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Forum/The Substance of Style/Fall 2011

INSPIRATION: IRELAND STYLE MATTERS CLOSET THERAPY

REFLECTING ON FALL


WELCOME TO THE FALL 2011 ISSUE OF OAK HALL FORUM MAGAZINE

ere at Oak Hall and at our “vineyard vines by Oak Hall” stores in Memphis and Nashville, we’ve been preparing for the transition from summer to fall and winter for over a year, in an effort to turn your shopping this season into an enjoyable adventure worthy of multiple visits to all three stores to see what’s new in the coming months. Within this issue, you’ll find articles on people, fashions and lifestyle that we thought you’d find of interest, as well as our Must-Haves feature that highlights the selections our buying team has made with your input in mind. No business could flourish for 152 years as Oak Hall has without embracing the latest technology. We have accomplished this with our updated website, an active presence on Facebook and communicating via email to thousands of our customers, like you, to inform you of in-store special events, trunk shows and special offers throughout the year. Your loyalty, support and friendship over the years drives us to try to exceed your expectations every time you walk through our door. We thank you and look forward to seeing you many times in the coming months at one, two, or all three of our stores. With best wishes always, Will, Bill and Bob Levy and your friends at Oak Hall

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Passion for Life 15MilMil15 Suit


A P PAREL FOR MEN

T O S E E M O R E O F T H E FA L L C O L L E C T I O N , W W W. S C O T T B A R B E R . C O M


LUSCIOUS LACE

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SEAN BLOEMER

Jason Wu lace panel sheath dress Kenneth Jay Lane pearl stud earrings Spanx tights

Oak Hall MUST-HAVES FOR FALL 2011


LIFE OF THE PARTY ISAIA suits, shirts and silk ties Edward Armah pocket circles Max Mara crimson dress


SLEEK AND CHIC A.L.C. deep-V jumpsuit DebraJill link necklace


WELL SUITED

Z Zegna suit, Eton shirt Zegna tie, Torino belt Edward Armah pocket circle


EDGY ELEGANCE Karolina Zmarlak apron dress DebraJill earrings


LUXURIOUS FURS Canali sportcoat, Eton shirt Hiltl flannel pant, Charvet knit tie Luisa Cerano fur vest and silk dress, Shannon Carney earrings Cassin metallic belt


THE LADY IN WINTER Lida Baday silk blouse and tweed skirt Max Mara Collection fur capelet Haute Hippie snakeskin clutch DebraJill earrings


MATCHED TO PERFECTION Canali sportcoat, Eton shirt, Hiltl five-pocket pant Edward Armah pocket circle


SEQUINS AND SHINE Alice + Olivia beaded dress B. May snakeskin clutch DebraJill earrings


WARM UP TO SPORTSWEAR Jack Victor pinstripe sportcoat Peter Millar sport shirt and quarter-zip sweater Edward Armah pocket circle Johnstons scarf


GREEN WITH ENVY

Lela Rose peplum sweater dress Haute Hippie cuff and snakeskin clutch DebraJill earrings


MIX IT UP

Billy Reid gingham shirt, striped flannel sportcoat, wool/silk tie and Sunday jacket Diesel jeans Torino belt


TYING THE KNOT

Borgo jacket, Henley sweater, sport shirt and scarf Citizens of Humanity jeans Haute Hippie feather knit vest, tank, silk mermaid skirt and belt


PLAID ‘N PROUD Mason’s sport shirt Kroon sportcoat AG jeans Johnstons scarf


CLASSICALLY CASUAL Bills Khakis sport shirt and corduroys Barbour jacket Torino belt


THE LEATHER SKIRT Jil Sander Navy oriented silk blouse and leather pencil skirt Be & D chain clutch


COLOR BLOCK DETAIL Rachel Roy leather yoke dress DebraJill earrings and bracelet Be & D calf hair tote


KICK BACK

Agave jeans, T-shirt and snap polo Moore & Giles messenger bag


GEOMETRIC PRINTS Cut 25 blouse and print skirt Karolina Zmarlak silk jacket


SUBTLE PATTERN PLAY

Robert Talbott sport shirt and button-neck sweater


GET UP AND GO Agave jeans and polo Moore & Giles bag


WEEKEND COMFORT Mason’s shirt AG corduroys Costa sunglasses


LAYERS OF FUN Southern Tide T-shirt, woven shirt and quarter-zip pullover Diesel jeans


TAKE YOUR PICK Johnstons scarves Kroon sportcoats


THE MUST-HAVE JACKET Barbour jacket


KEEPING WARM

Barbour women’s International jacket


PLAIDS, PLAIDS, PLAIDS Mason’s sport shirts


THE PERFECT BLANKET Johnstons lambswool blanket


MAD FOR PLAIDS Scott Barber sport shirts


WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Gryson foldover satchel Ampersand as Apostrophe small pony Aztec bag Gryson leather satchel Ampersand as Apostrophe large pony Aztec bag Gryson leather hobo


LIQUID METAL Rebecca Minkoff bronze clutch and pumps


SOCK IT TO ME V. K. Nagrani dress socks


PICK YOUR PATTERN Stefano Ricci silk ties


BELT IT OUT Smathers & Branson collegiate belts


GAME DAY READY Southern Tide striped polos


ASKFORUM Q:

My girlfriend has been buying me scarves but I have no idea how to wear them. Are they in style?

Yes, more than ever! Whether cashmere or wool, bulky hand knits or fine gauge with fringe, bright solids or patterned alpine designs, a scarf is the easiest way to add personality to your look. The trick to wearing them: don’t overthink it! Just wrap your favorite scarf around your neck a few times, or try the European way: fold a long scarf in half, drape it around your neck, and pull the ends through the loop. Voila! Instant panache. And don’t wait for the snowstorms: a beautiful scarf is a great fashion accent, whatever the weather.

