Bold Fall Style
LO O K B E T T E R • F E E L B E T T E R • K N OW M O R E SEPTEMBER/ OCTOBER 2013
TAKES THE LEAD MEGHAN MARKLE
The Hot Paralegal
from Suits (Not wearing a suit)
Top of the
S-Class: A Week in THE Ultimate Ride
Top-Shelf Suits Damn Fine Shoes
Swanky Watches & Sweaters.
You want ‘em? We’ve got ‘em.
Scotch on the planet MUCH MORE (IF THIS GUY’S BICEPS WEREN’T SO HUGE WE’D TELL YOU ABOUT IT HERE.)
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FALL â€˘ WINTER 2 0 1 3 e d iti o n The Essential Reference For The Discerning Man
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SHARP | EDITOR'S LETTER
Look Better, Feel Better To introduce this month’s fall style issue, I offer you a pair of stories. A friend of mine got married recently, and he spent some money on an offthe-rack suit for the wedding. More money than he was comfortable with. It looked good on him, though, and the wedding went off swimmingly.
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that whole devil-may-care millionaire playboy look. It works for him. People take notice. Despite my objections to benefiting from the aesthetics of the undone tie, without actually ever having tied it (tying a bow tie isn’t that hard), I have to admit this is a pretty genius move. And while it is, technically, cheating, the end result is the same: feeling good as a result of looking good. It’s a simple equation, and all it requires is a suit that fits and, perhaps, a bit of ingenuity. If you haven’t felt this yet, you just haven’t met the right suit. But when it happens, you will definitely know. Also in this issue: Sports This issue marks the launch of Sharp’s first recurring sports column, which even a sports-illiterate like myself can admit is long overdue. Nicholas Hune-Brown, who joins Sharp’s growing roster of award-winning Canadian writers, begins by explaining the origins of his obsession with watching highly paid men run around chasing things for personal gain and municipal glory. Sports, as Hune-Brown notes, is the universal language of men—a great leveller across the divides of class, creed and geography. If you can talk sports, you can find common ground with just about any man anywhere, and that’s a beautiful thing indeed.
Jeremy Freed Editor-In-Chief @Mrjeremyfreed firstname.lastname@example.org
P h o t o : D a r r i n K l i m e k ; g r o o m i n g : N ata l i e B lo u i n
This was not entirely due to the suit, but I don’t want to underplay its importance, either—which brings me to my first story: one morning after the wedding, he puts on the suit and begins his commute to work. He notices something different immediately. People are looking at him in a way they haven’t before. They’re admiring. Men and women. He can feel it. And he likes it. A lot. So he gets on his train, and even though he made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone about this, here’s what he does next: he walks all the way down that train from one end to the other. (Well, maybe “struts” is the better word.) Just enjoying the feeling of looking damn good in a suit. Good enough that people stop and stare. Because you can’t truly appreciate the power of clothes—particularly a suit—until you’ve experienced strangers on a train, looking up from their Kindles, splashed across their faces as clear as day the words: Damn. Nice suit. This is a feeling that every man should have, the sooner in life the better. The second story: I have another friend who wears a tuxedo at every opportunity. He inherited the tux in question from his father and, with some minor alterations, it fits him perfectly. When he attends a black-tie event, he’ll bring two bow ties. One, a clip-on, to wear with the penguin suit, the other in his pocket, an identical tie-it-yourself bow (which he is unable to tie) for later in the evening. When the lights dim and the top buttons come undone he’ll discreetly swap out the pre-tied tie for the real one, which he slings loosely under his collar for
Contents SEPTEMBER 2013 | VOL.6 | ISSUE 4
The FALL STYLE Report
As Clooney, Pitt and their generation enter their 50s, the time has come for a new class of leading men to take their place. We nominate this young Australian as class president.
Key fall looks from Zegna, Prada, BOSS and more.
Modern Classics Seven casual wardrobe staples from the 21st century.
Suits’ sexy (and smart!) star is a modern woman can do whatever she wants, dammit.
Don’t Sweat It Comedy’s next big thing, John Mulaney, models this fall’s coziest knits.
MEGHAN MARKLE pg. 100
P h o t o : MATT B ARNE S . F o r a dd i t i o n a l C r e d i t s S e e p.1 3 6
A self-parking, lumbar massaging, V8-packing technological marvel on wheels. We run Mercedes-Benz’s revolutionary new S-Class through its paces.
26 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
HUGO BOSS CANADA INC. Phone +1 905 739 2677 www.hugoboss.com
Contents SEPTEMBER 2013 | VOL.6 | ISSUE 4
The key to looking good in a fedora is acquiring this one.
Islay is the home of some of the world’s finest—and peatiest—whiskies, but that’s not all it has to offer.
Add some colour to your wrist with the new generation of blueinfused watches.
