• Down to Earth(tones)

    Top Drawer | Dress Code  

    Photographed in New York, NY

    Noteworthy: John Wrajez, head of men's Ralph Lauren Polo, shows how the casual summer suit is done. What you don't see here are the cutoff chino shorts that introduce a welcome nonchalance.

    Sep 18, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • Own Your AM

    Top Drawer | Style  

    Recently, Harry's and I sat down over at their magazine Five O' Clock for a small feature they call Own Your AM. Hop over with a cup of joe in hand. We chat about mornings in my living room (my favorite room in large part because of the light pouring in from the north) and the coffee upon which it hinges.

    Sep 15, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • Rowing Blazers

    Top Drawer | Music & Books  

    It is finished. The love letter Jack Carlson and I have been writing to the elaborately striped, piped, trimmed, and badged jackets, and the elite athletes and clubs to which they belong, is finally finished. What took three years, 237 athletes, and thousands of trans-Atlantic air miles to and from Europe can now be had in a 9" x 12 " coffee table book. Rowing Blazers is essentially a gentle curtain pull taking you inside the highly atmospheric boathouses, campuses, and trophy rooms of clubs around the world. In that same spirit, I will pull back a curtain of my own, sharing some of my favorite shots from the book with commentary you won't find in the 255 pages of Rowing Blazers.

    This portrait of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss was the first shoot Jack had scheduled for the project. We were driving up to Harvard and I remember thinking, "Couldn't you have picked less intimidating rowers for the first shot?" Not only was Winklevoss the only name I knew in rowing prior to this project, but there were two of them. They couldn't have been nicer and more enthused to be a part of the project. We had them in and out of five or so different jackets they had each accumulated over the years. Ever the consummate professionals. And no, we never talked about Facebook.

    The hunter green and navy color-way of The King’s School Chester jacket, worn here by Christopher Bartley, is my English jacket of choice. As audacious as the English blazers can be, this one is quite wearable off the river. It is the bold stripes of the English that fashion designers have so eagerly pulled from. Ralph Lauren reinterprets it every so often. However, the fit oft leaves much to be desired. Many rowing blazers are infamous for fitting poorly, looking as if it belonged to your ugly uncle.

    So we'd clip the jackets as I gently pushed my point of view through styling. I'd tie a four-in-hand knot on everyone (the only knot you really need to know before 40), jam pocket squares into jackets, and often throw my sterling engine turn belt around their waists in a pinch. I recall Christopher’s shoes that day being quite square toed so I threw my Nike sneakers on him to introduce a lighter athletic touch, finished off with a haphazard roll of his chinos (sans socks of course).

    I shot quite a few group shots for the book. The University of London’s heavyweight four is my favorite. With many of the athletes, I'd have only 45 minutes to scout the boathouse or campus, compose an idea, style the rowers, and then create the portrait. This made group shots particularly...challenging. Even more so when you consider after each shoot, location scouting became progressively more difficult out of a necessity for variety.

    As brilliant as most trophy rooms were, we limited ourselves to only shooting in a handful of them. This is why I'm proud of this photograph in particular, because the University of London boys were at the tail end of our shot list. Which explains how we ended up in a narrow hallway of their boathouse. The moment that light pouring through the large windows hit my eyes, I became fixated on shooting them in this space in between...the space in between the routine of the weight room and the romance of the river.

    Portraits in the city were rare but Matthew Kochem's is one of the few I shot in Manhattan. Despite being cut from the book, it is one of my favorites. It turns out to be this quiet dusk moment outside the Cornell Club in Midtown. It has a metropolitan feel that refreshingly gilds the raucous boathouses throughout the book.

    Jack Carlson has represented the United States at the World Rowing Championships and raced for Oxford in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races. In 2013, he coxed three different boats to first place finishes in all three of the traditional international rowing regattas: the Henley Royal Regatta, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, and the Head of the Charles Regatta. The guy's amazing. A Boston native and an archaeologist by training, Jack is currently a Clarendon Scholar at Oxford University. It is Jack's immersion in the rowing culture that granted us uninhibited access behind the closed doors of this beautiful sport.

    Rowing Blazers is available at Amazon for $36.00. Tell your family, friends, and enemies. Thank you to each and every athlete who sat in front of my lens and to Jack for his vision and passion for this project.

