Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Image of Stephan Winkelmann, President and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini provided to Manner of Man Magazine by Lamborghini Press and not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved.
Description: COPLEY, John Singleton (1738-1815), Artist. A BOOK FROM HIS LIBRARY, signed on the bookplate ("J. S. Copley 1811"). Oblong bookplate (3 5/8 x 2 5/8 in.). Spine detached from volume.
A VERY RARE COPLEY SIGNATURE affixed to an even rarer survival from his personal library: his copy of Jonathan Toup's Emendationes in Suidamet Hesychium et Alios Lexicographis Graecos, ed. by Richard Porson (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1790, rubbed, spine detached). The signature is added to the bookplate of Charles Dunster, a West Sussex minister (a previous owner). An autograph notation in Copley's hand ("1-18") appears at the top corner of the front flyleaf. Best remembered in America for his brilliant portraits of revolutionary leaders, Copley was in fact an apolitical man dedicated exclusively to his art. He felt besieged when the "Civil War" raged through Boston in 1773-74. Though friendly to the Massachusetts patriots, he had married into the family of Governor Thomas Gage. He had no interest in taking sides, but felt the violence and tumult of revolution made it impossible for him to continue his work in America. He emigrated to Britain in June 1774, and spent the remainder of his life there. By his final years (from when this signed volume dates) he had shifted his emphasis away from individual portraits to renditions of famous historical episodes. ONLY 5 COPLEY AUTOGRAPHS HAVE APPEARED AT AUCTION IN THE PAST 25 YEARS. Provenance: Rev. Charles Dunster, to J. S. Copley, Sr., by descent to J. S. Copley, Jr., by sale to the present owner.
Kamcheng pot dated Yi Wei Nian 1895. Property of a private family collection shown with permission. All rights reserved.
Shiwan pottery candlestick. Mark: He Yu - "He" Jade. Property of a private family collection shown with permission. All rights reserved.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Views and Souvenirs from the Grand Tour Assembled in New Installation at Metropolitan Museum
October 12, 2010–January 2, 2011
In the 18th century, privileged Europeans embarked on the Grand Tour, traveling principally to sites in Italy, where they visited cherished ruins of the ancient world and the splendid architecture of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. The influx of these travelers to destinations north and south – Venice, Rome, and Naples in particular – led to a flowering of topographical paintings, drawings, and prints by native Italians serving a foreign market eager to return home with pictures and souvenirs. Italy Observed: Views and Souvenirs, 1706-1899, currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum through January 2, 2011, showcases a selection of the rich holdings of Italian vedute (views) collected by Robert Lehman. From paintings of Venetian life by Luca Carlevaris to a Neapolitan album of gouache drawings documenting the eruption of Vesuvius in 1794 to sketches and watercolors of Italian antiquities, the installation captures the artist's romantic attraction to Italy and its irresistible Roman heritage. It also includes various marketed souvenirs—exquisite fans, spoons, teapots, and pocket watches—on loan from the Museum's Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts.
Italy Observed is divided into three sections: Venice, Rome, and Naples. The British elite constituted the largest percentage of Grand Tourists, and their fascination with Venice and its surrounding landscapes fueled the vedute market. Artists like Luca Carlevaris, Canaletto, Bernardo Bellotto, and Francesco Guardi produced vedute of the Venetian Grand Canal. In Rome, wealthy aristocrats commissioned artists such as Pompeo Batoni to paint their portraits surrounded by imagery of the Coliseum, Palatine Hill, Saint Peter's Basilica and other emblematic souvenirs of the Grand Tourist culture. And in Naples, the picturesque Bay of Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius, and Pompeian frescoes inspired a prosperous trade in affordable mementos to foreign visitors in port. The spectacular eruptions of Mount Vesuvius were particularly popular, and found expression on porcelain, fans, and even pocket watches. The installation combines the rich artistic tradition of Canaletto and his contemporaries with marketed souvenirs adapting the same iconic monuments as keepsakes.
In addition to vedute, Italy Observed features fine examples of capricci —landscape or city views presenting real and imaginary classical architecture, essentially vehicles for invention and the picturesque. The Frenchman Hubert Robert and his Roman contemporary Giovanni Paolo Panini were among the principal practitioners, readily borrowing from noteworthy monuments for their own fantastical architecture. On loan from the Museum's Department of European Paintings is Panini's great picture Ancient Rome, which depicts the city's most famous ancient monuments as paintings in a sumptuous gallery.
The fans, watches, spoons, jewelry, and small sculpture in Italy Observed were manufactured for the robust Grand Tourist market in the 18th and 19th centuries. To satisfy some of the growing demand for portable mementos of Italy, craftsmen began to produce in large quantities fans that were especially designed as aide-mémoires. Many of these fans included depictions of well-known sites like the Coliseum, famous Venetian architecture, and an erupting Mount Vesuvius. Tourists could purchase finished fans or, more economically, unmounted painted fan leaves for later mounting on the Continent. Beautiful examples of both are on view in the installation.
While the phenomenon of the Grand Tour declined during the Napoleonic Wars, due to the dangers of travel abroad, Italy continued to produce fine mementos of its splendid monuments right through the 19th century, and indeed to this very day.
