A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Despatch From a Book Signing (Enduring Style)

Yesterday evening, I dropped into the book signing for G. Bruce Boyer's and Maria Cooper-Janis' new book, Enduring Style. It is a lovingly assembled collection of family photographs of Gary Cooper, and also includes an essay by Boyer and a foreword by Ralph Lauren. The event was hosted by the Sartorialist at Leffot's on Christopher Street, so, in addition to meeting the preeminent writer on men's style, one could also peruse Leffot's excellent selection of men's footwear from Alden, Gaziano & Girling, Edward Green, Corthay, etc.

Actual book reviews from better writers than myself, such as Simon Crompton at Permanent Style (here) can be found, so all I'll say about the book is that its definitely worth picking up if you're a fan of the golden age of Hollywood and classic men's style in general. The packaging alone (the book and slip cover come are made from a brown canvas that looks and feels great) is worth the price, in my opinion.

The book signing was memorable in and of itself. Its a bit strange to come face to face (well, to be honest, I actually just stared from across the room) with people whose work you enjoy via the internet or print media. Unfortunately, I'm terrible at striking up a conversation to express heartfelt admiration for someone's work that may have struck me in a particular way. Nevertheless, it was definitely fun to be in the same room with people (and fellow Rake contributors :-)) like Christian Chensvold, Scott Schuman, and, of course, Boyer.

[As an aside, I also passed by Nick Wooster and Alan Flusser at various points in the evening. Mr. Flusser has a way with a scarf that is truly impressive, and Mr. Wooster had his natty urban guerrilla "stilo" in full effect - and it is just as interesting in person. I'm always struck by how classically elegant Wooster's look usually is from the knees up. His sartioral "twist," for lack of a better term, usually seems to kick in from the calves down.]

I actually did have a chance to speak with Mr. Boyer as he signed my copy of Enduring Style. I had planned on asking him to write something pseudo-witty, like "From One Rake to Another," but unfortunately (yes, I know, a pattern is developing), I was thrown completely off-balance by how pleasantly charming and well, nice, Mr. Boyer, was. He immediately identified me as "a fellow member of the tribe," which, of course, would have been the perfect little line to ask him to include with his signature. I managed to spit out how much I enjoyed his work before he commented admiringly on the soft shoulder and cut of the suit I was wearing (Bespoke, he asked; Ralph Lauren Purple Label, I assured him).

After a few more pleasantries, we shook hands. I looked at a few of the shoes on display in the center of the shop, gathered my things and prepared to leave. As I reached the door, a woman stopped me - she stared intently at my shirt (Charvet) and tie (Kiton), felt at the fabric of both, then pinched my chin and said, "Just a lovely combination," before sending me on my way (approvingly, I daresay).

And, with that, an altogether enjoyable evening came to a close.

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