Keep Aspen weird, that has been my battle cry. Maybe it is the fact that I am missing out on that thing (that I love) that is happening in Austin this week. At any rate, I have spent the better part of a week out in Aspen, the fanciest corner of the Colorado Rockies. We did some skiing and we did some snowmobiling, and afterward we went to longtime Aspen resident Hunter S. Thompson’s old watering hole the Woody Creek Tavern for shots of Jameson and cans of Tecate. Nestled neatly alongside a ramshackle stretch of Aspen’s finest mobile homes, the Woody Creek Tavern is quite possibly America’s ultimate dive bar. The regulars each sport their own brand of crazy — upon entering the Woody Creek one particularly welcoming regular inquired as to what spaceship my friends and I had just come from. Spaceship Reality sir.
There are certain fabrics that just can’t do any wrong by me, oxford cloth for one and of course tweed is up there, but for warmer months madras is the undeniable champion. Over the last several months I have been working with the folks at GANT on producing a special GANT Rugger “Handloom Hugger” Indian madras shirt — which launches in the ACL Shop today. We produced a small run (73 in total) of these co-labeled shirts to celebrate the 1973 birth of GANT’s Rugger collection and to celebrate our shared love of madras. Christopher Bastin, the GANT Rugger Creative Director, helped create a beautiful handloom madras specifically for ACL, and in the process created what I think is an instant classic. Christopher is someone that possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Americana which made this project really enjoyable for me and our shared love of classic American menswear definitely helped in creating a good looking collaboration.
Andy Spade’s arc of success is well-documented and yet it remains a cause for satisfaction. The simple, utilitarian design exemplified by Jack Spade seems straightforward, but like a good bistro or garage band, the key is the execution. It turns out that’s not so easy after all. Jack Spade also worked because it was at home in any neighborhood, dressed up or down. And yet it never took itself so seriously it couldn’t release a frog dissection kit. The case of Andy Spade is a reminder that just because something feels inevitable doesn’t mean it isn’t visionary.
We met at Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel.
David Coggins: You live up here by Bemelman’s?
Andy Spade: Right, just around the corner.
DC: And you’re drinking a Vodka Southside.
AS: Right. It’s a southern summer drink with vodka, simple syrup, a little lime juice and soda water. Usually it’s made with gin. That’s my favorite light drink. This is what I order in a bar, at home we drink wine. We spend our summers in California, so we drink a lot of wine, mostly red. I love this Alexis cabernet is by the Swanson family, who are friends of ours.
The new California brand Riviera Club came together as three friends — Joe Sadler, Derek Buse and Greg Ullery — combined their individual strengths to create something new. The launch collection (which is seen in the images below) is inspired by the real life adventures of surfer and wayward rich-kid Bunker Spreckels and the company’s home base of Santa Barbara, California.
I first met Joe, Derek and Greg a few months ago and was impressed by the clothing — not to mention the people. While the guys were in NYC we ended up hanging out, having a few beers and talking about how everything started and how the line is coming along. It all goes back to something I have said before, good people making good things. Since my first opportunity to see the line I have been telling people it is one of the best new brands I have seen in a long time. The line is wearable, made from great fabrics, has good detailing and smart fits. The kicker is, all of it is made in California. As far as prices go, the shirting retails for $155; outerwear from $175 – $195; shorts range from $115 – $155.
Since the focus of ACL can drift to seasons far away, I decided to wait to do a post about Riviera Club until it was actually hitting stores — even if that meant seeing it on some other blogs. I really like the clothes, as well as the gentlemen involved and hope they do well with their new endeavor. You can check out Riviera Club at Saturdays in NYC, Blackbird in Seattle and Ron Herman in sunny L.A.
There are only a handful of places that I would want to live in the United States. As it happens, Los Angeles is near the top of that list. I have a bunch of friends that have departed for Southern Calif., which coupled with the easy living continue to make the idea of living on the West Coast that much more enticing. I came across these vintage shots of L.A. and I thought they would be worth a post here. All photos are from the Neat Stuff Blog, who’s author is someone I share a philosophy about vintage images with.
I have been excited to see Aaron Levin’s interpretation of the heavily Maine inspired Rogues Gallery ever since he landed there as design director — coming from the much loved, but doomed Hickey. I’m happy to report that his first collection of masculine and wearable clothes does not disappoint. I sat down with Mr. Levine for a quick question and answer session to discuss the new fall collection, beards, inspiration and the new Rogues tailored goods.