Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Money Clips versus Wallets

Do you use a money clip or wallet to carry your money? Mr. Peacock prefers a wallet that has a pocket for change—so your loose coins don’t clink around in your pocket. Money clips seem very old school to me. My father always used a money clip, and it was usually a commemorative Governor’s Cup money clip—a golf tournament he would play in every year. He didn't like the look or the feel of a bulky wallet in his trouser pocket, and preferred having his bills in an organized bundle—secure in a compact money clip.

I think some men who use money clips don’t really use coins either—my father disliked having any change on him. In San Francisco, many of the parking meters are twenty-five cents for five minutes (or less), so you need some loose change, at least when you’re driving and parking. Although, you could keep a stash of coins in your car—just for expensive parking meters.

Mr. Peacock swoons over the money clips that you can engrave with your monogram—like these classic Tiffany money clips.

Hermes has many elegant silver money clips with their iconic “H” incorporated into the design.

These money clips would be suitable for any gentleman. Mr. Peacock likes the clever “steering wheel” money clip, in the middle.

These money clips are both functional and a great value.

Mr. Peacock’s ideal wallet has a place for bills, cards, a pocket for money, and a zipper around the entire piece—like these handsome wallets in black or brown.

Comme des Garçons has some very fun colored leather wallets that zip-up—like this embossed bright green wallet.

This relatively slim wallet has a place for cash, cards and coins, but it doesn’t have a zipper—just a snap to keep it closed shut.

Mr. Peacock likes the pebbled leather of this Il Bisonte wallet.

These wallets by Jack Spade are more traditional in their structure. Mr. Peacock likes the wallet with embossed anchors, on top. The black wallet has a snap coin pouch.

What do you use—a money clip or a wallet? And what pocket do you keep it in—front or back, left or right?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Positively Chic—James Andrew

Above: James and his beloved dog, Rupert—fashion credits. PHOTO BY BRITT CARPENTER.

James Andrew is a gentleman peacock with an incredible zeal for life. He’s an interior designer, specializing in high-end luxury projects. His work has been shown and featured worldwide in Elle Decor, Russian Elle Decor, House and Garden, and The New York Times. In addition to being a successful interior designer, James is also a master planner, bon vivant and blogger. His passion for style, fashion, interiors, architecture, art, spirituality, and how people live all come together in his popular blog, What is James Wearing?

Above: James dining at Perla Restaurant at La Concha Hotelfashion credits.

Each blog posting showcases what he is wearing in context to the location and what he is doing at that moment. He shares his favorite galleries, furniture pieces, places and special getaways around the globe—all the while, looking dapper and well put together. James will soon be the star of his own TV show...stay tuned!

Mr. Peacock: How would you describe your own style?
James: I would define my style as classic and elegant, with a young fresh hip sexy vibe. ;-)

Above left to right: James at the Ralph Lauren flagship store on Madison Avenue enjoying the "Bedford Manor" collection—fashion credits; James at H.M. Luther—fashion credits.

MP: How old were you when you realized you were a peacock?
James: I must have been about 4 or 5 years old when I realized I was a peacock. I made my mother buy me these Tom Jones bell sleeve shirts with 3 buttons at the cuff—in pink and mint green.

MP: Where did you grow up?
James: I grew up in Providence, Rhode Island—just a small-town boy.

Above, left to right: Yves Saint Laurent, Steve McQueen, and Gianni Agnelli (Lapo Elkann's grandfather—note how Mr. Agnelli is wearing his watch over the cuff of his shirt, click to enlarge).

MP: Who are your style icons?
James: My style icons are the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Gianni Agnelli, Lapo Elkann, Cary Grant, Steve McQueen, Tom Ford, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Above: James standing beside an 18th century Louis XV Japanned commode, at George N Antiquesfashion credits.

MP: Who or what has influenced your style?
James: I have been influenced by Vogue and GQ magazines (as a boy); books on legendary style icons; the films Great Gatsby and Thomas Crown Affair; Cary Grant films; Ralph Lauren; boutiques like Charvet; Saville Row shops; Gucci.

Above: James has an extensive library—these are some of his favorite books—fashion credits.

