Monday, November 28, 2011

#2071 The $20 Harris Tweed blazer

Photos: Greg Lewis

Tweed is hands down my favourite fabric and Harris Tweed makes the best in the business, so for the longest time I've wanted a Harris Tweed blazer to call my own. But seeing as I can never really justify the $900-plus price tag on a new one, I've had to go without. Until yesterday. I was wandering around a secondhand shop on the Lower East Side when I discovered one for a particularly justifiable $20. It's a little on the small side and the arms are too short, even for me (I shorten the sleeves on everything I buy), but it's still a keeper. Plus, it looks just as good on a girl as it does on a boy, as evidenced by the lovely Bridget Malcolm. I guess this is the menswear equivalent of a broke guy who really wants a new Porsche but settles for one that's a bit old, a bit rundown and a bit decrepit with windows that don't go all the way up. As they say in the real world, bloggers can't be choosers.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

#2070 The facts of life

Rose Smith in my glorious apartment, shot by her main squeeze Greg Lewis.

1. In four days my entire New York experience is going to change – I have to move out of my glorious apartment in Noho and I'm going to be homeless on the street. Anybody looking for a wildly entertaining house guest for the next couple of weeks? Email Isaac at isaac@isaaclikes.com. From all reports he's an amazing guy.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

#2069 The long (and the long) end of the tie

Photos: Unabashedly Prep

I rock an air tie 99 days out of 100, and by that I mean I wear my shirt's top button done up without a tie. A bow tie was my sartorial crutch for a couple of years until one fateful day when I glanced in the mirror and realised that I was making Pee Wee Herman look like Clint Eastwood; but since then, I've worn knit ties when the occasion called, bow ties with a tuxedo, and a decades-old faded Hermes silk tie that I found in my Grandfather's closet, no doubt bought in a hotel gift shop for entry to a restaurant. But it has recently come to my attention that there is a more interesting way to wear your tie than the traditional manner in which I was taught.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#2068 Presenting the Boss Black Fall Collection video with Tom Bull



It's been a long time coming, but I finally have the finished copy of the Boss Black Fall Collection video I shot with Tom Bull last month. Here's how it went down: I was hired to put together three outfits from the Boss Black Fall Collection to cover off everything a guy would need from business to casual Fridays to weekend-wear; then to dress Tom in said outfits and wax lyrical about the merits of each piece. Like I previously mentioned, I have new-found respect for TV presenters – remembering a three page script isn't the easiest job in the world when you've got directors, sound guys, lighting assistants, cameramen and the client all willing you to get it right on the first go, but we got there in the end. It definitely helped things out having Tom along for the ride. Hugo Boss sent me a special cut of the video which is slightly different from the one that they used on their site – you'll see what I'm talking about at the end. And if you'd like to shop the looks for yourself, click here.

I LIKE YOU!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

#2067 We shot Australian Sarah Stephens for this week's Like the Boys


I first met Sarah Stephens at a Halloween party about three weeks ago. She was dressed up as Mrs Lovett from Sweeney Todd and looked so much like Helena Bonham Carter it was amazing. (In the clear light of day, she's more a young Andie MacDowell.) I was feeling outdoorsy menswear this week, so my first port of call was Park & Bond to pick up the hiking boots they've put out in collaboration with Feit. Next, I headed over to C'H'C'M' for the duck canvas pants, plaid shirt and woolen down vest. Justin Chung set up a makeshift studio on Sean Hotchkiss' roof on Tuesday and away we went – I've gotta say I'm bloody pleased with the results. Check out the full set of images over at GQ, including a Q&A with Ms Stephens herself.

I LIKE YOU!

Friday, November 18, 2011

#2066 One-of-a-kind New Balance US574s in just 12 easy steps (but wait, there's more!)


