Showing posts with label party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label party. Show all posts

Friday, 20 September 2013

I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman x The Last Tuesday Society, 21/09/13

   Next up for the dynamic duo of Rose Callahan and Natty Adams after the two successful carousels of tailoring and drink that were London's launches for I am Dandy is a 9pm talk on the book and the topic tomorrow evening at The Last Tuesday Society's The Orphanage Masked Ball tomorrow evening. It is held at The Adam Street Private Member's Club off The Strand, London. Apparently, debauchery follows directly afterwards

   Rose and Natty have some previous form at this sort of thing from a year ago in their stomping grounds of New York City, and as I know them to be garrulous and possessed of an awareness that guides their work rather deftly, they should leave a few quotes, anecdotes and admissions to stick in the mind. Indeed, on Tuesday night's Gieves & Hawkes signing party, it was Rose who summed up the labour of love that has taken her from her The Dandy Portraits blog to co-authoring its coffee table-bound evolution with a quote that encapsulates the personal ideals of at least some of the book's subjects: "Beauty and elegance matter"

   It will be my first time at the LTS rodeo and I haven't a mask to wear, other than what I let the world see. Still, if there's dancing to be done, rest assured of one thing: I'm your Huckleberry

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman - Take Savile Row

Photograph by the delightful Kira of Scarlet Fever Footwear. L-R: Guy Hills, Winston Chesterfield, Robin Dutt, Dickon Edwards, Ray Frensham, Rose Callahan, Michael "Atters" Attree, Zack MacLeod Pinsent, Natty Adams, Tony Sylvester, your author, Gustav Temple and James Sherwood. In absentia: Nick Foulkes and Amechi Ihenacho
   For every human alive or dead who has considered the maxim "Be yourself" a trite speed ramp on the fast track to a lifetime of misunderstanding and bullying, there are those who have fashioned idiosyncrasy and self-editing into an armour against the world, a means to traverse that of others, or a charismatic gateway to bring different people into theirs. Combined with a particular grasp of tailored masculine presentation and a dash of absinthe (to start with), it is those latter three categories that comprise the myriad subjects of Rose Callahan (photographer; The Dandy Portraits and Rarebit Productions) and Nathaniel Adams (writer; Lives of The Dandies and The Chap)'s photographic text I am Dandy: The Return of the Elegant Gentleman, released this autumn by Berlin's Gestalten. Apparently, there was room for the additional category of "Dashing Dork," because thanks to a recommendation from my dear pal Winston Chesterfield, Rose and Natty readily incorporated your author into the book, with a generous page allowance, several captures highlighting Rose's shutterbug talent and a molecular surgery-level editing of my ramblings that may have taken Natty 72 hours, not including naps

   Last night, the UK-based subjects took the stage alongside the creators at Gieves & Hawkes, No. 1 Savile Row, to see in the first of the book's series of international launches, before impelling a minor frenzy of mutual tie straightening and fabric comparisons. I kid. If anything, as a launchpad for the blatantly spreading fame of Callahan and Adams, and an opportunity for me to double fist with a champagne flute in one hand and a tumbler of delightfully caramel-accented The Balvenie scotch in the other, the night's success was a prepotent portent of the action that will follow in Paris and New York over the next 4 weeks. And through that process, two special copies of the book will have been signed by practically every man in it. More will be made (out) of that in time, I know

   In-between sampling from the abundant generosity of our hosts, our publisher and our sponsors - The Balvenie; Reyka Vodka, which I'm tempted to use in my next Gimlet cocktail batches for unexpected guests - I took the opportunity to acquaint and re-acquaint myself with a number of folk that I've connected with via The Mode Parade over the years - Davide Taub (G&H's masterful head cutter); rising tailoring star Michael Browne; Shoe Snob Justin Fitzpatrick; tiemaker Shaun Gordon; my drinking buddy, Giant Beard - and those I would have eventually encountered the more I shed my self-professed avoidance of scenes: the other British-based subjects of the book, around half of whom I've already befriended or met - nonpareil party host Guy Hills of Dashing Tweeds; diarist and master of arcane recall Dickon Edwards (clad, as expected in his "Double Dandy" look: one of the late Sebastian Horsley's velvet suits); "gentlethug" punker Tony Sylvester of Turbonegro; The Chap founder Gustav Temple, whom I've even written for (to say nothing of the real world friends who lent their support in person). I particularly enjoyed reuniting with Rose's black watch-clad beau and husband, Kelly Desmond Bray, and meeting Victoriana Boy Wonder, Zack MacLeod Pinsent, with whom I shared the most effete fist bump in history, what with us both wearing chamois dress gloves as we did so

