Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Sartorial Library: Who the Fu#&k is Alan Flusser?

It’s 1983. I’m mostly clad in Corbin and Berle and maybe one Southwick suit and a smattering of half-price Polo stuff that I’d go over to Columbia, S.C. and pinch when Brittons would have a sale. Oh, and I had Hertling suits from when Julie Hertling made jackets and pants. I was low on dosh but just like today, real, real high on appetite and taste level. The proverbial beer budget—champagne taste thang. But here we are in '83 and I’ve got a real job and the fools are paying me nineteen thousand—six hundred dollars per year plus car and expense account. Pinch me.
WAH…seven years older and one of the most stalwart Trad guys ever, was in ’83 and is today, one of my best buddies in the world. He’d just exited a first marriage and so his apartment was our staging area for all kinds of guy antics and debauchery and … I think today they call it a hook-up. Shut up. That's WAH today, still about as Trad as they come.
So I walk in one day and there’s this paperback book on WAH’s coffee table and the cover is packed with tasty images of all kinda sartorial goodies. “Who the Fu#&k is Alan Flusser?” I asked. Keep in mind; this was pre, the 1987 Wall Street/Michael Douglas Flusser launching pad. “He’s some designer/clothier guy who’s written a book” was the WAH response. Little did I know that my gander at the book and subsequent borrowing of it without explicit permission (I’ve yet to return it twenty-nine years later) would launch what would become a sartorial library that’s probably as robust as many and more so than most.
Also, obviously, I had at that moment, no idea that I’d end up making a little more dough through the years and piss scads of it away bespeaking some of the tastiest conceptions that the…to-this-day-second-to-none color, tone, texture master Sensei Flusser directed me to commission.
Even crazier, if someone had told me in 1983 that I’d actually be the owner of the very pair of Flusser’s alligator tassel loafers depicted on the cover of the book, I’d a checked you for a fever.
If someone had told me that I’d have a daughter one day who would, during one of her evening prayers, ask God to bless “President Obama and Alanflusser”, I’d have surely laughed you out of the room. LFG by the way, refers to Alan with a run-on one word moniker…Alanflusser.

So it’s only fitting that I kick off my sartorial library posts with my first ever book on such things. The Master Sensei Flusser’s first book is modest compared to what he would turn out later but it’s precious to me for many reasons.
Onward. Wearing my Bobby from Boston Advent Calendar Keepers Tweed…named such, courtesy of Flo.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Billy Scott—R.I.P

“C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-AAAA” …the part of Billy Scott and the Georgia Prophet’s song California where during the refrain they sound out each letter of the word…you remember, no? Well, actually, unless you were a fratty kid thirty years ago, perhaps you don’t.
The Georgia Prophets had two really fun hits that they are most remembered for…California and I’ve Got the Fever. Neither song, as great as they were to sing along to at the top of your lungs in a beer soaked KA house at 2am, were really great songs to dance to. Shag that is. Fever was too fast and California slightly too slow for the more elegant, nuanced hand dancing that characterizes the Carolina Shag. As I’ve posited before, our version of the Fratty-Trad mating dance is all about footwork and movement from the waist down while your upper body is fairly calm. Further, the Carolina version is about doing that footwork in a tight little confined bit of dance floor real estate. You move around, ultimately, all over the dance floor. But the footwork that if you’re good at it, has others stepping back to watch you dance, occurs in a space about the size of a shoe box.
 Oh, and they had another great song that you’d want on your jukebox at the fratty—Nobody Loves Me Like You Do. Hard to shag to too, though. So I’ve just settled on the fact that the Georgia Prophets songs were good as background music while you were standing there, waxed cardboard complimentary  cup of bad draft beer in hand, sh_t talking some sorority trixie on the off-chance that the next song would be one that you could shag to. Or go upstairs and look at etchings. Shut up.
Fever and California were good songs to dance to if you did that Virginia...UVA—Sweet Briar—Hollins sling your date around epileptically…all arms and no nuanced footwork technique. But hell, anyone could learn to do that shit in fifteen minutes. I loved the Sweet Briar—Hollins gals that I met at the Chinese Disco during one sweltering hot Washington summer of my youth. And when one of the Georgia Prophets songs cranked up, I’d dance with ‘em to those songs, but only my style of dancing. I saved the arm slinging, contortionated, epileptical activities till we returned to my place—the ever so elegant Presidential Gardens Apartments where all of the other 24/7 hungover interns lived.
So BillyScott at 70, had some severe stomach pains back during the first week of October. Pancreatic cancer gets you fast. Real fast. And the older I get, the younger 70 seems. Thank you Billy Scott, for all of my 2am sing-alongs with you. Thanks Billy, for taking me back this morning, to some of the greatest memories of the greatest seven years of my life—my undergrad fratty epoch. My love and prayers go to your family and all in your sphere who, like me, will miss you.

