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Men of Style
Katie Schroeder | Photo: Jeremy Bustos of StudioThisIs | April 1, 2013
After more than a decade of producing our annual “Men of Style” feature, we’ve still only skimmed the surface of the numerous fascinating and stylish men who call Chicago home. This year we gathered eight more at the Bridgeport Art Center, where we shot inside its skyline loft, as well as at Coyle & Herr, the 12,000-square-foot home furnishings consignment showroom located on the building’s first floor. Full of unique finds for sale, Coyle & Herr presented us with a challenge—to sort through its extensive inventory and find what would best showcase this year’s Men of Style. Challenge accepted.
This Chicago-based DJ and co-founder of DJ agency Crossfader King is one you probably already know. He’s been booked everywhere from Miami to Milan, performed at Lollapalooza twice, and is a resident DJ at Studio Paris, the chairman of the Chicago Children’s Choir Ambassadors Board, and a regular on the local party circuit: From launch parties for Absolut to the grand opening of Michigan Avenue’s Burberry store last fall, he’s in high demand. “I grew up playing in rock bands,” says Roan, who’s been a professional DJ for seven years. “I wasn’t in a band at the time and had a roommate with turntables. It was perfect because I was always the guy at parties with the iPod anyways. I realized I could still play music, be onstage and give people that energy... but as a one-man show.” By the time Roan got into the biz, he decided to skip a stage name (“As an adult, it felt like a tall order to come up with some crazy moniker,” he says) and immediately became known for his music as much as his personal style, which he describes as “not cable-knit preppy, but hip and well-fitting.” He shops Penelope’s and Una Mae’s in Chicago, Odin New York and Unionmade in San Francisco. Favorite designers? “There is probably more Fred Perry in my closet than any other brand,” says Roan. “I realize he is long dead but as a fellow tennis player, I’m very much in line with the aesthetic; Thom Browne—while I’m not interested in wearing suits that look too damn small, I love the vibe; and Tom Ford, because he makes dudes look like men.” Needless to say, his look has evolved over the years. “When I first started DJing I was really into streetwear: all-over prints, flat-brimmed hats, huge high-tops. I had a weird hip-hop vibe that wasn’t really true to who I normally was. Now even the streetwear companies have classed it up a bit. Seems like everyone is growing up.”
Although Burdi thinks he should be allowed to shop outside of his namesake store on Walton Street, he rarely does... unless he’s in Italy. “I go crazy,” he says of traveling to Florence twice a year on buying trips for Burdi, which was founded by his father more than 40 years ago. He defines his personal style as classic with an edge. “I might pair a blue blazer with a plaid pant—classic, but with a contemporary edge to it. And nothing says ‘classic’ in a sartorial sense as much as a handmade garment, even if it has a more fitted, modern look to it.” He always wears a cross and a watch, usually an Audemars Piguet. And over the years, his style has evolved from wearing suits every day to now feeling more comfortable in a button-down and sportcoat, which is an item he says every man needs. “You can dress them up, dress them down and go anywhere with them,” says Burdi, who prefers a more lightweight cashmere sport jacket. “They’re unconstructed, so they’ve got more of a natural drape—I feel really comfortable and put together in them.” So when you own a custom clothing store, who are your style icons? “First and foremost, I’d have to say my dad, because he really helped set me on my course in life,” he says. “Apart from his great influence, I look to the fashion icons of yesteryear like Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra. They took great pride in their style and had a clean, tailored look to their appearance. It seems like things are starting to swing back that way.”
As someone who wanted to be a writer, stumbled into antiques out of college and started as a vintage dealer in 1986, Wright now owns one of the premier auction houses specializing in 20th century design and fine art. Unsurprisingly, his look is characterized by a contemporary aesthetic: “My style is a reflection of the relaxed art world style,” says Wright. He shops Prada, Barneys New York and Lanvin, but it wasn’t always that way. “When I first got into the business, I was a picker and I traveled around the country. For five years, I would only wear black jeans and white Fruit of the Loom T-shirts—I would go buy them at Woolworth’s,” he says. “It’s fun to change as you age and mature. Fashion is an indulgence, and my appreciation of the art of it has totally changed.” Plus, he now prefers the opinion of his fiancée, gallery owner Valerie Carberry, whom he’ll wed this spring in Italy, to that of a stylist. “I think as you start to understand how clothes work on the body, it’s also really fun to pick out pieces for the other to try on and get out of their [comfort zone].” One place he doesn’t shop, though, is his eponymous auction house, despite the exciting items that come across his desk, such as a house in L.A. he sold for $3.2 million or a coffee table for $630,000. “The process of winning that consignment, promoting it in a way that’s creative, selling it for a great price—that’s the perfect arc for me, not keeping it. I live with all vintage things, but I’m not a collector. The larger pursuit of it is more interesting.”
Click here to read more of "Men of Style" in the April digital edition of CS!