STEVE MCQUEEN, RICHARD AVEDON & RUTH ANSEL | HARPER’S BAZAAR, 1965

At first look there are obvious reasons to love this (February, 1965) cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine– Steve McQueen of course, and the amazing photography of the legendary Richard Avedon. But there is another visionary manifested here, not often spoken of, especially back when this was on the newsstand. Ruth Ansel.

Ruth Ansel was a female pioneer in the world of graphic design. To read Ruth’s tales of her early days working with legends and creating a burgeoning new art form is fascinating– even though I’m not a graphic designer myself, there is so much that I appreciate and admire. An interesting footnote– 22 year old Ali MacGraw (pre-McQueen days) worked under Diana Vreeland at Harper’s Bazaar until she was finally convinced by a bevy of photographers to get out from behind the camera and strike a pose. And the rest is history, as they say…

When Ruth Ansel put Steve McQueen, photographed by Richard Avedon (also the guest editor), on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in 1965, it was the first time a male appeared on the cover of a women’s fashion magazine. 

“Point to an iconic magazine cover of the last 40 years, and chances are it was designed by Ruth Ansel. Since 1961, when she talked her way into the art department at Harper’s Bazaar, Ansel has defined the look of some of America’s visually influential publications. In the 1960s, her work for Bazaar captured a transitional moment in fashion and society. In the 1970s, she became the first female art director of The New York Times Magazine and in the 1980s she created the look of Vanity Fair.”

–Carol Kino

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THE ITALIAN PRINCE OF PRINTS | RENAISSANCE MAN EMILIO PUCCI

Emilio Pucci is a name synonymous with incredibly chic prints that rocked runways, movie stars, and rich socialites alike during the ’60s & ’70s. (Sophia Loren and Jackie Onassis were among the many fashionable tastemakers to follow him — and Marilyn Monroe was even buried in a Puci dress.) His look was so signature in its modern, graphic designs and rich colorations that you could literally spot a Pucci a mile away. Emilio Pucci’s look became iconic, and lives on as an ever-present influence in womenswear today.

His design talent notwithstanding– I’ve always found Pucci’s personal story even more colorful than his designs. Born with noble blood, the young Pucci enjoyed a life of academic excellence (earning his Master’s degree Social Science from Reed College in Oregon, along with his Doctorate in Political Science from the University of Milan), civil service (Pucci rose to the ranks of Captain and served as a torpedo bomber pilot in the Italian Army during WWII, he even befriended Mussolini’s daughter and aided her escape from Hitler’s vengeful grasp), and was an accomplished athlete who was on Italy’s Olympic Ski team. It was his love of skiing that first led him to design outfits for his team at Reed college. In 1948, while on a trip to Switzerland, Pucci’s striking ski designs this time caught the eye of a Harper’s Bazaar photographer, and set his career as a fashion designer in motion. Stanley Marcus was an early supporter of Pucci’s and was instrumental in establishing him in the US. The rest, as they say, is history.

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1959, Florence, Italy — The legendary fashion designer, Emilio Pucci, with examples of his work. — Image by © David Lees/Corbis

1959, Capri, Italy  — The Florentine fashion designer, Emilio Pucci, lunching with his wife Christina. Pucci once had the guitarist who is serenading them flown to London to lend authentic Italian atmosphere to a show. I love this picture. — Image by © David Lees/Corbis

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ADVENTURES IN CAMP VIBES | POLER CAMPING STUFF

— Image by © Benji Wagner

Poler Camping Stuff is now firmly on my radar. While catching up with Chad & Sam (love them) from Secret Service / Crate at Project in Las Vegas, the subject of camping came up– Chad immediately went into how incredibly awesome his buddy Benji Wagner’s straight-up, laid-back camping line is. So I strolled over to the Work Room exhibit to check out Poler for myself– damn if he wasn’t right. It’s too freakin’ easy to geek-out over camping gear these days– and get your wallet gouged in the process.

Poler is honest-to-goodness, well made stuff that is made for road trips and adventures where quality, value, and honest design is desired over over-priced, tricked-out techy gear. It’s a solid line of tents, sleeping bags (check out the Nap Sack coming soon), apparel and packs that I was innately drawn to for its clean design, price, and honest attitude that appreciates that not every outdoor adventure is about scaling Mount Everest. Sometimes nature calls and you just want to bungee your gear to the bike, hit the open road, and setup camp with nothing more in mind than drawing on a cold PBR by the campfire and chillin’ with your crew.

Benji, also a badass photographer, snapped all the pics seen here, and has a pretty cool tumblr site for Poler that perfectly captures the nostalgic romance of the outdoor lifestyle. Check it.

— Image by © Benji Wagner

— Image by © Benji Wagner

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THE GQ 2011 BEST NEW MENSWEAR DESIGNERS IN AMERICA NOMINEES

This came across my desk late last week, and I was delightfully surprised to see that good friend and comrade, Doug Conklyn of Dockers, will be on the esteemed panel of judges. Nice. Doug and I worked together at Polo Ralph Lauren, Hartmarx, and Lilly Pulitzer— he’s easily one of the coolest and tastiest guys I know.

