April 11, 2011 11:33am | Terminal Warehouse building | Manhattan, New York
As a child, Zippo inventor George G. Blaisdell was fond of productmobiles like the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile and Life Savers Pep-O-Mint car. Blaisdell founded the Zippo Manufacturing Company in the town of Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1932, naming the company “Zippo” as a more modern sounding alternative to the word zipper. During WWII the U.S. Government commissioned Zippo’s entire production to be distributed to GIs, which had the benefit of introducing the company and its windproof lighters to hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of Americans, thereby making Zippo a household name. It was this new found popularity that propelled Blaisdell in 1947 to convert a Chrysler Saratoga into the Zippomobile.
Glenn O’Brien’s position in the cultural firmament is, at this point, unassailable. He’s defined his unique place in the world and no one can claim it from him. But just because there’s not much left to be said about Glenn doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a lot to say himself. His new book, How To Be A Man, comes out later this month. It’s a collection of indispensable essays on everything from beards to snobs, wine to women. In a world suffering from information overload his words, stylish and irreverent, cut to the heart of the matter.
We spoke over a leisurely lunch at Il Buco. Interview by David Coggins.
David Coggins: How did you come to the idea of writing the book, and why now?
Glenn O’Brien: Well, The Style Guy column has a big audience, and I thought I should write a book for that audience. But I didn’t want to do a greatest series of Q & A’s, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to write some essays. Basically this is all original, I mean there’s a couple of things that appeared here and there in slightly altered versions. But most of this is original, although I did cannibalize a lot of good lines.
DC: Is there some particular moment now that people are asking or asserting how to be a man—is it all these lumberjacks going around with beards?
GO: Don’t you like that? I think we’re at a pivotal moment, I think the yang is returning.
DC: And how do we see that? People certainly care where their clothes are from are how they’re made.
GO: I think culturally we reached a point of the sort of nadir of wussiness, and I think that people are going to be a little more assertive and demanding, and individual. Don’t you think?
Yesterday the folks at New Balance launched the company’s new custom 574 program which allows you to take to the internet and create your own specially designed sneakers. Last week we tested out the system at the launch event here in New York and it worked like a snap. In fact it shockingly only took five days for the special 574s (which were sent compliments of New Balance) to show up straight from the New Balance plant in Norridgewock, Maine. In anticipation of the launch of the custom 574 program, New Balance even dispatched a guy named Jake Davis and some other guy named Sean Sullivan to Maine to document the custom make up process at the factory. You can basically design the entire shoe all the way down to the color of the big N and the custom embroidery on the back of each sneaker. The possibilities are endless. [New Balance Custom 574]
Every year the emergence of spring is signaled, for me, with the acquisition of three new pairs of Vans Canvas Authentics (true white, off white and navy) from the Vans Classics range. Being the workhorse of my summer concert-going, bike-riding, beach-combing days, three pairs won’t get me all the way through, but its a symbolic start to long days of warm weather adventures. Vans recently launched a feature on its website that lets you celebrate and share your Classic Tales with the world. It’s a time capsule of your trip to Austin (above) or that perfect summer afternoon in NYC (below). All you need to do is upload a photo of your Vans Classics, submit your Classic Tale and that adventure will be forever immortalized. [Vans Classic Tales]
We’re feeling colorful this spring, if you consider silver a color. Every so often we want to hit the reset button and wear all black for days. Maybe it is a New York thing or maybe we’re mourning LCD Soundsystem or feeling dark after seeing The Strokes. Then again, it could just be that we’re channeling Johnny Cash. Either way, this look will never not work. Mix and match as you wish. Take inspiration if you find it. Breakdown after the jump.
This past week J.Crew put forth its new fall/winter 2011 line in a sun-soaked-studio in Manhattan’s West Village. Frank & Co. presented another strong collection of wearable, logo-less goods for a crowd of nice looking attendees. Even Mr. Drexler was on hand to meet and greet. The folks at J.Crew run a tight ship and this season was certainly on the level of past collections. The footwear was especially great. All of the looks — everything — is below for your perusal. Expect to see these goods at the end of the summer.