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The Icon: Art Garfunkel

The ’70s get a bad rap.

We understand why. It was a time of excess and bad decisions, marked by nightclubs, drug use and immoderate lapel size—but it wasn’t all sleaze. In the background, almost unnoticed, there were a few wise souls playing out an honest, unpretentious style. They weren’t the front men, but the sidekicks: the Oateses, the Laceys, the Hutches...

And most of all, the Garfunkels.

Perfectly Embodied:This Avedon photo sums the man up perfectly—and it’s especially relevant amid the recent turtleneck trendlet. Mr. Garfunkel is the one to watch here, if only for the perfect male-pattern ’fro. While the other guy (his name escapes us) comes off like a Franciscan monk, Art just looks like a Greenwich Village scenester—which is roughly what he was. It’s not aggressive or trendy; just simple. He took the same approach to a surprising number of staples, including the toggle coat and the sweater vest. And naturally, he knew his way around a tux.

Words of Wisdom:”I did have a lucky thing going on there in my throat.”

The Backstory:The collegiate vibe isn’t an accident. Before he was a professional singer, he was a professional student, bumming through architecture school. Even once he hit the big time, he kept a meticulous reading list. It’s a strange thing for a would-be rock star to do, but if you’re genuinely more interested in books, it makes perfect sense.