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Gentlemen’s Clubby Lesley McKenzie, Ramona Saviss, Elizabeth Varnell and Erin Weinger | Angeleno magazine | March 29, 2012
These eight men about town share more than refined sensibilities and entrepreneurial spirits—their storied lives are vividly portrayed through their sartorial choices. From collar-and-tie guys to jean-and-tee dudes, these gentlemen have personal style down pat.
“People are really well groomed here,” says designer Gregory Parkinson. The British-born, downtown L.A.-based stylesmith is known for his lush, tie-dyed and patterned wares that earned him a spot as one of 10 American designers chosen by the CFDA to show in Paris in March. “I think if you have a great haircut and a mani/pedi, you can wear whatever. That’s really influenced the way I like to dress.” Parkinson, 48, who launched a capsule collection for Anthropologie in April, has a decidedly untucked style, typically paired with a pair of Bottega Veneta sandals he calls “gorgeous.” He mixes hand-dyed T-shirts with blazers by YSL and Junya Watanabe, and sometimes pairs it all with a Rolex and his mother’s engagement ring worn on a leather cord necklace made by best friend and Venice-based designer Liseanne Frankfurt. “If I’m going to spend a lot of money,” he says, “I want it to be on something that I can wear every day, not once or twice a year.”
You wouldn’t expect Harry Morton, the 31-year-old restaurateur best known for naming his Mexican eatery Pink Taco, to be an old soul. But he is. “People dress like slobs now,” Morton says, citing Steve McQueen and the late Fiat head Giovanni Agnelli as sartorial inspirations. Morton wears a daily uniform of custom Turnbull & Asser shirts, Genetic or Notify jeans, and vintage boots while tending to his hospitality empire, which now includes Fukuburger in Hollywood, plus stakes in the Viper Room and Beacher’s Madhouse at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Century City’s Pink Taco will soon have a sibling on the Sunset Strip, where Morton has transformed the former Miyagi’s space into an 800-seat mega eatery that includes a sports tavern inside an underground tunnel once used for ushering guests’ mistresses to the Chateau Marmont. And while he doesn’t have a favorite style era (“I’m not a fashion guy,” he insists), he’s quite fond of Jack Taylor, the famed Beverly Hills clothier. “Anyone who dressed the Rat Pack, I like.”
Shane Baum doesn’t wear jeans. In fact, the eyewear kingpin doesn’t even own a pair. “But I have eight tuxedos,” he confesses. Baum, 44, who grew up in a small Iowa farm town, has created eyewear for the likes of Paul Frank and Rebecca Minkoff, and worked with Barton Perreira and Moscot in Europe. Now on the heels of his induction to the CFDA, the dapper designer just launched Leisure Society, his own collection of apparel in collaboration with Travis Matthew Johnson, and classically inspired titanium frames with gold-plating, double-spring hinges and intricate etching usually reserved for vintage pieces. The same thought goes into his personal wardrobe. “It’s not a coincidence that the blue arms on my watch match my shoelaces today,” he says. Baum admits that he dresses like a country club grandpa and favors Robert Geller, Paul Smith and Shipley & Halmos for everyday wear. But he’s not stuffy. “Our sunglasses are named after nude beaches,” says the San Jose State grad. “And the eyeglasses are named after Harvard and Oxford—none of the places where we went to school.”
Alexander Purcell Rodrigues
From the moment British-bred furniture, product and environmental designer Alexander Purcell Rodrigues arrived in L.A. six years ago, he began revolutionizing the way interior design pieces are sold. The 31-year-old just opened Villa Purcell, a 1922 West Hollywood house and garden, which he and his business partner and wife, Stephanie, converted into a showroom and offices for his designs. “Even Charles and Ray Eames were based out of their home—it’s a nod back to that,” he says. Purcell Rodrigues’ designs are as iconic, clean and modern as his sartorial selections. He prefers monotone color combinations of blacks, grays or whites, with a dash of color—all hues that befit a creative who studied at the University of Cambridge and Art Center College of Design. “I try to stay in one color group and pay close attention to the shape,” he says. Purcell Rodrigues favors single-breasted, single-button, low-lapel suits and structured Bell & Ross watches, but when he’s off-duty, he generally throws on Nike’s Air Max 90, which he owns in a variety of colors.