   Also in attendance was the quietly sagacious Stewart Gibson, correspondent for - experiences with which loom large in I am Dandy's profiles - who has already written up his bemused impressions of last night's function. Intriguingly, his choicest descriptor - "representatives of a more considered contemporary dandyism" - was reserved for Winston and me, a generous stand to take on the appearance of a man wearing a bold Holliday & Brown archive print shirt and a Spider-Man pin in his buttonhole

Your author posing for the main event photographer, Khalil Musa, via Stylesight's coverage of the book party
   My actual thoughts on I am Dandy, having lived with my complimentary copy over the past week, and indeed on dandyism itself are topics for a later day. For now, I have to bask. Not in the prestige of being part of the project. Not even in the faintly ridiculous filmed interview I gave Gestalten five minutes after the bar was finally drained. And certainly not in having the spotlight shone on me and these other interesting individuals for one soggy London evening, knowing all the while who really merited the attention and feeling happiest that way. It's in the fact that this book is allowed to exist in this very world at this very time and people will care for it

   And also because in spite of ending the night in a tiny dive bar that was once a brothel (was it bigger on the inside in those days?) and being shot serrated daggers by a jittery man whose girlfriend gave me a friendly peck on the cheek, my head has remained pain free all day. Though that may be the only part I've gotten wrong

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Karaoke Shippai

   With my own personal Leather Lust Objects on my feet, a body in mod's clothing, a spring in my step and a song in my heart, I decided to go forth and take the microphone. No, there's no surviving audio - what do you take me for, a Guantanamo Bay interrogator?

   The object lesson of the night was to keep me away from hits that require an upper register, though one cannot discount my comedic falsetto when performing Timberlake standards. Basically, 'Paint it Black', 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' and 'Johnny B. Goode' are serviceable. 'Simply The Best' and anything sung by Axl Rose are not. Unfortunately

   I even found a little moment to do my dance - this must have been during 'Like A Prayer':

   And then it was over

   Postscriptum: Jacket sleeves and sides adjusted by Graham Browne Tailors

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Psyche Out - An Ensemble Dissection

Warning: this entry contains scenes of a carousing nature:


   Fun fact: not counting the Holliday & Brown Special Re-edition print on the shirt, the only vintage item is the silk paisley brocade tie; its red lining especially comes through under a camera flash. Of course, my semi-regular readers may know that I've quite the thing for vintage silk paisley brocade; exactly the sort of thing that deserves a comeback, if I do say so myself

   One may also note the lack of a pocket square/pochette. This is very much deliberate - the severity of a shirt in the overall ensemble can, and should, determine the necessity for extra adornments, particularly around the chest area. It is already commendable if one has complementary ties to hand, in this case, but it rather pushes the boat out a touch too recklessly to find a pochette when such a shirt already adds that eyecatching element. Dressing is always a balancing act

   Mind you, I could have done with a hat

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Smoking Shirt (Dance Dance Dance)

   Tintin said:

   So, I wonder what he would make of this:

   A flashback to more immobile times follows:

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Black Tie & Décolletage

   My reinvigorated formalwear rig recently received a public airing at a "Bow Ties and Cleavage Party" that indulged me in more ways than one. My J. Hoare/E. Tautz 1960s textured dinner jacket was perhaps the most iridescent piece on display that was not set in sculpted metal. Whether it also adorned a low cut front at any point is not for me to say

   (Fun fact: the term "décolletage" is often mistaken for "décotege" by anxious conservative Ghanaian mothers who secretly wish for their daughters to convert to Islam)

   It's necessary here that I caution against donning such garments away from club or home-based black tie evenings and formally minded social parties. This casual aspect of black tie should not be misinterpreted as being adaptable to any casual setting, nor should it be seen at business award ceremonies. And please try not to dress it down, no matter what fantasies Lapo Elkann and the word "sprezzatura" fill your mind with

   In my opinion, this sort of neutral toned flamboyance deserves nothing less than the full bore treatment, from my lapel pin to my dainty, opera pump-clad feet:

   Of course, I like sculpted metal also, but in the tradition of my clothing choices, I made it the preserve of  my shirt cuffs and my face:

   Not long afterwards, I was commissioned by an uncle over lunch to teach him the ways of the self-tying bow for an upcoming event. I hope that he was the best dressed man at the Kenny G concert and concomitant gala dinner he was to attend

   And like me, I'm certain he was grateful that only the excessive air conditioning of Ghanaian venues allowed for our appreciative show of Western eveningwear in a hot climate

Photographs by Barrak El-Mahmoud of Capture Your Memory Bank, Ghana

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Opera Pumped

   There are two spheres of thought regarding opera pumps: the punctilious one that holds it up as a whimsical and cherished avatar of formal tradition that proudly dates back to its 18th century antecedent, the court (dancing) shoe, and the anxious other that dismisses it as an feminising exemplar of menswear’s foppish Regency-era foibles that should have been laid to rest with Liberace and his wardrobe