Italy Observed: Views and Souvenirs, 1706-1899 is organized by Dita Amory, Acting Associate Curator-in-Charge and Administrator of the Robert Lehman Collection, with assistance from Emma Kronman, Kress Interpretive Fellow.
The installation is featured on the Museum's website at http://www.metmuseum.org.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Christie’s is proud to announce a major event in bibliographical history – the sale of a selection of items from one of the world’s most famous sporting establishments, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). The auction of Sporting Books at South Kensington on 17 November 2010 will offer a unique opportunity to own a prestigious piece of cricketing history presenting a carefully curated selection of 100 lots. Estimates range from £500 to £40,000, and the collection as a whole is expected to realise over £300,000. All lots to be offered at Christie’s are duplicate items from the collections, and proceeds will be used by MCC to sustain and care for the core collections and facilitate further strengthening through acquisitions.
Curator of MCC Collections, Adam Chadwick comments, “MCC Collections continue to attract an increasing number of admirers and in 2009 we set a record having welcomed 60,000 people through the doors. We are committed in our aim to continue developing the accessibility of the collections, and to maintaining them as the world’s most important celebration of the history of cricket. Following advice from the Arts & Library Committee, the MCC Committee has authorised the sale of a number of duplicate items from the collections. The majority of items will come from the MCC Library collection and we are pleased to offer international cricket enthusiasts, as well as MCC members, the opportunity to bid on items from the library at Lord’s. The proceeds will provide MCC with the much needed funds required to enhance and conserve the core collection.”
A familiar sight for any Lord’s visitor is a portrait of The Young Cricketer – Portrait of Lewis Cage by Katharine Lloyd, which has hung in the Pavilion at Lord’s for the past 60 years (estimate: £4,000-6,000) illustrated above. The charming portrait is after an original by Francis Cotes R.A and was commissioned to coincide with the opening of the Lord’s Museum in the 1950s. It is offered by MCC following their recent acquisition of the original portrait.
Further highlights include a complete set of Wisden’s almanack which has been in print since 1864. Also on offer will be all of Wisden’s important, if less well known predecessors, most notably three editions of the rare scorebooks produced by Samuel Britcher (1792, 1793 and 1796) (estimates: £40,000-60,000, £40,000-60,000 and £20,000-30,000 respectively). The importance of these works is highlighted by the fact that their author, Britcher, was an official scorer for Marylebone Cricket Club, and the first person to produce an annual scorebook on a regular basis.
Of probably even greater rarity is William Epps’s Cricket. A Collection of All the Grand Matches played in England from 1771 to 1791, published in Rochester, Kent, in 1799 (estimate: £50,000-70,000). Considered by many as the most important historical publication on cricket in the later 18th century, this was intended to supplement the publications of Britcher which ran from 1790 to 1805, and was compiled from the manuscripts of noblemen such as the Duke of Dorset and Earl of Tankerville.
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) is the custodian of the laws and spirit of cricket and an innovative independent voice in world cricket At the same time as it invests in the updating and conservation of its unparalleled historic collections. It is also the world’s most active cricket-playing club and the owner of Lord’s - ‘The home of cricket’. MCC plays around 500 games annually. At any given moment in the year, there is usually an MCC team playing or coaching cricket somewhere in the world. The Club is passionate about promoting the game and the spirit of cricket all over the world. MCC is investing heavily in Lord’s to ensure that Lord’s Ground remains world-class, as well as world-famous.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
This exclusive interview with acclaimed Irish journalist and writer Trevor Butterworth was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in New York, New York October 2010
What do you think of the current wave of over-hyped mass blogging? And the impact, if any, particularly to world news organisations, financial industries and the retail luxury goods sector?
Actually, I think blogging has lost its “we’re taking over the media” vibe: It’s hard to keep doing unless there’s a tangible benefit, either in terms of audience feedback or business exposure. In fact, according to Technorati, some 95 percent of blogs launched are quickly abandoned, while blogging, as an activity among 18-24 year olds has halved.
For the traditional media, blogging has settled down into a form of column writing, a little bit looser than the formal newspaper op-ed or column, and more of a conversation that has the potential to evolve through reader interaction – unless your readers are knuckleheads who simply show up to rant. Blogging, at least in the U.S., was, I think, also a stylistic rebellion against the form and content of the mainstream media – and the formulas by which they produced news and opinion. It was overdue. The U.S. media were (and still are, in many respects) ferocious fuddy-duddies when it comes to creativity. They had their way of doing things – and there was no other way. This was compounded by an utter lack of historical understanding of journalism, media, and how they evolved over time. The American press thought they had reached the “end of history,” and that form and content were fixed. Wrong. Silly.
Similarly, the idea of blogging as something instantaneous became redundant when it became possible to microblog. Just as blogging forced a rethink of traditional forms of content in the news media, Twitter and Tumblr forced a rethink of the point of the blogging form. The mobile web and tablets will play with the form content takes in ways that won’t be immediately obvious until tested for several years too.