Q:

Magazines show bright color pants, yet on the streets, most guys wear jeans or khakis. What’s up with the color?

Bright colors (best in slim five-pocket models) are definitely a new direction for men’s trousers, most popular with contemporary customers and guys with self-confidence. If you dare, give them a try: color is fun, mood-elevating and not all that hard to wear. (Nantucket red has been a staple in New England for decades...) If you’re not so bold, try the new five-pocket models in neutral shades, in non-denim fabrics like brushed twill and corduroy. With more options than ever in casual trousers, there’s no need to be boring—or bored.

While shopping online can be tempting, there are many caveats. First of all, not all designers produce the same quality goods for all accounts. So a designer polo from a flash sale or discount site or outlet store might be a different weight or color than the “same” designer polo in an upscale store. Second, at independent specialty stores like ours, you work with store owners and trained tailors and wardrobe consultants whose reputation depends on making you look terrific. Most also offer free closet makeovers: they’ll come to your home, sort through your closet and update your wardrobe with a new piece or two to bring it all together. In addition, store owners stand behind their product, so you’ll never get stuck with an impulse-purchase-gone-wrong.

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IMAGE COURTESY OF LUCIANO BARBERA

Q:

Why buy clothing in a specialty store when so much is available online?


go to facebook.com/etonofsweden tell us your favorite thing about Oak Hall and be automatically entered into a drawing for a $500 eton shopping spree.

fine shirt maker since 1928


ASKFORUM Q:

I wear jeans almost everywhere, but wish I had alternatives. Can you recommend some other stylish options? Colored denim is the way to go for fall 2011. Not your typical jeans, the new colored denim adds personality to all kinds of tops and jackets. We love a bright jean (preferably skinny ankle length with heels or boots) worn with a contrasting bright top, or else with neutrals. As for your regular blue denim jeans, slim is still in but so are wide legs and flares. You really need both styles this season.

Q:

I own a few scarves but am not sure how to wear them. Any ideas?

Q:

Are leggings still in style? (I see so many women wear them who shouldn’t...)

Most definitely yes! Leggings are a great way to add a youthful flair to almost any outfit. They make mature women look young and chic, they cover winter-white legs when there’s no time to get a tan, and they’re generally very slimming. Our main caveat: leggings are not pants! Make sure to wear a long enough top so that your derrière is completely covered. If you don’t own the right long tops (and there are plenty of gorgeous ones in our store for fall), you can wear your leggings with a flowy dress or even a pencil skirt and high-heeled wedges. In fact, good-quality leggings make everything you own look just a little more hip. Come into the store and we’ll be happy to show you how.

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IMAGE COURTESY OF LUCIANO BARBERA

Scarves and shawls are bigger than ever for fall 2011, in cashmere, silk and blends. Fold a large square diagonally and drape it around your shoulders. (Keep one in your handbag if you tend to get cold.) Or take a long oblong, fold it in half and put the ends through the loop (very European) or else wrap it a few times around your neck or waist, or even your handbag. Stop by and we’d be happy to demonstrate. And while you’re here, check out our newly arrived scarves in fabulous colors and textures. With a simple top and trousers, the scarf makes the outfit (and makes a perfect gift if you’re unsure of sizes)!


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AUGUST 2012 WILL MARK THE 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICA’S COOLEST DENIM. BY KAREN ALBERG GROSSMAN

y mission 10 years ago was to make the best jeans in the world; that’s still our mission today,” asserts Agave founder Jeff Shafer. “We started with eight jeans; last year we did $11 million in sales, a record for us, just in men’s. My wife Lauren (who retired from the business 16 years ago to raise our son Jacob) is back as designer of women’s. We’ve become a true luxury label focused on USA-made quality product.”

How do you compete with bigger brands? I knew the secret of making the best jeans was in the denim. I found the best denims from boutique mills in Japan. I focused on fabric and fit, partnering with a Japanese jeans manufacturer with production and laundry in L.A. that made jeans for Levi’s. They knew how to make a jean authentically and accurately. Agave stands for the highest quality jeans, made authentically in the USA. Our customers know this and appreciate our commitment.

How tough is it to work with your spouse? I wouldn’t be a designer today if it weren’t for Lauren. Two companies ago we started working together: I was the owner and she was doing production. We hit tough times and had to let our designer go, and Lauren encouraged me to do the design myself; she actually taught me how. I found my passion thanks to Lauren and I’ve been trying to get her back to work with me for a long time. Last September, our son Eli started high school and she finally agreed. Here’s why it works: We are equals; we trust each other and don’t compete with one another. We try not to discuss work at home.

A DECADE OF AGAVE We have the same taste level but complementary skills. We share values, integrity and the same commitment to quality.

What’s the next big thing in denim for fall 2011? The news is COLOR in bottoms, not just shades of indigo, black and gray, but brown, olive and camel. The other excitement is alternative weaves (twills, cords, etc.) in five-pocket models, washed down to a beautiful patina.

