PHOTOGRAPHY OF HENRY HORENSTEIN AN AMERICAN ARCHIVE — HONKY TONK

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Jesus, take the wheel– Country music has done run itself off into a ditch.

The hollow Country/Pop crossover stars of today are more L.A. than Nashville.  They make Garth Brooks look like Hank Williams.  Video killed the AM radio star.  Henry Horenstein’s Portraits of Country Music 1972-1981 is a hugely inspiring photographic archive that perfectly captures the days when Country was C-O-U-N-T-R-Y.  The artists talked the talk, and walked the walk.  They had personality, talent, were characters, and yes– could be a bit corny as well.  But in retrospect, that too is part of the charm and allure. So take a spin.  Each brilliant Horenstein capture is better than the last, and makes me pine for simpler times– not to mention an icy cold can of Schlitz.

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15 July 1972, Billerica, MA — Don Stover was a bluegrass banjo picker from White Oak, West Virginia. He came to Boston in 1952 with the Lilly Brothers from nearby Beckley and they played together for over eighteen years at Boston’s Hillbilly Ranch. Stover had great influence on a generation of important young banjo pickers. He influenced Bill Keith who introduced chromatic scales to bluegrass as a member of Bill Monroe’s band and Bela Fleck, a bluegrass and jazz-fusion star. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

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1972, Boston, MA — Porter Wagoner Sitting on a Piano Playing Guitar (nice Nudie suit Porter) — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

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15 July 1978, Boston, MA — Lilly Brothers reunion show at the Hillbilly Ranch. The term “Honky Tonk” strictly refers to the type of bar that became popular after prohibition ended in the mid 1930′s. These bars were a little seedy and usually located on the outskirts of town. Honky tonks were a haven where a band could learn and hone its skills. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

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TSY STYLE HALL OF FAME | TOM WOLFE THE ORIGINAL THIN, WHITE DUKE

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“There are just two classes of men in the world, men with suits whose buttons are just sewn onto the sleeve, just some kind of cheapie decoration, or—yes!—men who can unbutton the sleeve at the wrist because they have real buttonholes and the sleeve really buttons up.”

The Secret Vice, by Tom Wolfe

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In 1952, a promising young pitching prospect out of Washington and Lee University showed up for a tryout with the New York Giants (the baseball Giants, that is– they hadn’t yet decamped for San Francisco).  The prospect made a decent showing: three innings, three men on base, no runs scored.  Good screwball, nice sinker, not much heat.  “If somebody had offered me a Class D professional contract,” says the prospect– whose name was Tom Wolfe– many decades later, “I would have gladly put off writing for a couple of decades.”  But the Giants cut Wolfe after two days, and he became a giant of another kind. (Via)

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

Recently, in the wake of the recession, Wall Street greed, and the wreckage of Lehman Brother, Merrill Lynch, Bear Sterns et al, the term “Master of The Universe” keeps getting thrown around to describe these fallen titans of Lower Manhattan.  Whenever I hear this term I always think of the man who penned it, my nominee for the TSY Style Hall of Fame, Tom Wolfe.

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1970s, New York City — Author Tom Wolfe — Image by © Bob Adelman/Corbis

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Cultural Chronicler is another term that also gets thrown around a lot– I mean one well reviewed novel and Bret Easton Ellis was the voice of his generation (I remember I lived through it), but few American wordsmiths can actually lay claim to writing about the people and events that shaped a lot of the last 50 years of the 20th Century as a largely inside observer, and in the process coining some phrases that became part of the popular lexicon.

Tom Wolfe always managed to get underneath the surface of events and reveal the most primal of human emotions-greed, arrogance, courage, humor, longing-and come up with phrases like “Radical Chic”, “The Me Generation”, “Social X-Ray”, “The Right Stuff”, and one of his favorites “Good Ol Boy” which he used to describe the racecar driver Junior Johnson.

Other than being an avid reader of Wolfe’s work I have a somewhat personal connection.  For a few years we lived in the same NYC neighborhood and while I can never say I spoke to him, he was impossible to miss.  A tall man, with an aquiline nose Wolfe was always decked in an immaculate white suit, high collar Jermyn Street custom dress shirt, splendid tie, pocket square that screamed dandy, white shoes, and occasionally white hat.  His style was very much like his writing, elegant but with a sense of humor and irony.  I mean who dresses like that anymore!  Yet Tom Wolfe looked crisp on the hottest of days.