New Balance threw an event in Nolita last night to launch their new custom shoe service. I tagged along with Sean Hotchkiss, Jian DeLeon and Noah Emrich of NOVH fame, and was happily surprised to find that all attendees were given a voucher to try it out for themselves. So for the past couple of hours I've been reliving my sneaker-obsessed youth and trying to design the perfect New Balance US574 colourway. Every piece of the shoe is customisable, with 23 different colours to choose from, plus you can even get a personalised message embroidered on the heel wrap. Hello one-of-a-kind sneakers. And here's the best bit: The shoes cost less than $115, they're made in the USA and they'll arrive on your doorstep within three business days. Trying to re-skin a pair of sneakers is not the easiest thing I've ever done, but it's an extremely effective way to while away an afternoon when you're bored in the office. I suggest you all try it out immediately – just imagine the sneans possibilities. Below are a few pairs I prepared earlier.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

#2065 Forget the Hitler Youth, ask for the Hillary

Scott Schuman and his short back and sides. Photo: NY Times

As an ex-hairdressing apprentice, I think a lot about men's haircuts. I worked in salons for four years before moving onto menswear retail at the age of 20, but the way that guys wear their hair is something I often look at before travelling south to their clothing. Since the age of nine, I've gone through every possible incarnation and style – shaved, long, dreadlocks (albeit bad ones), straightened, coloured (blonde, black, chocolate brown, red, purple, blue), the mullet, the mul-hawk, the flat top and finally the classic short back and sides modelled on Edmund Hillary's overgrown version immortalised on the New Zealand five dollar bill. I first got the short back and sides in 2006 and have deviated from it only once since (with dire consequences). They say that guys reach a certain age and are forever fixed in a particular style, and as far as haircuts go, I'm there.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

#2064 Noah Emrich of NOVH fame shot bloggers (including this guy) in Gant Rugger's holiday collection

Photos: Noah Emrich of NOVH fame

Another day, another blogger/brand collab – this time between my New York Times partner in crime Noah Emrich and Gant Rugger. Shot in the early hours of Friday morning at Gant Rugger's Nolita flagship store, the group included photographer Justin Chung, GQ Eye's Sean Hotchkiss, Complex writer Jian DeLeon, Julia Jacobson from NMRKT and myself (the others came later in the day). The brief was simple: Wear one piece from Gant Rugger's holiday collection alongside garments from your normal wardrobe. Noah put me in the red lambswool cardigan that I'd styled Emma Ishta in for Like the Boys the previous week, and I paired it with my R&G herringbone blazer, Uniqlo oxford button down, Crane Brothers pants and Chuck Taylors.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

#2063 Behind the scenes at the Ain't Coming Down video shoot with David Dallas and Buckshot



It's been a while since I was hugely into any New Zealand artist – the last would have been Scribe and P Money in the early 2000s; and The Coshercot Honeys who I followed around the country in 2007-8. But I am officially obsessed with David Dallas: His album The Rose Tint launched on iTunes yesterday and I strongly suggest you make the purchase. About a month ago I got to join David on the set of his video shoot for Ain't Coming Down. We shot all over Bed Stuy surrounded by onlookers – children, old ladies, thugs in low-riders, crazy old men who talked to themselves and pretty young girls – and they all wanted one thing: To shake hands with Buckshot. That guy is a legend in those parts. David Dallas and Buckshot have totally different styles on set – one is cool and low-key, the other explosive and bursting with frenetic energy, which was only emphasised by their extreme size difference (David's a good foot taller). After hearing Ain't Coming Down two times, I was hooked. Four listens in I was whistling along, another couple and I had Dave's whole first verse memorised. The good news is this: Next time he needs a hypeman and his regular guy isn't available, I'll be more than happy to jump on stage. NZ'S FINEST!

I LIKE YOU!

Monday, November 14, 2011

#2062 Kelsey Sirucek for GQ's Like the Boys


Friday's Like the Boys shoot centred around my old faithfuls – beige pants and a sweater. We tipped 20 year old Canadian Kelsey Sirucek as the star, a girl from Calgary with the most seductive almond eyes I've ever seen; one look from her would reduce the hardiest man to a stuttering mess. A.P.C. provided the goods in the form of a French navy lambswool sweater and cotton chinos, which Kelsey rocked like a champ atop a viciously windy rooftop and a greased up tow-truck. Check out the rest of the photos, shot by Justin Chung, here.

I LIKE YOU!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

#2061 The facts of life

Photo: Haw-lin

1. When I lived in Toronto in 2006, I was always getting myself into trouble for my stereotypically Kiwi, sarcastic/mocking sense of humour. It happened again on Monday night. I was hanging out with a friend and this girl that he's been dating and we got onto the topic of tertiary education. My friend and I had both gone to traditional universities and she went to FIT. So I started making a couple of innocent jokes about how she'd gone to an institution of technology and how she must have learned some good trade skills and how if I ever needed a button to get sewn on a shirt she'd be the one I'd call. You know, just harmless, light-hearted teasing between two people who've never met each other before. After about a minute she looked me straight in the eye and said, "I can't be f***ed dealing with your sarcastic bullsh*t." I apologised profusely – which she refused to accept – then in a final attempt to appease her, I raised my glass and said, "To FIT." She got up and walked out. My friend chased after her and when they got outside she turned to him and said, "It's been fun hanging out with you but we're not going to see each other again." I can't help but feel somewhat responsible.