For the luxury goods market, I think the sponsored forum is more useful than blogging. For example, various watch manufacturers sponsor dedicated forums for their brands on collector/enthusiast sites such as www.timezone.com and www.watchuseek.com. This is a great way for any company to create a conversation about their product among their most fervid fans. There seem to be two models for how this works: in the first, the company steps back and doesn’t directly engage in the conversation; in the second, they actively participate. For example, when the charismatic Jean Claude Biver took over Hublot and relaunched the brand around the Big Bang watch, he aggressively reached out online to fans of his previous work at Blancpain – and even solicited ideas for the name of the watch from the Timezone.com community. He organized small dinners with collectors all around the world, in part, through starting with watch geeks online. It was a strategy that seems to have really propelled the revamped Hublot toward success.
What I think this shows is that social media is at its most powerful when it’s parochial – when it attends to the passions and interests of communities. They certainly care about “craft.” Otherwise, get your product onto a celebrity – as Simon Doonan, creative director of Barneys New York, told me once, whenever a high-end luxury item gets taken up by a celebrity, the store is mobbed. They’re less concerned with “craft.”
The key, I think, is to remember the wisdom of the Enlightenment: “Style is the image of character.” The American news media was incredibly uncomfortable with the idea of a writer’s voice – and had been ideologically committed to impersonality in writing. The result, at its worst, was prose so bland it made reading an unpleasant experience; even in better examples, it pretended to a god’s eye view of the world which often sounded false; people were ready to read other people, not robo-prose. The technology started a revolution in content. All revolutions settle down after a while and adapt.
The key problem with the idea of blogging, as I noted in the Financial Times, was that it was the closest literary culture had come to instant obsolescence. If you really wanted to write well and create something of lasting value, it meant you needed to labor over your work, to ruminate and revise, which the blog form discouraged. But now, say with True/Slant’s reincarnation on Forbes, we’re seeing blogging serve the goal of writing more than writing serving the goal of blogging, which, to me, is a positive development.
With brands that blog, the phrase style is character still applies. If you aren’t passionate about what you do in a way that sounds human and exciting, don’t blog.
Do you perceive any tangible benefits internationally from social media translating to actual business numbers?
One very early example of social media serves as a template for possibility. The son of the Platinum Pen Company in Japan wanted to save the skills of two retiring employees that had spent their lives at Platinum. So he started a small fountain pen company, Nakaya. The unique selling point is that they would be entirely made by hand, using Urushi (Japanese lacquer techniques), and each pen would be adjusted to the hand pressure and writing style of the customer, based on an extensive list of questions. Nakaya attended the pen fares at major Japanese retail stores, but sold little. But then an American fountain pen collector, who was in Japan as a missionary and puppeteer, bought one of their pens, and wrote a glowing review on an obscure pen web site. The collector’s market was intrigued; the enthusiast’s excited by the idea of a nib customized to the way the individual wrote; the prices were affordable and the customer service was superlative. Within a few years, the retirees were working seven days a week to meet demand. And Nakaya still hadn’t spent a dollar in advertising.
The financial markets have shown there has clearly been a drop in ethical operating standards, business model quality and production standards in retail across the board at even the highest levels of American business. What do you think has been the basis of this short of greed?
Actually, there are many complicated factors involved in outsourcing or reducing quality – and while shareholder expectations is one, you need to examine other things. One of the changes that has bothered me in the U.S. is the disappearance of the traditional lambswool sweater in the $50 to $100 dollar range and its replacement with poor-quality cotton at the $60 price point and “cashmere” at the $200 plus price point. I would have thought greed on the part of the chain stores as the explanation until, that is, I mentioned this peeve on a date with a textile designer. She said tariffs on imports of raw wool had killed the market (and her job): it was cheaper to import the finished product from overseas rather than the raw material and make it here. Now maybe that’s not the only reason, but before you blame the free market, check and see whether it’s truly free.
While there is a diminution in quality (and the explosion in “vintage” is a market response in large part because the quality/cost ratio is excellent), I do think that the Internet has facilitated the resurgence of craft by lowering the marketing costs. Plus, the Internet has made the concept of authenticity highly prized. But I could talk about this for hours.
As for high-end business embracing social media in an attempt to draw clientele especially in the luxury goods sector, and their concurrent expansion of high-end retail businesses in Asia proof positive that it has succeeded or all but failed as a business model?
It’s clear that the expansion of markets in Asia has offset the recession’s effects in the U.S. and Europe, especially for watches. But also look at the speciality publication market in, say, Japan: they are super enthusiasts! The use of the mobile web is also highly developed in Japan.
On the issue of mass bloggers, where any gun for hire can blog for another (and such people tend to band together in groups,) it appears that many advertisers and PR firms for the media including high-end businesses have attempted to embrace this genre, and the resultant level of available free advertising most so-called bloggers are willing to supply. What impact does this have to the end game?
What is the value of any form of social media in terms of advertising of goods and services to the consumer if such an endorsement is directly tied to a firm or client?