   I’m a traditionalist with an appreciation for the ambiguous effect on the heterosexual psyche perpetrated by the likes of Prince, Michael Jackson, the cult of the bishounen and Jaye Davidson; one could discern my allegiance simply by learning that I possess a purple jacket, a set of bow ties, a number of pink garments and a mumu. Also, in some lost civilisations, the shorthand for “Dorky yet somewhat dashing” is “Barima”

   It’s also worth noting that duels, and therefore death through stab wounds, were something of a habit where fops were concerned. And as that era also happens to precede ours through the power of procreation, I, for one, am not going to be casting any generalised aspersions of a sexual sort

   If asked why my footwear has bows, I usually point to my neck and say, “One can never be too prepared”

   The defensive would feel the need to point out that bareknuckle boxers in the 19th century would don them to spend a few injurious rounds with one another, but this is hardly necessary. Opera pumps only truly stand out  within black and white tie ensembles when attention is drawn to them, and as it is most often women on pediwear-scrutiny duties, viewers tend to be appreciative on some level. Achieving such understatement with such fanciful detailing is a lesson worth heeding, I’d say

   You see, opera pumps also require a fine eye to go with that quiet-but-flashy sensibility. These days, tradition necessitates attitude (pride, not defiance) and that old classic masculinity, where in the past, they were merely mutual complements. The American sartorialists that I know or know of, living on a continent that regards dressing down as a catholicon of masculinity and relaxation, seem to bear a particular brunt for their tastes. All those menswear things that are relatively commonplace in Europe yet almost taboo in their areas tend to result in scrambles for acceptability: no wonder some of them come to regard the affected, peacocking neo-fops of Pitti Uomo as “cool”

   Modern sartorialists should not need affectation or trend hopping to be memorable. Refinement lifts us all up; common language flourishes when the foundations and details receive their due with pride. Without due consideration to why these things even exist, they will get away from us and – quelle surprise! – the terrorists win

   Yes, I’m for the pumps. I appreciate the sleekness; their appealingly aristocratic nature; the idiosyncrasies they impute to a man’s formal silhouette, the added kinetics they lend to my dancing. And they are now as good as deviant; that’s practically the only excuse I need

   If one is interested in stockists and cordwainers, this pictorial is for you. I love the iridescent shine of my Brooks Brothers/Peal & Co. patent model, as seen at top, but I’d be more than partial to the less conspicuous calfskin, particularly the Russian calf that Cleverley is known to offer

   For what it’s worth, I prefer the bows to be no more than lightly pinched:

Edward Green opera pumps rebranded as the Ralph Lauren Purple Label Orsett

 Brooks Brothers

 Moreschi Grant

 An unknown midcentury man in London; the woman's reaction behind him makes this ripe for comedy captioning

 Paolo of the Suitorial blog wears Allen Edmonds Ritz slip-ons. I also own them and neither of us are too fond of them, given their loafer-like last; they are nevertheless recommended as a less "challenging" variant

I think I also used to own that carpet

Monday, 4 January 2010

Cornelius - '2010' (1997)

   This bears a warning - it should not be listened to, under circumstances, by those of a nervous, or staunchly classicist, disposition. For it is perhaps the most gleefully childish and senses free cover of Johann Bach's piece that exists. And I say that despite being no authority on Bach covers whatsoever

   Every Cornelius album since 1995 has borne a cover of a reasonably well known song; this rather makes that year's somewhat disquieting fusion of Vivaldi's 'Concerto No. 3 From The Four Seasons' and Black Sabbath's opening riff to 'Iron Man' (complete with bizarre neo-psychedelic electronics and the title 'Pink Bloody Sabbath') seem like relaxation music by comparison. But then how else should a downloaded MIDI over drum'n'bass and wild samples from deep space satellites and the Oscar-winning classic Amadeus make one feel?

   As far as I'm concerned, pretty bloody marvellous; at least where the first few days of this year are concerned. Happy New Decade, and do I wish that I'd been able to post this last Friday

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Tonight's the Night For Steppin'

   Now and again, one could stand to use a little Cole Porter-inspired New Wave in their lives. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Joe Jackson:

Monday, 30 November 2009


And now for a post that doesn't feature me in it

   As an addendum to The Party Post, I'd like to reiterate that we're rolling headlong into the party season; a time of frivolity, stupidity, overconsumption, enjoyment and your parents being overly embarrassing/overly affectionate/overly or not so overly generous/overbearing pompous asses. For those of you who have more strings to your social bow than the ritual cheese overload and rite of humiliation/schadenfreude/sexual misadventuring that is the office Christmas Party, get dressed to express, impress and flounce the night away in as strut-worthy a manner as possible. Be glamourous. And if you cannot, be mildly insane:

Sammy Davis Jr.