“I don’t buy on the predicate of trend,” says Will Kopelman, the 34-year-old art advisor who is engaged to Drew Barrymore, as you may have heard. “I buy things I truly love.” This is also true of his business style; his burgeoning contemporary art consultancy and acquisitions company currently includes some of the boldest names in the art game. He wears scarves if he’s cold. Buys cuff links and belt buckles if they’re antique. And tries to keep his mall trips to a minimum. “I have about five pairs of shoes I keep on rotation,” he says. Among them is a pair of desert boots bought in the Netherlands that he takes to Arturo’s Shoe Fixx in Beverly Hills for resoling. All of this seems surprisingly low-key considering his family pedigree (father Arie is the former CEO of Chanel and his mother studied design at Parsons). But this Kopelman—who lists Levi’s and Ralph Lauren RRL as favorite denim brands—has his own mind. “I don’t know fashion,” he says. “I just know what I like.”
Umar Rashid, aka Frohawk Two Feathers, never planned on becoming a darling of L.A.’s contemporary art world. His intricate ink- and tea-stained war-themed works (produced in the downtown L.A. house where he lives with his wife, Michiyo Suda, and their daughter, 2-year-old Iroha) have attracted The New York Times, are repped by white-hot gallerist Heather Taylor and have been featured in exhibitions around the world. Up next? His first solo exhibition at a museum, taking place this summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver. Rashid’s bold, melting-pot fashion sense can be seen as an extension of his art, so it comes as no surprise that the 35-year-old’s most-loved pieces include an ethical fur raccoon tail from a Native American collective in Washington state. He favors vintage suits and a pair of metallic slippers he snagged on a trip to Dubai, and is quite fond of the traditional Japanese karate gi. While anything Paul Smith and Woolrich Woolen Mills tickles his fancy, it’s the old and quirky—feathered headdresses, Vietnamese police hats and even ill-fitting leather jackets—that make him happiest. “The sleeves are too short,” he says, pointing to his jacket. “But it’s my own personal style.”
Rick Rose would never be caught in a T-shirt and jeans. Since the births of his daughter, Saffron Valentine, 5, and son, Quinn Argyle, 3, the Roseark boutique co-owner and jewelry designer made a commitment to what he calls a “fully put-together” look to set an example for the people in his life who see him daily. Admittedly, Rose, 33, doesn’t know whether he or his wife (fellow fashion addict Kathy) owns more clothes. But on his side of the shared closet in their Benedict Canyon home there are plenty of patterned shirts and ties (his signature look) by favorite designers Steven Alan, Tom Ford and Rag & Bone. After all, this is the sartorially savvy couple who opened the hugely popular Roseark boutique and gallery in West Hollywood in 2003, followed by a Montana Avenue outpost in 2010. Amid the carefully curated selection of art and accessories, Rose proudly displays his own jewelry line, Roseark−including his latest collection, which was inspired by Saffron’s namesake plant. Rose is also channeling his energy into a men’s fashion blog at roseark.com titled “MANifesto,” set to launch later this year.
Facebook’s head of market development, Matt Jacobson, doubles as a style blogger for his newly launched site, grownmanstyle.com, which showcases his astute taste as the ultimate vintage huntsman. Case in point: his 1970 Knize tuxedo. The 51-year-old Manhattan Beach native still surfs regularly, but has moved far past his board short and T-shirt days. “I joined Facebook in 2005 as one of the first employees,” Jacobson says. “And I thought, ‘This is a potentially serious thing.’” So he decided to dress the part. Jacobson soon developed what he calls “grown-man style,” a look that includes a daily uniform of vintage suits, such as his ’60s three-piece ensemble by Henry Poole & Co. “Vintage clothing is hard to find, so I don’t wear it all the time. I wear a lot of Thom Browne because it has the same kind of vibe and silhouette,” he says, adding, “I get very specific about things. How things are put together is really important. Most people would never guess that I’ve spent years looking for a particular belt.”