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Above: Jeff and Lauren Shafer Left: Items from Agave’s men’s and women’s fall collections


www.gitman.com

(made in usa)


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DON’T BE SQUARE

POCKET CIRCLES (AND BOWTIES) “THE ACCESSORIES ARE THE NEW FOOLPROOF WAY MAKE THE SUIT,” TO DRESS FASHIONABLY. SAYS DESIGNER EDWARD ARMAH. BY KAREN ALBERG GROSSMAN dward Armah is not your typical fashion designer. Born in Ghana (his dad was a civil servant, his mom had a clothing business), he studied economics and political science but dropped it all for sewing school. (Needless to say, his family was not thrilled…) He spent some time in London working on Jermyn Street where he mastered the art of English sartorial dressing (“it’s all about proportion”), then came to the States and studied tailoring. Working at an exclusive department store, Armah would get more compliments on the clothes he was wearing, particularly his colorful bowties and pocket squares, than on the clothes he was selling. So with a little help from his friends, he quit his day job and launched his own business, patenting an ingeniously engineered silk bowtie that can be worn four different ways (and is uniquely shaped for a fuller bow). His bowties and pocket squares (that he first made in the basement of his house in New Jersey) were an instant hit, but Armah longed to create something different. On a whim, he once wore a lace doily in his pocket and got barraged with compliments. So he made up a few pocket “circles” and a new business was born. Today, he produces about 500 pocket circles a week, all made by artisans in NYC. Linen was hot this summer; for fall 2011, he’s using Italian silk and cashmere/wool, and fringed edges. When he’s not traveling around the country to the finest stores in America, Armah loves spending time with his wife and 18-month-old son, Manasse. He’s also very involved with organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, where he teaches school-age kids to follow their dreams.

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A pocket circle adds instant cool and charisma to your sportcoat. (And you can’t possibly fold it wrong!)


style

A patterned sportcoat can be dressed up or down, and a double-breasted camel peacoat satisfies three trends in one.

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The runways of Milan, New York and Paris showcase fashion at its most extravagant. Limited edition wool suits and belts made from the most exotic skins were paraded out to cause a stir—and it worked. Thankfully there’s more to menswear than one-off pieces singularly designed with connoisseurs in mind. This fall, men’s clothing and accessory makers have created some of their most varied and versatile collections to meet the everyday needs of the stylish modern man. Sharp suits and sportcoats in a rich array of autumnal colors and tweedy textures, sporty jackets made of weatherproof materials, big bold knits in solids and multi-hued variations, and even a resurgence of cashmere, corduroy and camel hair are wearable and on-trend. So whether you’re lounging around the house, dashing to the office, going for a weekend road trip, or prepar-

IMAGES COURTESY OF Z ZEGNA AND BRUNELLO CUCINELLI

TRENDS FOR MEN

FALL AND WINTER ARE JUST HEATING UP. BY WILLIAM KISSEL


ing for that big formal affair, this fall’s offerings have you covered.

DUAL-PURPOSE Perfect for the office

Technically speaking... This wool and down jacket offers Thermore insulation and taped seams for waterproof performance.

in classic pinstripes or subtle windowpane patterns, these same jackets come alive at night when paired with casual slacks and jeans, coincidentally the way most real men now define weekend wear. If you want to try something new, check out this year’s crop of double-breasted jackets, or DBs, as they’re known. Nearly every designer from Armani to Zegna is banking on double-breasted suits playing a starring role in men’s wardrobes, this fall and beyond. To that end, double-breasted jackets

SWEET PEAS The pea coat originated in the 18th century, when the durable jackets were used to clothe sailors and other military personnel who found the “pij” material (from the Dutch word pijjekker meaning twilled cloth) used to make them incredibly warm. Modern menswear makers could not have foreseen record cold temperatures across the globe when they developed their own versions of these hearty coats, but rest

employed the time-honored ribbed cloth in everything from jeans, jackets and sport shirts to outerwear, blazers, and even tailored clothing. Pinwale corduroy in a cotton/cashmere blend is Hugo Boss’s top dog this season, while cashmere kingpin Brunello Cucinelli prefers brushed corduroy for his collection of quilted coats.

OUT OF THE DESERT Few items in a man’s wardrobe have ever been more luxurious than a camel top coat. Now that familiar topper—a staple of 1930s and 1940s Hollywood royalty—has been reinterpreted in everything from car coats and high-waisted trousers to sportcoats and even full camel hair (or colored) suits. Designers as diverse as Hermès, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford and Ermenegildo Zegna offered just a preview of the full camel stampede to come this winter.

>>

THIS SEASON, IT’S HIGH STYLE TO WEAR SOMETHING HIGH TECH. come in many variations, from low four-button models with soft shoulders and very straight lapels to serious, military-inspired high six- and even eight-button, peak lapel jackets with strong shoulders and streamlined waists. Many of these shapes also carry over into outerwear and sportcoats.

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assured that the double-breasted toppers are ready to work double duty when necessary.

STRIKE A CORD Corduroy comes in many sizes—from pinwale to extra wide wale—and this season top brands like Belvest, Kiton, Zegna, Loro Piana and Canali have

Zegna’s imaginative I Jacket with its built-in touch control panel at the cuff, allowing one to interface with his iPod without touching it? Or how about Loro Piana’s innovative Storm System technology, which renders even the most opulent fabrics like superfine wool and cashmere water repellent? Those brilliant ideas have come full circle and spawned a whole generation of high tech, high style garments. Whether it’s a polyester and nylon jacket that actually breathes as the temperature rises, or a top coat designed with touch technology that lets you hide your electronics and control them remotely, this season, it’s high style to wear something high tech.

IIMAGES COURTESY OF ZEGNA SPORT

TECHNO? TECH YES! Remember


wardrobe

1962

1941

Sean Connery in Dr. No A rare casual moment for 007, who dons a tuxedo more often than not. Whatever the occasion, his firearm (in this case, a Smith & Wesson Centennial Airweight) is never far from sight.

Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon Detective Sam Spade: cunning sleuth, dapper dresser

1974

Robert Redford in The Great Gatsby Ralph Lauren outfitted the entire cast for the movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

1959

Cary Grant in North by Northwest Proof positive that you can still look put together and polished while running from the bad guys.

