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The Sartorialist


Monday, May 31, 2010

On the Street....Preparing for Pitti, Florence

I'm getting my wardrobe ready for the upcoming Pitti Uomo in Florence.

I love the idea of a tailored jacket with sportier shorts.

Two years ago I tried a few very casual, unconstructed cotton sport coats (45RPM, Junya, and Engineered Garments to be exact) but the lack of structure and sculpting in the high-waist made the look too shapeless for my tastes.

I'm not saying that the option above is the perfect scenario, but it's a very good reference point.

Actually, last week in Milan I found a great cotton sport coat at Piombo. The jacket fits like the one above, but the upper-sleeve is slimmer and the washed cotton gives the jacket a sportier feel.

I have to write more about Piombo later. If you don't know it, imagine an Italian, super chic version of J.Crew.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

On the Street....Out of Nowhere, Milano

This past week I was shooting an ad campaign in Milan.

While I was searching for a location on a very quiet residential street near Parco Sempione, this man, a Sartorialist All-Star, just happened to pop up on his bike. This must have been fate because the street was so quiet.

I didn't have my regular camera, since I was riding around on the back of a Vespa. However Emanuele, one of the production staff, had his tiny point-and-shoot so I rattled off a few shots.

It has always been so random when I run into this gentleman and yet always quite inspiring. He's so sporty, chic and, of course, always with his bike.

When we got back to the trailer I told one of the other production people about seeing him again, and she's now convinced that he's my guardian angel!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let's Discuss....Suspenders

I'm so tired of my pants riding on my hips (like jeans) and not on my waist(right below the belly-button) where they should be. All day I'm adjusting my pants hoping they will stay in the right place. My belt doesn't want to help the situation either. It's either too tight or too loose..always.

The other day I broke down and bought a pair of suspenders for my new Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit. After wearing the suspenders just one night I will probably never go back to belting suitpants again. Suspenders work!!

Suspenders keep your pants in place like no belt ever could. Don't get me wrong, I don't like the look of suspenders and I hate funny or theme-y suspenders, so i hide my braces under a vested suit.

The downside of this new love is that suspenders are so hard to find, at least in New York. Suspenders and cufflinks are two of the most important accessories for men and yet the challenge of finding great options is almost insurmountable.

So, what do I need to know about the art and craft of suspenders and where can I find some good ones?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On the Street....The Burlesque Dancer, Milano

I am really starting to believe that the most stylish performers are burlesque dancers. This is also the second girl in a row whose posture speaks volumes about who she is and how she wants to be perceived.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

On The Street.... Power of Posture, Milano

Monday, May 24, 2010

On the Street....Back in Milano

This week I'm in Milano, and it's already full-on summer here.

When I saw Luca for just a moment today, I was kinda surprised to see him in such a subdued color palette.

Even without his usual bold prints and dramatic pattern combination, Luca still looks great. The understated nature of his look actually helps to highlight the perfection of the Rubinacci cut and tailoring, details which are sometimes upstaged by Luca's flair for color and pattern.

On the Street....Ready for Summer, Milano

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Brother & Sister, Vintage Photos

Attached is a photograph of my grandmother Claire, and her brother Jack. I never met my grandmother, and so know her only through family stories and photographs. It seems to me that she looks gorgeous (and effortlessly glamorous) in every photograph, but this is one of my favorites.

Don't you love the white shoes?!

Best regards,


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Alejandro & Mom, Vintage Photos

I love the idea of the contest, of sharing and being able to see other people's vintage photos. We tend so much to see fashion as something idealized and this really connects it with people's lives, it's great.

This a picture of my mother Willy van Rooy and me in Paris, I'm guessing the year must be 1970 or 71 at the most (I was born in 68). Apart from being an iconic model in the 60's and 70's who worked with the best photographers and designers, my mother was, and still is, a person with an amazing and very individual fashion sense (which later in life led her to become a successful fashion and shoe designer). I never remember her following fashion or buying clothes off-the-rack.

What I love about this picture is that it really shows her style, the mix of old-Hollywood glamour (the 30's vintage coat, the red lips, the short snake-skin jacket), with absolute freedom (the embroidered dress, the hand-made spanish boots, the Ibiza basket, the scarf and the flowing hair). And... don't I look like the cutest little hippie?

All the best,

Friday, May 21, 2010

On the Street....White Heat, Florence

Men of Moscow

I had to save these shots from last trip to Moscow until they appeared in my GQ page.
The thing that impressed me about men's style in Moscow is that it's really unlike that of any European city.
This young Moscow generation is really pushing againist the city's image of blinged-out Versace-ism and is looking to make a new statement for themselves. The haircuts are different in Moscow too, I mean, when was the last time you saw a guy wearing an updated Beatles shag that actually looked pretty cool?

