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The Rock Stars’ Guide to SXSW Style

  • Najib Benouar


You may have heard: a little music festival by the name of South by Southwest is happening in Austin, Texas, this week.

Over the past couple of decades, the annual gathering has brought together a motley crew of stylish musicians—spanning the eras of grunge to rap to whatever it is we’re calling that thing where a skinny guy playing a tambourine wears a trilby and suspenders with a white T-shirt—so we thought we’d take a look back at the festival’s illustrious history of onstage fashion.

Consider it the rock stars’ guide to SXSW style...»

Icon: Amarillo Slim

  • Najib Benouar

Before all the bright lights and legitimate businessmen showed up, the gambling scene was dominated by a handful of flamboyant and mostly unsavory characters. The face of that scene: a cantankerous Texan by the name of Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston, who lost his battle with cancer just last week. He was a pool shark, a rounder, a proposition bettor, a bookie and a four-time WSOP champ.

The man would wager on anything and stack the odds in his favor whenever possible—he once talked a Wimbledon champ into a one-on-one tennis match, then insisted they use skillets instead of racquets (and won). He played poker with the likes of LBJ, Nixon and Pablo Escobar. He wore a ten-gallon Stetson with everything. He was a recurring Johnny Carson guest. And along the way, he took gambling from its smoky backroom roots to the mainstream. (It’s no coincidence that the most televised and popular form of poker today is his beloved Texas Hold’em.)

Here’s a look back at some iconic photos of the gambler in the ten-gallon hat.»

Granddaddies of Grooming: ZZ Top

ZZ Top

It’s not easy to get a beard named after your blues rock band.

First of all, you’re going to need a beard so outlandish that no similarly bearded person has ever become famous—except for a few Talmudic scholars. Then you’re going to need a hit album, a memorable car and, if possible, some kind of distinctive hand gesture.

All of which is how Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill got the straight-cut, floor-sweeping chin curtain canonized forever as “The ZZ Top Beard,” to the point that it's now being used to identify bank robbers.

For grooming your own ZZ, Gibbons offers only this advice: “A good conditioner is advisable. Treat it with respect and it will do the same for you.”

Truer words were never spoken.

A closer look at the best beards in rock and roll»

At the Pump


Consider this your subculture of the day: Petroliana.

It’s the auctioneer’s term for vintage filling-station gear like this 40s Mobilgas pump—and a whole complement of it is going up for auction tomorrow. The haul includes a dozen vintage pumps, a handful of oil dispensers, a stuffed badger and a ’31 Ford Model A (more gushing here), collected by a Texas oil tycoon over the past few decades.

It’s not the most useful stuff (unless you’re putting a home garage together), but it calls up the era of boat-sized sedans and cheap gas better than just about anything. And if you really want to see it in action, you can always retrofit it to electric.

Carolyn Murphy is No Stranger to Pomade


An Un-Single Man: Tom Ford leaves melancholy gay cinema behind and gets back to his first love, titillating ads. We’ve missed you… [Fashion Copious]

Wim and Vigor: A tour through the denim of the rebel state, via Paris, Texas. [The Moment]

The 80s Were a Special Time: We’re pretty sure Kathryn Bigelow is the first Best Director nominee to be involved in a Bill Paxton video. Well, except for Mr. Cameron… [Vulture]

Men at Work: Junya Watanabe and Carhartt join forces for some pretty awesome jackets. [Hypebeast]



Angelic: Internet, meet Ana Beatriz Barros. [GQ UK]

Naval Gazing: We’ve always been of the opinion that modern art does best in massive staged naval battles. Apparently Duke Riley agrees. [Vulture]

This Might Get Loud: Ladies and Gentlemen, the most awe-inspiring speakers in the world. [Audiojunkies]

Texas Never Whispers: Marfa Texas gets into the sport supply business. [Cool Hunting]

Up Front


As style gambits go, the Texas-style belt buckle is a pretty risky one. But men’s accessories are pretty hard to come by, so it would be nice if some brave soul made it work…

The folks at Strapped Belts have an idea, although it involves finding a place for ceramics in your ensemble. But we’re always up for a challenge. If done right, it could give the usual suit a low-riding centerpiece—not unlike a good tie.

It’s a good idea, but it would be a lot better if they could stick to solid colors and less crafty designs. Is there still time to turn out a flat mimosa version?

See a few more Strapped belt buckles»