Tip of the Hat: A Dandy Sign of Respect

Patrick in Cape Full Length

It is my pleasure to tip my hat in honor of my friend Patrick McDonald.

As you can see he really turned it out – cape and all – for the opening of the RISD Museum of Art’s “Artist/Rebel/Dandy Men of Fashion” exhibit in Providence. I have a lot of hats, but my collection pales in comparison to the millinery perfection of Patrick’s.

And Patrick wasn’t the only one to turn it out; the air was electric. . .the artists, the rebels, and the dandies were all in full effect. I should know.

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I see a lot of fashion as you can imagine; I’m surrounded by it at home and work. And I spend a good amount of my day stalking sartorial prey. I love seeking out the most unusual and am always searching for breathe of fresh style.

And that is exactly what I found in Providence at the RISD Museum of Art’s “Artist/Rebel/Dandy Men of Fashion” exhibit.

It is truly an  inspiring show that will thrill fashion geeks and fashionista elite alike. Through the curators’ eyes, Kate Irwin and Laurie Anne Brewer, we see a lot including the beginnings of accessible men’s fashion – I know it doesn’t compare to todays’s fast fashion, but prior to Beau Brummel this kind of sartorial pleasure was the sole province of Kings and maybe a few Dukes, not commoners like me.

This exhibit exults in men of fashion and how men experiment with fashion through shape, look, pattern and color. It was exciting for me. . .I felt validated for what I do and  inspired by the others I met.

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For example check out my friend Guy Hills modern take on tweed. Not only does he experiment with color, but he has applied the most modern of technology to the most traditional of fabrics. The photo above is not overexposed – it shows off the awe-inspiring 3M technology he’s using in some of his fabric. Now that is something I could have used during the black out after super storm Sandy last fall. Dodging cars and buses as I walked my dogs in the dark would have been much safer and of course more stylish in such a suit!

But I digress. . .I had fun with my sartorial expression up in Providence as well.

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When I packed for the event I borrowed from history as I often do and tried to give voice to a number of my favorite eras.

I kicked things off at the Opening Night Gala with my homage to the rat pack. It was all 1960s Las Vegas – satin white tux jacket paired with traditional black pants – with a personal nod to Harlem in the form of my white vintage Stacy Adams shoes. Of course I added an additional special flair with a super-sized pink pocket square, a slick black cummerbund and a classic 1960s style tie that has a truly millennial flair.

On the second night I donned my favorite bright plaid Vivienne Westwood cutaway jacket with my 1990s Dolce and Gabbana purple velvet pants paired with my new suede John Varvatos lace up shoes. So it’s not just color but pattern and texture. . .I love mixing them as well. Finally on the third day – Sunday – I donned one of my favorite pinstripe numbers to cheer on the tweed riders.

The entire weekend was a pleasure both sartorially and otherwise. I learned a lot from the exhibit and I met a lot of very inspiring people.

I encourage everyone to visit the exhibit this summer – it’s on view at the RISD Museum of Art – 224 Benefit Street, Providence, RI – until August 18, 2013.

In the meantime I hope all my new friends and old will stop by my shop in NY to say hi and share your sartorial memories – they are the best kind!

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