Friday, November 11, 2011

#2060 What's in store at Jack Spade – up now on The Moment

Photos: Noah Emrich of NOVH fame

Jack Spade is one of my favourite stores here in New York for obvious reasons – I'd wear 90% of what they stock. The label's Greene Street location recently expanded so Noah Emrich of NOVH fame and I went through last week to shoot it for the New York Times. The results were both aesthetically pleasing and humorous – Mr Emrich did a fine job on the photographs. Click here to check it out, and below to see a couple of outtakes. HOLLA!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

#2059 Country livin' aka exercising my right to bear arms


I left New York City for the first time in three months this weekend just past. It was time for fresh air and big skies and home cooked meals of meat and mashed potatoes and gravy. Armed with a camera, and accompanied by Tom Bull, my benevolent benefactor Erika and our friend Heidi Hartwig, we took to the road with Massachusetts in our sights. My old friend Patrick Riley (pictured above), a male model who lived with me for seven weeks in Auckland in 2006, left New York for Mass last year. He and his fiancee Edith own an insane three-storey farmhouse with a barn, an archery green, horses, a camel, a midget alpaca and lots of guns. On the second day we went target shooting – blowing up clay pigeons with shotguns and ill-fated pumpkins with a .357 Magnum Smith and Wesson. For a first time shooter I did pretty well – I managed to hit four of six clay pigeons and I destroyed that pumpkin (photo evidence below). What nobody warned me was how savage the kickback is on a shotgun. As a lasting memento I have a giant green bruise adorning my shoulder. You know it's hard out here for a thug.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

#2058 Hugo Boss with Tom Bull – the blooper reel



The Hugo Boss video I shot with Tom Bull last month launches this week. It's a short clip showcasing three menswear looks from the Boss Black Fall collection taking you from business to casual Friday to the weekend. But here's the thing: Do you know how difficult it is to say a sentence like, "Tom's wearing a three piece tone on tone Prince of Wales check suit in charcoal," when you've got three cameras in your face and 15 people staring at you? It's hard, man! So to promo the finished copy, I thought I'd share a short teaser clip featuring yours truly stumbling over a couple of sentences. Hope you like it. Watch out for the full length video coming out this week to a computer screen near you.

I LIKE YOU!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

#2057 What's in store at Carhartt – published in the New York Times!

Photo: Noah Emrich of NOVH fame (which is why it's so selectively cropped)

Ever since I started in this whole writing/blogging/menswear game, I've had one clear goal in sight: To one day be published in the New York Times. Obviously I imagined that the first piece would be an exposé on model exploitation or unnecessary nudity or suicides (all topics I've written about extensively in the past), or something equally serious, gritty and Nobel Prize worthy. But as it turns out, the thing that did it for me was my What's in store posts – a regular feature I've been doing on the blog since I first started out in 2008. What's in store was conceived for purely selfish reasons: I am terrified of going into boutiques and trying on clothes, and this gave me the perfect excuse to do it without feeling any pressure to buy. It's great fun and it helps me to build a relationship with my favourite designers and retailers. I guess the moral of the story is that when you do something you love, you do it well and it doesn't feel like work at all. Special thanks to Jane Herman and Bruce Pask at the New York Times for putting me in the paper – it came out Sunday. Oh happy day!

I LIKE YOU!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

#2056 Emma Ishta for GQ's Like the Boys

Photo: Justin Chung

We shot this week's edition of Like the Boys in Central Park, with the sole intention of showcasing the best of Fall on a pretty girl. Emma Ishta of Australia was perfect for the job – amazing in front of the camera and an Antipodean to boot. She was a good sport too; we trekked her all over the park, from the Swedish theatre to the baseball diamond, where she posed among gridiron gangs and flexing yoga moms. Emma is wearing a shirt, cardigan, trousers, and overcoat by GANT Rugger, hat by Paul Stuart, and shoes by Mark McNairy. Her jacket and tie are Phineas Cole by Paul Stuart. Check out all the other photos, here.

I LIKE YOU!

