for pointing this out, Cordell, though your reading comprehension is a bit off: I didn’t take the photo.

    I haven’t left yet.

  3. Harvard/Yale is this coming weekend, too. Ivy at it’s best.

  4. Have a great trip. Don’t forget to try some of the great food along road in New England.

  5. Vern Trotter | November 15, 2010 at 8:06 am |

    What happened to the Andover shop in Andover?

  6. Another question I meant to ask: Is the Rake worth all that money?

  7. I woul love a post on classic bars and restauramts in the area

  8. Have a great trip!

    Mmm, pipe tobacco….

  9. Vern, I suppose whether The Rake is worth it depends on whether you’re an unrepenetant trad or someone interested in style in general.

    The current issue has a story on Harris Tweed by Boyer, and a story by me that touches on the midcentury monochrome look, with mentions of “The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” and Jack Lemmon in “The Apartment.” Rest of the piece was a bit tangential for our purposes here, so I didn’t post it.

  10. Christian,

    You bring back fond memories of Merkin’s wonderful pieces in GQ’s former life; best of luck in Cambridge.

    As a sidenote, I think the Rake is wonderful, and only wish that the publishers could do an online version for those of us in the States.

  11. Sean McCreery | November 15, 2010 at 1:57 pm |

    The picture is not from HBS. Unless you changed it since the first post. That pic is of Harvard Hall. Harvard Hall is a rebuilt building standing since the mid 1700s. It is in Harvard Yard and NOT the B school. Pshaw.

  12. Christian,

    Cordell is “style maven” Richard of Wasp 101 attempting to exact revenge.

    I’ll take my $50.

  13. nope.

    cordell is a harvard grad who does not cotton to the business school, or allston…

  14. Christian…hope you can take in the 127th edition of The Game on the 20th…still a great tradition.

  15. Christopher Tawney | November 19, 2010 at 2:37 pm |

    I’m going on a road trip to pick my oldest son up from his Cambridge college in a week or two. It was also my college and my father and younger brother were there. My sister was at Cambridge too, but at a women’s college. My second son has applied to Oxford. Sackcloth and ashes. I hope he gets in.


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