From the aptly named Iconic Photos, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson in a London nightspot in 1936. The photographer, James Jarche, covertly concealed his camera in his bowler for just such an occasion. When did the paparazzi stop being so creatively underhanded? Today, such deviousness means that you're also paid to write about it or are reporting to a superior in at least one governmental departmment

Alain Delon

Claus von Bulow; socialite, theatre critic and Man With a Dark Side

Truman Capote accompanied by then Washington Post president Katherine Graham at his Black and White Ball, November 1966

Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones; the suit is actually an appealingly carefree shade of purple

Keef's bandmate and dandy drummer par excellence, Charlie Watts, in good company

On the far left, Julian Ormsby-Gore, late son of the also belated David Ormsby-Gore, 5th Baron Harlech and diplomat, accompanied by his sister, Victoria, and interior designer David Mlinaric, who sports a Mr. Fish suit since donated to the Victoria & Albert Museum. Alongside the other Ormsby-Gore siblings, the lifestyles of all three existed at the intersection of rock, aristocracy and hippydom during the Swinging 60s; Mlinaric was once asked to leave Annabel's for his flagrant sporting of a white suit. I can't help but approve

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick

Liliane Bettencourt with her late husband, André

The late Brooke Astor, long-lived socialite and social activist

Antonio Azzuolo A/W 2008

Renowned operatic soprano, the late Maria Callas

A recently departed pop colossus

   Note the stylish proliferation and use of accessories, from signature eyeframes to louchely held cigarettes, nonchalantly draped scarves to ethnic jewelry, studded sparkling belts to lustrous furs. Looks that kill

(Author's note: I'm shocked at how easily the opening paragraph wrote itself. Misanthropy Mode has its advantages. Perhaps by (re)attaching my "Keep Away" sign to my forehead over the holidays, I may finally get to catch up on my reading)

Monday, 23 November 2009

The Party Post

Photograph by Daniel Barnett

   Always wear something interesting to a party, even when it's a costume. Parties are a dime a dozen for the average social animal, so don't count on the atmosphere, guests and copious alcohol consumption to make it memorable (especially the last one, unless your braincells happen to be of singularly resilient genetic stock)

   The most "young" party-friendly piece I own is the tailored tracksuit-derived jacket from Junya Watanabe Man S/S 07, which, perhaps too literally, puts the "sport" in "sportjacket." At least a third of its brilliance rests in the fact that it's publicly unwearable beyond flamboyant social occasions and the occasional "Go to Hell" day. Another third is that the construction is absolutely amazing, showing off an array of decorative stitches and nylon strips set on top of practically seamless patching and shaping. It looks utterly insane... and it's nevertheless an utter dream to wear, even moreso than the more subtle trenchcoat I wear from the same collection. It pairs well with rollnecks, with bowties, with scarves and very judiciously selected neckties

   Despite being my second choice for the Psychedelic 60s party I swaggered about at recently, as displayed above, it proved a hit where accuracy was concerned (I aimed to channel a fusion of Jimi Hendrix and The Who's Pete Townshend, though suffice to say, a combination of Nutter's and Mr. Fish was my ideal. It helps to actually own such things first)

(Author's note: the hat was acquired at a party; I awoke wearing it the next morning and I never saw its previous owner again. I do hope she's not missing it much, six years down the line)

   As for more traditional, and sedate, occasions, you cannot go wrong with the old black tie. If inclined, or required, to jazz it up, I find a patterned white scarf and a crushed velvet double breasted go a long way, even when everyone else at a "Black Tie With a Hint of Après-Ski" party is dressed more ostentatiously:

What do you like to wear to parties?

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Weekend's Worth of Troublemaking

   I will endeavour to come up with some more substantial (ha!) posts presently. To take up some room, I enclose a party photo from over the weekend at an event hosted by my friend at Tekkstyle. Themed "Le Freak, C'est Chic," it was generally agreed that I erred more on the side of chic compared to most - I simply aimed for a slightly exaggerated version of myself by maxing out on the old accessories, though it doesn't entirely compare to the shock factor of simply wearing either of my Junya jackets. I'd have shot a full-length and taken my own photos, but... something has happened to my camera that may not be rectified for some time. That's life

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Prohibition! Or, The Perfect Name For a Club Night in Booze Britain Is...

   I could wax lyrical about the atmosphere, the music, the number of attractive flappers, the teacups, the dancing and the play gambling, but I trust the photos truly speak for themselves. This is Prohibition: