Cator Sparks is a freelance writer and peacock who grew up in the South and now lives in Manhattan—uptown in Harlem. Whether he is riding a camel at the pyramids in Egypt, attending a chic social function, or simply having cocktails with friends at the Beatrice Inn—Mr. Sparks always epitomizes the utmost of wit and elegance. His daring and fearless style make him a true peacock icon...
Mr. Peacock: How would you describe your style?
Cator Sparks: I imagine some people can just say 'dandy', 'grunge' or 'preppy' but I run the gamut. Some mornings I wake up and feel cosy, outdoorsy and pull on a vintage flannel, dark denim and my L.L. Bean duck boots. Other times I feel like an "Arian from Darien" and dress in Ralph, Tim Hamilton and Sperry. But for any evening event I always lean towards a Victoriana edge with an ascot, tie tack, frock coat, cigarette case (my mothers) and a custom Rod Keenan hat.
How old were you when you consciously realized you were a peacock?
I guess I have always known. I remember admiring old family pictures of my great grandfather on his plantation decked out in hunting gear and my grandmother with her legions of boozy boys who surrounded her at social events wearing the most beautiful suits and signet rings.
Who's your style icon—living or deceased?
Diana Vreeland. Period.
Who has influenced your style?
Everything influences my style. The air I breathe, the snap on the street, the news, Harlem, NPR. As for people David Bowie has always been an influence as has the Brawny Man.
Do you have a favored menswear designer or brand?
I am a bit biased because I adore my friend's menswear lines: Tim Hamilton, Loden Dager and Robert Geller. But I also adore Westwood Man, as well as Etro—on the bigger brand front.
What's your favorite item in your entire wardrobe?
My bespoke tuxedo I had made by Duca Sartoria for my 30th birthday. It fits unlike anything else I have ever owned.
Do you archive favorite items in your wardrobe that are past their prime or get rid of them?
That's what my parents house is for! I have amazing rave tees from the early 90's and some great vintage photo print shirts tucked away down there. Most of the Westwood I have bought in the past 10 years I still rotate into my outfits. I don't think I can ever throw any of that out. It is so special to me.
Have you had any sartorial disasters that you can share?
I had the bright idea in 1999 that a 70's look would be fun to experiment with again. I walked into Hermes in bell bottoms, vintage jacket and photo print nylon shirt and nearly got laughed out of the store...
Are there any menswear trends you abhor? Adore?
Abhor: leisure suits/jogging pants out of the gym, tevas
Adore: bow ties, great suits and beautiful shoes
Any item you are looking forward to wearing this holiday season?
I'm looking for more Fair Isle sweaters. Anyone? I want more intoxicating colors in the mix. Pinks! Violet! Emerald! I am also excited to wear my new Penfield coat. It is big, warm and super cosy. It is definitely for my lumberjack look.
What do you think of the current state of mens apparel?
Safe! Thank God the hunter look is hot now because everyone is buying up classic brands like L.L. Bean, Pendelton, Filson and Orvis because they look good, manly, and they last! With the economy the way it is we may have to not only look the part, but pick up an ax and start building our own cabin to hide in.
What's your pet peeve with the way most men dress?
Sloppy. If it has a hole in it, fix it or trash it. And the pants dropping around the tallywhacker area is so irritating and just plain tacky.
Mr. Sparks is featured in the new, must-own book, Style File-The World's Most Elegantly Dressed, by Iké Udé, publisher of eRUDE Magazine. You can buy it here. He also has a charming website here. Thank you Mr. Sparks, you're an inspiration for gentlemen peacocks everywhere!