I’m going to answer both of these questions together…
This is an interesting question. I’m not sure I have a complete answer, or that a complete answer is available. What I think it comes back to is the principle of Style equaling character. Everyone in the media over here has focused on Tavi Gevinson as the face of fashion blogging, but – and no disrespect to her creativity (or her preternatural sophistication) – I think she is limited by her age in terms of influence. Simply put, her character hasn’t had time to age, evolve, and this will leave visitors who aren’t in her age bracket with the feeling that her style is inherently tentative. Time will tell if she’s going to be a new Daphne Guinness or Isabella Blow; but, in the meantime, I think what’s happening with the older fashion bloggers – on sites like Blooming Leopold, The Coveted and The Clothes Horse (all of which I found through browsing communities on Flickr) – more interesting from a marketing standpoint. Yes, some of the gals who run these kinds of sites clearly accept small gifts from advertisers; but they’ve just as clearly established their passion for fashion in a way that disarms the charge that they’re just flacks or on the make. They use the Internet and blogging to create community; they trade in identity (their style); and they do so in a way where overt marketing wouldn’t work as well as consensus building. There’s an authentic, organic feel to what they’re doing, which is why, I think, they are a potentially powerful constituency, especially for smaller brands that mightn’t have the budgets for getting into the big fashion mags. Plus, it’s the kind of media where a few freebies are tolerated – are recognized as rewards for being such an energetic blogger of fashion. If a freebie formed the basis of every single post, credibility would disappear; everyone gets that, I think. Just as everyone “gets” that the “real” fashion press is swimming in such favors.
What I find fascinating about fashion blogging is the implicit or explicit creation of a lifestyle bigger and deeper than the clothes. It’s the personality of the blogger, and that while they may blog alone, they live in a community. Sometimes they’re alone; sometimes they confess their unhappiness; sometimes they are filled with the joy of friendship and family. They have all the authentic narratives that fashion spreads in magazines can only pay homage to. They are living stories.
One of the most extraordinary lifestyle blogs is Niotillfem, by the 27-year old Swedish copywriter Sandra Beijer. She has made her life – the food she cooks, the places she goes, the friends she has, and the clothes she wears a brilliant, cohesive work of curation that is accessible, organic, authentic and yet, absurdly glamorous. It’s like the Swedish version of the “Bright Young People” (the British social network of the 1920s) but more wholesome (if you ignore their smoking). You can’t confect this sort of style; you just want to be a part of it – even if you know that the camera lies a little bit, and life is never really that beautiful. But it should be - shouldn’t it? Seeing is a form of believing.
Again, how important is authenticity to your brand versus mass sales? If the former, you’ll be pretty thrilled that Ms Beijer is very excited to be wearing your brand – and has chosen to do so independently. Can you influence her – and the people that follow her without robbing her of her authenticity? That may be a marketing problem that’s too subtle to solve. It may simply be the icing on the cake, the endorsement of those with vibrant, confident style that convince you what you’re producing and marketing is right.
If you just need eyeballs and mass sales, you’ll prefer the flashier gossip bloggers as places to advertize or endow with free product. You’ll also risk the downside of being associated with sleaze.
While there doesn’t appear to be a freebie culture on Timezone, the fact that several brands allow one of the moderators – Michael Sandler – to photograph their watches is a powerful consensus building tool – because the results give collectors a far better sense of what the watches look like than, bizarrely, the promo literature. Several brands – Sinn (recently profiled by Monocle magazine), Bremont, and Bell and Ross have done this. Given that dealers for the two first brands are few in the U.S., this sort of outreach helps to give people the confidence to buy online from an approved retailer or the company themselves. Twenty people each buying a $5,000 dollar watch on the strength of a fanboy’s photo is not to be sniffed at if you’re a small, boutique company.
About Trevor Butterworth
Trevor Butterworth is an Irish journalist and writer who has lived in the United States since 1993 and presently resides in Brooklyn. Currently, he writes a weekly column for Forbes.com called "Medialand," which covers all aspects of our mediated environment from style to technology; he also contributes to the Financial Times, for which he has profiled writers such as Tom Wolfe and the late Louis Auchincloss; he has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and other publications on a wide variety of cultural and scientific topics; and he has appeared on NBC Nightly News, NPR and the BBC. He edits STATS.org, a non-partisan, non-profit project affiliated with George Mason University in Virginia that examines the way statistics and science are used in public policy and the media.
He received his BA and M.Phil from Trinity College Dublin, attended Georgetown University on a graduate scholarship, and received an MS from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, where he also received the school's Sevellon Brown Award for outstanding knowledge of the history of American press.
The above interview with Trevor Butterworth 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Photograph "Paris. La nuit." of the Musée du Louvre, Paris is provided exclusively to Manner of Man Magazine by Jules de Nogaret. All rights reserved.
Friday, October 15, 2010
We are all familiar with the sleek delivery bikes speeding around Manhattan, yet the residents of Phnom Penh have a different viewpoint when it comes to delivery transport.
They have obviously been inspired by the classic images of edgy 1950s and 1960s film noir. Who comes to my mind? Both Jean Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon speeding along on their mopeds, looking so fantastic and chic with their dark hair slicked back, slim white pants, fitted shirts, and loafers. I think of Alain Delon as Tom Ripley in the spectacular Rene Clément film of 1960 'Plein Soleil' or his role in Luchino Visconti's 1960 masterpiece "Rocco e i suoi fratelli." This inspiration is iconic, and an epitome of masculine causal chic.