70 YEARS OF CINEMATIC STYLE BY JILLIAN SPRAGUE 56


1992

The cast of Reservoir Dogs These guys were ahead of the trend in slim suits and ties.

2011

The cast of The Adjustment Bureau While overcoats and fedoras are classics, the style in multiples is downright intimidating. These men mean business!

2001

George Clooney and Brad Pitt in Ocean’s Eleven Unbuttoned elegance as the big screen’s most charismatic criminals

1987 1980

Richard Gere in American Gigolo Armani became a household name after outfitting gigolo Julian in his signature suits.

Michael Douglas in Wall Street Fat ties—and fat wallets—epitomized the 1980s. The pleated pants popular then are just starting to reappear on runways, but haven’t yet made it mainstream.

SUITS CAN’T SAVE YOU NOW

THESE MEMORABLE MOVIE GOOFBALLS PROVE THAT YOU CAN DRESS THEM UP, BUT YOU CAN’T TAKE THEM OUT. 57

1980

John Belushi and Dan Akroyd in The Blues Brothers

1994

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber

2007

Rowan Atkinson in Mr. Bean’s Holiday


EXCLUSIVELY AT OAK HALL


life is but a

Fall 2011 has us dreaming about texture... lush knits, comfy cashmeres, velvety cords. So many soft ways to stay warm this fall...

PHOTOGRAPHY: Sergio

Kurhajek |

STYLING:

Wendy McNett |

HAIR & MAKEUP:

Claire Bailey


DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF...


STYLE MATTERS WHY

Making a good impression has never been more important. Nor has it ever been easier! Studies show that well-dressed men get higher paying jobs, enjoy better social status and are more attractive to the opposite sex.

Here are some simple tips on how to spruce up your look, because yes, style matters!


simple updates for all your modes...

1. Dressy Casual

2. Sartorial

BUILDING A GREAT WARDROBE IS SIMPLER THAN YOU THINK.

3. Sporty Casual

WITH A FEW NEW BASICS, A WONDERFUL FOUNDATION (AND BETTER FIRST IMPRESSIONS) CAN BE BUILT.


Dressy Casual

THE ESSENTIAL

SPORTCOAT THE MVP OF DRESSY CASUAL

No single item is more effective in transforming a man’s wardrobe than the sportcoat. It makes a man look “dressed,” while enhancing and concealing all the right body parts...

Plaid Classic A great neutral plaid adds instant style to jeans and moves gracefully from office to dinner.

Color Statement A bolder plaid in rich fall colors adds excitement to solid basics and layers well with sweaters.


Unconstructed A soft, unlined jacket is an indispensible basic this season. It looks casually elegant and fits like a second skin!

Collegiate Corduroy Toasty warm and versatile, corduroy has come back with a vengeance.

Soft Cashmere Unconstructed and elegant, it works with dress pants, jeans and everything in between.


Sartorial

(NEW)

FIT

The New Slimmer Silhouette is here to stay

From a first interview to the corner office,

one properly fitting neutral suit in a transitional fabric is an essential basic for the welldressed man.

The Intellectual Add a sweater to a windowpane wool suit for a super smart look.

The Young Turk A well-cut dark suit can take you everywhere... and a great wool tie is an easy way to add some personality.

The Player A fun shirt (without a tie) with an open suit jacket is a refreshing upgrade to jeans.


which SUITS you?

The Statesman Herringbone in warm fall tones plus a buttoned vest spells confidence.

The Mogul Navy pinstripe suit, blue shirt, red tie, slim cut... need we say more?


Sporting Event With Client A quilted, fitted, double-breasted jacket is as warm as it is flattering.

Weekend Outing Cold, blustery days can be faced in style with an elegant update to the classic parka.


Sporty Casual

RELAXED

STYLE Soccer Sidelines Throw a great scarf over a versatile pullover and be the best looking dad on the field.

Whether it’s the weekend, or you just want it to feel that way.

Country Drive Go antiquing and lunching in style in a chocolate suede driving jacket, also perfect for everyday.


KAPSALIANA VILLAGE

world scene GREEK REVIVAL

A

few steps behind the Kapsaliana Village there’s an ancient olive tree. It stands alone, determinedly rooted into a slight rise. From here, the view stretches across the largest olive grove on Crete, over a lush valley, to the sea. The scene is quiet and stunningly beautiful. Originally home to a thriving olive press worked by monks (the historic Arkadi monastery is nearby), the settlement was gradually abandoned after the press was closed in 1955. Today, under the brilliant tuteledge of architect Myron Toypoyannis, Kapsaliana Village has been rebuilt and restored and named a member of Historic Hotels of Greece. The age-old architecture is combined with modern comforts. Twelve guest houses, hewn from the original dwellings, are set on cobblestone alleys. The olive press is now a museum. The restaurant offers superb traditional Cretan food, and there’s a luxurious swimming pool. But most of all, there’s an atmosphere of tranquility and seclusion, as if time had paused to offer visitors a few moments of complete serenity.

Experience life’s little luxuries. BY DONALD CHARLES RICHARDSON

COLD COMFORT

LAKE PLACID LODGE

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s cold weather approaches, ‘tis time for winter sports, a cozy new coat and a heart-warming cocktail. After ice skating, cross country skiing or snowshoeing at the Lake Placid Lodge in New York’s Adirondack mountains, guests keep out the chill with the hotel’s winter drink, the Barkeater. Bartender Lori Kudelski, who created the Barkeater, shares the recipe for this snug concoction. Ingredients: 1 oz. vanilla vodka, 1 oz. Frangelico, 1 oz. Amaretto, a splash of New York State maple syrup, and 4 oz. cream. Mix vodka, Amaretto, Frangelico and maple syrup in a shaker, then pour over ice in an old fashioned glass. Top with cream and garnish with a mint leaf. Cheers!