MP: Any book, movie or song that changed, or influenced, your life or style?
James: Books—so many style and art books...David Hicks, Jansen, Parish Hadley, Billy Baldwin and many more; for inspiration and metaphysical books I like the teachings of Abraham-Hicks (have been rocking my world), The Secret, and James Arthur Ray’s Harmonic Wealth.

Films—Brideshead revisited (the BBC series); Maurice; most Merchant Ivory films; The Sheltering Sky; and many more.

Music—Some of my fav inspirational songs are Madonna's (Beat Goes On, Nothing Fails, Push) and Christina Aguilera’s (Soar, Keep Singing My Song).

MP: Do you have a favorite menswear designer or brand?
James: Some of my fav designers are Gucci, Tom Ford, Charvet, and YSL.

MP: What would be your dream purchase right now?
James: My dream purchase would be a town house here in NYC.

Above left to right: A Riverside Park stroll—fashion credits; James at Clarence House showroom admiring the silk woven "Nouveau Bizarre"—fashion credits.

MP: What city has the best-dressed men?
James: I think the best-dressed men are in London, Paris, Rome and Milan.

Above: James looking princely in Puerto Rico at La Concha Resortfashion credits.

MP: How has your personal style evolved over the years?
James: When I was growing up, I was enthralled by a über wasp sensibility—the ultimate prep. Then Ralph Lauren swept me away and I wore only RL for many years. Then I left RL (James worked 8 years at Ralph Lauren Home collection), my relationship ended and I was in need of a major change. I dove into a Gucci über mod 60's/70's look, very edgy and stylized, but that look became too severe—too fashiony. So I started what has become my look now—classic-elegant, sexy-young-hip.

Above: James, at Michael Taylor showrooms, sitting on a "Schiaperelli sofa," with a silvered glass mirror and palm torchiere—fashion credits.

MP: Any sartorial advice for gentleman peacocks?
James: My advice for gentlemen Peacocks would be to be true to yourself! Celebrate yourself and your individuality—whatever you do, wherever you are. Make sure it makes you feel good, and enjoy it. Let go of any pre-occupation with what others will think of you. Spread your wings and soar; be fabulous and share your light with the world. You have your own special and unique take on life.

Do you remember Jame's gorgeous apartment published in Elle Decor a few years ago? Mr. Peacock has had James amazing apartment clipped out from Elle Decor (Dec.03/Jan.04 ) and pasted in his journal (see above) for years! Take a peek at more of James Andrew's exquisite interior design work—click here.

Above: James enjoying a cupcake at Billy'sfashion credits.

In addition to being stylish and talented, this gentleman has an incredible joie de vivre and optimism for life. What an inspiration! Thanks James!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Walkin' through San Francisco...

One of Mr. Peacock's favorite bands, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, filmed their latest video in San Francisco, for their new single, Zero. In the video, the stylish lead singer, Karen O., starts at The Warfield concert hall and then struts through Chinatown, North Beach, down Market Street, the Greyhound Bus Station, and through the Broadway Tunnel.

The last time they played at The Fillmore, Mr. Peacock watched the show standing towards the back of the crowded main room. Karen O. was drinking shots of tequila while she sang, and being provocative with a banana on stage. Suddenly, she threw the banana peel into the audience and it landed directly at my feet—plop. I was laughing as I picked it up, and some girls in front of me asked if they could have it as a souvenir. Of course I obliged their request. Karen O. is a great performer and changed costumes numerous times. All of her amazing costumes are designed by Christian Joy. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a great band to see live—if you get a chance to see them, don't miss it! Here's the tour dates.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Vintage Paperback Book Display

As a small child, Mr. Peacock, would frequently travel with his parents when my dad was playing in different golf tournaments. I was always drawn to the utilitarian towel racks in the bathrooms at the hotels and motels we stayed at. I wanted one at our house—filled with bath towels and wash clothes all the way to the top. It seemed very fancy to me at that age. I would constantly pester my mom, “Why can’t we have one of those towel racks at our house?” She’d always reply, “Because they’re for hotels, but you can get one someday when you have your own house.”

