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The Icon: Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau

With everyone we know heading to a beach or a boat this weekend, we thought we’d take a moment for one of the great sea-dwellers of our time. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Jacques Cousteau.

Perfectly Embodied: When he nailed it, he really nailed it. This one sees all of Jacques’ best trademarks deployed to devastating effect: particularly the trademark tocque and the intellectual-but-rugged square-frame shades.Add in a thick wool jacket to ward off sea breezes and spindliness, and you’ve got an icon on your hands. There are more elegant pics and more utilitarian ones, but this one’s as good as it gets.

Words of Wisdom: When one man, for whatever reason, has an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.

The Backstory: It’s all about passion. Cousteau’s passion was the underwater world, which led him into scuba gear but also tuxedos for fund-raising dinners and plain old work clothes. Celebrity was a necessity if he was going to keep his work going, and in many ways, he was selling a lifestyle as much as any Ralph Lauren ad—a lifestyle focused on conservation, open waters and man living in harmony with the natural world. And if he wanted to leave his button-down collar unbuttoned, nobody was going to stop him.