A top photographer touring the region has supplied Manner of Man with the image above snapped at a raw market. He wrote "I've been travelling a lot for the last couple of months, all over Asia. Just got back from Bali a couple of weeks ago. Wow! I loved it. In Phnom Penh, there are “Alain Delon” delivery mopeds everywhere. Funny how he (Alain Delon) pops up all over the world, and in so many different guises."
Considering the high style and the level of contrast to the area, these mopeds provide a level of chic that would otherwise not be realized. It is branding at its best without being loud while at the same time evoking great environmental style and timeless memories.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
This exclusive interview with Swiss master watchmaker Thomas Prescher, founder of Thomas Prescher Haute Horlogerie was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Twann, Switzerland October 2010
Describe Thomas Prescher Haute Horlogerie
Thomas Prescher Haute Horlogerie is specialized on custom made high end watches. Nearly all of our watches are entirely made to the wishes of our clients. So in the last eight years we haven’t done the same watch two times. We are well known for our multiple axis tourbillions and we are the only company producing a flying Triple Axis Tourbillon world wide.
What made you interested in pursuing a career in custom watchmaking?
During my carrier I do a lot of restoring work. While doing that I saw many interesting unusual mechanisms. These mechanisms and additional other influences made me to develop the concept of my first hand made watch. When I try to sell this watch a potential client said to me I will buy it if you can change that and this for me. This behavior became very common to me and today we have a lot of clients who give me their wishes direct during the concept phase of a watch.
On average how long does it take to complete a custom watch design?
The needed time is quite dependant on the wishes of the client and of the complexity of the mechanism. It is also dependant how quick the communication and the decisions are done.
The time deference between one month and a year. The average time is about three month.
Who primarily is your clientele?
There is no special group, profession or something else my clients have in common, but all of them appreciate nice things and art. In general they went through several steps of collecting brands and found out that there is something beyond this.
What is your source of inspiration for new watch designs?
If I only knew. I found out that I am quite open to my entire environment and that it could be nearly everything if it happens in the right moment that makes me to think about if it could be an idea for a watch mechanism. E.g. the horizontal oscillating weight for my Mysterious Automatic Double Axis Tourbillon was inspired by a big swing in an amusement park. When I saw the people entering the swing and moving on its surface I thought why not integrating a mechanism in this oscillating weight. It ended up in the first calendar integrated in an oscillating weight ever made.
What makes your watches unique?
Each watch is realized due to a vision and for sure the wishes of a client. We do not make any series. So we don’t need to produce in an industrial way. It is also my love for perfection and aesthetics. I love it to try out new things, treatments, materials so craftsmanship becomes art. Perhaps the expression that the watch is for me what is the linen for the painting artist.
The above interview with Thomas Prescher 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Pierre Corthay, recently awarded the honor of “Master of Art” by the government of France creates men’s shoes that are simply genius (his Arca model in brown is shown above.) The Master of Art designation of France, while not widely known in the States, is not bestowed lightly. In short, it means that the individual or firm is a cultural icon.
I had recently with a friend in London, the author of another viewpoint on Thom Browne, that opened this discussion.
His piece resulted in a wide-ranging discussion regarding the designer, as often is the case. The article generated a few significant viewpoints, below is my take on the subject, exactly as presented.
This is a bit of a sensitive issue. I want to address this properly and completely. You truly are passionate about fashion and I feel have a great personal talent. I believe you understand it wholeheartedly. I want you to think about what is at hand here in terms of menswear as it regards new styling and the Thom Browne fuss, think about it over time.
The Thom Browne affair is about movement to a degree; you nailed part of that down with this line, “Some see Browne as a fad, a reaction to the lack of invention in menswear over the past 50 years that has led critics of fashion to rally and chorus that our designers have run out of ideas.” Nonetheless, Browne has opened up new forms; new ways of considering cuts, and frankly open discussion. It has made all of us who are interested re-evaluate our wardrobes.
I am not one for most conceptual items but the inherent issue here is the concept of new forms or ways of thinking about menswear. The problem is that menswear must change, but it cannot abruptly change, hence this reaction around the world to Browne. It is too structured a discipline to be radically altered in such a rapid fashion (no pun intended.) I am however interested in new forms. I recall being in a show in Los Angeles in the 1980s that included the great Japanese designers in menswear at the time, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamomoto, Rei Kawakubo for Commes des Garcons. Those items were stark, architectural clothes that were new, intelligent, and very chic but at the time in a similar manner many first received them with a skeptical eye. The difference with those items was that although radically new – they were very clean and highly wearable – that is the huge difference they could be worn today. The Japanese items were workable and wearable in my view for a man from day one.
Thom Browne’s work is so very radical yet to the point of a man risking being pointed at - and that alone may turn some away, but we have to remember many great established classics of today started out this exact way. It is true that much of Thom Browne’s work may not be broadly appropriate (and that is the key here - appropriate) for a number of situations. I do not think his items are meant to be versatile clothes in that way. Nevertheless, many conventional items of today also fall into being highly inappropriate (shorts at funeral being one example.) In certain circles, I think that his items can be worn with great style and panache (it would take a severe level of confidence to pull off.)