Well, years later, I saw one of those utilitarian hotel towel racks in mint condition at a flea market—and I bought it. I immediately put it in my bathroom, but it didn’t seem as cool as it did when I was 6 years old. And I quickly realized it didn’t really hold the towels properly either. What to do...hmmm, what else could I use it for... maybe it could hold magazines? No, not deep enough, but then I had the idea, maybe it could hold vintage paperback books!

Mr. Peacock has collected these naughty little paperback books from the 60’s and 70’s for years, and they fit perfectly in the vintage hotel towel rack (see photo above). Every time I spot one of these vintage books at a flea market or yard sale—I snap it up. The campy double entendre book titles is what initially attracted me to these adult themed paperback books from the late 1960's to early 1970's. I still giggle out loud at some of the titles, which I can't repeat here, to keep this blog g-rated—but you get the idea. As I accumulated more, I also appreciated the simple, yet well-done, graphic design system of the entire book series.

Here's a few of the books, with g-rated titles. The front cover always has a black and white Tom of Finland or Etienne-esque illustration with the title in white, knocked out of a different colored “bullet” at the top. The color palette is nice too: magenta, lavender, brown, teal, royal blue, orange, green and red—all set against the clean black & white type and artwork.

The back covers always have the title of the book series at the top, “A Manhard Book,” with a large and suggestively phallic colored shape that contains a message—either a naughty synopsis of the book, or an apology about the quality of the paper, due to a paper shortage at the time. I've tried numerous times to research more information about these books, but haven't found anything. The authors names were also double entendre pseudonyms, such as Rich Cummings. I know many well-known, but financially struggling writers at the time, would moonlight on these adult paperback book assignments under a fake pen name to make some extra cash. The covers could have also be drawn by well-known artists, struggling at the time, and drawing them for money without any credit or byline on the book.

As I said, I found my vintage hotel towel rack at the flea market, but you can purchase new retro-styled hotel racks, in different sizes, online here. Sometimes eBay has a few here. Your local hardware store might also stock them. You could mount a rack near your desk too—to hold small books or manuals.

Mr. Peacock also likes to collect vintage paperback books that were made into movies, and movies that were made into paperback books (see photo above). I know Mr. Bluehaunt at The Haunted Lamp, and David at The Invisible Agent, collect and appreciate vintage paperback books. Do you collect any vintage paperback books?

Birds We Know...

Mr. Peacock received a wonderful little vintage children's book from 1954, titled The True Book of Birds We Know, in the mail from Sara in Richmond, Virginia.

This book was originally part of the collection at The Richmond Public Library.

Mr. Peacock loves this spread on "scratching birds!"

The color plates are lovely too. I'm sure many children enjoyed reading this book, as will Mr. Peacock. Thank You Sara!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nathan Vincent—Artist Peacock in NYC

Nathan Vincent is a talented artist and peacock (see photo below) who creates thought provoking art pieces, with an underlying sense of humor. To convey his artistic message, Nathan uses techniques usually identified as feminine, such as knitting, crocheting, sewing, and applique to create objects which are typically identified with men: a tool belt, a deer head trophy (see photo above), or even a urinal.

This juxtaposition of stereotypes, between his subject matter and process, evokes many different issues surrounding gender. The moment Mr. Peacock saw Nathan’s work he was impressed by the message, and by the detailed technique of each piece. Mr. Vincent is currently based in New York City.

Above, left to right: These aren't your grandmother's doilies! Underwear (crocheted cotton thread, framed-18" x 18.75"), 2007; Wrench (crocheted cotton thread, framed- 12.5" x 21.25'), 2007; and Men Working (crocheted cotton thread, framed-23.25" x 23.5"), 2007.

Mr. Peacock: How would you describe your own style?
Nathan Vincent: My style is somewhat eclectic—hipster meets preppy meets industrial urban. I feel it changes daily but always seems to portray an aspect of my personality.

