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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OLD SCHOOL STYLE ON THE SLOPES | JEAN-CLAUDE KILLY

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

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Circa 1946 — (original caption) Hollywood Stars Ski at Sun Valley.  Active sports are the best things in the world to relax one after a session before the Kleig lights, and these Hollywood stars chose skiing as their sport. Shown on a crest at the famed resort at Sun Valley, Idaho are, left to right: Mrs. Gary Cooper, Jack Hemingway, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper and Clark Gable. Used by the Navy during the war, the resort will be opened to the public in the fall of 1946. — Image by © Bettmann

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With the snowfall upon us (and where I live, it will be falling until late April) it gives me a chance to induldge in my obsession with old school style on the slopes.  I want to be clear that I will not include snowboarding in this post– different sport, different style altogether.  I also want to be clear that this obession of mine is very rooted in the years 1967-1977, when I feel ski style was at its height.  I’ll get many an argument from all the Polo alumni that read TSY that the Sun Valley/Gary Cooper 1930s & ’40s look (above) is the ultimate; and while the snowflake sweaters, melton wool jackets, gentsy trousers (with zippered pockets to keep out the snow), and waffle stompers of that era certainly do have their appeal– I am more fixated with vintage Fila, Bogner, Descente, Addidas (very rare), Rossingnol, and Head.  Courreges did some skiwear in the 1960s for women that is highly prized by vintage heads the world over.  I have combed many a vintage store in Europe looking for an old school graphic Fila or Bogner coat in all its pieced, color blocked, and technicolor splendour so I could work it like a skier on the pro tour, circa 1968.  Who wouldn’t want to rock the, “just hit the mountain in Gstaad, heading to Chamonix, and then off to Aspen to wind down the season” look.

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Circa 1968 — Aspen, Colorado: French skier, Jean Claude Killy manages a smile for his fans after placing 3rd in the Roch Cup men’s downhill event here, March 15th. Killy’s legion of fans can be seen reflected in his sunglasses. — Image by © Bettmann

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Without a doubt, my obsession was fueled by Jean Claude Killy, the King of the slopes and one of the most stylish athletes of all time.  A world champion skier without peer– In 1966–67 Killy won every downhill race he entered, earning the first World Cup for men.  Killy also won the triple crown of Alpine skiing– capturing all three golds medals (downhill, slalom, and giant slalom) at the ’68 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France .  He was blessed with movie star looks, and came on to the scene when more obscure sports like sking acually got Saturday afternoon airtime, and the Olympics still tended to be a top two sports draw on TV.  Killy had ridiculous style and even more ridiculous skill.  He was, and is, how I want to look on the slopes– slim silhouettes,  graphic colors boldly streaking by on the turn, and geared towards peak performance.   Killy is one of those athletes I will always associate with the epic ABC Wide World of Sports.  I’m not sure how Jim McKay and Howard Cosell did it, but they mythologized athletes, especially international athletes, on the level of jet-setting movie stars.  I miss those dreamy days of my youth.  I miss how the lifestyles of the athletes of old had real class, and were larger than life.  Mostly, I miss their character, and how incredible they looked in competition– and everyday life.  They inspired me then,  and still do to this day.

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August 1971 — French Skier Jean-Claude Killy in Saint-Tropez — Image by © Apis/Sygma

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TSY STYLE HALL OF FAME | MILES DAVIS

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Trumpeter Miles Davis and saxophonist John Coltrane  performing at Jazz club Cafe Bohemia in New York City, ca. 1956.

Miles Davis and John Coltrane performing at Jazz club Cafe Bohemia in New York City, ca. 1956.

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Miles Davis had style for miles, so to speak…  Yeah, we’re walking a fine line of being tediously cliche, but the fact remains that whatever Miles did — music, women, heroin, dressing — he did it to the fullest. And like a true artist, his style was always evolving, innovative, relevant, and definitely full of surprises. You may not have always understood him, but you could appreciate his artistry.  Sometimes, that’s all a man can ask for.  People may not always appreciate how you go about things, but you can’t be denied if what you deliver at the end of the day is special.  Go ahead and read into that whatever it is you want…

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Miles Davis' style was always very thought out, there were no accidents -- every detail said something about him and was there for a reason.  It's easy to look at this picture and miss the subtle, but very telling, details.  Note-- the absence of a breast pocket on the sportcoat, or buttons on the sleeve, and the rounded club, or penny collar..

Miles Davis' style was always very thought out, there were no accidents -- every detail said something about him, and was there for a reason. It's easy to look at this picture and miss the subtle, but very telling, details. Note-- the absence of a breast pocket on the sportcoat, or buttons on the sleeve. The smooth, uninterrupted lines of the soft, almost invisible drop shoulder, close-notched coat collar, and the rounded club, or penny, shirt collar. It all adds up to a pretty specific look.

