I’ve never been short of ideas for stories with precise themes. You know…the ones that require editorial rigor and focus in order to have a single subject resonate. While it’s never been a strong suit of mine—focus that is—I’ve been known to tackle a singular subject with respectable outcomes. This is my long winded set-up for the fact that this little visit with you ain’t gonna be one of those.
It’s unfocused randomanalia time again, y’all. Rather like the multi-sensory deliverable of Whistler's Peacock room. Unfocused randomessence mainly because I am blessed to be covered up with work stuff that pays well but is sucking all of my time and mental disk space. I love writing about sartorial stuff but to cobble the same number of words together about pharma-biotech-diagnostics-medical device strategy is pretty much joyless. The part of my job that I love is when I’m interacting with customers or when I’m speaking to groups of clients or conference attendees—not coming home and writing case studies and summaries and follow-up. When I’m doing the live with groups or individuals thing, it’s my validation that I’m doing what I’m called to do professionally (with the exception of the only other thing that I’ve ever really done for the proverbial wage—worked after school in a Trad haberdashery—which upon semi-retirement and getting LFG into college—I might do once again). So as I’ve posited on other occasions, it’s either a random load of this-ness, or nadda. Now buckle up. Shut up.
Ivy Style at M.F.I.T. deserves and will receive next week, a blog story devoted exclusively to the exhibition, symposium and the accompanying book. But for now I’ll offer a few top-line comments. First, when Patricia Mears from F.I.T. called me over a year ago and wanted to talk about the evolving Ivy Style project as well as where the blogosphere fit in the oeuvre, I was happy to provide whatever insights I could. I’m on the record for being an ersatz-academic nerd type and could make matchbook collecting and curating an erudite endeavor. So this was right down my alley. Or does one always go up an alley? In?
But after my first phone call with the delightful Ms. Mears, (Who by the way, is well published and knowledgeable about women’s fashion and haute couture but was admittedly flummoxed about the whole Trad-Ivy-Preppy menswear thing) I thought…“Hell, if you wanna get this Ivy Style thing right, just get Paul Winston, Richard Press, Charlie Davidson, George Frazier IV and Bruce Boyer in one room and you’ll have all the literary, blood lineage and Trad-Ivy Mother Church retail stores legacies that you’ll need to land on a great version of what this was and is all about." I never needed to say it because that’s exactly what Patricia did. And with a dash of writers like Christian Chensvold and academics from around the globe, the book is and symposium will be—a home run.
I’ve yet to make it up to Gotham to see the exhibition and won’t until I head up to attend the conference but I’ve seen most of the exhibits in photos. And I’d say that just the opportunity to see Richard Press’s dad’s cashmere Prince of Wales Glen plaid sportcoat would be worth the trip.
Bottom line is that the Ivy Style exhibition catalogue is more than just another picture book. And I like most picture books. It’s a visual treat with academic heft. Like me.
So let’s shift gears inelegantly and just make a hard left turn and recap my previous five or six days. See the hands on the left? Those are the wise and learned but still learning—hands of Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, my good buddy and author of To the Manner Born blog. I had to rescue him last Thursday and my best strategy for Toad recovery-rehabilitation included the following unguents…a boutique hotel in Old Town Alexandria, cocktails, great food and finally, a lovely woman to accompany us during dinner so that both of us would come off as better looking and cultured. Mission accomplished.
Sunday night saw me at Urbana with Dominic Casey and George Glasgow, Jr. from the George Cleverley mafia over in London. I stopped by their suite at the Fairfax Hotel on Embassy Row for a quick and vaguely conjugal visit with my next pair of Cleverley’s that are mid-way through their gestational coming about. Half of you will marvel at them while the less courageous and unimaginative remainder of my seven readers will want to check me for a fever. Until I have the time to write a story exclusively devoted to explaining every weft-warp detail of this fuzzy fabrication, I’m only gonna show you the deliberately edited and aggressively cropped photo above. Stay tuned…or not. I don’t care. And if you think I'm kidding--about the not caring part--you might need to check your own damn self for a fever. I don't care.
Oh, and this is a try-on model that the Cleverley boys had sitting about in the suite. Preening actually. The hide is carpincho…from the rodent-esque Capybara and it’s sublime. Glove leather soft and chances are you’ve a pair of gloves made of it. 2013 might see me carpinching a loafer of some sort in it. I care.
But the most delightful event between Toad Rescue and Cleverley Contrivances was my two-night visit with LFG. She came to my partially dismantled Casa Minimus and I reveled in her homework catch-up and her dance class shuttling and sleep deprivation recoup. No sleepovers, no competition from other, more appealing weekend options. It was bliss. Like the old days. You remember, don't you? It was a year ago.
My Sperry sportin' little dancer…post classes…bagging the goods for our valve closing white-trash taco party. White trash tacos are heavy on processed ingredients and the only allowable meat for the trailer park, anything but esoteric, Pawn Stars-Pickers version of the concoction is ground beef.
Add the chemical packet included in the kit. Bam. Just add a neighbor and their three year old little boy and we gotta party. Party be a noun.
This ain’t hyperbole or drama. I feel whole again...restored as a dad…after my two-night LFG weekend. And for those of you who are hyper-vigilant regarding my digs, the original upholstery on my sofa is what you see here. The decade old slipcover is currently under forensic review and fumigation. After that, it’ll probably be on ebay.
Further along the random trail…I’m always late to the technology party but this Instagram photo thing for the iPhone is new to me. And I love it. I posted the photo above on my tumblr and several of you asked again about the source of these Kilim slippers. So here you go, again. Contact Pammie Jane Farquhar at Nomad Ideas. Tell her what size shoe you wear in European sizing. She will send you a photo of what she has. You select your poison and send her your card details.
I hate shopping but I like stuff. And my stuff affinity is usually rather precise and eccentric so my dosh gets spread all over the globe. But I urge you, if you live in the D.C. area and are in need of anything Alden or Crockett and Jones or from another smattering of tasty shoemakers, please go by and see the guys at Sky Shoes on Wisconsin Avenue. There’s little in this aesthetically barren town that I buy…save for the lovely offerings at Sterling and Burke and an occasional Polo/J. Crew tchotchke. But Sky Shoes will always be my go-to place for some of the more mainstream shoddings that my anything but mainstream a_s desires. Go see them. Spend money.
This is it for now folks. I’ve gotta rejigger my to-do list and then not do it.
Onward. Sandy unimpeded. ADG II
Ps…and speaking of Sandy…an older cousin of mine—I had about twenty first cousins—gave me two Sandy Nelson albums when I got my Slingerland drums in the 6th grade. I played this stuff over and over and over till I finally blew the speakers out of my mom’s big a_s piece of furniture stereo in the living rooms. And forty years later, my eardrums are in about the same shape.