GQ magazine has announced the six finalists for the 2011 Best New Menswear Designers in America competition — their initiative to get behind the home team, and keep American designers strong. Also — each of the finalists will contribute designs to a special collection for Dockers that will be be released this Fall.

The nominated designers are–


Warriors of Radness designer Rick Klotz – Pure, Adrenaline-fueled ’80’s surf / New Wave radness. 

Patrik ErvellDefinitely the most modern designer of the bunch, don’t look for Patrik Ervell to wave the “old-timey” Americana flag, as his mind is clearly on what’s next, not what was.

Riviera Club designers Joe Sadler, Derek Buse, and Greg Ullery – California’s answer to East Coast prep, with a healthy infusion of laid-back West Coast vibe.  

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1950’s BRIONI ROMAN STYLE TAKES TINSELTOWN | SACKING IVY STYLE

Tailor Nazareno Fonticoli & socialite Gaetano Savini founded one of Italy’s most iconic fashion brands in Rome, 1945.  The pair wanted a name that would evoke both the ultimate in luxury, as well as being short and memorable for the American, fashion-forward men they were targeting. They chose “Brioni” — a small island off the coast of Croatia (once owned by Italy), that was playground to the rich and famous.

Fonticoli’s sartorial skill and Savini’s social networking prowess proved to be a potent one-two punch that rocked the boxy Ivy League sack suit, and stuffy Savile Row, back on their heels.  Their reputation and legend grew strictly by word of mouth, as Hollywood’s biggest stars (Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, and John Wayne to name just a few) became faithful customers and highly visible spokesmen for Brioni– a brand that would not see the need or desire to advertise in the traditional sense until some 40+ years later.

Along the way, they set the gold standard by preserving and innovating the art of fine Italian tailoring. In 1978, Brioni opened what is now one of Italy’s most highly regarded tailoring schools– offering a four-year program that not only keeps Brioni’s own talent teeming, but also the world’s best fashion houses and clothiers.  Bravo!



Brioni Roman Style S.p.A. co-founder, Gaetano Savini with handsome Hollywood icon, John Wayne.

In 1960, the young tailor from Abruzzo and the entrepreneur from Umbria made their mark as the world’s ambassadors of Italian Sartorial excellence.  Brioni melded ancient sartorial principles with modern industrial organization, thus staying ahead of evolving fashion trends and technology. via

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LEVI’S PHOTO WORKSHOP | CELEBRATE NYC – THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S MUSE

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EMBRACING AND CELEBRATING THE MODERN-DAY PIONEER SPIRIT OF AMERICA, LEVI’S FOLLOWED-UP THEIR SAN FRANCISICO PRINT SHOP WITH THE NYC PHOTO WORKSHOP @ 18 WOOSTER STREET IN SOHO AS PART OF THEIR “READY TO WORK” GO FORTH™ CAMPAIGN.  LOCAL ARTISTS, COMMUNITY GROUPS & NON-PROFITS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE STAFFED, PROFESSIONAL GRADE PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO, COMPUTERS, AND PRINTING RESOURCES (PROVIDED BY ZAZZLE) TO CREATE WORKS THAT CAN BE EXHIBITED AND SOLD AT THE WORKSHOP THAT RUNS THROUGH DECEMBER 18TH, 2010.

IN SPEAKING WITH JOSH KATZ, HEAD OF COLLABORATIONS AT LEVI’S, IT’S CLEAR THAT THIS IS AN EARNEST AND ADMIRABLE EFFORT STEMMING FROM LEVI’S CORE BELIEF THAT BRANDS HAVE A CERTAIN OBLIGATION TO THE PEOPLE THAT WEAR THEM , TO SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS THROUGH PRODUCTS, AND TO BE RESPONSIBLE MEMBERS OF THEIR COMMUNITY.  CUDOS, AGREED.

DEFINITELY CHECK IT OUT.  LEVI’S HELD NOTHING BACK, DOING AN AMAZING JOB.

MORE INFO AND A FULL CALENDAR OF EVENTS IS POSTED HERE

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THE TRENCH COAT MAFIA | ICONIC OUTERWEAR THAT’S ALWAYS IN STYLE

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“The trench coat is the only thing that has kept its head above water.”

–Jack Lipman

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Having spent years ridin’ the rails on the commuter train in-and-out of Manhattan, there are clearly two leading outerwear icons that are inescapable– the Barbour Beaufort, and the timeless Burberry Trench. Both are must-haves for the Northeastern climate in terms of their functionality, versatility and style.  It’s not uncommon at all the see a Barbour over a sportcoat or suit, although I oft feel the length and proportions are somewhat off– not to mention I like to keep the Barbour waxed within an inch of it’s life, and therefore it’s not exactly the best companion for co-mingling with tailored clothing.  For me, there’s nothing better than seeing a seasoned, well put-together professional sporting the old school classic essentials– Ghurka bag, Burberry trench, J. Press suit, and cordovans.  The trench is tearin’ up the runway right now, but don’t buy it for the reviews– wear it for its epic merits.

