Ray Frensham visiting NYC, June 2012
Dr. Andre Churchwell, NYC, May 2012
Voice: Hi Rose, it's Andre Churchwell....(insert niceties)...I'm coming to Manhattan for the weekend with the family, and it would be great to see you again! I'll be wearing a really marvelous pink seersucker DB with a straw boater to the symphony on Saturday....
Me: When and where? I'm there!
This is the life of an exquisite gentleman...causing a stir in with the rarely-done-because-thoroughly-impractical double breasted seersucker. Almost as impractical as the three piece seersucker worn by Natty Adams.
Outside the Plaza Hotel...quite the classic Hollywood look.
Striking color combination on this Mogador tie Churchwell helped design with Anthony T. Kirby
Then we snuck some photos inside near the gorgeous Palm Court...
Hat: Brooks Brothers Italian straw boater
Suit: bespoke pink/white seersucker double breasted suit
Shirt: Steve Kempson NYC
Shoes: Peal white leather wingtips
Socks: Paul Stuart
Hat: Worth and Worth porkpie coconut hat with the wide linen band - "Frank Sinatra’s – Cavanaugh Hat model of the 1950’s"
Jacket: Len Logsdail houndstooth jacket with leather covered buttons attached by a shank - "coat done in 1930’s sport coat model"
Shirt: David Mercer and SonsTie: Anthony T. Kirby
Trousers: bespoke full cut cream garbardine trousers
Shoes: Polo/Ralph Lauren two-tone spectators, white buck with brown leather cap toes
Bag: Bergdorf Goodman :)
The one and only Massimiliano Mocchia di Coggiola. The lure of stories I heard about his style, his home, his grand life, brought me to Paris. What an experience it was!
Italian born Massimiliano and his lovely American wife Sorrel gave a warm greeting, and I began to try to take in all the details. Walking into his space I felt the Parisian architecture - the height of the ceiling, the strong sunlight filtering through tall narrow windows, the ornate molding. They talked about how much they loved to throw parties, and I imagined what a fantastic place to come to at night and get lost. One can feel distinctly that living is a fine art for this young couple, and dressing, above all, is the highest art for Massimiliano.
There is a whole room dedicated to Massimiliano's interest in dandyism. As a historian and author he has fantastic collection of rare books and ephemera which share space with his collar pins, cologne, cufflinks, top hats, and at least one powdered wig. I began making portraits, and once we were done with one suit Massimiliano would duck back into his dressing room - which is indeed a whole room filled with clothes - and come out with another more exquisite than the last.
I asked him to show me his oldest book on dandyism: "Du Dandysme et de Georges Brummell" by J. Barbey D'Aurevilly, published in Paris 1879
In the sitting room, a photo of actor Conrad Veidt peeks out from behind layers of assemblage, religious artifacts, feathers and bones.
When Sorrel brought out a tray of coffee served in the most delicate little vintage set, I wished that time would stop so I could always live in that moment.
A gold signet ring bears his family's crest.
Illustrations by Massimiliano hang along side portrait paintings by Sorrel and art collected from various friends.
Patrick McDonald is larger than life - truly, fantastically. His extravagant style is legendary, and has been recorded by many just as legendary photographers and artists (um...Bill Cunningham, Scavullo, Robert Richards!). I knew from the beginning that The Dandy Portraits would not be complete without Patrick. Of course when the rare opportunity came to finally meet him - at his home - I was more than a little nervous and insanely curious to find out what this man - who revels in being a dandy - is really like.
Over the phone Patrick, in his sweet urbane voice said, "my place, it's a bit bohemian", with a laugh. I was charmed and even more intrigued. So I headed over to his place with Mat Fox of Fine and Dandy Shop to investigate - or rather just to have some fun. Matt just posted his interview here.
Beyond the top hats and eyebrows and blue velvet is a gentleman who understands the importance of good manners and character; he understands that the way one lives his life is an art, just as much dressing for each day is. And in true dandy fashion, he cultivates a unique beauty in the most unlikely of environments. With joy he quoted Bill Cunningham, who's documentary he appeared in, "He who seeks beauty will find it".
Artists need their muse.
Hats by Rod Keenan fill his kitchen