After Islay you’ll be in the market for some smoky whisky. Here are three.
Our intrepid columnist jumps off a building and faces his biggest fear. Which, surprisingly, isn’t heights.
A Man Worth Listening To Jason Priestley is a survivor. He also judges a mean doughnut.
A Welcome Introduction Kate Miner and her husband are always waking the neighbours. With their music.
With Tony Soprano long gone, and Walter White’s demise imminent, who will carry on TV’s golden age?
film Joseph Gordon-Levitt chooses between porn and Scarlett Johansson in his directorial debut, Don Jon.
Design An Olympic fencer-turned industrial designer who will make you care about lighting design.
Craig Davidson’s Cataract City takes a hard look at a hard city. Also: the return of The Shining,
In his first column, Nicholas HuneBrown gets to the bottom of his irrational love of all sporting events.
Automobiles We take BMW’s raucous (and surprisingly friendly) M6 Gran Coupe for a spin around the Nürburgring. Plus: the Porsche 911’s 50th anniversary and an Aston Martin for the family in a hurry.
Fall suits and an insider’s look at the most important event in men’s fashion.
Tech From Vancouver to London, techsavvy hotels for the wired traveler.
Your hair is the single most important part of your face. Here are the best looks and products.
Food An ode to the humble pomelo, the citrus fruit of the moment. Plus, Michael Pollan on why cooking at home will save us all.
28 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
the Man About Town
BE HERE NOW
P h o t o : M at t D o y l e
The First Thing
SHARP | MAN ABOUT TOWN
Montreal’s elite geared up for the Formula 1 Grand Prix with an elegant garden party at the newly reopened Ritz-Carlton on June 7. The party was thrown in collaboration with McLaren and Formula Tours, and offered guests a chance to enjoy Champagne from Moët & Chandon, cognac at the Sharp Magazine Gentlemen’s Cognac Bar, an exclusive Holt Renfrew fashion show and live music from NYC’s DJ Brendan Fallis, Bete & Stef bossa nova band and pianist Katryna Marcogliese. 36 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
p h o t o s : YANI C K D é ry
McLaren and Sharp Celebrate Montreal F1
GUIDE | Books
Under the Shadow of the Falls
Craig Davidson’s Cataract City is a tough, honest read. BY GREG HUDSON
Niagara Falls might as well be Canada’s gaudy monument to the incongruity of Nature and Capitalism. Move away from the actual Falls, and you run into Clifton Hill—a bright Las Vegas-like strip of wax museums and overpriced restaurants, hustling for all the money families came to the city to spend. But, you move away from that, a little further in any direction, and you quickly meet the Real Niagara Falls. And, frankly, it’s not too pretty either. A town built and sustained—such as it is—by tourism and service isn’t a town
with a lot of money or opportunity. It’s that Niagara Falls that figures so heavily in Craig Davidson’s bleak yet redemptive new novel, Cataract City. It’s the story of two friends in Niagara Falls who taste glory, stumble and wind up on opposite sides of the law. Mostly, though, they survive. It’s painful and sad, but the book, along with the central characters, never gives in to that pain or sadness. In that sense, it’s uplifting, if only barely. But that’s exactly as it should be, isn’t it? Life isn’t about the grand victory—not in Niagara Falls, not anywhere. At least, that’s what Craig Davidson seems to be saying. “I’ve always found losing stories mean more to me; I’m drawn to that,” he says over cider at a basement bar in Toronto. “I’m not interested in someone who’s always good. You do the very best you can, you take the gifts you’ve been given, and you push them. There’s a ceiling you’ll ram into, but you won’t realize it until you ram into it.” Davidson knows about failure and, thankfully, it’s toooften-absent companion, redemption. He talks freely about his second novel, The Fighter, being a disappointment. “I was under the impression that after I sold my first book, and my second book was on track, that I’d be a writer for 30 years. It was probably hubris mixed with naïveté.” Instead, the book was a disaster, he says. “It took a lot to get back on my feet and re-establish my work ethic.” It was under the shadow of that disaster, working for a newspaper in Fredericton, that Davidson started writing what he thought would be four separate novellas set in the place he spent his formative years (well, he actually spent them in St. Catharines, but the cities might as well be twins). “I was under a dark cloud, when the book started, so I went back to a happy time in my life, which was when I was a kid. Good or bad, I felt it was something honest.” And it is honest. Which is all you need, from a book, from life, in Niagara Falls or anywhere.