Now, if only proper headwear would make a comeback– and I’m not talking about knit caps.

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1985– Artist David Hockney Smoking Cigar Outside Barn. –Image by © Michael Childers/Corbis

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NOTES FROM THE SF UNDERGROUND | MAN UP, AND THE NEW MAIN STREET

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From the desk of Contributing Editor, Eli M. Getson–

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In the last few years we have been inundated by Washington and the media with news about the decline of “Main Street”.  I have to admit I have never been to this mythical place.  By the time I entered my consuming years, Main Street had long been shut down and all commerce was conducted at the rather impersonal confines of the local mall.  I imagine this mythical Main Street was a place with unique shops and businesses, where you not only went to buy a few things but catch up on local events, meet friends, and could even say hello to a proprietor by name (bit different then trying to get Hunter or Missy to help you at Abercrombie).  The customer mattered on Main Street; things were a little slower and had a lot more soul.  It was the opposite of the poor service, disposable products, and hassle that defines today’s buying experience.  I mean, I’m not for reckless consumerism, far from it– but shouldn’t buying something special for yourself be fun and painless?

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Worst Main Street, May 1951 –photo by Francis Miller

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The best way I can describe the Man Up pop up market that happened this past weekend is this– it’s part 1950’s trade association, part block party, part Hippie co-op (it is San Francisco after all), part European open-air market, and all punk rock garage band.  Having been in the menswear industry for the last twenty years, I’ll admit– I’ve become a bit jaded.  I thought what I would find were a bunch of hipsters, and I hate hipsters.  What I found were serious business owners– whose passion for their product was infectious, and who are strongly dedicated to producing well-made products that last, and make ’em right here in the USA.   I found a new business model that cuts-out the middle man and creates a deep loyalty between the consumer, brand, and owner/operator.  I found business people who were generous, passionate, knowledgeable, and friendly.    I think I found Main Street in the age of social media.

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BUNNY ROGER | BRITISH STYLE ICON YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF

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Legendary Style Icon Bunny Roger fiercely donned.  He invented the tight-cut Capri trousers while on holiday on the island in 1949, and by the 1950s he was sponsoring a neo-Edwardian silhouette – four-button jackets with generous shoulders and mean waists, lapelled waistcoats, high-cut trousers – for plain, checked and striped suits. Accessories, whether a high-crowned bowler or ruby cuff-links, were indispensable.

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As a menswear nut, I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit fawning over the sartorial splendor of the innovative, meticulous (and arguably neurotic) Prince of Wales.   And if you’re a true fan of the man credited with such style staples as turn-ups (trouser cuffs) and the Windsor knot (neckwear), you’d definitely be remiss in not knowing about the one and only– Bunny Roger.  Quite honestly, he’s definitely an acquired taste, and the dandy of all dandies– and now fabulously back in the spotlight with a recent inspiration nod from John Galliano.  Bunny Roger, with his epic style and fabled colorful persona is the definitely the yin to the Princes’ yang.  Bunny possessed a bold flair for tailoring and attitude that rivals his regal peer in terms of eccentricity, inspiration, and attention to detail.  To simply say he’s an original does not do the man justice.

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Circa 1951– Neil Munro (Bunny) Roger, (1911–1997), by Francis Goodman © reserved; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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From The Guardian–

Bunny Roger was probably not the most fearsome soldier the allied army has ever had in its ranks. Fighting for the British Rifle Brigade during the second world war, he went to battle wearing a chiffon scarf and brandishing a copy of Vogue. Once, when his sergeant asked him what should be done about the advancing enemy troops, Roger, who liked to wear rouge even with his khakis, replied, “When in doubt, powder heavily.” When he ran into an old friend in the hellish, bombed-out monestary of Monte Cassino in Italy he responded to his pal’s incredulous “What on earth are you doing here?” greeting with one word: “Shopping”. As dandies go, Roger wasn’t a massive spender – he bought a mere 15 suits a year from his London tailor, Watson, Fargerstrom & Hughes, but, boy, was he ever particular. He liked exquisitely cut tartans, Edwardian-style jackets in pale shades of cerulean blue, lilac and shell pink, sharply tapered at the middle to show off his astonishing 29-inch waist. Roger, like all proper dandies, rivaled Oscar Wilde in the one-liner department. When a gobby cab driver yelled from his window, “Watch out, you’ve dropped your diamond necklace, love,” Roger replied, in a flash, “Diamonds with tweed? Never!”

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Shots From the Sotheby’s catalog– Bunny’s (along with his brother’s) belongings were auctioned off back in ’98 where several of Bunny’s neckties were snatched up by none other that uber-smooth crooner Bryan Ferry.

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