I think this push against bling has most affected the young designers in Moscow. It seems that fleece has replaced cashmere as the primary fabric of choice. I saw it worn colorblocked (as above) and mixed with leather (below). With fleece as a core fashion fabric, young designers can afford to take more chances with design, color, and assortment.

It was great to see the high-end fashion boutiques in Moscow hanging collections of small, local designers next to the big international brands.

It was also funny/cringy to see Amercian West done as a fashion statement in a super cool shop like Kuznetsky Most 20.
I'm betting the Moscow retail scene will become one of the best and most daring over the next ten years. Rents are still low, the people are hungry for fashion and there is a deep history of great artistic expression in the Russian people.

Now if they can just get a few more cool hotels and restuarants.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Degand, Brussels

Easily one of the best men's shops I have been to in a long time. The hats, the canes, the shoes, the pajamas, this is a shop where a man goes to become a gentleman.

Housed in a 5 floor 1911 townhouse on the edge of the main shopping district in Brussels, this is not a shop that a tourist would easily fall into, but it's worth the hunt for any true Sartorialist.

Brioni and Kiton are the shop's main clothing labels, but I would go for their special edit of Edward Green shoes. In fact, they will be opening an entire separate shoe shop in September if everything goes according to plan.

One of the elements of Degand's selection that I was most surprised by was the extent of the formalwear that they offer. I think that says a lot about how the residents of Brussels have retained a sense of Old World elegance and respect for certain public events like weddings, operas and funerals.

Thanks to my good friend Gianpaolo of Al Bazar for tipping me off about this great shop.

Degand is located at 415 Avenue Louise, Brussels

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

On the Street....Rue De La Cle, Brussels

A very good friend of mine challenged me last week because I didn't post on Friday.

He cautioned me that I had trained the readers to check the blog 3 times a day based on my posting over the last few months. I tried to explain that the human element of the this blog, I'm not a big corporate magazine, is always the at the core of each post. If I have a lot of images to post I will, but if I don't have an image I won't post something just to keep an audience happy.

That is very much the case with this image.
I knew I didn't have any images in reserve for today but instead of going for the easy shot in a city I didn't know, I took a chance and just let myself get lost.

Sometimes getting lost and taking chance can result in finding a completely surprising and a very rewarding shot like this.

I won't get into the religious and political issues of this woman because the romantic in me wishes that we all could just get along. I hope we can discuss her style and self-expression for the its genuine nature and celebrate the differences that keep this human family so interesting.

Monday, May 17, 2010

On the Street....The Dancer, Berlin

Asking for a Little Help!

I've had this razor for years.
I love it. I love the weight of it, the look of it, and the fact that I've been able to hold onto it for so long.

However, I haven't been able to use it for years because they just don't make blades for that type of head anymore.

So I need a little help. Where can I get the head of this razor reworked to fit the new standard blades?

And for the ladies, a great Father's Day gift might be a classic, reworked razor. All of us guys need some type of razor and today's options are usually less than chic.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gotta Be Prada, Vintage Photo

This is a picture of my grandmother taken in 1956 on her honeymoon in Cairns. I think the whole shot is fantastic, the old snorkel, bathers and flippers - it simply captures her personality; colourful and slightly wild. It was taken on what would be the first of many exotic trips in which my grandfather would force my grandmother to experience all there was to experience. What attracted me firstly to the photo was the amazing bikini which just seems so stylish and secondly the fact that my grandparents, now 83, are still going on similar trips -sailing down the Dalmatian coast of Croatia this year! I hope you like the picture as much as I do.


Brussels Monday!

Monday I will be in Brussels!!

Below is the information for the event.

Monday 17th May
Book Signing
Chic Outlet Village
Maasmechelen Village, Belgium
4PM till 6PM

It's my first time there so I am very excited.

Any suggestions on what I shouldn't miss?

Wednesday Frankfurt!

Great-Grandma with Che?, Vintage Photo

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Eatmore, Vintage photos

The sassy woman in the saddle shoes is my grandma Lois. This photograph was probably taken in the 40's in Yakima Washington. Lois always spoke her mind and was sharp as a whip.

The Grandparents, Vintage Photo

The one enclosed is from my grand-parents. "Biarritz_1936" They lived normally in Reims, north-east from France.
This photo was taken just before the war in 1936 in Biarritz. They are on their honeymoon. I like this photo a lot because they just feel happy and they look incredibly elegant and stylish even if they are at the sea... it would never happen nowdays ! My grand-father was half english and until his death very elegant, a
real gentlman. I also like the contrast of the perfect hair for my grand-father and the wind blowing through the hair of my grand-mother.