DESIGNED BY EDWARD WILKERSON

LAFAYETTE148.COM


GILT TRIP

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MONEY MUSEUM

long with golf, rock climbing and fly fishing, guests of The Broadmoor Hotel at the foot of the Rockies in Colorado Springs can go for the gold. The sparkling festivities begin in a chauffeured Hummer (gold-flecked handcrafted chocolates and a bottle of Champagne are provided), which brings you to the Money Museum. Here, caterers serve dinner in the Bass Gallery, where over $20 million dollars worth of paper money and rare coins, including the most comprehensive collection of American gold coinage in existence, is stored. Between courses, the curator of the museum joins guests and passes around several million dollars in coins and notes. The Broadmoor’s wealthy revelry culminates at the hotel bar with chocolate sorbet decorated with 18K gold leaf, created by executive restaurant pastry chef Rémy Fünfrock, and director of wine Tim Baldwin opens a bottle of Moët & Chandon, Cuvée Dom Perignon Oenothèque, 1966.

COUNTRY CHIC

JAYNE THOMPSON

I

n the Kentucky countryside not far from Lexington, there’s a historic eightroom house. Originally named Bellevue, it was built in 1779 by Colonel John Bowman (the state’s first military governor) for his wife, Elizabeth. Now, it’s the home of Jayne Thompson Antiques, decorated with a lavish collection of English and Italian furniture and accessories. The shop is so popular with antiques aficionados, collectors often fly in (there’s a nearby private airport) to shop. For visitors with an urge to experience a more gracious time, Jayne Thompson will also arrange a dinner. Catered by Debbie Long of Dudley’s Restaurant in Lexington, the meal is prepared from seasonal ingredients and paired with appropriate wines. It’s served either in the home’s stunning dining room filled with antiques, or on the lawn, where the hostess places 18th-century Windsor chairs and a 17th-century oak farm table, set with English Ironstone china.

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mong the many trendy—and usually pricey— goings-on in Miami, there’s one very stylish event that’s amazingly inexpensive. For just $5, residents and visitors, serious yoga practitioners and first timers alike, can join certified instructors for “Beach Yoga at 3rd Street, Miami Beach.” This ultimate South Beach insider happening, which attracts vacationing Broadway stars and fashion editors, among others, has been meeting every day at sunrise and sunset for the past 12 years. Take water and a towel, and spend an hour reaching new horizons.

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DJORDJE ISHERE / CLICKHERE STUDIOS

A STRETCH OF BEACH


icons

“I’M NOT KNOWN FOR FOLLOWING RULES; I PREFER TO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW IDEAS.”

GUITAR HERO LIKE FINE CUSTOM CLOTHING, A GUITAR BY JENS RITTER IS ONEOF-A-KIND, HANDCRAFTED, STEEPED IN TRADITION. BY BILL WEISS

arlier this year, an exhibit called Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Featured were the handcrafted guitars of three 20th-century Italian-American master craftsmen: John D’Angelico, James D’Aquisto and John Monteleone, who from workshops in NYC sought to carry on the traditions of centuries-old European masters. In preserving these age-old techniques, these craftsmen have inspired a new generation. Among the best, Jens Ritter is a young German luthier from the quiet village of Deidesheim, near the Rhine River in the heart of Germany’s wine country. Ritter, who produces 50 to 60 instruments a year with the help of a single skilled assistant, introduced his first bass guitars in 1995. They caused an immediate sensation based on their sheer beauty, innovative designs and remarkable sound. The exquisite lines and symmetry of his instruments are simply breathtaking; his fertile imagination has yielded designs from medieval to futuristic. Add in the warmth and beauty of exotic hardwoods and other natural materials (sometimes even precious gemstones!) or the stark high-tech sleekness of mixed synthetics, and it’s clear why Ritter’s guitars are coveted by top players (George Benson, Phil Lesh, Josh Dunham) around the world. We recently caught up with Ritter, who was in New York City to to see the Guitar Heroes exhibit at the Met and for this exclusive interview with Forum magazine.

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Known as the German Stradivari, Jens Ritter pushes the limits of his craft.


I’M VERY GRATIFIED THAT MY DESIGNS ARE PERCEIVED AS ART AT THE SAME TIME THEY’RE PLAYED ON STAGES ALL OVER THE WORLD.”

Above: A colorful example of Ritter’s more outrageous side Below: Mary J. Blige is one of many celebrity clients.

How did you get started?

Are your instruments art?

I played bass in a band as a teenager and was never happy with the instruments. I didn’t have the money to buy an expensive bass guitar so I tried to modify parts of my instrument to make it better, like changing the electronics and eventually cutting and sawing the body to change the shape and weight and maybe improve the ergonomics. Eventually I was able to buy some high quality wood and spent lots of time designing and building my own bass. It helped that my grandfather was a woodworker who taught me how to handle wood and treat wood surfaces.

Once considered a functional tool, the guitar is now a huge cultural symbol, a valued entity in itself. Years back, the guitar heroes were the musicians who played the instruments, not the craftsmen who designed and built them. Think of Jimi Hendrix: He’d pour lighter fluid on his guitar and burn it on stage, like he did in 1967 at the famous Monterey Pop Festival. Today those guitars are famous on their own; even burned ones have sold for hundreds of thousands of

What makes your instruments so special? They’re super custom-made but within aesthetic limits, kind of like a custom suit. I’m not known for following traditional rules and I love to pursue new designs, try new woods, experiment with new surfaces. Sometimes I’ll try developing a new instrument for myself or to demonstrate at a trade show, and the response might lead to new ideas.

dollars, just so someone can hang them on their wall as a holy relic. What was once a simple tool of the musician has evolved into functional art, achieving its own identity as a cultural symbol. I’m very gratified that my designs are perceived as art at the same time they’re played on stages all over the world. On occasion, I’ve sold instruments to art collectors and museums for display only.

