Even in his early years, Salvador Dali was a man who belonged to no era. Sure, he’s most often associated with the surrealist movement (a classification that many other surrealist artists would come to contest) but Dali was a character that transcended time. Much like his paintings, Dali’s own appearance reflected a reality that seemed to exist only in his mind. Whether it was britches or balloon legged trousers, open collared polos or cheetah printed pullovers, velvet sport-coats or tennis sweaters, Dali dressed himself just as he would paint a canvas, bringing together disparate styles and silhouettes in a manner that was wholly unique to him. So, curl up your mustache, start tapping into your subconscious and follow along as we track the many outfits and idiosyncrasies of Salvador Dali.
The Beatles of the late sixties were not the same band of mop-topped musicians that had taken America by storm in 1964. By the time they officially called in quits in 1970 John, Paul, Ringo, and George had all separated themselves from the clean-cut look and crisp sound that defined the band’s early years. Each man had outgrown The Beatles in their own way, and so when they finally decided to end the era of The Fab Four, they were all eager to forge their own paths. The latter years of the band had been marked by psychedelic explorations and a more free-spirited approach to just about everything, which was an attitude that each Beatle seemed to carry on through their solo careers throughout the seventies.
After an unfortunate five year hiatus, The Tavern on the Green threw open its doors once again on April 24th of this year, restoring some of that old New York charm to Central Park West. While the return of The Tavern on the Green is no doubt a triumphant one, the venerable restaurant, which was built eighty years ago, is not in our opinion Central Park’s most legendary restaurant, that title belongs to the long forgotten Central Park Casino.
Situated on the opposite side of the Park from where The Tavern on the Green sits today, The Casino was a rambling cottage style restaurant that bustled nightly with the sounds of upbeat jazz bands and chatter from the tuxedoed clientele. Though it was first constructed in 1864 as a rest stop for the single women who would stroll through the Park, it wasn’t until 1929 that The Casino hit its (sadly short-lived) stride.
Mark McNairy doesn’t say much.
The man who revived the red brick sole is now almost as renowned for his blunt single sentence interview answers in caps lock as for his pattern-heavy collections. Reading a McNairy profile one would assume that he operates as a lone wolf, the sort of designer who prefers to remain in his own head free from any outside influences, but this is hardly the case. For McNairy, his main New Amsterdam label encompasses just one (albeit large) slice of his portfolio, the rest of which is comprised of collaborations, large and small, predictable and obscure, that have became paramount to his standing as one of America’s best known designers. Over the past few years McNairy has worked with everyone from rappers to a brewery to a Japanese street wear store to a legendary American label. While it would be tough to catalog every single collaboration McNairy has been a part of since stepping out on his own, we’ve done our best to compile a year’s worth of McNasty partnerships, although we can’t guarantee he won’t drop anymore by the time you read this.
If you ask anyone that’s even tangentially connected to the clothing world about how a man should go about dressing better, they will almost certainly tell you that one of the first steps is “finding the right fit.” This oft quoted phrase is a concise way of stating that all men must determine what works for them and what does not. This is surely a personal matter, but it also raises a quandary for some men – after all, how does a man find his right fit, if he himself is not so fit. From runway shots, to campaign ads, to e-comm imagery, right down to the in-store mannequins, the majority of men that we see as the template for how to wear clothing today are svelte, if not unrealistic in shape. And yet, most of our are not graced with the lithe physique of a model, so it’s worth asking, where are the real(istic) men?
That answer to this conundrum, lies in the past. Ernest Hemingway, Fatty Arbuckle, Alfred Hitchcock, Marlon Brando (the later years) these were all men of substance in every sense, and yet their added girth never interfered with their status as icons. Amongst these heftier legends, German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe stands out, not merely for his designs, but for his dress.
On the afternoon that I arrive to interview Scott Sternberg at the Band of Outsiders New York offices, the racks at the back of the showroom are almost entirely empty. Last season has already been shipped off and the next collection is yet to take its place, and this transitional state speaks well to the spirit of BoO. In the ten years since he founded Band, Sternberg has never stopped moving and reshaping his L.A. based label. Along the way, he has racked up countless accolades, started a women’s business that’s equally as robust, married modern menswear with movie stars, and continuously redefined what prep means in this day and age. As Band embarks on their second decade, Sternberg has his foot squarely on the gas as evidenced by the soon-to-open New York store, which will be their first flagship here in the states. We sat down with Sternberg to discuss the plans for this store, the meaning of prep, the L.A., New York divide, Starbucks, and even economics.
ACL: This January marked ten years of Band of Outsiders, what has changed in that time? Both from your personal viewpoint as well as how the brand is now formulated?
Scott Sternberg: Essentially it’s the same through-line since the idea of Band of Outsiders, even before it was called Band of Outsiders came up. This idea of being the future of American prep, this sort of modern American preppy uniform and system of dressing. I think what’s different is that I make women’s clothes and through the process of doing that and learning how to do that, which was self taught, I became more interested in different ways of pushing things a little further, beyond just making a great suit, a great tie, and a great shirt. And that’s all within a pretty strict bubble of wearability still. Whether that’s graphics, fabric development, certain construction tricks, any of that stuff, over the years I’ve just gotten more playful and inventive with the clothes, but essentially it’s the same system of dressing. Hopefully I’m getting better at what I’m doing. *laughs*
Through the years we also started making products as objects to also styling those in the looks and then creating a narrative out of what those looks are, for a fashion show, for a look book, for a Polaroid campaign. So there’s this whole layer of imagery that sits on top of the product that again, same message, same thing: prep, American, humor, levity, all that stuff. So yea, boring old me, same old thing.
Americans have blue jeans, the French have Breton stripes.
No item is more fundamental to French style than the blue and white striped shirt, and there’s certainly no shortage of them to go around. The appeal of a Breton tee is simple, they’re tailored through the body with an open “boat-neck,” but relaxed in the sleeve and are generally one of the most comfortable garments you can wear. It’s often the most basic items that are the easiest to screw up though and there are countless “close but no cigar” iterations of the Breton tee out there. Which brings us to Orcival, the seventy-five year old purveyors of an authentic Breton stripe tee.