• Ivy Style: Radical Conformists

    Music & Books  

    I had every intention of attending FIT’s Ivy Style exhibit opening night September 14th, but I found myself out of town that weekend. Several months pass, I leave Ralph Lauren, ink a lease on a Brooklyn apartment...life happens, but I finally find my way to The Museum the last weekend the retrospective is in town. This Ivy style shrine is here in large part because of generous contributions by Richard Press, The Cary Collection, Ralph Lauren, and Brooks Brothers. It was extremely gratifying to see up close originals of key iconic menswear pieces—the polo coat, rowing blazers, sack suits and the like.

    If you were not able to make it to the exhibit, fortunately for you Fashion Institute of Technology published a book chock full of historical articles by G. Bruce Boyer and Patricia Mears (deputy director at the museum), an interview of Richard Press by Christian Chensvold, and scads of old menswear illustrations and photographs. To my pleasant surprise, I found this copy of Ivy Style: Radical Conformists under the Christmas tree last month. It goes deep, very deep into certain aspects of the menswear movement...and as a menswear geek, it’s very interesting and educational. And frankly, the madras cover is tops.

    Jan 18, 2013 | Permalink (3) View/Leave Comments

    Anna Elizabeth left a comment on 1/20/2013 at 11:35 AM:

    I would have loved to see this exhibit! But I guess I will just have to buy the book.


    John Ingham left a comment on 1/18/2013 at 10:11 AM:

    Was lucky enough to be in NYC in early December and caught the exhibit. Wonderful and fun to see the historical roots of IVY up close and live. Great show.

    joe left a comment on 1/18/2013 at 8:34 AM:

    love the blog. never quit. what did you do at Ralph Lauren? did you work there?


  • American Beauty

    Music & Books  

    Some coffee tables are beautiful. Others can be beautified with books like American Beauty sitting atop of them. Photographs of gorgeous young women cover a multitude of [design] sins. Claiborne Swanson Frank is a fine art portrait photographer who previously assisted Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour. So she knows fashion and delicate souls. Frank gets everyone from Kick Kennedy (granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy) to Amanda Hearst to Devon Radziwill to Amanda Brooks to Lauren DuPont to Barbara Pierce Bush to sit in front of her lens. She essentially photographs her friends for this book—and her friends are stylish, pulchritudinous, and up to some very interesting things. You owe your house guests this one.

    Claiborne sitting in the back of her tomato-red Land Cruiser with her dog, Gator.

    "...I couldn't help but think of Slim Aarons and how Claiborne had opened the door to a world that seemed, after Slim's passing, to forever be closed."

    —Ivan Shaw, Photography Director, Vogue

    Jan 4, 2013 | Permalink (8) View/Leave Comments

    scaleworm left a comment on 1/31/2013 at 12:15 AM:

    Beautiful women here. I do Love female-based fashion photography. God Bless Bruce Weber for putting a shot in the arm of this art form in the 80s…

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 1/8/2013 at 4:15 PM:

    @Anne—Yes ma’am.

    Anne left a comment on 1/8/2013 at 4:11 PM:

    Was that Jenna Lyons sans glasses? in the all-jean look?

    Malibu left a comment on 1/7/2013 at 2:02 PM:

    Oh and @jack this is coming from a guy who is a quarter pacific islander, quarter cherrokee, quarter russian AND quarter cuban!

    Malibu left a comment on 1/7/2013 at 10:53 AM:

    @Jack- leave race out of this… Damn, that is pitiful

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 1/7/2013 at 9:46 AM:

    @Jack—The book does indeed include women of all races. I simply chose these women for their style or influence or both.

    Jack left a comment on 1/7/2013 at 2:00 AM:

    Pretty pictures, but it seems American just means white women doesn’t it?

    Danielle left a comment on 1/5/2013 at 7:10 PM:

    Loving these gorgeous images. Perfect coffee table book!


  • How To Be A Man

    Music & Books  

    As a man, if your education in dressing went something like this, “Here, put this on,” unbeknownst at the time, you suffered a huge injustice at the hands of your dad, mom, your ugly uncle—or heaven forbid, your mother-in-law. Glenn O'Brien has rightly observed that "looking good, or actually looking right, is not high on the cultural curriculum of the American male." And why should it be? Many of us spent the entirety of our childhood in costume. And for those who weren't, their clothes were neatly laid out on their beds for them each morning by their mums.