I say I give any man credit that has the balls to wear Thom Browne and walk down Madison Avenue (that level of confidence deserves respect.) And that is why Browne is therefore a bright point on the menswear map, and remains an enigma to many. The pictures you have posted for this piece are clear representation of the fact that this is really a vast experiment. I personally think some of his creativity may need to be tamed for translation; but that stated do not just reflect on what you see on the runway, understand that the runway shows are at times overall concepts for the press and pubic to consider - not literal translations to be worn on the street. One look at the pictures above proves that fact, a bit too circus yes, but that shock and awe value I am sure is intentional.
He is breaking ground on issues of fabrication and cut. The circus atmosphere I believe is meant to entertain new ideas. I see items I could wear from this collection, but most of it is a bit much, even for me. Yet the structures we see may well translate into future forms at which point he will be considered a genius.
We have to keep that in mind.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
The Savoy, A Fairmont Managed Hotel, will reopen its doors on Sunday, October 10, 2010. One of this year’s most eagerly anticipated openings, The Savoy has been undergoing one of the most ambitious restorations in British history. The hotel closed in December 2007 for a restoration program that encompasses the entire building from the iconic entrance and the American Bar to Savoy Grill and the 268 guestrooms and suites.
“We are very excited to reopen The Savoy,” comments Kiaran MacDonald, General Manager. “It is fair to say that this project has not been without its challenges, but we are looking forward to unveiling the results of nearly three years of hard work and dedication. We are very aware of the place that The Savoy holds in many people’s affections and we firmly believe that the hotel will exceed people’s expectations and reclaim its position as one of the world’s great hotels.”
Established in 1889, The Savoy was the brainchild of the Gilbert and Sullivan impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte. Originally managed by Swiss hotelier César Ritz and Maitre Chef Auguste Escoffier, the hotel quickly became known for its glittering parties and glitterati guests. Escoffier created dishes for Sarah Bernhardt, Lily Langtry, Dame Nellie Melba and the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, while Ritz instituted the impeccable service, attention to detail and creativity that came to be the hallmark of the hotel. For more than a century, Savoy Court was the stopping point for the Rolls-Royces of royalty, prime ministers and Hollywood stars.
The hotel’s two main design aesthetics, Edwardian and Art Deco, have been carefully brought back to life under the direction of world-renowned designer Pierre Yves Rochon. More than 1000 craftsmen and women, artists and artisans have worked tirelessly to create interiors that are in keeping with the hotel’s original and much-loved spirit.
Thirty-eight new River Suites and guestrooms have been added, offering the same stunning views over the River Thames that inspired Whistler and Monet. Nine Personality Suites will pay tribute to a few of the artists and well known figures who made this legendary hotel their London home away from home including Maria Callas, Charlie Chaplin, Marlene Dietrich and Frank Sinatra. The suites contain artwork, literature, photographs and artifacts that evoke the time and spirit of the stars including the 12 pink roses in the Marlene Dietrich Suite that the actress always requested upon arrival.
The Savoy’s reopening will include the addition of a stately 325-square meter Royal Suite featuring two bedrooms, a study, sitting room, dining room, master bathroom, dressing room (with a specially ventilated shoe closet) and a master bedroom with a bespoke Savoir bed. The suite has been specially designed so that all the rooms enjoy one of the finest views of London.
The bars and restaurants of The Savoy have always played a major role in establishing the reputation of the hotel and a new life has been breathed into them. The legendary River Restaurant sees a contemporary interpretation of Art Deco décor, while guests will welcome the reopening of the American Bar, refreshed but intact in spirit. In addition, Savoy Grill will return under the operation of Gordon Ramsay Holdings with Chef Patron, Stuart Gillies and Head Chef, Andy Cook.
New to the hotel will be The Beaufort Bar, a glamorous Art Deco bar built on the hotel’s original cabaret stage that will offer champagne, cocktails and cabaret and Savoy Tea, a bijou teashop selling Savoy tea, accessories and fresh patisserie. Within the Thames Foyer, the re-introduction of a stunning gazebo beneath an ornate glass dome will provide the perfect ambience for afternoon tea.
In its inception, The Savoy was famous for its cutting edge innovations, such as “ascending rooms”, known today as elevators, and en suite baths. Continuing in its avant-garde tradition, The Savoy will introduce world's first Green Butler. In addition to providing all the traditional 'butler' services such as unpacking and packing (using recycled tissue paper), serving morning coffee and arranging receptions, The Savoy's Green Butler will also have an in-depth knowledge of 'all things green' around London.
The restoration has introduced environmental technologies and efficiencies wherever possible. For example, a combined heat and power (CHP) plant will reduce the hotel's reliance on the national grid by approximately 50 per cent and an innovative system will reclaim the heat from all kitchen appliances to preheat domestic hot water. Cooking oil from the hotel restaurants will be recycled and turned into biodiesel, while waste management systems will recycle up to 90 per cent of waste from the hotel. The hotel also partners with the Thames 21 charitable organization to help maintain the stretch of River Thames in front of The Savoy.