Shine On, Danny You know how The Shining ends with little Danny Torrence escaping the Overlook Hotel and the mad clutches of his father with his mother and, if you’re talking about the book—30-year Spoiler Alert—Scatman Crothers (although, ha, yes, he wasn’t Scatman in the book). But, like an impulse buyer in line at a grocery store, you want to know Where they are now. Well, aren’t you in luck! Doctor Sleep, one of the biggest books of the fall, sees Stephen King catching up with little Danny, although he isn’t so little anymore. While literary sequels aren’t usually a great idea—unless they’re part of a preconceived series—we’re okay with this one. It’s less a sequel as it is a new novel with a familiar character. But, let’s leave it at this one, alright? No need for an Under the Dome 2, Been There Dome That. Okay? Okay. – GH
54 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
GUIDE | Tech LA DOLCE VITA
The TechSavvy Traveler
Hotels for the plugged-in set By Monical Pilwal
Among the modern road-warrior’s greatest enemies (aside from jetlag, lost luggage and existential evenings spent alone at sushi bars) are spotty Wi-Fi, lack of power outlets and (horror of horrors!) forgetting one’s laptop adapter. But there’s a new breed of hotels created with the tech-savvy traveler in mind. They boast every amenity any serious business voyageur could imagine, and even one’s they can’t.
Eccleston Square Hotel
Located in posh Westminster, adjacent to Belgravia and steps away from London’s main commuter hub, this boutique hotel was launched in 2011 with the technophile business traveler in mind. The main floor features a conference room with an eye-popping 103-inch 3D TV, which can be used for video conferencing, presentations or just watching Pacific Rim again. Inside each room are proximity-sensing control
panels to adjust everything from lights, temperature and music to the curtains covering the massive windows. Rooms are all equipped with a large flat-screen, 3D TV (3D Blu-ray discs and 3D glasses are available on request) and an iPad, from which guests can order room service, book transportation and communicate with the hotel’s full-time valet. Of course, UK, US and EU outlets are standard in every room, as are interfaces to connect your laptop to the TV and your iPhone to the in-room sound system. And,
because none of this matters if you don’t get some shuteye, fully adjustable, massaging beds from Hästens, Swedish makers of the world’s finest mattresses, will assure quality rest. It’s the type of place that makes the jetlag seem not so bad. ecclestonsquarehotel.com
Under the veil of a 19thcentury building awaits an ultra-modern hotel seemingly plucked straight out of a sci-fi film. Because keys and key cards are passé (not to mention easily misplaced), your fingerprint will unlock the door to your room. Once inside, you’ll be welcomed with a bed that seems to float on a gently glowing base, flat-screen TVs and a PlayStation 3 for “the kids.” What’s not to love*? kubehotel.com
Here, deluxe rooms are equipped with Samsung Galaxy 3 Phones and free Wi-Fi for your surfing pleasure. A complimentary iPad is available with a press reader, giving you access to over 2,300 newspapers in over 50 languages. There’s also a business centre that provides cutting-edge computers, a Telus Optik-equipped television in every room and a complimentary luxury car service. vancouver.opushotel.com
56 SHARPFORMEN.COM 2013 LIVE LOVE TASTE/ SEPTEMBER TOGETHER INVITE
YOU TO EXPERIENCE THE SWEET LIFE - LA DOLCE VITA
Ben Sherman Toronto 734 Queen Street West Toronto, ON M6J 1E9 Tel. 416-603-7437
GUIDE | Design
Give This Lighting Designer a Medal (he designs those, too) By Matthew Hague
Omer Arbel is undeniably sophisticated: a champion-fencer-turned-architect who runs Bocci, one of the premier industrial lighting design firms around (yes, you need to care about lighting design firms. His has been featured everywhere from Dwell to The New York Times). His Avatar-esque light fixtures—surreally coloured, beguilingly shaped and somehow bursting with ferns and succulents—are particularly covetable. While you’re figuring out how to incorporate his unique style into your space, we’ll let the Israel-born Vancouverite talk. Your designs aren’t like anything else out there. What inspires them? I find inspiration in the way materials behave, and the ways I have at my disposal to manipulate them. Each one of my 28 Series lights, for example, is subtly different in form and has a handicraft flavour because I used a new method in which the glass is cooled midway through the heating process.
As an architect, what are your favourite types of spaces to create? I am interested in spaces that have a measure of the irrational or the sublime. I think modernism was obsessed with cleanliness, lightness and order. For me, there is tremendous potential in weight, awkwardness and complexity.
66 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
You were born in Israel, have worked in Barcelona and maintain an office in Berlin. Why settle in Vancouver? My parents emigrated from Israel to Vancouver when I was a boy. I chose to come back to Vancouver because I find it a strange hybrid city in many respects (culturally, economically, ecologically, historically), and, as such, it is ripe with potential.
Innovation, after all, always comes from the periphery. You used to fence competitively. Has the sport influenced your aesthetic? No. But I designed the medals for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games. It’s interesting because I almost made it to the Olympics as a fencer. I never dreamed that I would be involved in the games as a designer 10 years later.