Onward.  C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-AAAA

ADG    T-W-O

I've Got the Fever

Friday, November 16, 2012


I thought red was the "rage color?" I posted a photo on my tumblr yesterday asking for advice on selecting one of two windowpane fabrics for a jacket. You'd a thought I'd posed a question about bringing back the damn Poll Tax. And in no way did I insinuate that the orange option was my affinity. Problem people know me and my fuzzy impertinence all too well. 
 I gots thick skin and y'all generally can't hurt me. But a couple of you over there in tumblr town were borderline...whatever. I'll include all of the comments here but I've gotta make my cousin Bob's the Marquee weigh-in. Here it is and it's priceless...
“Orange to bed, but Tan to wed...OK, more like pale loden. YOU know, the one that is NOT orange. I dig the orange, but it will be THAT coat, as in "Are you going to wear THAT coat again?" or worse, "I see. YOU always look so, um je ne sais quoi in that coat." Remember when Esprit and Alex Julian discovered Orange ( and turquoise/aqua/teal) about 1981? The whole world looked like a bunch of deer hunters from U Tenn and Clemson had excaped and decided to dress like a Howard Johnson's. And then, shortly thereafter, things went back to normal for a while. That orange windowpane will holler 2012 like a three stone diamond engagement ring screams 1985. Don't do it.”

And here's the rest of you...

call me Olive • Oh Max, like you need buncha nonames to show you the way. Consult Mr. 8 1/2, he taya whetherda thow the brick at the textile, or thow the brick as you's getting dressed in front the meer.

NCJack • Bubba, people will assume "Klimpson", and we don't want that, now do we?

memphis88 said: Urnge

decadedance said: Brown for sure. Or the Van Cleef and Arpels looking navy print

drinkinanddronin said: One of my favorite books. Take the green/blue, it’s got a few orange speckles in there anyway.

heavytweedjacket said: Olive with the blue windowpane. It already has flecks of tomato in it.

preppybythegraceofgod reblogged this from you and added: Much as a picture frame enhances a picture the choice of color best suited to enhance your ADG complex is to the left. I will take the one on the right.

theivyleaguelook said: Yeah. What LongThing said.

longwing said: I’d go with the olive which means you should go with the tomato.

Blevin said: I  don't like the carrot colored one, ADG, although I imagine it is tempting for one with your chromatic daring. The brown/blue and blue/red however - very tasty! What are you planning?

Wind O' Pain • The blue with red is quate tasty, assuming you can either play the July 4/Captain America thing way up or way down. But you sure look like you were deciding between the Safety one and the Earthy one. OSHA likes the one on the right. Everybody else likes that mossy bank one, I am betting.

dvalenta • Color blind. Can't help. But I'd go with the darker one!

Cecelia • Love the orange, cept the heather blue and red looks very fresh. Really yum with a mair tartan tie or scarf.

Non • Orange. Pair it with your ridiculous J. Peterman mac. That'll get you noticed.

angell.j • I hope i am not too late but the brown one is nice and deep in color. For what it is worth.

Onward. Still in my pajamas.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Trad-Ivy Tuesday: The Ivy Style Symposium

This will be a rather brief catch-up till I can catch my breath this coming weekend. I returned from Gotham Sunday night and left yesterday after LFG’s Parent-Teacher Conference for yet another full week on the road. But I’m eager to share my perspectives on the Ivy Style event when I get the time. But for now…
I rolled into Gotham on Wednesday afternoon and walked from Penn Station amidst the next round of Mother Damn Nature, to the Americano Hotel…accommodations courtesy of F.I.T. 
The walk over there was Nor’easterly bone chilling—it took me an hour to thaw out. My Flusser Mac was never put to better use.
And the Americano? Fun…minimalist…Chelsea modern. With a confusing bean bag chair.
I’ll write voluminously about the various topics and speakers and how great it all was. But for now, just let me tell you that my friend Reggie Darling almost caused me to miss the entire freakin’ blogger segment of the symposium. I’m dutiful about such honors and had been in fellowship with Patricia Mears, Bruce Boyer and others about the Exhibition and symposium for almost a year.
Eager to assist and honored to participate in the symposium, I was there on time…both days…actually early on Friday, but was whisked away to one of my favorite haunts for lunch on Friday…the proverbial 21. Reggie ridiculed me into martinis and I, stalwart in my resistance to such peer pressure and cognizant of my being on stage when we returned, gladly complied. We were late returning. The blogger segment had already begun. I, martini fueled...had to do the walk of shame and take my place on stage and apologize for being late. Imagine what an even greater hit I’d a been sans hooch. Hell, I probably did a better job with a little brine on board. Thanks Reggie!

