Barima Owusu-Nyantekyi photographed by Rose Callahan in London, Sept 2011
You have no idea how tough it has been to hold back on posting the rest of my work from Paris and London last year! I want to have some unpublished work for "the book", now don't I? But, I'm getting tired of waiting so here goes…My day with Barima in London!
I met up with Barima the last day in London, the last moments in fact, on the recommendation of Winston Chesterfield. Barima's a tall fellow of Ghanaian heritage with the droll sense of humor and the charm of a true Londoner. He has a way with words, being a writer and copy editor, and his personal blog, Mode Parade - a "Sartorial and Pop Culture Dissection Column", is were we can find his unique point of view on life and style.
Barima's style references and inspirations - he is the self described "Don Cornelius-Fred Astaire lovechild" - are as diverse as Bunny Roger, Walt 'Clyde' Frazier, Tommy Nutter, Brian Jones, David Niven, and Sammy Davis Jr., to name a few. And it somehow all makes sense when you see Barima. His father "sent him on this thrill ride" of developing his personal style; he started out by wearing his old pieces, but has since become particularly astute at acquiring items from sources as diverse as the inspirations I listed. Just take a look at his portraits, and the notes he has provided for each of his pieces. Man knows his stuff, or rather, he takes joy in all of it.
Double breasted jacket - unknown Italian tailor from the 1980s or '90s; possibly the house of Angelo Roma, which was a favourite of my father's. This one is indeed a hand-me-down and was part of a suit; I discarded the trousers for being unflattering.
Silk shirt - Deborah & Clare. A splendid bespoke shirtmaker in operation in Knightsbridge, London, during 1965 - 1975, comparable to the likes of Turnbull & Asser (its former owner was a client of both houses), but with the adventurousness of their former creative alum, Mr. Fish.
Necktie - Boggi reversible silk knit. A present from my dad, the two sides of which I find representative of my conservative and flashy dichotomy.
Tie pin - An Ashanti design representing our tribe's values, passed down from my late grandfather. (Note: after our shoot Barima sadly thought he lost the pin, but it has since been recovered, thankfully!)
Boutonnière - RoseParadise.co.uk
Bootcut trousers - Prada. As soon as I purchased the slip-ons (pictured), I knew that I would need the right sort of trousers to go with them. And then these beauties, likely from spring-summer 2008, appeared in a shop I frequent the very same week.
Cuban heeled suede slip-ons - John Lobb Ltd. The cordwainers on St. James kindly dug into their books for me and found that they were part of a large order made for a notable Indian magnate in 1973; I've also seen this man's old Anderson & Sheppard suits in a variety of interesting fabrics for sale and I would own them had his arms not been shorter than mine. Still, because of him, I now own the best shoes I have ever danced in and have contracted a taste for a higher heel, to boot.
Eyeframes - Monarch by Ultra. It's old Hollywood/Jewish businessman/1970s - '80s politician/Elton John-like glamour that isn't going anywhere fast. At least for me.