Look Bet ter • Feel bet ter • Know more
A Pleasant Drive Through the Green Hell
Taking on the world’s scariest racetrack in BMW’s ultra-friendly M6 Gran CoupE By Matt Bubbers
The 24 Hours NÜrburgring is the last lawless motor race. I know, because at the race a couple years ago I staggered out of the forest in the wee hours of the morning, covered in mud, not remembering much of anything. Later that day, I nearly got run over and crushed, and definitely got cursed at while standing in the pit lane. It is chaos. This year, I went back, but instead of drinking with the forest people, I was on the track—also with the forest people, as it turned out. SEPTEMBER 2013 / SHARPFORMEN.COM 67
The newest Aston four-door is nothing short of marvelous By George Zicarelli
Andy showed me the light in turn 12 of the 16-turn menace that is the Atlanta Motorsports Park road course; him as driver, me riding shotgun. In soppy conditions, the race-seasoned Aston Martin Driving School instructor masterfully coaxed the brand’s newest luxury GT through the Eau Rouge of the state of Georgia, a steep uphill right-left combo with a blind exit, with the ferocious precision of a bullet train. Impossible, I thought. A four-door shouldn’t behave this nimbly. Nor should it look this handsome. Leave it to the design masters at Aston Martin to confront Engine: the challenges of four doors and muscular 5.9-litre V12 European pedestrian-safety restrictions, to Power: craft an automobile that slots effortlessly into 550 hp the long line of Aston Martin classics. When Transmission: 007 decides to one day call it a career, he’ll 6-speed auto spend his new life as a soccer dad rolling in the Availability: Rapide S, with little James Jr. strapped inside now an optional matching Alcantara baby seat. My faith in the car only grew as I took the Price: $210,500 wheel for about 20 of my own spirited laps.
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A performance-tuned version of the 5.9 L V12 engine that first popped up in the Vanquish, along with near symmetrical front/rear weight distribution and a low centre of gravity, give the Rapide S astounding performance dynamics. Nothing in its looks or performance reminds you that it’s a four-door. Even riding in the back seat of the Rapide S, a remarkably comfortable and luxurious space with excellent visibility, seems to defy logic. Andy increases his speed as he begins another hot lap, me rigid with fear in the back seat. At any moment now, I expect my organs to end up on a gurney. But after about a half-dozen ridiculously exhilarating laps, my internal sensibilities become sensible again. We stop. Even though we had spent a full day racing the Aston Martin Rapide S, it felt just as solid on the last turn as it did on the first, whether I was driving, riding shotgun or hanging on for dear life in the back. Nor could patches of mud, grass or streaks of water dishevel an otherwise stunning automobile. The Aston Martin Rapide S astounds in design and in performance. It only takes two miracles for sainthood. Let the canonization of the Rapide S begin!
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The Miracle of the Aston Martin Rapide S
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AUTOS | Aston Martin Rapide S
opening this Fall sherway gardens sQuare one chinook
and Earthkeepers are trademarks of TBL Licensing LLC or its afﬁliates. © 2013 TBL Licensing LLC. All rights reserved. CMK44604
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CASHMERE-BLEND Suit ($3,395) Ermenegildo Zegna
P HOT o : M at t D o y l e . F o r a dd i t i o n a l C r e d i t s s e e p.1 3 6
® Toronto International Film Festival Inc., used under license. Timberland,
The Sharp guide to fall suits
BEST THEN. BETTER NOW. #timberland
by Yang-yi Goh
1. Brown Takes the Crown They’ve been slowly simmering on the sidelines for the last couple of years, but there’s no denying it now: brown suits are having a moment. As timeless as navy and grey may be, a rich chestnut two-piece like this one is just as versatile a base for all manner of shirt-and-tie permutations, from plaids to paisleys. The difference is in the sheer number of head-turns you’ll generate in the boardroom, at the bar and everywhere in between. Turns out brunettes have more fun after all.