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HISTORY OF DENIM THROUGH THE AGES | WESTERN WEAR GOES HOLLYWOOD

I was in 5th or 6th grade, 10 years old, when I started making my own money. I’d go with my Mom on the weekends to the restaurant where she was working at the time out at little ol’ Litchfield Airport in Arizona. The place was called Barnstorm Charlies. I’d bus tables there, re-stock, clean-up, help out in the kitchen– whatever they needed. It made me feel independent, and like I had something to offer the world. I worked hard and didn’t complain– I was proud to have a job, and wanted to be the best employee I could be.

With my hard-earned little fistful of cash, the first thing I remember buying was a pair of Levi’s 501s. I still recall heading to the local Smitty’s, going through the stacks of shrink-to-fits looking for my size, doing the shrinkage calculations printed on the Levi’s tag in my head, holding that dark, rigid denim in my hands– and feeling a wonderful inner glow that’s hard to explain. It was the birth of an intense Levi’s ritual that is still a part of my life.

The preamble is meant only to let you know that denim, Levi’s in particular, probably means more to me than it does to most people.  It may sound strange, but denim represents all that I consider to be good and of value in the world. It’s  pure, honest, unpretentious, reliable, hard-working, American tradition that gets better with age. It doesn’t get any better than that in my book. The story of denim is forever entwined with the story of America. It’s part of our heritage, and a genuine American Icon.

Jack Benny, Dick Powell, Ken Murray, Bing Crosby on drums, Shirley Ross.

Jack Benny, Dick Powell, Ken Murray, Bing Crosby (in head-to-toe denim) on drums, Shirley Ross. Tommy Dorsey is just out of sight on the right on the trombone. Amateur swing contest, ca. 1939.

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LEGENDARY CLASH STYLE | FROM PUNK ROCK ROUGH TO SARTORIAL SMOOTH

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Joe Strummer of The Clash, LA 1983.  (Photo by Ann Summa/Getty Images)

Joe Strummer of The Clash, LA 1983. (Photo by Ann Summa/Getty Images)

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I don’t know if there’s a band that has inspired me over the years in terms of style more than The Clash. The way they could effortlessly mix punk and street style with sartorial flair and make it look so effortless and cool was intoxicating.  The mix of tailored suits with suede creepers, Doc Marten boots (back when they were a symbol of rebellion, rather than conformity) funky accessories and headwear was pure art.

The Clash definitely pioneered rock & roll fashion during the 80s and kept things tasty when the rock and fashion world was getting, well, wierd.  The true master of style in the band,  in my humble opinion, was not Joe Strummer or Mick Jones– it was the cool cat bass player, Paul Simonon.

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The Clash, legends of music and 1980's rocker fashion. Photo by Rex USA ( 88672C )

The Clash, legends of music and 1980's rocker fashion. Photo by Rex USA ( 88672C )

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THE ITALY TOUR DE FORCE PART I | VENICE & THE FULL MONTI

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Venice is all it's cracked up to be, only down part is that guys like me contribute to the very heavy "tourist" vibe.  And by heavy I mean prevalent, not fat.

Venice is all it's cracked up to be, only down part is that guys like me contribute to the very heavy "tourist" vibe. And by heavy I mean prevalent, not fat.

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After two flights, a lengthy layover in Madrid, and a water bus ride from the Venice airport that seemed to last forever, I finally made it to the homeland of luxury fabrics.  Veeral and I hopped the train to meet with Monti, the legendary shirting fabric mill that we proudly partner with for our custom dress shirts at J. Hilburn.

This coming Tuesday is the start of the Milano Unica fabric show which along with Premiere Vision in Paris showcases the best fabrics the world has to offer.  If you can’t find it here, you most likely can’t find it anywhere.  For product guys, it’s like turning a kid loose in the ultimate candy store.  We’re ready to be inspired, shop our brains out, and ultimately put out some incredible new products.

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Venice is high on charm, especially when get away from the gaggle of gaudy power-lux-brand shops-- riding the water taxis provides access to some pretty great views.

Venice is high on charm, especially when get away from the gaggle of gaudy power-lux-brand shops-- riding the water taxis provides access to some pretty great views.

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One of many water taxis that pump through the veins of Venice.  These guys have a pretty sweet deal in terms of quick cash, and a seemingly pretty cool gig.  Sure it has it's downside, but I couldn't see it from where I was sitting.

One of many water taxis that pump through the veins of Venice. These guys have a pretty sweet deal in terms of quick cash, and a seemingly pretty cool gig. Sure it has it's downside, but I couldn't see it from where I was sitting.

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