I was interviewed by Nicholas Atgemis of Le Noeud Papillon, who makes beautiful silk bow ties and men's accessories. If you ever had questions about the project (Who was the hardest person to convince to be part of The Dandy Portraits?) this may be a good read :)
This dapper young man is Stephen Pulvirent of the blog Simply Refined. I met him a few days ago when he was visiting from Chicago. As luck would have it we were both stopping in to say hi to Bruce Boyer while he signed books at the Paul Stuart store. We all continued the evening at the Blue Bar by the Algonquin Hotel, and listened to Bruce tell his tales. Stephen's blog is elegant and a great read about gentlemanly endeavours. As Stephen puts it, "a gentleman doesn’t just dress with style, he lives with style". Of course, I agree.
The dapper gent here high above Lexington Avenue is Savile Row master tailor Steven Hitchcock on his last visit to NYC in October 2011. He makes several visits each year to meet clients and do fittings, and to do his part to bring a bit of the Row to the city. Bruce Boyer thought I would enjoy his personal flair, as well as his unique story of, essentially, growing up on Savile Row, and learning his craft from the legends at Anderson & Sheppard. Check out his story here.
Here are a few glimpses of Steven's amazing duds, and his temporary atelier in the Benjamin Hotel. Behind the scene was Steven's lovely girlfriend, Celia. They welcomed me warmly and good laughs were in abundance.
Doing a bit of alterations for a last minute fitting. Steven is the son of John Hitchcock, head cutter at Anderson & Sheppard, and he began as an apprentice coat maker there when he was 16. At the time Steven thought he might work as a mechanic, but after getting a taste of the sometimes star-studded world of A&S, he thought otherwise. After years learning his craft at A&S he set out on his own in 1999.
Dr. Andre Churchwell, the esteemed cardiologist from Tennessee, recently visited NYC, and Bruce Boyer thought we should meet. I think he was right! Here you see Dr. Churchwell sporting his "mill suit" inspired by the Duke of Windsor, and tailored by Leonard Logsdail. This suit makes a terrific impression, and it seems to have become quite legendary - I mean, it has it's own name! He likes to add vintage touches - like these bright yellow felt braces and tie bar - but prefers bespoke suits, as do his two brothers whom I have yet to meet (but you know I will!).
The frames he wears are bespoke, too, inspired by glasses Cary Grant once wore. This detail goes only part way to describe Dr. Churchwell's fine-tuned fascination with classic films, and the clothes worn by those legends of style. And as we walk we talk about how being a gentleman is not just in how a person dresses, but in their actions - or as Dr. Churchwell puts it - in their civility to each other.
Stopping in for a visit to his longtime tailor, Len Logsdail.
I just love these amazing embroidered vintage braces! The suit and colors are classic and a bit understated, and then open up the jacket and voila! Having fun, but always the gentleman.
Ouigi Theodore of Brooklyn Circus, at the book signing for Gary Cooper: Enduring Style at Leffot, NYC, Nov 15, 2011. Finally got to meet "The Bearded Man"! I definitely want to do a profile on this singular fellow.
The one and only Massimiliano Mocchia di Coggiola. The lure of stories I heard about his style, his home, his grand life, brought me to Paris. What an experience it was!
Italian born Massimiliano and his lovely American wife Sorrel gave a warm greeting, and I began to try to take in all the details. Walking into his space I felt the Parisian architecture - the height of the ceiling, the strong sunlight filtering through tall narrow windows, the ornate molding. They talked about how much they loved to throw parties, and I imagined what a fantastic place to come to at night and get lost. One can feel distinctly that living is a fine art for this young couple, and dressing, above all, is the highest art for Massimiliano.
There is a whole room dedicated to Massimiliano's interest in dandyism. As a historian and author he has fantastic collection of rare books and ephemera which share space with his collar pins, cologne, cufflinks, top hats, and at least one powdered wig. I began making portraits, and once we were done with one suit Massimiliano would duck back into his dressing room - which is indeed a whole room filled with clothes - and come out with another more exquisite than the last.
I asked him to show me his oldest book on dandyism: "Du Dandysme et de Georges Brummell" by J. Barbey D'Aurevilly, published in Paris 1879
In the sitting room, a photo of actor Conrad Veidt peeks out from behind layers of assemblage, religious artifacts, feathers and bones.
When Sorrel brought out a tray of coffee served in the most delicate little vintage set, I wished that time would stop so I could always live in that moment.
A gold signet ring bears his family's crest.
Illustrations by Massimiliano hang along side portrait paintings by Sorrel and art collected from various friends.