Sharp’s Guide to fall suits continues on p. 76 SEPTEMBER 2013 / SHARPFORMEN.COM 75
Earthkeepers® Tenon Bomber in Cognac
STYLE | Suiting continued From p. 76 6. The bespoke Suit
Price on request from Garrison Bespoke, Toronto
7. The Perfect Dress Shirt This is how your dress shirt should fit in 2013: closely tailored through the arms and body, with a medium spread collar that’s not rakishly wide, but not long and pointy either. It’ll accentuate a tie beautifully, but also be up to task if you leave the neckwear at home. Cotton dress shirt ($150) BY Strellson
8. Shooting from the hip
Now that you have a camera in your pocket at all times, the one you wear around your neck needs to be just that much more special. This one, the product of a collaboration between Leica and the Dutch denimheads at G-Star Raw, takes beautiful pictures and HD video. More importantly, though, it looks badass. $1,300
9. made to measure
A fragrance made for the man with exacting tastes and sophisticated style. With notes of anis seed and lavender on top, cinnamon and nutmeg at the core, and leather and amber on the finish, Gucci Made To Measure is masculine and will certainly get noticed, but won’t overwhelm. $105 for 90 ml
P HOT o S : M at t D o y l e a n d L i a m M o g a n ; S t y l i n g : A lva r o S a l a z a r . F o r a dd i t i o n a l C r e d i t s s e e p.1 3 6
Dropping serious money on a suit from a top men’s fashion house can be a very satisfying experience, but if it doesn’t fit properly, you might as well be wearing something from your local suit warehouse. Part of the bespoke experience is not just tailoring the garment to the wearer’s body, but also to his personality, tastes and lifestyle. Through an extensive series of consultations and fittings, you’ll emerge with something wholly unique and made to your exact needs and specifications. This jaunty double-breasted number is cut from denim-like Oxford cloth spun by Ariston, makers of some of the world’s finest fabrics. Substantial and sturdy, as the suit wears in it will acquire the whiskers and stress creases of quality denim, lending a relaxed, broken-in patina quite unlike anything else in your wardrobe. And because it fits you like a glove, you’ll want to get all the wear you can out of it—pairing the jacket with jeans and wearing the trousers in place of them. This may be the best suit you’ll ever own, but it’s really not a suit at all—it’s so much more than that.
Photography Tom Stoddart ©MMVI Copyrights and Likeness of La Dolce Vita ©International Media Films.
STYLE | Street Report LA DOLCE VITA
Sure, they’re a bit of an affectation, but sometimes a well-deployed summer scarf is all it takes to turn a good outfit into a great one.
Circle of Gentlemen
Loud patterns—and especially florals—will remain very much on-trend next season. If you’ve got the moxie, try going all out with an audacious, in-yourface sportcoat. Tom Wolfe fans, rejoice: white suits are back with a vengeance. There’s no fresher ensemble for summer.
What you can learn from the sartorial sages at Florence’s notoriously stylish trade show By Yang-Yi Goh
Whether you call it turquoise, aquamarine or teal, you’ll be seeing this colour everywhere come spring.
It began in the early ’70s as nothing but a simple industry trade show, a chance for foreign retailers to survey the very best of Italian fashion. But over the decades— and, especially since the recent rise of street style photography—Pitti Uomo has evolved into a mecca for male fashionistas. Twice a year, a gaggle of bespoke-clad dandies descend upon Florence to attend the show, network with like-minded sartorialists, and with any luck, have their picture taken by a blogger or two. In many ways, the style-minded gents peacocking about outside have come to overshadow Pitti itself. These men don’t just work in fashion; they live* it. While the outfits at Pitti can sometimes toe the line of outlandishness, they’re more often than not a solid gauge of coming trends a season or two down the line. We culled together a few of the best looks from the most recent edition of the show to help give you a sense of what you’ll be wearing next spring.
80 SHARPFORMEN.COM 2013 LIVE LOVE TASTE/ SEPTEMBER TOGETHER INVITE
Styled incorrectly, piping on your clothing runs the risk of looking like you’re rocking daytime PJs. On this perfectly trim blazer, however, it couldn’t look better.
YOU TO EXPERIENCE THE SWEET LIFE - LA DOLCE VITA
Photos: Getty Images
STYLE | Timepieces
P RE S ENT S P RE S ENT S
T HE FALL / W I N T ER 2 0 1 3 The
STYLE MANUAL The Complete Guide for the Well-Dressed Man Only available in 1. HermÈs Clipper, $6,900 2. Omega Speedmaster Titanium, $10,700 3. IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Edition Laureus, $15,100 4. Oris Aquis, $1,650 5. Rolex Day Date in White Gold, $23,900 6. TW Steel Pilot TW400, $350
SHARP: The Book For Men 45 Pages Of Suits, Shoes, Coats and Accessories YOu need Now Plus: our rules for looking your absolute best
Kind of Blue
Six new watches of a different hue by Ariel Adams
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Blue’s popularity waxes and wanes among the world’s top watchmakers, and this year it’s back in vogue once again, with some of our favourite brands offering pieces to match the sky, the sea or your favourite pinstriped suit. Dive-style watches in blue are perennially popular, such as Oris’ Aquis diver with its blue ceramic bezel and matching dial, mixed with a durable steel case. Hermès has also recently released a blue version of their nautical Clipper, which has a striking blue dial and matching rubber strap set on a durable steel and titanium case. Almost purely as a celebration of colour, Rolex recently released six new gold-cased versions of the 36 mm diameter Day-Date “President” model including a stunning 18k white-gold version with a blue dial and matching blue alligator strap. This year Omega, too, released a blue-dialed version of its newer Speedmaster Co-Axial Chronograph in an all titanium case and bracelet. The limited-edition IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Edition Laureus offers a novel take on that classic piece, while TW Steel’s oversized Pilot makes a statement with a sunburst blue dial and matching strap.
