Whether it’s running one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, brokering multimillion-dollar real estate deals or operating award-winning restaurants, this year’s gentlemen show us that sartorial success can only be achieved with individuality, confidence and a commitment to quality.
GM, Park Hyatt
Undeniably classic yet utterly contemporary. An evident regard for design and quality. Bold, tasteful pops of color. A quiet elegance. And that’s just his office. As the new general manager of the Park Hyatt Chicago, Walter Brindell is right at home when he’s on the job. “If I didn’t work here, I would come here, and that’s the truth,” he says. “The environment fits well for me. This is my uniform.” He’s referring there to a well-tailored dark suit—on any given day, most likely Armani, Thom Browne, Ralph Lauren Black Label or Paul Smith. The watch is nearly always a Cartier—a favorite brand since his teenage years—like his wedding band. The cuff links might be from the grandfather on his mother’s side; she is, in fact, the greatest source for his impeccable read on what works. “My mom was a model in a very small community in North Carolina, where I grew up, and she was very focused on the Jackie Kennedy style,” he says. “She would drive me to the store, take me to the fashion shows. Style was embedded into me early on—and for me, that’s whatever I am comfortable in. It’s about creating your own.” True that. Mama’d be proud.
Fashion and function are synonymous for photographer Frank Ishman. “I just live in my clothes. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing a suit: If I’m shooting and have to lie on the ground, I’m going to do it,” he says. “I really don’t subscribe to the whole ‘It’s precious; I’ll only wear it once in a while’ mindset.” That’s probably why the stylish photographer—who has worked alongside icons like Brigitte Lacombe and Mary Ellen Mark—always looks so dapper. Ishman’s artsy, high-low work uniform may include a Yohji Yamamoto jacket or an Ann Demeulemeester vest thoughtfully accessorized with a hat from his extensive collection, a Kayla Katz ring and his prized Unearthen necklace. Mostly, Ishman tries not to overthink it. “I think that bad fashion comes from an unwillingness to take a daily risk and just wear your clothes.”
Broker, Jameson Sotheby’s
Andrei Savtchenko, a broker with Jameson Sotheby’s International Realty, may keep his outfits understated and classic, but he knows the impression they make. “Your style is a reflection of how you handle business,” he says. “A lot of people underestimate the doors fashion can open for them, but it is part of the presentation, which is a huge part of your results.” So the Ukraine native fills his closet with versatile classics from Tom Ford, John Varvatos, Armani and Hugo Boss. “And obviously I have the Guccis and the Dolces,” he adds with a laugh. Savtchenko’s ultimate style accessory, however, is not something that can be bought, he says: “Yes, a beautifully cut suit will probably get me attention, but I think that a man should stand out with confidence, with good energy and with characteristics that make a man a man.”
Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz
Partners, Boka Restaurant Group
Perhaps the best way to grasp the overall fashion philosophy of Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz is to visit one of their restaurants. And since they are the guys behind some of Chicago’s most coveted tables—Momotaro, Swift & Sons, Girl & the Goat, Boka and GT Fish & Oyster among them, with two more slated to open this year—odds are, you already have. “With our restaurants, we want something that looks modern but also looks like it’s been there for a long time,” says Boehm. “Timeless but edgy,” adds Katz. That could also describe their own individual styles, which, after 14 years of working together, have more in common than not, including a reluctance to wear ties, never underestimating the importance of a good tailor, attention to details and a mutual love for John Varvatos, Armani, Tom Ford and Ermenegildo Zegna. (For the record: Boehm unbuttons the top two buttons of his shirt; Katz generally does not. Says Katz: “One time I had the second button undone, and my son deadpanned, ‘Who do you think you are, Kevin Boehm?’”) Both have also become big believers in the less-is-more mantra when it comes to their wardrobes. “You walk into these great stores on Oak Street and they don’t have thousands of things. They have this well-curated list,” says Boehm. “I want my closet to look the same way.”
Director of Marketing, Spex Optical
Michael Caputo doesn’t leave anything to chance when it comes to attire. In fact, he keeps a detailed record of his ensembles. “My suits hang with a tag that describes when and where I wore them, if there was a photo taken and who was in the room,” Caputo says. “I can literally tell you what I had on in Las Vegas for dinner two years ago.” The meticulousness comes naturally. “My mother never left the house if she was not completely put-together, Jackie Kennedy gloves and all,” he says. “I know that’s where I’ve picked it up genetically.” Caputo keeps a shoeshine kit in his desk drawer and a wardrobe of staples from Tom Ford, Gucci and Burberry—supplemented with a stylish mix of accessories (many of them highly affordable) to create his playful and colorful yet perfectly put-together look. He’s always a sight to see.
Store Director, Lanvin
When you look good, you feel good. If ever one person embodied this statement, it would be George McGoldrick, whose fashion philosophy is a lesson in self-awareness. “My style comes from the inside,” he says. ”Where I’m at in my life translates into my dress.” It also comes from where he’s been: The recently appointed Lanvin store director has more than 20 years of luxury retail experience, including stints at Gucci, Prada and Jil Sander, all of whose clothes appear in his closet. McGoldrick has curated a subdued and restrained aesthetic with a knack for mixing sportswear and classic tailoring. “Always wear pieces that are true to you,” he adds. “Or at least, wear pieces that express to yourself and to the world who you are at any given time.” That philosophy makes his impressive client list, including A-list stage stars, no surprise. “All good salespeople are essentially performers,” he says.