May 21, 2014

Shot by Gordon Willis

There are few greater documentarians of New York City in the 1970s than the late cinematographer, Gordon Willis.  In Woody Allen's opening monologue to 'Manhattan,' he uses sweeping romantic metaphors to describe the city which was his leading lady in his most memorable films. But, it was Willis that brought this opening sequence to life in vibrant black and white. It's one of the greatest love scenes of any film. Beyond 'Manhattan,' the crisp grittiness of 'The Godfather,' the mod sexiness of 'Klute,' and the underbelly of Washington's corrupt inner sanctum in 'All the President's Men' are conveyed on screen via this unique vision that Willis brought to his camera.

Gordon Willis captured time and place perfectly and, as I was a child in 1970s Manhattan, he has left me with a trunk of visual memories for which I am eternally grateful. You will be forever missed, sir.

All the President's Men

Annie Hall


The Godfather Part II

Broadway Danny Rose

Pennies From Heaven

The Godfather


March 22, 2014

Danny Zarem

There are few film characters as well-dressed as Thomas Crown, the dandy tycoon who crafts an intricate bank robbery, brought to life by Steve McQueen in the 1968 retro classic, The Thomas Crown Affair. McQueen, was dressed for the film by Manhattan fashion retailer, Danny Zarem.

Not the most prolific Hollywood costume designer, Zarem was credited with establishing the casual look for men in America in the1960s. As vice president of  Bonwit Teller, he introduced the men’s fashion department to the handmade suede clothing of Pierre Cardin.  All of a sudden Wall Street and other men about town began to wear casual jackets to work and the places to be seen around the city.

Pierre Cardin
When Cardin’s longtime partner, Andre Oliver opened up a boutique on East 57th street, Zarem left Bonwits to move in  and make Oliver’s “Le Sweater” a must-have for upper east siders such as Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The cable-knit, baby-wool sweater was originally crafted for men, but quickly became unisex and available in a multitude of bright colors.

Shortly after being voted to Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed Men’s List in 1978, Andy Warhol photographed Zarem and Cardin for a famous 1980 picture.

Danny Zarem died in New York in 2013 at the age of 86. His unique and strategic influence on men's fashion via Hollywood and Manhattan in the 1960s and 1970s makes him a quintessential gentleman.

Robert Capa in Color

Few artists have seen as much or captured as many incredible images as Robert Capa. Over the course of his career, he covered five different wars, including World War II, where he delivered images from London, Africa, Italy, Omaha Beach in Normandy and was in Paris for its liberation from the Germans. To collectors, like myself, he is renowned for creating the amazing photography collective known as Magnum, which he started with other notable artists, including Cartier-Bresson.

Until Amazon recently directed me to a book of his color work, I was only familiar with those iconic black and white images showing his time on the world's battlefields - an approach that ultimately took his life by stepping on a land mine while covering the First Indochina War.

But, these color images show a softer side of the artist. He obviously showed great appreciation for the beauty of life and nature. Oh to be at a Paris bistro with he and Papa, to hear about his many adventures and his talent for capturing the images that made history. Thank you, Mr. Capa.

Ernest Hemingway and his son, Gregory, Sun Valley, 1941

Skiier, Zermatt, 1950

Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre on the set of Beat the Devil, Ravello, 1953

Truman Capote and Jennifer Jones on the set of Beat The Devil, Ravello, 1953

Actress Geraldine Brooks trying on a dress at the fashion house of Emilio Schuberth, Rome, 1951

March 16, 2014

MASTERPIECE | Mr. Selfridge, Season 2: Master Showman Preview | PBS

This sleeper hit began as a filler for those of us with 'Downton' - envy, but quickly gained notoriety as a stand alone success. Jeremy Piven is excellent as the crass and brassy American who crosses The Pond in the early 1900s to open London's most impressive department store.

In the true tradition of imported British television, the authenticity of the time in settings and wardrobe is exceptional. And, unlike Downton, Mr. Selfridge takes us in to London as The Victorian era is coming to a close and the men and women who shop for the finest are really starting to let their hair down.

Season Two starts on March 30, 2014. Enjoy the trip.


January 11, 2014

The Churchill War Rooms Greet Savile Row

London's Churchill War Rooms recently played host to a fashion show featuring Savile Row's latest entries. It's tremendous how timeless these contemporary bespokes are and how perfectly they fit in to this locale.

The War Rooms, located on St. Charles St., SW1, are an incredible visit. Impeccably preserved and an overwhelming look at the strategy of World War 2 and the charismatic Prime Minister who presided over the UK at the time.


You can watch the New York Times video HERE


November 8, 2013

Jack Daniels - Sinatra Select

This week at La Dolce Vita Restaurant in Beverly Hills, Brown-Forman hosted a reception in order to celebrate the launch of it's new Jack Daniel's Sinatra Select. The liquor company looked throughout Los Angeles in order to find a location that best emulated Sinatra's sensibility and turns out that former Rat Pack hangout, La Dolce Vita was the place.

La Dolce Vita
According to mixologist, Eric Tecosky, Comedian, Jackie Gleason first introduced Sinatra to Jack Daniels in the 1950s when the whiskey was relatively unknown. As soon as Frank declared the drink, 'Nectar of the Gods,' liquor stores were hard pressed to keep it in stock.

Sinatra Select is a testament to its namesake. Not totally smooth, but a comfortable enough sip that soon after packs a certain punch and leaves you wanting more.

I'm told the bottles will be available for one year starting on December 12, 2013, Sinatra's 100th birthday. I can't wait to see what other tributes will be released to celebrate's the Chairman's 100th year. Wish he was around to enjoy it with us.

His booth at La Dolce Vita still is - I know where I'll be on December 12 to toast the man. Care to join me?