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GUIDE | Fatherhood pole. He’s trying to get a hold of that wire whipping about in the dark air. Until he does, I’m not attached to a damn thing. The giant casinos, more than a quarter of a kilometre below, are the size of Monopoly hotels. I can block one out with my thumb. The wind is hitting gale force now and the guy is bellowing into his headset—the one thing you don’t want to hear before you leap off the highest building west of the Mississippi: “Last jump! Last jump! This guy’s our last!” •••
Fear of Flying By Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall • Illustration by Paul Blow
I’m standing on the edge of the tallest observation deck in the United States, looking down on the lights of Las Vegas at night, about to jump, the wind blowing so hard it’s all I can hear. If I’m thinking anything, I’m thinking about fear. My father is scared of heights to the point of terror. When I was four years old, my parents took me to the Capilano Suspension Bridge—a rustic swaying walkway 230 feet above a wide rocky river on the North Shore of Vancouver. My mother hung back, nursing my baby sister as my dad and I approached the bridge. Then, suddenly I was running, bolting across the slick ties and my father had to go out after me—his need to catch up to his boy battling against his phobia. He finally reached me in the middle, holding my hand and the railing, paralyzed with fear. It took a long time for my mother, calling out from solid land, to bring us back to Earth. I tended to freak my father out. And it could be said (though my kind-hearted dad would never do so) that I’ve done that my whole life. Though I’m good at taking risks, they haven’t always worked out that well. Still, I tend to do better in situations of adrenaline than when left to my own devices… or vices. The point is that, other than my overwhelming fear of commitment (which I’d like to avoid for the moment), I’ve never really been fearful—until I became a dad. 90 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
In many ways, my boy Zev is spectacularly brave, if not fearless. He climbs and jumps off anything with apparent faith that either I’ll catch him or somehow he’ll make the landing. And he tends to be right. Although cautious in social situations, once he’s comfortable he’ll open right up, and he’ll face down kids much bigger than him—which at three years old is most of them. And the things that truly scare him, he’s willing to confront. On the way to the zoo, he told me the animals he didn’t want to see: “Lions, tigers and really big bears.” But then we heard a distant roar and his eyes got big. “Is that a lion?” he said. I picked him up and we walked towards the roar. After the lion, we saw the tigers, and then the bears. But clowns are a whole different matter. He’ll spot one a hundred yards away and, paralyzed with fear, he’ll break down in panic. For Zevvy, anywhere near a clown is the middle of the bridge. ••• I could say that’s what I’m doing here, gripping tight to a rickety railing 855 feet above a city full of clowns: facing the fears of my dad and my boy. But, right now, I’ve got my own, and they’re hitting me like these rare desert winds. And just to be clear, that’s the “Dad Skill”—facing fears—that I’m trying to hone in this column and pass onto my son. I do not wish to teach him to jump off tall buildings. There’s a guy with a harness, a headset and a long, hooked
This dive off the Las Vegas Stratosphere is called “a controlled free-fall,” an oxymoron of very specific proportions, worked out to the last scariest inch. You launch out from the platform with a harness and cables attached to you. Then, at some point, you start to slow down. Theoretically it’s possible to land on your feet. This is the highest of these jumps anywhere in the world. I came up here with four other journalists and the 2012 Playboy Playmate of the Year—a giggly media stunt that got very real halfway up. The small talk ran out. There was a moment of quiet, then the heroes started to mutter: “I’ll go first,” said the prolific blogger, at about the same instant as the successful freelancer. “What ever happened,” said the very nice Playmate, “to ladies first?” Then the elevator stopped. The doors opened. And the Earth was a world below us. And now it was as if you could taste the fear, start parsing it with your tongue… And here’s the thing we could all divine: It didn’t matter who went first. Somehow or other, we’d override our instincts, and make the leap. We had to for our jobs and our sense of self. But to be the last—to watch the others jump, the fear building, then be up here alone—that was a final, unnecessary terror, and the only way left I could figure out how to be brave. “I’ll go last,” I said.
I knew he was the best thing I’d ever do. That doesn’t mean, though, that committing to other things, or other people, became any easier. And for the first time I started suffering from anxiety. My therapist believes that if I were to let go of one thing and grab on to the next, I’d be less anxious. Instead it’s like I’m trying to hold on to the past and the future at the same time, stretched apart in the present—diving off a cliff, but still clinging to the edge with my toes. It’s the kind of move that can lose you everything. ••• Everyone else has jumped. They’re down there on the ground. Elated, traumatized, injured, giggling, dead, I have no idea. Fighting against the wind makes one moment seem like a thousand. I try to breathe. And now finally the guy has hold of the cable. He’s off-balance as he turns towards me, and I towards him, not holding onto anything. We get me fastened, he steps back and now I’m shaking in the wind on the lip of the world. As expected, every fibre of my being and all human nature tries to stop me from jumping. But that, of course, is just instinct. This acutely engineered fall is probably safer than driving to the grocery store. I flex my calves, curl my toes, taste my fear and look out at Las Vegas. And before I jump, this is what goes through my head: “I should be committed.”