I could not resist sending you a photo of them both in Bandol on the same vacation because I find them so beautiful even though they are just wearing the minimum: a swimsuit. The photo reminds me a little bit of Man Ray photo.
Best regards,


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Garance's Birthday at Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa

Recently, when we were in Australia we spent Garance's birthday at a really great resort. The rooms, the spa, and the food were all wonderful, but all that interested me was mountain biking around the resort's grounds.

When we told our Australian friends we were gong to the "outback" for the weekend, they laughed when we told them that it was Wolgan Valley and said that the REAL outback was another hour away. After a few more incidents like this we stopped calling it the "outback" and started calling it the "halfback."

(click on image to enlarge photo)
This is Chris, Garance's assistant. Everywhere we turned was another photo-op. With the landscapes, animals, and food, this place truly made me fall in love wth the idea of photography outside of the big city.

I took this picture while riding my bike very fast, too fast in retrospect, on a bumpy dirt rode. I'm surprised that I got even one shot in focus.

Self-portrait of my shadow at sunset. The great/scary thing about these little grass-covered paths is that your bicycle moves so quietly that you can sneak up on a group of kangaroos before they even notice you. I wasn't particularly interested in surprising any kangaroos, so we spent a lot of time singing very loudly while we rode. Human League anyone?

I know that I'm a total city kid and I'm sure that some of you have wrestled bears and hunted dinosaurs, but for me, being this close to wild animals while on a mountain bike was pretty cool.

My primary reading material while flying to Berlin was a book on shooting better landscapes. Hopefully I will get a chance to shoot a few more soon. Maybe the Amish countryside could be cool?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the Street....Claude, Berlin

I'm in Berlin right now shooting an ad campaign. Yesterday I met Claude, her name is Claudia but she hates that name. As you can see, Claude is a beautiful example of a young lady that knows how to play up her best assets. We cast her because she has the figure of a real, everyday girl: she stands about 5'1" and she is very curvy. You can't really appreciate her curves because of her coat, but they're there. It has actually been a little difficult to find samples that fit her correctly but really, who could get past her hair, lips and those legs? She knows that these are her best featues and works with us to find looks that suit her best.

To me, this is such a great reminder to stop obsessing about my own personal imperfections and start highlighting the little gifts.

Tomorrow I'm cutting the sleeves off all of my Guy Rover shirts and showing off the guns! (For those of you who didn't understand the Pocari Sweat post, that was a joke.)

On the Street....Tokyo Color, Japan

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On the Street....Bleecker St., West village

To me, this is so American, strong/healthy, so perfectly Spring-ish in feeling that you don't even need to see the front of the look to understand exactly what it's all about.

On the Street....Wooster St., Soho

Monday, May 10, 2010

On the Street....Mercer St., Soho

On the Street.... Spring St., Soho

Friday, May 07, 2010

On the Street.... Crosby St., Soho

Thursday, May 06, 2010

On the Street.... Prince St., Soho

On the Street......Off Bleecker, West Village

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

On the Street.... Crosby St., Soho

On Line at Calexico, Prince & Wooster, Soho

I don't know if Calexico has the best food (though I hear it's very good), but they do have the best looking line in New York.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

On the Street......Broadway, New York City

Back in the City!

Monday, May 03, 2010

On the Street......Little Bit of Sparkle, Milano

A hard-drive crashed on me, and I thought I had lost this shot.

Originally, I stopped this woman because I loved her salt & pepper hair. It wasn't until we began speaking that I noticed the very subtle bit of sparkle on her cheeks; such an unexpected touch for a Milanese lady, like this.

It wasn't until even later, when I was working on the image at the hotel, that I noticed the smudge of sparkle on her earlobe. This lady is chic.

Lia Belle, Sydney

Inspiration print from Lia Belle's apartment
Inspiration print from Lia Belle's apartment
Do you see the seam in the middle of Lia Belle's Prada shoes?

Lia Belle HAD to have these Prada shoes, but they didn't have her size. She has very tiny feet, so this is a common issue for her.

Being the crafty Aussie that she is, she bought them in the nearest size she could find and took them to a shoe repair shop. There they removed the heel and cut-out a few centimeters from the middle length of the shoe. Then, they reattached the two severed pieces, re-sanded the heel, re-sewed the lining and refit the heel.

Sounds expensive, but she bought the shoes on sale for $250 and had $100 worth of alterations. Now, the shoes fit Lia Belle perfectly! No one can see the difference, AND she still spent less than the full retail price- smart lady.
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