Friday, November 4, 2011

#2055 The facts of life

Arthur Kulkov – a well-dressed model. Photo: Backyard Bill

1. Nothing amazes me more than seeing models walking into castings dressed in terrible clothes. I'll tell you what separates a lot of successful models from the not-so successful ones: Great personal style. I've got a friend who has recently overhauled his look from plain tees, cheap jeans and sneakers to vintage army coats, rogue traveller hats, great jeans and boots, and he has literally been booking every single job since. Arthur Kulkov is a perfect example. Why does he get booked for every J Crew campaign, every GQ editorial plus Dolce and Gabbana, Gap, Banana Republic, Perry Ellis and the rest? Because he looks as good off the runway as he does on it. It's a simple formula – dress well, get jobs.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

#2054 Today in New York: I got a cut throat razor shave for Movember

Photo: Noah Emrich of NOVH fame

I'm a guy who likes to put his money where his mouth is, but I have been talking up going to an old school barber shop for a wet shave for years, and I've never actually had the gonads to go through with it. Today I grew a pair and got it done. I was inspired by the fine gentleman of Park & Bond – including perennial beard-wearers Peskowitz, Flint and Evans – who were shaved at Blind Barber last night in an effort to raise money for Movember. It's been a couple of years since I took part in Movember, but it's a cause that's particularly significant to me – my grandfather died from prostate cancer in 2007, and he was the greatest man I've ever known. So for the next four weeks, I'll be attempting to grow and cultivate the most luxurious moustache possible for chaaaaaaaaarity. If you'd like to donate, CLICK HERE. And for the record, the wet shave was quite an interesting experience, but I literally got cut 15 times. It's hard out there for a thug.

I LIKE YOU!

#2053 A sweater for every occasion


My obsessive love for sweaters has been well-documented over the years. Besides a well-fitting pair of pants, the knitted sweater is hands-down my favourite garment. I came to New York with just two – my well-worn maroon Comme Play v neck and a ripped to shreds grey cashmere v neck that I used to wear to bed until it was stolen – you know who you are. My first acquisition upon arriving in the city was an extraordinarily blue cotton pullover from Club Monaco. But then I got a taste for the purchase and my sweater count doubled in quick succession. Two weeks ago I bought a grey cashmere v neck from Uniqlo (it was on a 50% sale, how could I say no?), last week I bought two shetland crewnecks from Rugby in marled cornflower blue and pea green (also on sale at 50% off), then yesterday I hit Uniqlo one last time for a maroon melange lambswool v neck ($29.90). And now I think I'm just about covered. I'm still missing the navy schoolboy v neck that Mum knitted for me last year, but in lieu of that, I'm fairly sure that I own a sweater for every occasion. Time to get started on the pants.

I LIKE YOU!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

#2052 To be or not to be, that is the question

Carola Remer – a soon-to-be supermodel. Photo: tfs

Here's a philosophical question for those of us who aren't genetically qualified to be paid for how we look: Would you rather be a top model who books all the blue chip campaigns, runway shows and editorials – and who becomes fabulously wealthy and famous in the process – or, would you rather be one of those commercial models who works consistently with amazing clients – and who becomes fabulously wealthy but stays anonymous in the process?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#2051 This weekend in New York: I got amongst the Halloween festivities

Me and Jenny Albright, masquerading.

Up until this weekend just past, I'd been to one Halloween party in my entire life. It was in Auckland last year, thrown by NO Magazine and Lonely Hearts, and I got dressed up as Pee Wee Herman. This weekend, I went to two Halloween parties – the first, a masquerade ball (I was the Phantom of the Opera), the second, a costume party (I was Pee Wee Herman, again). It's like Christmas here. On Friday afternoon I made an ill-advised last minute stop to a giant block-spanning costume store on the Lower East Side, and waited 45 minutes to get to the checkout to buy a Phantom mask. When I walked out, there was a queue of 100 people just trying to get inside the shop. Madness. People go all out – I saw Black Swans with the full eye makeup and bloodied up fingernails, Where's Wallys (though he's called Waldo here), Marios and Luigis, and even a Nickelson Wooster lookalike. And tonight it's all happening again – Americans love an excuse to get dressed up and out of the house. But I've gotta say the highlight of my weekend was carving my first Jack-o-lantern. Never before have I felt such a sense of achievement from slicing up a vegetable. Who knows – maybe there's a chef in me yet. Happy Halloween, everybody!

I LIKE YOU!