I could say that’s what I’m doing here, gripping tight to a rickety railing 855 feet above a city full of clowns: facing the fears of my dad and my boy. But, right now, I’ve got my own, and they’re hitting me like these rare desert winds.
••• According to my therapist, my fear of commitment is nothing more or less than a fear of death—which somehow doesn’t make me feel any better. The truth is, my fear of commitment has been almost catastrophic. It eroded the relationship with the mother of my child and has caused great damage to my present relationship—so much so that I’m not sure I have a present relationship. Until now, the only thing I’ve ever fully committed to is my boy. Becoming a dad was not an accident. Not even close. But having a child was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. It took me a year to decide, and even then I wasn’t absolutely sure. But then Zevvy showed up, and right away
••• Of course, the writer in me would like to let that line echo. But there are three more things I think I should say: One full moment after I leapt, the fear turned to pure elation. The fall felt like flying. I landed on my feet, and I’d jump again a thousand times. It’s the same as what happened when I leapt into being a dad. The fall felt like flying, and the flying felt like falling in love. When I got back home, I told all this to my girlfriend and said I was ready to commit. She pointed out that I’d referred to her as my “ladyfriend” just two columns ago. As of press time she hasn’t decided if she’ll take me back. It feels like falling and flying at the same time, with a whole lot of turbulence. And, finally, just last week, my sister and I took Zevvy to the fair. He wanted to get his face painted like Batman, but there was a clown standing next to the booth. “Go on,” I said. “Batman loves clowns.” My sister let out an ironic laugh and I realized what I’d said. But Zevvy hadn’t heard me anyway. He’d darted ahead and was almost at the booth. I got there just as my brave little boy acknowledged the clown with a nod. “It’s okay,” he said. “I’m not afraid today.” SEPTEMBER 2013 / SHARPFORMEN.COM 91
L ong Live
Chris Hemsworth has been a teen murder victim and a second-tier superhero. He’s
starred in a remake of a campy 1980s action film. This month’s Rush, an F1 biopic directed by Ron Howard, portends to launch him into legitimate leading-man territory. Watch your back, Clooney. By Greg Hudson • Interview by James Rocchi • Photography by KURT ISWARIENKO/Trunk Archive 94 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
over. And then, bang, there you are in these lead roles that had a delayed fuse on them. Suddenly, it was the year of Hemsworth. (Laughs) Yeah. I was lucky because as soon as I’d finished shooting those films, Thor happened. In fact, I knew about Thor while shooting The Cabin in the Woods, and so that kind of took my focus. If I had not worked after those two films and had to sit around and wait for them to come out, I would’ve been far more anxious. The anxiety, I think, was more geared towards these films that I did years ago coming out now and representing my approach or my ability or whatever; I’m nervous about what I shot yesterday, let alone four months, or four years ago, you know? So if that was the bigger concern about, “God, what if it’s awful? What if I’m awful in it and I feel like I’ve learned something since then?” You felt like you had graduated, but you were worried everyone was going to look at your freshman high school picture. There you go (Laughs). This is the first time you’ve played a historical person. What stuff did you learn that you knew you would have to leave out of the film? Truth is stranger than fiction, but fiction has to be believable. Were there things about Hunt where you just went, “Love to get that in the movie, but people won’t buy it”? I think you get an understanding of his sort of exploits from the movie without having every scene showing that. I mean, there was some reference that he’d slept
with 5,000 women or something. We didn’t do that in the film, but you kind of got the feeling he probably did, you know, from... Averaging it out. (Laughs) Averaging it out. There were things about his earlier days, and this isn’t in the movie because there just wasn’t time to show how he struggled to get into that world, how to become a driver. They had all sorts of restrictions on cars—this is when he was very young—and in order to race on the grid, you needed to have both front seats in the car, and the tire had to be of a certain grade. So, to pass all those particular things, he basically assembled this car from parts from all over the place with a couple hundred bucks. He got a knife and chiselled tread marks into the tires because they were bald. And then he had one seat in the front in the car, so he basically screwed in a garden chair into the front seat ... And the judges came out on to the test to see if everyone met the standard, and they said, “No, no, no. This doesn’t make sense at all. Get off the track.” So he pulled the keys out, walked off the track, and left his car there (Laughs). I think that sums him up beautifully but also gives a great description of where he came from. But, on the same note, I said to Ron bluntly at one point, “Is James the villain here? Is he the good guy or the bad guy? Cause we’re dangerously close to him not being able to win back the audience.” And Ron said, “You know, I don’t know. I think that’s what’s interesting.” So, there was a constant battle. Do we want to love him or hate him? And I think people have different opinions about him. In real life, there was such a varied opinion
18 1 Number of lawn chairs used as seats in his early racing cars
James Hunt By the Numbers
The fast-driving, hard-partying, much-womanizing F1 champion was not one to do anything half-assed. Here’s an accounting of his exploits.