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Tom Wolfe — the American journalist, pop critic and novelist, 1980. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

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TSY x GQ ITALY

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I’m very pleased and proud to announce that THESELVEDGEYARD will now be a regular VINTAGE feature in GQ Italy.  TSY debuted in the March 2010 issue, selecting 10 timeless, real men of style– and we look forward to a long and prosperous partnership filled with lots of authentic goodness.

So friends– please brush-up on your Italian and follow along.

Ciao,

JP

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Marlon Brando relaxing at home with typewriter, and furry little friend.  –Image © Murray Garrett

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James Dean on the set of “Giant” — Image by © Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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Steve McQueen displaying his signature, perfect balance of allegiance and rebellion.
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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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TSY STYLE HALL OF FAME | FRENCHMAN JEAN-PAUL BELMONDO

Jean-Paul Belmon*

JEAN-PAUL BELMONDO

Jean-Paul Belmondo

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Jean-Paul “Bébel” Belmondo, sometimes hailed as France’s answer to Humphrey Bogart or Steve McQueen, took the international film scene by storm in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 classic Breathless. Check out a primer of his best films here. Belmondo, the sexy and stylish star of the Nouvelle Vague (the new wave of cult French cinema), worked with leading directors from Louis Malle to Truffaut, and was widely heralded for his comedic and action star talents (he routinely performed his own stunts)– but for some reason, he never really connected with the mainstream American audience.

Jean-Paul Belmondo’s seemingly carefree chic and sensational style were no accident– he had an innate sartorial talent that was light years ahead of his peers, and remains the benchmark for classic French street style.  In fact, he’s easily one of the most legendary style icons of our time– no doubt about it.

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Jean-Paul Belmondo

Jean-Paul Belmondo

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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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LA GANG LIFE | DICKIES, THUGS & GUNS THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF ROBERT YAGER

When I was 11 or 12 years old, I learned all about the cholo firsthand. I had been born and raised in NY, when in grade school we suddenly uprooted and headed out West for a new start. After a brief stint in Anahiem we finally settled in Arizona– and we were flat broke. For a good many months we (mom, stepdad, sis, myself, and our Doberman pup) lived in a tent out in the alien desert north of Phoenix.

When the family finally scraped up enough money through my mom waiting tables at some greasy spoon and my stepdad running screw machines, we rented a rundown, roach-infested 2 bedroom trailer in Glendale, AZ.  I’ll never forget that place as long as I live.  The trailer park was directly across the street from the Glendale High School. It was anchored by an old, once-stately mansion that was cut-up into cheap apartments, and was surrounded by a sad assembly of rundown trailers and a couple white-washed shack homes.

It was the first time in my life that as a White, I was a minority– and boy did I stand out. I was a lanky stick with shoulder length, fiery red hair that I wore parted down the middle, and to top it off I also wore glasses. This was before the days of designer frames, people. I don’t think there was such a thing as cool glasses back then. I felt like I had a bull’s-eye painted on my forehead. I was fresh meat in a school of tough-ass kids who looked like nothing I’d ever seen before.  The guys all wore pressed Dickies khaki pants, white tees, and hi-top white Chuck Taylors. The uniform didn’t change, except come winter a large untucked flannel shirt, also pressed, and buttoned up to the neck was added to the ensemble. They looked as foreign to me as I must’ve to them. And the funky music, well I’d never heard anything like it– man, I still have Rick James’ “Give It To Me, Baby” ringin’ in my ears…

I quickly learned that if you start runnin’, you’ll be runnin’ the rest of your life. Better to stand and fight– even if you get your ass beat, you can still look yourself in the mirror, and maybe even gain a little respect. Soon enough I’d hear them say in the halls that I was ok– I put up a good fight. Damn if it wasn’t the roughest school year of my life– but I wouldn’t trade those days, even if I could. The cholo brothers taught me to stand up and not take any crap off of no one. I don’t by any means advocate breakin’ the law, but I do advocate findin’ your voice and letting the world feel the weight of who you are.

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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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