MP: How old were you when you realized you were a peacock?
NV: I would say I was about 23 or 24 before I started caring. As a teenager I was gawky, nerdy, and always wore ill-fitting clothing. I also had a bowl cut! In college my attire consisted solely of t-shirts and jeans with holes and paint on them. It wasn't until I was out in the working world that I started to even consider clothing. For the first year or two, while working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was still wearing baggy dress pants and button ups that didn't really match my body type. I started to experiment with ties when I got bored. I tried skinny ties, bright pinks and purples, paisleys, etc. People started to look forward to seeing which tie I would wear to work. As I progressed through my jobs, I was able to adopt a more casual look and arrived at the style where I am today.

MP: Who is your style icon?
NV: (Crickets chirping)...drawing a blank here.

Above: Beer bottles and crushed beer cans. Beer (crocheted yarn and polyester stuffing-12" x 9" x 12'), 2005.

MP: Who or what has influenced your style?
NV: New York City sidewalks, bars and galleries are the catwalks I watch for inspiration. I occasionally pick up a men's fashion magazine. Beyond that, I read design and crafting blogs.

MP: Where did you grow up?
NV: I grew up in Oklahoma and Michigan, went to school in CA for two years, and spent a summer in Kansas before settling here in New York.

Above: Nathan crocheting a piece for his Doily Series.

MP: When did you start crocheting?
NV: I started when I was about ten. I started an afghan of granny squares, but never finished. Thankfully I gave up on it because the colors were hideous!

MP: Did the women in your family crochet? If so, did they teach you?
NV: My mother can knit and crochet, and she taught me how to crochet. I learned knitting from a book.

Above: Every peacock needs a Nathan Vincent briefcase—with paisley lining and a quilted newspaper. Briefcase (crocheted yarn, foam, wire, fabric and polyester stuffing-20" x 14" x 9"), 2004.

MP: What's your work process?
NV: I sometimes sketch things out, but mainly I just look at reference photos and start sculpting the armature. Then I crochet pieces to fit around that. Occasionally, I just crochet the piece and then stuff it with polyester stuffing to keep its shape.

Above: The iconic gasoline-powered lawn mower as interpreted by Nathan Vincent. Lawn Mower (crocheted yarn, wire, polyester stuffing and wood-45" x 18" x 34"), 2004.

MP: You address gender in your art by juxtaposing masculine "things" with a female identified craft—has it made you appreciate and respect the "feminine" identified crafts?
NV: I have always respected crafts, and adore yarn and needle crafts in particular. The idea of creating something from a single strand of yarn is amazing. The fact that it is considered feminine and/or less respectable is why I started this art project.

Above: Nathan looking very dapper in a khaki suit and woven hat.

MP: Your large-scale pieces are very labor intensive, how do you balance your work time and your free time, to stay focused on completing the large-scale pieces?
NV: I have had a full time job while working on my artwork since graduating college. Most of my crocheting has been in the evenings and on the weekends. It would be wonderful to have time off of work to be able to focus on my upcoming exhibition full time. I have been able to balance my time pretty well. I set deadlines and goals for myself to make sure I complete work so they don't end up unfinished in a pile somewhere. It also helps that I often have three ideas going in my head at the same time. The desire to get started on the next piece motivates me to complete the current work.

Above: The ultimate symbol of masculinity—the urinal. Nathan's crocheted urinal even has pink sanitizing cake in the basin. Urinal (crocheted yarn, foam, wire and polyester stuffing-48" x 17" x 8"), 2004.

MP: What piece of yours has garnered the most reaction from viewers?
NV: I would say the Urinal has been the most popular, closely followed by the Deer Head. People are often in awe when they see the Urinal, as it is pretty much the last thing you expect to see in crochet. But if you go by the request for patterns (people are eager to make their own version of my works, but need a pattern to do it) the Deer Head would win. Two thirds of the requests for patterns have been for the Deer Head. Lots of people want to crochet a taxidermy deer for their living room or someone they love. I think this just goes to show how deeply the work resonates with people. They too remember a certain someone in their family who displayed his masculinity through trophies.

MP: Do you have a favorite piece, so far?
NV: My favorite piece is always the one I just finished. But, the Deer Head will always have a special place in my heart. When I sold that piece it was so hard to let it go. He had been hanging in my room for almost a year and I got to look at him every morning as I woke up. I became very attached.

Above: Nathan growling with his bear rug.

MP: Any exhibits or shows coming up?
NV: I am showing work in November at Lion Brand Yarn's studio/store on 15th street in Manhattan. And, next year I have an exhibition in Virginia where I plan to show a complete locker installation, which Lion Brand is providing the yarn for. I'll be building a drywall construction with all crocheted furnishings. When you walk in you will see a crocheted urinal, crocheted toilet stalls with crocheted toilets. There will be a wall of fiber shower heads and knobs and even crocheted drains on the floor. And finally, a wall of lockers and a bench.

Above: The claws on this bear are talon-like beads. Bear Rug (crocheted and latch hooked yarn, stone beads and taxidermy insert-6' x 6'), 2005.

Conceptually, the piece is referring to the "temple of masculinity" and how it is a societal construct. The crocheted items inside move the viewer to question why such a space is considered to be manly. Often times locker rooms are considered to be the safe space, the place where men go to get ready to be rough and tough, or to clean and primp before going back out to the real world. In actuality, it is riddled with judgment, comparing, showing off (much like a peacock) and feelings of inadequate masculinity.

Above: The ultimate peacock tool belt—drill, pliers, screwdriver, measuring tape and hammer! Toolbelt (crochet yarn, wire, polyester stuffing, fabric and mannequin belt-18" x 14"), 2004.

Mr. Peacock is in awe of Nathan’s talent and also his tenacity to complete these complex and large-scale projects. In addition to Nathan Vincent, Mr. Peacock has introduced you to a few other men who knit and crochet, including: Andrew in Cincinnati and René in Berlin. I’m grateful to all of these peacocks for challenging societies idea of what is masculine or feminine—simply by being creative. Nathan was recently on the "yarn themed” episode of the Martha Stewart Show. You can watch a videos of the show right here, click on "Manly Crocheted Items" on the right side menu, to watch Nathan's segment. He was also one of the ten finalists of the West Collection's West Prize. If you’re in New York City this coming November, be sure to see Nathan’s artwork in person at his show at Lion Brand Yarn. Mr. Peacock is looking forward to seeing (at least photos) of Nathan's locker room installation next year. And be sure to take a peek at his website—there's more projects to see, and you can sign-up for his mailing list. Thank you Nathan!

Thank You Nightline...

Last night, Nightline (on ABC), had an insightful and informative piece (see photo above) on Alzheimer's. As you may already know, my mom and uncle both have Alzheimer's.You can watch the entire video of the segment—here. Nightline began this segment at a GQ Magazine photo shoot. As a culture we know the names of pop stars, but not our top scientists—the upcoming GQ shoot will feature top scientists, including Alzheimer specialists, as "rock stars" in a fashion spread. The host of Nightline, Terry Moran, whose own mother passed away from Alzheimer's, took a DNA test to find out his risk for different diseases—including Alzheimer's. Mr. Peacock thanks Nightline (and GQ) for increasing the awareness, and hopefully research, for Alzheimer's disease.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Slip One On…

Men’s slippers, or as my dad liked to call them—houseshoes, can seem a bit old fashioned, however, they're very functional. Mr. Peacock has wood floors, and they can get very cold and drafty in San Francisco, so slippers become very useful on chilly days. On warm days, however, I prefer to lounge in flip-flops or just go barefoot in the house. The challenge with men’s slippers is finding a pair that is both handsome and functional. Many men’s slippers look like a big pair of Uggs, which isn’t bad, if you like that look, but if you prefer a more refined looking slipper it can be a daunting search. Mr. Peacock prefers a slip on mule style slipper—usually in black. Here are some of my favorites:
Any gentleman peacock would look chic schlepping around the house in these black patent leather slippers. They’re on sale here.

These black leather slippers are both functional and classic looking. They also come in a burgundy color. More information here.

Lounging around in these black leather moc-croc slippers, with sheepskin lining, could be nice. Buy a pair here.

Basic and black slippers—no bells or whistles for forty bucks. Order a pair here.

More basic black, left to right: Duke Scuff Slippers, Lariat Slippers, Aristocrat Scuff Slippers.

These black leather woven slippers are on Mr. Peacock’s wish list. More information here.

What kind of slippers do you wear around the house?