Last Friday marked the conclusion of the two day event Ivy Style Symposium at Fashion Institute of Technology. The day kicked off with a speech from Richard Press, who offered both serious anecdotes as well as some legitimate comedy. The pinnacle of which was his reference to his relationship with Frank Sinatra, which if I understood him correctly, he said the following: “The paparazzi never uncovered my bromance with Frank Sinatra.” From there he went on to detail some of the better nights out on the town he and Mr. Sinatra had together. It was quite entertaining. Regrettably, I did not think to start recording the talks until after Mr. Press spoke.
Next up was Patricia Mears interviewing Michael Bastian, who seems to be killing it lately. I have never bought any of Mr. Bastian’s pieces but have seen some that I do like. I also did not know much about him before this, so it was great to hear him speak. He does speak quite well, by the way. Mr. Bastian covers topics from what inspired him to start his own label, which was the inability to find a well styled navy blue sweater. To his thoughts on Thom Browne (12:10 in the recording), which were all positive and rather observant. If you are a Bastian fan or at all interested in learning more about him or his label I highly recommend listening to my recording of the interview. The morning session concluded with a talk from Jeffrey Banks and Doria De La Chapelle, who among other things have written Preppy: Cultivating Ivy Style. During their talk they ran through some of the photos in the book.
The afternoon lineup was rather strong. It kicked off with a discussion between Bruce Boyer and Paul Winston of Chipp/Chipp2, whom we have written about previously. Highlights of the discussion include Mr. Winston talking of some of his more famous clients over the years, differences between Chipp and its competitors and general lamenting on the good ‘ol days. And mind you, Mr. Winston has been in retail and clothing for nearly twice as long as I have been alive so it is always a pleasure to hear him talk on the subject. You can listen to the discussion here.
Next up was certainly the most colorful of the discussions. John Tinseth of The Trad, Dusty Grainger of Maxminimus and Clark Aldrich of The Daily Prep stormed the stage and talked about not only what Ivy Style is to them, but also their blogs and thoughts on blogging. Perhaps the most memorable and revisited statement of the day came from Dusty when he remarked he like to throw a brick at the archetypes of the Ivy/WASP institution (somewhere around the 22:15 mark). Mr. Tinseth, as per usual spoke his mind, which is a good thing. He discussed his epic Friday Belt series and the importance and finding and speaking your voice. And Mr. Aldrich also showcased some rather strong opinions. After the discussion I asked Mr. Aldrich, who with his wife writes The Daily Prep, about the first rule of Fight Club, “you do not talk about Fight Club.” He surmised that it is better to keep up the fight and spread the knowledge than to let it die slowly (if you get the metaphor good, and if you don’t then its probably best you don’t). You can find my recordings of each discussion here and here, I recommend a listen if you at all interested.
For me, the day concluded with a discussion between Claudio Del Vecchio, CEO/Owner of Brooks Brothers, and Patricia Mears. As I was unable to make the last presentation, which I was a bit disappointed about. Anyway, Mr. Del Vecchio discusses topics from the aquisition of Brooks Brothers and more recently Southwick to the history and current state of Brooks Brothers. The recording is exceptionally hard to hear so I recommend headphones, a quiet room and max volume.
For more coverage refer to Christian Chensvold over at Ivy Style (among far more interesting things there is a picture of my get up from the day) and Jake Colvin at Modern Fellows. Many thanks to all of the speakers, organizers, sponsors (Brooks Brothers, J McLaughlin and Couture Council) and FIT for sharing their hospitality and knowledge throughout the day.