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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Vintage Crockett & Jones for Ralph Lauren on eBay: The Windsor

As I've sworn off collecting shoes that are not in my size, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to highlight a rare of example of the Windsor model made by Crockett & Jones for Ralph Lauren. Shoes featuring this design rarely come up for sale on eBay - if anything, you'll usually see pairs made by Edward Green on the 201 or 202 last. If I had to guess, I would date these to the mid-to-late 1980s or early-1990s, when Edward Green and Crockett & Jones actually shared a factory, making it quite easy for the companies to have also shared the broguing patterns necessary to make these wonderful shoes.

This pair will make some lucky size 8 feet very happy! You can find a link to the auction here.

The American Premiere of I Colori Di Antonio

The fellows at The Armoury were kind enough to extend an invitation to the US premiere of the documentary I Colori Di Antonio, a film produced by The Armoury in collaboration with director Gianluca Magliarotti. The documentary tells the story of Antonio Liverano, an Italian tailor of some renown (as well as a mentor of The Armoury).

The premiere will take place at The School if Visual Arts, and the screening will be followed by a question and answer session moderated by G. Bruce Boyer and featuring the director and Mr. Liverano.

The screening is one of several events planned to celebrate the grand opening of The Armoury's Tribeca location. I would encourage anyone with an interest in men's tailoring to attend. You can purchase tickets to the event here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hurrell: The Kobal Collection

Paul Stuart recently held a cocktail reception to celebrate the release of Hurrell: The Kobal Collection. The book features a collection of photos by George Hurrell, one of the great portrait photographers of Hollywood's Golden Age, who was known for his strong contrast black and white images, as well as his groundbreaking use of negative re-touching which revolutionized the medium of Hollywood portraiture during the 1930's and 1940's. The collection is named for John Kobal, a journalist and Hollywood photo collector who met Hurrell while he was on assignment in the 1970's. Kobal became something of a champion for artists like Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair and Ted Allen. The two became friends, while Kobal also went on to become an archivist and historian of old Hollywood stills, eventually authoring and editing over 30 books on the subject. As such, the Kobal Collection has become one of the most distinguished archives of Classic Hollywood imagery, containing the largest collection of Hurrell material in existence. Included here are just a few examples of the work that made Hurrell famous.

As for the book itself, it really is quite impressive and I would recommend purchasing a copy. Many of the images feature some of the great style icons of the era, including Fred Astaire, George Raft, and James Stewart. The portraiture is literally quite breathtaking, and really captures the elegance and glamour of the period. Interestingly, some of the images stand out because the actor or actress is featured in character. For instance, James Cagney is captured in full cowboy attire for what must have been a rare appearance in a western, while Edward G. Robinson appears in full Little Caesar costume. Many of the images, however, feature a number of Golden Age icons in "standard" full-on glamour mode.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Of Well-Dressed Hucksters, Shucksters, Shysters & Shamuses @ A Suitable Wardrobe

For those with an interest in the golden age of Hollywood and classic men's style, here's a piece that I wrote for A Suitable Wardrobe on the cavalcade of con-men, private dicks, gamblers, and mouthpieces that made up the bulk of William Powell's silver-screen performances from 1929 to 1936.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

An Uptown Dandy @ [words] bookstore, Sunday 3.23.2014, 3:00 p.m.

For those who may be interested and happen to be in the area, I'll be discussing The Best Dressed Man In The Room as part of local authors day at [words] bookstore in Maplewood, New Jersey on Sunday, March 23, 2014 from 3:00-3:30 p.m.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Apparel Arts, Winter 1936-1937

Around this time last year, I had mentioned that I had made the acquaintance of an avid collector of all things related to the last 100 years or so of the American menswear industry. We had originally worked out a deal for the 3-volume Italian set by Gruppo GFT, which I wrote about here. I was pretty blown away by the set when I finally got my hands on it - the black dust-cover showed some slight wear, but the 3-volumes were in absolutely pristine condition. As this collector also has a substantial collection of original Apparel Arts issues - and, more importantly, was willing to part with some of them - well, as Humphrey Bogart told Claude Rains, this looked like the start of a beautiful friendship.

Unfortunately, I was sidetracked with other things so only just got around to working out a deal to acquire a few issues last month. If I was blown away with the 3-volume set, this package just boggled the mind. The 3-volume set was advertised as pristine, which wasn't hard to believe because its only about 20-25 years old. The Apparel Arts issues are closer to 80-years old, and most copies that I've seen for sale are usually in less-than-fair condition, with ads cut out or clothing swatches removed. Which is to be expected, as these books were made to be an in-store resource.

And so I have mixed feelings about the issues that I received. The Winter 1936-1937 issue that I removed from the wrapping is the best condition that I've ever seen an Apparel Arts issue in. Even for an 80-year old over-sized hard-cover bound book, I would still rate this one as a 9 out of 10. Most copies that I've seen or purchased usually show signs of wear along the spine, at the corners, and along the edge of the hardcover. But this particular copy has a beautiful spine - so why is this a bad thing (full disclosure: I'm only kidding), you ask? Because the spine of this book is so tight that it audibly creaks when you try to open the pages, which is going to keep me from fiddling too much with this lovely piece of history. I think its safe to say that the pages in this book will only be seeing slivers of day-light going forward. The hardcover corners and cover edges are in great shape as well.

All-in-all, an exciting acquisition and an amazing addition to my collection.

Monday, March 10, 2014

More from The Armoury NYC

An Uptown Dandy & Jeff Hilliard at The Armoury NYC

I finally had a chance to drop into the Armoury NYC again, a few weeks back. I missed Jeff Hilliard the first time around, but we were able to meet this time and he gave me a quick tour of the premises. The store really is impressive, for several reasons.

I'm sure others have already waxed philosophical about the Armoury's new location here in Manhattan, so I probably won't be able to add very much. But at the risk of overdoing it, I don't think its much of a stretch to say that the store is quickly becoming my favorite men's clothing store. From an aesthetic point of view, the atmosphere is warm, inviting, and knowledgeable without being overbearing.

What really stood out to me is just how much the Armoury is actually contributing to the landscape here. I thought it would be impossible to say this in the internet age, but highlighting the craftsmanship and wares of select artisans to an interested clientele can still be done with taste. As I walked around the store, I thought about the items on display that I'd previously seen only via international travel or quicker (but less rewarding) trips around the internet. I've purchased Carmina shoes before, but only while traveling in Spain. I don't think I've ever seen St. Crispin shoes in  the flesh (or calf leather). Ring Jackets, Liverano & Liverano bespoke, as well as Ambrosi trousers - certainly, the discerning gentleman has much to look forward to on the racks (or in the trunks) at Duane Street.

I was also happy to find a copy of The Best Dressed Man In The Room (literally, the store is down to their last copy) on the shelves amongst some pretty impressive company.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Medium is the Message: Vintage 1970s Edward Green Shoe Box

I usually don't provide links to active eBay auctions (except my own!), but I thought this one was worth highlighting because it includes what appears to be a pristine Edward Green shoe box from the 1970s. I've never actually seen one before - usually, shoes from the 1970s have either already been worn or are new with the box having long ago been discarded.

These type of wingtips/loafers have never been my cup of tea, but its always interesting to examine a vintage pair of shoes like these to see how Edward Green's aesthetic has changed over time. The 88 last used here is certainly a classic (Foster & Son was still using this last until very recently), although the waist does not appear to be as narrow a what you'd find on a pair made today. In addition, the calf leather on this vintage pair lacks the deep burnishing that you'll see at the toe box and rear quarters of a more rcent EG production.

All of that being said, the retro design on that Edward Green logo is awesome.