    Sep 8, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • The Debonair

    Top Drawer | Style | Prep Essentials  

    When we caught up with Jason Pollak almost three years ago, he had just given life to Deja Vu Refinery. The pièce de résistance? The Debonair sunglasses. We immediately fell head over heels and have been basking in the sun in them since. Pollak is a product guy. His voice gets pitchy when he starts talking about his glasses’ 45 degree arm joints, historically accurate flat lenses, and custom lens colors (like beer bottle green and polarized beer bottle brown). In a previous life, he was a men's vintage clothing and accessories dealer with a penchant for iconic eye-wear.

    Deja Vu Refinery’s Debonair frame, smartly inspired by vintage Tart Optical Arnels, are handmade by master craftsmen from cellulose acetate (a high quality plastic that lends itself extremely well to coloration). They boast seven barrel hinges (not just five or, Heaven forbid, three), functional rivets, and rounded arm ends—an improvement on the Arnel.

    "What I'm doing is essentially vintage reproduction. It's something you've seen before but better."

    One need not be an eye-wear connoisseur to appreciate the meticulous attention to detail though. It is readily apparent Pollak has created something special. Each frame presented in a time capsule case wrapped in brown butcher paper adorned in idiosyncratic skeleton art. Pollak's personal wax seal finishes it off. The fact that it glows in the dark only confirms what we've known since discovering Debonairs—Pollak embodies an early 90s old-school cool.

    The Debonair ($135) is offered in 36 frame and lens combinations, polished to a shine or in a matte finish. While the translucent blonde hue isn't for everyone, the tortoise shells are as inspired as the iconic frames that came before. You can pick up your own pair for a limited time at 25% off with the discount code “CASTLEBERRY”. Each pair comes with a lifetime warranty and a grip of envious looks.

    Jul 15, 2014 | Permalink (0) View/Leave Comments

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  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Mink

    Top Drawer | Style  

    Say hello to Peyton Ladt. Easily one of the sweetest people I've met in New York, she smiles as if you’re the only person in the room. Over oysters at Leadbelly recently, a group of us were all swapping stories and I learned the Ladt girls—there's four of them in New York—share this mink coat that travels the city between them. A night at the opera, an evening gala, or New York City Ballet’s The Nutcracker could have any one of the sisters criss-crossing Manhattan to don the heirloom piece.

    The full length mink belonged to their grandmother. It still bears her initials on the inside. Somewhere between a Spring Creek and a Beach Point I knew I wanted to capture a vignette of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Mink memoirs. Wearing fur is about feeling luxurious...dramatic...there's an occasion to it. But it doesn't have to be precious. Wear it like a robe with a ball cap? Sure. What better occasion than over her vintage Bowie tee while singing like nobody’s listening.

    Feb 21, 2014 | Permalink (9) View/Leave Comments

    George left a comment on 2/26/2014 at 11:04 PM:

    So, preppies CAN smile! We see so many pouts, frowns, and blanks on the internet looking up “preppy” stuff. It’s reaffirming to know there’s a real person in back of it all. Gotta love those teeth!

    Bob left a comment on 2/26/2014 at 7:52 PM:

    Nice shot. Very nice.

    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 2/25/2014 at 5:43 PM:

    @Thad—I know they taste really good on the way down…with Tabasco ;)

    Thad left a comment on 2/25/2014 at 5:35 PM:

    Fred, what’s your experience with or knowledge of beach point and spring creek?

    David left a comment on 2/25/2014 at 4:19 PM:

    You are a quarter of the way done with this story.

    Peter left a comment on 2/25/2014 at 2:44 PM:

    I can only imagine the sort of stories this mink has been an accomplice to.

    Lucas Tingle left a comment on 2/25/2014 at 2:20 PM:

    Love this post. What a great story and concept - “if that mink had eyes.” I hope they keep a record of everywhere notable it’s been worn.

    Nancy left a comment on 2/25/2014 at 2:03 PM:

    I love you Peyton!! You’re adorable! (Also, all the Ladt girls are amazing).

    Leslie left a comment on 2/25/2014 at 1:26 PM:

    You’re outdoing yourself here.


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