What are you working on these days? I’m mostly filling orders from the trade shows in L.A. and Frankfurt, but I’m also developing a new guitar model scheduled for release in January 2012, and creating a new signature six-string bass guitar for The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh.

What’s the best part of your work? To be immersed in inter-

national culture is an incredible blessing. To possibly influence it—now that’s intense!


spirits

CUTTING-EDGE COCKTAILS

THIS REVOLUTION IS ALSO AN EVOLUTION, FOR ‘ROUND THE CORNER, ANOTHER INTREPID BARTENDER IS CRAFTING THE NEXT BIG DRINK.

FASTER THAN YOU CAN ORDER A MANHATTAN, ANOTHER COCKTAIL TREND AWAITS YOU. BY ROBERT HAYNES-PETERSON e live in an exciting time when it comes to drinks. The so-called Cocktail Revolution, invoking premium spirits, fresh ingredients and careful measures, has evolved beyond trendy neo-

speakeasies to rooftop lounges and nightclubs. But this revolution is also an evolution, for ‘round the corner, another intrepid bartender is crafting the next big drink.

Organic Ingredients: Five years ago, only a handful of organic spirits existed. Today there are organic tequilas, vodkas, single malts, bit-

ters, even sake. “To get USDA certification is very hard,” says Henry Siedel of Chikurin, the only Japanese sake to hold that distinction. Not only does the rice need to be grown sans pesticides, but irrigation floodwaters from neighboring farms have to be gunk-free as well. In most cases, you’re doing more to protect the environment

This may seem like an ordinary gin and tonic, but it features ofthe-moment bar trends like hand-cracked Kold Draft ice, fresh small-bottle tonic, and trendy Copa glassware.

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Both complex punch bowls and obscure European digestifs take center stage in cocktails at many of the trendiest bars around the country.

Aged Cocktails: The hottest geek trend of 2011: mixing up batches of classic cocktails, dropping them into used whiskey barrels or other containers, and aging for several weeks. Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bar manager at Portland’s Clyde Common, is widely credited for kicking off the trend in the U.S. Aging a cocktail does the same thing as aging whiskey or tequila: “The edges are softened, but not in a way that makes the drink seem flabby,” says Morgenthaler. “Anything with vermouth or fortified wine will be lightly oxidized and gain earthy notes that lend a lot of depth.” A second- or third-use barrel, like a bourbon or sherry cask, will also influence the final drink. You’ll find aged cocktails in toptier bars around the country, including the Boxcar Bar (Austin),

Girl & The Goat (Chicago), Grant Hotel (San Diego, where guests can purchase aged cocktails by the bottle), and Summit Bar (Manhattan). London’s Artesian bar, meanwhile, is mashing two hot trends by offering barrel-aged Mai Tais featuring clarified lime juice. Act quickly if you hear of a new barrel being tapped at your favorite watering hole: Innovative batches can be drained in a single night by thirsty fans.

Farm-to-Bar: As in the restaurant world, bartenders are hot on local, farm-fresh ingredients. “Guests love a drink with a homegrown angle,” says Evan Powell, the mixologist for Fish restaurant in Charleston, SC. “I grow about a dozen herbs, including chocolate mint, lemon thyme and shiso.” At Idaho’s Shore Lodge in McCall, the staff picks wild huckleberries for mixologist John Wood’s huckleberry mojito. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Fairmont is raising its own honeybees and using the fresh honey in cocktails. And Murf Reeves at New Orleans’ Sylvain puts his 15 years as a cook

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to good use behind the bar, emphasizing regional food pairings with mixed drinks.

House-Made Mixers: “Bitters is one of the three major components of classic cocktails,” says James Lee of Boulder, CO’s Bitter Bar. The once-ubiquitous astringent infusions are now used mostly to enhance aromas in cocktails. “You can’t really substitute for Angostura or Peychaud’s where they’re called for, but otherwise, the sky’s the limit.” Lee and his team make their own bitters using ingredients like Japanese fivespice, grapefruit and (in season) Rainier cherry bitters. At the new Lexington Social House in L.A., you’ll find house-made yuzu, lavender and orange bitters, along with Thai chili-infused simple syrup and even their own version of Pop Rocks to rim glasses. For the new Theater Bar in New York City, owner/bartender Albert Trummer takes the house-made concept to new heights. The bar makes all its own liqueurs, tinctures, bitters and more, co-created with a doctor versed in homeopathic medicine. “Cordials that have artificial colorings and sweeteners sit on your liver, along with the alcohol,” says Theater bartender Duane Fernandez. “At the end of the day, even with cocktails, you want the most natural product you can have in your body.” What’s coming up next? We’re already witnessing single filtered vodkas that actually have flavor, craft distilleries in almost every state, and 18th-century punch bowls that seduce scenesters and drinkers alike. Drop in to your favorite bar to discover what your own Mad Mixologist is concocting.

IMAGES BY ROBERT HAYNES-PETERSON

than your own body. But still, who needs Monsanto in their Mojito? Says Paul Abercrombie, author of Organic, Shaken and Stirred (Harvard Common Press, 2009): “People [should] care about what’s in their glass, the same way they care about what’s on their plate.”


food

WINE RECEPTIONS AND TASTINGS PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH CULINARY HEROES.