    Now, this is all good and well if your mom was Jackie O., Princess Di, or even C.Z. Guest. Odds are, they weren't. It is for this reason that I find Glenn O'Brien's How To Be A Man: A Guide to Style and Behavior for the Modern Gentleman required reading. Not only does O'Brien draw upon 30 years of sartorial expertise in expounding on style (versus fashion), but he delves into areas of behavior (how to deliver the correct insult anyone?), manhood, and philosophy. And it is all delivered in his trademark droll prose. Brush up on how to be a man...and make your ugly uncle proud at the next Christmas dinner.

    "If more men read Glenn O’Brien, women would have a lot less explaining to do.”

    —Kate Moss

    Nov 22, 2012 | Permalink (3) View/Leave Comments

    J left a comment on 12/5/2012 at 12:41 PM:

    @Tom, I read quite a few things that as a whole, I completely agree with and turn to for inspiration. There will always be parts though, that I do not agree with. This is what makes it your own unique style, the ability to draw inspiration from multiple sources and make it your own.

    Just curious though, what exact does he contradict that is in the book?

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 12/5/2012 at 8:45 AM:

    @Tom—I read every book I recommend/write about.

    Tom left a comment on 12/5/2012 at 8:15 AM:

    There are numerous anecdotes and pieces of advice in this book that your behavior and ‘style’ directly and aggresively contradict - have you actually read this?


  • November 2012 Playlist

    Music & Books  

    Listen on Spotify

    Nov 1, 2012 | Permalink (4) View/Leave Comments

    Andrea left a comment on 12/1/2012 at 2:10 PM:

    NICE! Thanks!!

    Andy M. left a comment on 11/30/2012 at 8:36 AM:

    YES!  Glad to see the playlist back.  Thanks Fred.

    NJGlenn left a comment on 11/28/2012 at 9:42 AM:

    Thanks Fred.

    Isabel left a comment on 11/28/2012 at 4:27 AM:

    Yes! Been waiting so long for a new playlist….cheers! :)


  • The Dangerous Book for Boys

    Music & Books  

    It was Albert Einstein who said, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot." By definition, that would make the crasis of Conn and Hal Iggulden's book The Dangerous Book for Boys very dangerous. They unveil with reckless abandon a brief history of artillery, how to  make a bow and arrow, fireproof clothing, build a treehouse, and make a battery from a stack of quarters—enough to keep a boy dangerous from eight until eighty.

    The Brothers Iggulden do manage to temper the score of "dangerous" activities with more, yet necessary, civilized fair. Understanding grammar, coin tricks, first aid, the game of chess, essential Shakespeare quotes, a rough list of books every boy should read (of which my favorite fantasy fiction The Lord of the Rings is included), and more are covered to produce an incredibly well curated guide to being a boy and becoming a man. It has effectively captured the imaginations of my 9 and 11 year old sons, not to mention my very own.

    "In this age of video games and cell phones, there must still be a place for knots, tree houses, and stories of incredible courage."

    —Conn Iggulden and Hal Iggulden

    We often lament we seemed to have more time during childhood—summers would last forever! This book will help you recapture those Sunday afternoons and long summers —because they're still long if you know how to look at them.

    Oct 2, 2012 | Permalink (7) View/Leave Comments

    James left a comment on 10/25/2012 at 1:08 PM:

    @FEC - well, thank you sir. I’ll take it!

    Matt left a comment on 10/25/2012 at 9:52 AM:

    This was one of the very first things I bought when I found out I was going to have a son. It was an instant favorite. From as early as 1 he would stare for hours at the bugs and fishh detailed inside and now that he’s (along with his little brother) almost 6 he’s moved on to the pirates, guns and battles. I love the idea of passing on the “old-school” information contained here. Its a refreshing change of pace to the digital addictions we’re prone to. I wish I’d have had a book like this at that age. This is a must-have for anyone with little boys.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 10/20/2012 at 8:28 PM:

    @Nia—How gendered the title is? It’s a book for boys!!! There is a Darimg Book for Girls written by Andrea Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz.

    Nia left a comment on 10/19/2012 at 2:41 PM:

    I don’t like how gendered the title is- but I’ve always been a Conn Iggulden fan and it is a marvellous book. It reminds me of going on camping trips during boarding school - always good to reminisce about those days!

    Peter left a comment on 10/19/2012 at 7:59 AM:

    Their ‘The Dangerous Book of Heroes’ (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dangerous-Book-Heroes-Conn-Iggulden/dp/000726092X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350651510&sr=8-1) is really worth reading too. It’s a wonderfully inspiring, moving book.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 10/19/2012 at 12:08 AM:

    @James—You are the coolest dad in the world!

    James left a comment on 10/18/2012 at 12:16 PM:

    YES! Have this book, love this book, use it with my boys.
    They don’t know it, so they think that I am the coolest dad in the world!


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