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
M/M Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting (National Gallery Of Art, Washington)
Image courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.
Review by Nicola Linza
I personally am very selective when it comes to any art survey volume. An art survey I have found can be either very weak, or very important and powerful, yet rarely anything in-between. In terms of the Italian Renaissance they are rarely on the powerful side as they don't function to serve the key purposes for historians, curators, and collectors. Most importantly surveys rarely clarify the impact of significant artists of a period and their relationship to the bigger realm of art history between their collective works. This is not the case with Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting.
The rich and informative catalogue by David Allan Brown et al., a publication done in association with the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., focuses on the most intense period of the Renaissance in Venice. The work examines a time when Giorgione, Titian (young at the time,) Sebastiano del Piombo, and Palma Vecchio worked alongside each other, and their lesser known colleagues, each and all in the light of the great Giovanni Bellini. The period which is examined represents the first three decades of the sixteenth century. It also represents a pivotal and major period of visual, and intellectual, impact for Italian art in Italy, Europe, and the world.
Brown et. al. does not handle this exhibition catalogue like a normal, or typical, survey. With 336 p., 9 1/2 x 11 1/2 , 31 halftones + 162 color illus. it is a masterfully planned art volume. Although written in a serious and scholarly manner, a layman will enjoy it.
The volume does not divide up the artists, but looks at their interrelationships. Secular subjects are explored, as are themes of music, love, and time. The leading scholars efforts, along with their detailed entries, provides a solid source for continuing discussion of pictures that are nothing short of monumental.
Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting is an exhibition book that is, in my view, well worth obtaining now while available at the publisher price. I see this work as a required addition to any great library on Renaissance art today, and will certainly be valued tomorrow.
This exclusive interview with Arnaud Bamberger, UK Executive Chairman, Cartier was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in London October 2010
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is classical, with a little french flair. The palette of my wardrobe is simple - blues, greys, whites... I inject a little personal twist in the finishing touches, a flash colour with an Hermes tie or silk handkerchief, my vintage Cartier bracelets ...
Cartier is legendary for innovation and fine design but moreover the marketing has been selective and of the highest order - how do you plan new campaigns?
For a Maison such as Cartier, the message of quality, authenticity and know-how has always been at the core of our communication. Cartier has a highly recognisable style and which has over time become identifiable by our icons. These icons are the foundations of the Maison's style and our campaigns will evolve using modern settings and playing with contemporary codes.
Contemporary art while often a one-trick pony, has provided the few items that work, that tend to be very powerful and meaningful. Would you say that is very much like jewellery and accessory design? And the reason that Cartier and Contemporary presentations have worked well together because of the balanced refinement inherent in the combined showings?
We certainly hope that our Jewellery creations are not considered one trick ponies... I certainly hope not. Our jewellery and watch designs have really lasted a lifetime - take the Tank watch for example - a Maison classic that dates back to WW1 and a design that has continuously evolved over the past 90 years. You must remember that Cartier is a dynamic Maison which, after 160 years is still lead by its creativity and inspiration - a Maison that is in perpetual motion. The fine balance in our creations comes from the combination of tradition, innovation, elegance and exclusivity.
What is the sexiest item of a businessman's uniform?
Monogram initials in a custom shirt - the devil is in the detail.
Where do you reside during vacations and how do you spend your time?
With my family in Mykonos - taking photographs.
What is genuine luxury to you?
Genuine luxury to me is something rare. In my case this is the luxury of Time.
It is 1970 and we are meeting in Rome for a private party hosted by Luchino Visconti. What are you wearing? In addition, whom do you want to meet?
White suit, open shirt, mocassins. Who do I want to meet? I prefer to wait for the surprise.....
The above interview with Arnaud Bamberger 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
This exclusive interview with iconic male model and artist Marcus Abel was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Miami, Florida October 2010
Interview with Marcus Abel
The standard for male models in some markets has loosened greatly in the past 25 years. Do you think the male image is being well represented today?
I always questioned my role in promoting a physical ideal for men. To this day I will not accept that my modeling images should be a goal for someone to follow or mimic. Of course, to some degree, I'm putting my head in the sand because men have admitted to me that images from those days inspired them towards a look or fashion that they wished to incorporate. I like the idea of stealing rather than copying. Steal a look because in that process you make it your own. Copying, on the other hand, is a more mindless activity that will result in a lifeless veil that lacks a dynamic interaction with an individual’s personality.
Getting back to your question of a standard. I'm more comfortable with the trend towards accepting a wider range of physical types. It gives more men the opportunity to steal! For those that feel a high physical threshold needs to be attained, in order to represent an iconic male standard, I'd say bring on the lively debate with those that seek to broaden the spectrum. I'm all for stealing and debates...
You worked one of the most memorable campaigns for Gianni Versace photographed by Richard Avedon. What are your memories of that job?