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Age at which Hunt decided he would be F1 World Champion
Age at which he entered his first F1 race
Motor races in which he had competed to this point in his life
92 F1 pole positions: 14 F1 Grand Prix wins: 10 F1 World Championships won: 1 F1 Grand Prix entries:
on what people thought of him. And I think that was probably one of the best things about this story, was you had two guys that, by the last race, I don’t know that there’s a clear audience sentiment. They both had won you back in certain ways and lost you in others. In the film, there’s the aspect of the sport and the challenge and just the mechanical, physical beauty of racing. Does the glory of it all make up for all of the deaths? Oh, god. Great question. Who knows? It reminded me of when you look at statistics of racing then and prior, those were the days of gladiators. There’s death for the sake of entertainment and danger. I think that’s an individual sort of opinion, and I could say, “No, it’s not worth it for entertainment, and why are people dying?” And, sure, I feel that way. But, no one’s forcing anyone to do it, and those guys get out there and do it. And what becomes more fascinating is why do they do it? And I think it’s that immediacy
Bottles of wine consumed during his first BBC broadcast:
Wealthy British Lords who took Hunt under their wing:
Percentage of Hunt’s wives who were supermodels:
a sport like that gives you; it forces you to be 100 per cent in the moment. You can’t think about anything else. And people, we exist in a world where we’re constantly thinking in the future and the past, and to have something where you’re snapped into the present is what we crave. Always.
Cigarettes smoked per day:
7/10 Odds Hunt would vomit from nerves before a race
8/10 Odds James Hunt would die behind the wheel of a racing car
Age at which Hunt died of a heart attack:
F1 racer and notorious ladies’ man James Hunt in Ron Howard’s Rush.
British Airways stewardesses allegedly bedded before 1976 Tokyo Grand Prix:
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Have Fun Being Smart Global exclusive: the Toronto international launch of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class— the world’s most intelligent car By Coleman Molnar
Every morning, as I headed off to grade school, my father would tell me to “have fun being smart.” It took many years of having fun being stupid to realize the wisdom in these words. Smart can be fun. The minds behind the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class certainly understand this. Cruising about in the all-new flagship executive sedan from Benz is fun. Intimidating, too. Not because of the price tag, which starts at $106,600, nor its impressive size or its beautiful features like the 10 Burmester speakers that punctuate the interior. No, what intimidates me is the fact that this car is likely much smarter than I am. 106 SHARPFORMEN.COM / SEPTEMBER 2013
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tEST DRIVE With autumn upon us, we took eight of the season’s defining runway looks out for a spin By Yang-Yi Goh Photographer: Liam Goslett Stylist: Lee Sullivan for Plutino Group
Ermenegildo Zegna This fall marks a transitional period for Zegna. It’s the last season before hotly anticipated new recruit Stefano Pilati takes the reins as head of design. But the stalwart Italian label hardly mailed it in for the handover—in fact, the house’s favoured mix of classic tailoring and progressive textiles has never looked better. Tonal grey wools accentuate gracefully draped topcoats and knits tinged with traces of techy modernism. Come spring, Pilati had better bring his A-game; this is one tough act to follow. Cashmere coat (price upon request), wool-silk blend zip-up sweater (price upon request), cotton dress shirt ($435), cashmere pants (price upon request) and leather gloves ($505) by Ermenegildo Zegna; leather shoes ($250) by Z Zegna.
By Yang-Yi Goh • Photography by Liam Mogan
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Just about every menswear label has taken on the classic M-65 field jacket at some point. But nobody’s done it quite like the performance-driven aesthetes at Arc’teryx Veilance, who transformed the rugged military icon into a stripped-down confluence of clean lines, taped seams and windproof insulation. Consider it the Range Rover to its predecessor’s Jeep: still functional and utilitarian, but in a sleeker, more sophisticated package. $995
The seven finest casual staples of the new millenniuM
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Cable knit double-breasted sweater ($1,330) by ETRO
Nothing can bring you down when youâ€™re sporting a weighty, world-beating statement sweater. Just ask rising comedian John Mulaney. Photographer: Matthew Doyle Stylist: Alvaro Salazar for Agent Oliver
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