was able to escape and swing by the Flusser Atelier for a gander at a boondogglesque concoction consisting of the above shown parts. I’ll leave you hanging till later on its gestation.
Then over at Paul Stuart, Puerto Rykken and his minion, Paolo, who by the way at twenty years old, is worthy of an exclusive blog post himself, ganged up on me, using the textile tazers that you see above.
Stay tuned for Paolo…he’s the love child of Pablo Neruda and Jackie Gleason and he's not to be missed. Bam.
The balance of the weekend had me decamped to the Warwick where a good time was had by all. We scooted down to SoHo and dropped in on Jay Kos. I don’t get it.
War Horse on Saturday night and the Met on Sunday. Saw some old friends including William Orpen.
Then back to reality and a delightful re-entry for sure. I’m away till Thursday night on my next to last sortie for the year. I have a Las Vegas show that I’m doing after Thanksgiving and then I’ll wrap another blessed year professionally. 
But the highlight of the post Gotham weekend was my meeting with LFG’s teachers yesterday. After a tough start so far…she was sick for five days in September and she lost her grandmother…my former mother-in-law…six weeks ago and missed almost another week of school…my baby is currently in all-A student in one of the most academically rigorous school districts in Montgomery County Maryland.
Onward. Blessed. Pinch me. Just steer clear of my G-Spot and my royal blue blazer.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Cheever at Six

I’ve written about Cheever. God knows I’ve written about Weejuns—ad nauseam. I’ve even memorialized as my blog header; courtesy of my friend—the stunning on all counts, LPC, Weejuns as metaphorical currency when trading in stories that transcend just clothes and shoes. Writing about and for me, reading Cheever was a bit more onerous than scribbling about Weejuns. But I digress. Already.
Cheever wore size six Weejuns. Big whup, right? He was a little guy. Small enough to make me look less so. Rather like my favorite artist, American expat Whistler, who was referred to as a “pocket Mephistopheles.” Rather unlike Whistler, Cheever fought more devils than manifested them. Whistler wore attenuated little low-vamp pumps which accentuated his small feet. Cheever wore clunky shoes. But even clunky…or even Weejuns…in a size six…looks fey.
So AllanGurganus writes about the woulda now been a hundred years old, Cheever and his size six Weejuns in the New York Review of Books. And it motivated me to do this post for reasons beyond Cheever’s little Weejuns. First, it took me back to the onerous but couldn’t-put-it-down journey that I took a couple of years ago when I read Blake Bailey’s Cheever biography. Couldn’t put it down because I just couldn’t…in a drive-by-a-wreck-shouldn't-look-but-can’t-not…way. Onerous because I am Federico Cheever to my father’s John. And that shit still hurts and always will.
And second, I was reminded, through Gurganus’s voice, of the fine caliber of writer that comes out of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Rocky Mount North Carolina’s Gurganus is such a product. So was the lexiconically overwrought, lupus laden Flannery O'Connor. And a woman who I dated right after my divorce. Gurganus met Cheever there and, well, you can read the story here. But for now, I’ll share with you a few of Gurganus's lines that caught me.
"We peeked into Cheever’s classroom. He was seated cross-legged on a blond oak desk and looked like a Noël Coward leprechaun. Blue-and-white-striped Brooks Brothers shirt, unpressed khakis. John Cheever wore size-six Weejuns. (You know? I’ve always wanted to write that! For its interior rhymes, for its being factual, for its snappy attempt at sounding both as smart and clear as, well, a John Cheever sentence. So, yeah, “John Cheever wore size-six Weejuns.”)”
“Cheever’s fiction celebrates daylight as a form of salvation. Of course his pages creating brilliance had to be offset by a contrasting ink-jet blackness, as dark as the pitchiest corner of a Goya masterpiece. Cheever’s impish human essence showed that same ratio of dark-to-light. He later guilt-tripped me into attending an Iowa Episcopal service; there, in the bone-plain church, he dropped a mid-aisle contortionist’s genuflection that looked downright papal.”
“Confronting Iowa hostesses who looked too much like Margaret Dumont, he’d goose those ladies. He would. The wisest of them giggled, “Oh, now John, you bad bad boy. Not again!” He was Cole Porter one minute, Groucho the next, suddenly a drunken stumblebum, then the wisest of Chekhov’s cynics. John was selfish and ruined. He was a child, he was a genius. He was a scamp, he was a man.”
“John taught me and, later, without my knowing, sent and sold my first story to The New Yorker. When gentle William Maxwell whispered this news by phone to my one-room apartment, I said, “Yeah, and I’m Mae West, who the hell is this?””
“His habits and unhappiness had nearly killed him. By now his cough could clear waiting rooms. He was the Pompeii where cigarettes go to die.”
“John later introduced me to his wife and kids. They all forgave me for having forgiven him. Weren’t we all fellow sufferers of his snobbish exuberance?”

Onward. At six on Sunday morning. Now turning my vague-ass writing skills back over to…the man.

ADG II … Wage Slave.