What stands out about Avedon was the almost immediate understanding you would have, in your role, for creating the image he wanted. The studio atmosphere was easy, almost casual yet extremely focused. He worked with an 8 X 10 view camera which is the opposite of someone who was using a motor drive 35mm SLR. The view camera is much more deliberate and involved, in its function, which created the understanding, that a shot is to be cherished and not to be wasted. He was very much in control and would place you in his composition then look for you to add details of expression and slight body adjustments. I think all the great photographers have an easy yet powerful command of what they want and how to get the best from everyone on set to accomplish this goal.
You are a talented fine artist today, what brought you to painting?
I made a complete commitment to art almost 12 years ago after a lifetime of orbital proximity to those busy artistically and of a personal curiosity that was too timid and distracted to actually begin the process of artistic engagement. I like painting because it is a solitary activity that has elements of emotional and intellectual exploration that results in the tangible outcome, as flawed as it may be, of a painting.
How do you describe your own personal style?
Wow, personal style? Those that know me would be laughing! Hmmm, I'd say it has something to do with paint splatters as almost every garment I own has caught the remnant of some errant toss of paint...
What do you think of new media? Especially the flood of blogs that are in our view being overhyped for street photography or reporting fashion runway?
If the new fashion media is anything like the non-main stream news media, I'm all for it. I can't imagine a world that only brought us viewpoints like O'Reily and Oberman. Bring on the massive flow of viewpoints even though it might take me longer to sort it out.
The above interview with Marcus Abel 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
Monday, October 4, 2010
Images of the Aston Martin provided for exclusive use by photographer Adrian Wilson. All rights reserved.
Friday, October 1, 2010
This exclusive interview with Luciano Barbera was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Biella, Italy September 2010
Your father had a passion for fine Italian made fabrics and from that passion grew what we know today as Luciano Barbera. How do you work to maintain the quality of your brand?
- Carrying on the tradition of a “religious” commitment to the production of fabrics that are made with the finest fibers in the world and result in garments where quality is certainly a very important pillar.
You stress, “Made in Italy” which is a significant factor in an item’s perceived quality this has become a major issue in the Italian manufacturing industries. What does “Made in Italy” mean to you?
- “Made in Italy” for me simply means that an item, any item, is made in Italy, which means entirely manufactured in Italy. This concept must be absolutely implied in any item final consumers can purchase. “Made in Italy” is a “passport”, an “identity card” for any product which should guarantee the consumers worldwide that they are in fact purchasing something truly made in Italy. This would also favor the respect for what is made in Italy: Italy in this way should become the “boutique of quality” at an international level.
What small details should a man think about when purhasing a suit?
- Small details: a suit cannot be purchased considering small details which can even misdirect the purchase itself. In my opinion it is important instead to consider the softness and the wearability and performance of the suit which should fit like a second skin; the lightness of construction, which is particularly guaranteed by traditional workmanship without any seizing or coating inside the lining; buttonholes and seams should be particularly accurate and especially in high price clothing should be hand-made and sartorial. All this in addition to and taking for granted a fabric which is guaranteed of high quality and with declared traceability and country of origin.
Can you describe the natural balance between innovation and tradition?
- Very easy: following and living and perceiving everyday the ever changing requirements of our society can provide us with the tools we need to innovate the tradition of quality.
It is an individual stance of course, yet one that also translates to how one man views another, how would you describe a man of great personal “style?”
- A man who does not follow the commands of “fashion” in any way but who is aware of what he feels is the best around him to satisfy his personal taste respecting himself before fearing any outside opinion.
What advice would you give your children the day they want to take over the company?
- That they should love their job and consider it as an integral part of their life respecting the duties pertaining their positions.
It is 1970 and we are meeting in Rome for a private party hosted by Luchino Visconti. What are you wearing? In addition, whom do you want to meet?
- I am wearing my usual woolen charcoal flannel double-breast hand-made suit, a white-cream linen shirt, buckled black shoes, a dotted dark blue tie and a blue-yellow-burgundy paisley patterned pocket handkerchief. Romy Schneider is there and we are talking about a possible cameo of mine in her last film.
The above interview with Luciano Barbera 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher. -
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M/M Bestemmia [Blasphemy]
Io sono una forza del Passato.
Solo nella tradizione è il mio amore.
Vengo dai ruderi, dalle chiese,
dalle pale d’altare, dai borghi
abbandonati sugli Appennini o le Prealpi,
dove sono vissuti i fratelli.
Giro sulla Tuscolana come un pazzo,
per l’Appia come un cane senza padrone.
O guardo i crepuscoli, le mattine
su Roma, sulla Ciociaria, sul mondo,
come i primi atti della Dopostoria,
cui io assisto, per privilegio d’anagrafe,
dall’orlo estremo di qualche età
sepolta. (“Poesie mondane,” Bestemmia 619)
[I am a force of the past.
Tradition is my only love.
I come from the ruins, and churches,
and altarpieces, the abandoned
villages on the Appennines or on the Prealps,
where brothers have lived.
Like a madman I wander on the Tuscolana,
On the Appia like a dog without a master.
Or I observe the twilights, and the mornings
over Rome, and Ciociaria, and the world,
as the first acts of the After-History,
which I partake of, by chronological privilege,
from the extreme border of some
- Pier Paolo Pasolini