Thom Browne for Moncler, Fall 2009.


Eddie Bauer is credited for inventing and patenting the first quilted down jacket in America, back in 1940.  However, Moncler is synonymous with ‘down for the jet set’, and for Fall 2009 they unveiled Gamme Blue– a collection designed by Thom Browne.  The looks are classic Thom Browne in terms of tailoring, and the very ‘tight and trad’ color story echoes Moncler’s heritage.  Some of the looks are very editorial, and therefore down-right silly.  Others are just what you expect when you think Thom Browne + Moncler. 


Moncler’s story goes back to 1952 when they started producing technical mountain sports gear.  They say their first down jacket came about when the Moncler workers made them for their own wearing inside the factory during the colder months.  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?


Link to Gamme Blue story and images

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Confederate Motor Company | The Art of Rebellion.

Meet the F131 Hellcat Combat.

I have big dreams of getting a bike.  It’s a dream that most likely won’t be realized.  I read an article that stated the average age of a guy that dies in a bike wreck is– well, let’s just say he’s my age.  I thought for sure it would be the kid you see screaming by at insane speeds in a t-shirt and sneakers.  Nope.  Try the slightly older guy who wants to prove he can still keep up.  He has the money to indulge, so he treats himself to something special and soon finds out that his ambition outweighs his ability– and he’s toast.  I thought that was too big a sign to ignore.  The man upstairs is trying to tell me something and I’d be stupid not to listen.  Too bad– I had my ass-less chaps all picked out.

Founded in 1991 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by Matt Chambers, Confederate Motor Company set out to create machines utilizing a holistic, avant-garde process for celebrating the art of rebellion.  American rebellion is adopted as fundamental to the pursuit of personal empowerment.  They remain forever determined to challenge the establishmentarian view of what honest “new world” American industrial and mechanical design can be.

Link to Confederate Motor Company

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james dean jack purcells

This has always been one of my favorite shots of James Dean. We’re used to seeing him highly-stylized, flawless and in technicolor– but here he’s just a guy hanging out like anyone else. There are some shots of Dean that I can’t even look at. In Giant, his character ages over the course of the story, so they shaved into his hairline to make it appear receding, and gave him a creepy (and very Sean Penn-like) mustache.

When James Dean was killed in that horrible crash, he had just finished filming Giant and his natural hairline hadn’t grown back in– so he looked older than he actually was when he died.  That always seemed ironic and troubling to me.

My fascination with Dean started as a teen– he was my idol. I read something deep and mystical into the fact we had the same birthday. It was all about the angst and feeling like there is no one in the world that understands you– no one. I was sure that James Dean would have understood me.

Back then, a lot of the stories about his sexuality weren’t as widely known as they are now. I just assumed he was straight–he kissed girls in movies, so what was there to know? A lot, apparently  It was a shocker for me– a naive, straight kid growing up on Phoenix. The only point of reference I had for a gay person was Liberace, for cryin’ out loud. I remember reading about all the shenanigans on the set of Rebel Without a Cause– teenage star Natalie Wood having a tryst with director Nicholas Ray, who was in his 50s– James Dean (bisexual / bicurious) and fellow actor Nick Adams also supposedly involved– Sal Mineo, gay.Then the big shocker– Rock Hudson too. This was all a big surprise and changed my perception of the world.

It was only 20 years ago that I was in high school, but light years apart from today in terms of tolerance. I didn’t know anyone that admitted being gay or bisexual back then.  You just didn’t. Sure there were rumors and talk. All it took to be labeled as gay was to have what somebody considered a gay hairstyle or voice, or a little extra swish in your step. Being called queer was every kid’s worst fear. You just wanted to conform back then.

That was, and still is the appeal of James Dean, aside from his enormous talent and looks– he made being misunderstood cool.



1940s Deadstock Wrangler

check out the back pockets-

Handsome back pocket- I like the cool leather patch placement.



Back then, Wrangler jeans (and Lee as well, for that matter) used the same double arcuate stitch design as Levi Strauss on the back pockets.  Tsk, tsk.  I like the Wrangler coin/watch pocket shape and stitching in the picture above.  It looks very clean and modern for it’s time.  Wrangler was button-fly up until 1947 when they introduced a new model- the 13MWZ zipper front.

Link to Wrangler Company History

Steve McQueen | “The King of Cool”

Steve McQueen, CA 1963.

Steve Mcqueen is an icon–  and I still don’t think we appreciate this guy enough for all that he did in his lifetime.  McQueen personified the “anti-hero”.  A true man’s man who raced cars and motorcycles, and had a very enviable collection of both.  He even flew his own plane, for cryin’ out loud.  What a life this guy had.  He ran away from home at 14- joined the circus- joined the U.S.M.C.- went AWOL- was eventually honorably discharged- worked in a brothel- on an oil rigger- and was even a lumberjack.  Later he was an avid martial artist and friends with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.  It was McQueen that convinced Norris to take acting lessons, which could be considered a somewhat dubious distinction, but one that I’m sure Chuck greatly appreciates to this day.  

As seen above, McQueen was no stranger to the workout room and had an exercise regimen of two hours a day, everyday.  I love this shot for two reasons- McQueen of course, and his irrepressible charm- but also for it’s statement on simplicity.  It reminds me of life when things were simpler, and in my humble opinion- better.  To workout all you needed was an exercise bike, free-weights, jumprope, a chin-up bar and of course- a rope hanging from the ceiling.  

I remember when this was a part of phys. ed. class.  All of us anxiously lined-up in our tube socks, waiting our turn to try to pull ourselves up that rope.  If you could, you were the man, and if you couldn’t, well…  And look at what else- he’s wearing simple, classic grey sweatpants and they fit.  No fancy– wicking, moisture management, antimicrobial blah, blah, blah.  Cotton was the original, and still the best performance fabric.  

Steve McQueen was, and still is the one that every guy wants to be, and that every gal wants to be with.  Sometimes you just can’t improve upon the classics.

National Motorcycle Race. From the LIFE archive.


National Motorcycle Race


National Motorcycle Race II.  Helmet optional.  Floppy felt hat - a must.


I love everything about this shot. The cast of characters lined-up on their stripped-down bikes getting ready to tear it up, and the guys behind them buying coffee from the food truck all huddled together in their jeans, pea coats (which were probably their own from when they were discharged) and engineer boots.  BTW- the term “pea coat” is derived from pilot cloth or P-cloth, a coarse type of blue twill cloth with a napped face from which they were made.  

I don’t see any gals around– must have been too cold.