COOKING WITH THE STARS

PURE HEAVEN FOR A FASHION FOODIE. BY SUSAN F. SIDOR t’s a crisp fall day, perfect for a bike ride in the park or brunch with friends at an outdoor cafe. But thanks to the French Culinary Institute, I am instead joining 200 other food enthusiasts at the third annual New York Culinary Experience. The event raises money for the The Future Chefs Scholarship Fund, enabling aspiring chefs to attend culinary institutes. It’s also a unique opportu-

nity to spend two days with the world’s most renowned chefs. For foodies, tasting a truly great dish is pure bliss. But cooking side by side with illustrious chefs like Todd English, Morimoto, Marcus Samuelsson and Jacques Torres, among many others, is ecstacy. Participants attend two classes each day. Between morning and afternoon sessions, lunch seminars feature conversations with

key experts. In the evening, wine receptions and tastings provide yet another opportunity to get up-close and personal with culinary heroes. Unlike other “fantasy food camps” I’ve attended, these classes were truly interactive. For starters, a pastry class with Gina di Palma, who insists that baking need not be an exact science: even if results vary, it will likely still be


Serves 2

Previous page, left: David Bouley with his students Right: Pan roasted duck This page, left: Todd English slices stuffed turkey breast. Right: English tops off his pumpkin lasagna. The next New York Culinary Experience will be held on April 28th and 29th, 2012. Email nyce@nymag.com to request more information.

Ingredients: 1 sugar pumpkin 7 sheets blanched rosemary pasta (substitute 7 sheets fresh pasta) 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese 1/4 cup ground amaretti cookie 1/4 cup ground almonds 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated butternut squash sauce watercress, for garnish For the Butternut Squash Sauce: (Yields 1 quart) 1 butternut squash 1 sprig rosemary, chopped salt and pepper, to taste 2 cups half and half 2 cups heavy cream 2 oz. butter 1/4 cup maple syrup Directions: Peel the squash and dice into large

pieces. Place the squash in sauce pot and add the liquids and rosemary. Slowly cook until the squash becomes soft. Drain off the liquid and reserve. Place the squash into blender. Add just enough liquid to cover, then blend and add butter. Adjust seasoning and consistency. Next, slice top off pumpkin, scoop out seeds and any membrane. Clean seeds and toast separately. Roast pumpkin at 400°F for 40 minutes, or until inside meat is cooked. Turn oven down to 350°F. Toss pasta in butternut squash sauce. Lay one sheet of pasta in the bottom of the pumpkin. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of mascarpone cheese on top, then sprinkle a layer of cookie, almond and parmesan. Continue layering until pumpkin is filled. Top with parmesan cheese and bake 30 minutes. Garnish with watercress and serve.

delicious! Next, bouillabaisse with Alain Sahlac, Dean of the French Culinary Institute, a warm, gentle Frenchman who instructed us in the fine art of putting lobsters to sleep. Then we prepared pan roasted duck and asparagus with Comté cheese foam with David Bouley, a fan of healthful artisanal cooking. My final class was Thanksgivingthemed, led by superstar chef Todd English, whose demonstrations were entertaining and informative with a side order of dry humor. To break with the whole-bird tradition, we made a cornbread stuffed boneless roast turkey breast (and even took home ingredients for our own Thanksgiving feasts). After spending my entire career around fashion’s who’s who, these wonderful food masters have become my new rockstars. I remain their ever-devoted groupie.

PREVIOUS PAGE BY SUSAN F. SIDOR; THIS PAGE BY LARRY BUSACCA/GETTY IMAGES

PUMPKIN LASAGNA Recipe by Todd English


These four talented musicians love to share the joy of music. You may not have heard of them yet—but you will!

SIMON MULLIGAN, PIANIST

YOUNG MUSICIANS WITH STYLE BY JACQUELIN CARNEGIE

When a lady with a piano moved in next door to the Mulligans in West London, Simon wandered over and started picking out tunes. The Mulligans were quite surprised since, at three years old, Simon had never taken a lesson; they had a piano prodigy on their hands. Simon went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music and was “discovered” by legendary violinist Yehudi Menuhin. He has toured with cellist Lynn Harrell and violinist Joshua Bell. Whether playing classical or jazz, Simon remarks, “It’s a thrill to work with musicians from different backgrounds and countries. Whether at the Cornelia Street Café in New York or on a huge concert stage, I love sitting down at the piano and sharing the music.” PERSONAL STYLE: “On stage, I wear a suit made for me by Sir Hardy Amies, famed Savile Row tailor to the royals, or bespoke suits from another Savile Row house, William Hunt. Off stage, the word ‘metrosexual’ was coined for me.” MUSICAL TASTE: “Tower of Power, Steely Dan, Joe Cocker, Tom Jones and Amy Winehouse.” FOOD & WINE: “I love to cook, particularly hearty dishes paired with great wine. I also pride myself on getting my young son, Jasper, to eat foods he claims to hate.” FOR FUN: “Host dinner parties, where I cook and play the piano.” VACATION SPOTS: “Corsica, or wine country in France.”

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The Jacobsen brothers were lucky from a musical standpoint: their father, Edmund Jacobsen, was first violinist and associate concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera orchestra in New York. Their mother, Ivy, was a flutist and music teacher. As kids, they fell in love with music listening to the musicians at their parents’ “sight reading” parties. Now, in addition to their solo careers, the Juilliard-trained Jacobsens are part of a string quartet, Brooklyn Rider, and a 30-piece orchestra,

KEITH LEW

COLIN JACOBSEN, VIOLINIST ERIC JACOBSEN, CELLIST

CHRIS LOPEZ

music

CLASSICAL COOL

Left: Pianist Simon Mulligan loves to play anything by Beethoven. Below: Eric Jacobsen


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The Knights, conducted by Eric. They are also members of Yo-Yo Ma’s prestigious Silk Road Ensemble, which promotes cross-cultural musical exchanges. PERSONAL STYLE: Colin: “With the Silk Road Ensemble, I wear a linen or silk shirt in ‘spice’ colors with dark slacks. With The Knights, it’s a suit and tie. The gentlemen of Brooklyn Rider like the vintage 1920s look. Off stage, I wear a fedora.” Eric: “On stage, I dress quite formally in custom-made Ralph Lauren suits and off-the-rack ones from Theory

At seven, Andreas began studying cello at the National Conservatory of Music in Colombia, where, for fun, he’d strum the guitar. It was another recording, by the illustrious Andrés Segovia, that ultimately drew him to the classical guitar. And when the Manhattan School of Music offered him a scholarship to study it, he moved to the U.S. Andreas is now as adept at composing as playing, and has written music for film and theater. He’s worked with guitarists Marc Ribot and Dan Zanes, Colombian singer Toto la Momposina, and will tour Europe in 2012 with Austrian violist Firmian Lermer. “I’m overjoyed when I perform,” says Andreas. “It’s a blessing doing what you love most.” PERSONAL STYLE: “For a classical concert, I wear a dark suit with a bright scarf, or tails when the performance requires it. Off stage, black is most practical in New York, but I always dress it up with a colorful scarf.” MUSICAL TASTE: “Classical; world music such as Youssou N’Dour from Senegal; the late flamenco singer Camarón de la Isla; traditional Colombian music. Also, Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles and lots of jazz.” FOOD & WINE: “French cuisine—artichokes with butter and steak tartare—or a good Argentine steak with a glass of Tempranillo from Spain’s Rioja region.” FOR FUN: “Improvising music with friends. Reading biographies about people I admire such as the great Italian composer Nino Rota—very inspiring! Seeing art films, walking in Central Park and playing soccer.” BEST VACATION SPOTS: “Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Colombia.”

SARAH SMALL

Right: Colin Jacobsen has enjoyed playing music since he was a child. Bottom: Nilko Andreas Guarin

that fit my 6’3” frame perfectly. A young designer, Megan Garrity, has also created outfits for me to wear in concert. Off stage, I’m in jeans.” MUSICAL TASTE: Colin: “Indie folk singers, world music like Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor and Brazilian singer/guitarist Joao Gilberto, early-20th century classical recordings, The Beatles, Radiohead.” Eric: “Classical music and a new, young singer named Christina Courtin.” FOOD & WINE: Eric: “I cook Italian dishes and always live near a good butcher shop and a fresh fish market.” Colin: “I like to eat what Eric cooks.” FOR FUN: Colin: “Hiking, playing the ukulele, playing tennis, and hanging out with my wife Maile.” Eric: “Cooking and holding sight reading parties.” VACATION SPOTS: Colin: “Italy, including the Aeolian Islands near Sicily, Hawaii and the fjords in Norway.” Eric: “Because of the constant touring, quiet vacations in places during the off-season.”

When Andreas was just a little boy, his father put on an old vinyl recording of the great cellist Mstilav Rostropovich; he was captivated by the sound.

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DARRYL NITKE

NILKO ANDREAS GUARIN, CLASSICAL GUITARIST


end page

SOMETIMES, THE ANSWERS TO LIFE’S QUESTIONS AREN’T IN YOUR BRAIN. THEY’RE IN YOUR CLOSET. BY JAMES RARUS

CLOSET THERAPY A former boss, the president of a luxury apparel firm, used to scream at me: “You know what your problem is? You think too much! Just sell!” Today, I work for myself. I play menswear psychologist and at a psychologist’s rate, though I’m not a doctor. Analyze this: Twice yearly, menswear merchants fill their shops with thoughtfully selected apparel, transforming their stores into virtual treasure troves of luxury. A man’s closet should be a similar treasure trove, the clothes he pulls out each morning helping to determine if people will buy into his personality, business acumen, credibility, or whatever he’s selling. I recently worked with a client in his cedar paneled closet. His trousers, dress shirts and blazers hung evenly spaced on cedar hangers. His shoes rested in perfect rows, his belts and ties were arranged meticulously. I thought about this client, a bachelor with a high finance job: trim physique, handsome features, great hair, beautiful clothes. But then a flash: he owned no sweaters! Mother Nature took the time to create this perfect specimen, almost begging to be wrapped in luxurious fabrics, and not one cashmere knit!

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I looked around his spectacular apartment with its expansive views of Central Park and envisioned the women he’d soon date thanks to this newly conceived wardrobe. A breakthrough moment, said my inner Freud. Want your own breakthrough? Think of your favorite store as your closet; then think of your wardrobe as a jazz song with layered textures, colors, tones and dimensions to help showcase your own unique qualities. Soon after shrinking my client’s head with this music metaphor, he became the proud owner of a dozen twoand four-ply cashmere knits and a few merinos in masculine shades both deep and pale. His wardrobe is now balanced with casually elegant cardigans, turtlenecks, V-necks and crews; his tailored clothing pieces now double as sportswear. His love life has improved, too: wearing an outfit of his own creation featuring a knit cardigan, he recently met the woman of his dreams. When people ask me what I do for a living, I often say, “I alter men’s perceptions of their closets so that when they get dressed each day, they’re energized and inspired.” To which they usually respond, “You think too much! But let me ask you a question. Can I wear…?”


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Welcome Letter Profile: A Decade of Agave Profile: Edward Armah Wardrobe: Men’s Fashion in Film Icons: Guitar Hero

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Oak Hall Must-Haves Style: Trends for Men Life Is But a Dream Why Style Matters

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Ask Forum for Him Ask Forum for Her World Scene Spirits: Cutting-Edge Cocktails Food: Cooking With the Stars Music: Classical Cool End Page: Closet Therapy

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