“The world doesn’t need another clothing company. But it does need a certain funk.” —André Lauren Benjamin aka Possum Jenkins aka André 3000
Take it from icons like Andy Warhol: sometimes all it takes is the right pair of frames and a leather jacket to turn a soft-spoken kid from Pittsburg into art’s biggest start.
And with the recent news that a trove of Warhol’s digital artwork has just been discovered by the Warhol Institute on old floppy disks—thanks in part to an inquisitive Warhol fan and a group of “retrocomputing” enthusiasts at Carnegie Mellon—we were reminded of just how darn stylish the guy was. (Well, he is a Kempt 100 inductee.) There are striped tees, trenches, slim ties with chore jackets… he might as well have just stepped out of a F/W 2014 lookbook in a few of these shots. In other words: it’s the definition of timeless style.
The heart of ski season is finally here, and along with it, all the fresh powder, cozy chalets and ski bunnies that entails. So we’re declaring it Ski Week here on Kempt.
It’s a fair bet that you’ll be doing some traveling in the near future (’tis the season). And since time is precious, we’re here to help you navigate the perils of holiday travel—stylishly, of course—in this weeklong series we’re calling: Travel Week.
For his latest film, our favorite downtown rock-and-roll hepcat, Jim Jarmusch, is doing… a vampire movie.
Yes, it’s true: Jimbo has jumped on the Edward-and-Bella bandwagon. Except, of course, the bloodsuckers in Only Lovers Left Alive—played by Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston—are anything but teenage hornballs. Rather, they spend their days driving around aimlessly, languishing on settees, smoking cigarettes and otherwise marinating in their own hyper-cultured ennui.
In other words, it’s a Jim Jarmusch movie—with fangs.
Then again, every iconic character in Jarmusch’s 30-year oeuvre has been a study in laconic cool, including the director himself.
Plato once said, “He was a wise man who invented beer.” And we can’t help but agree.
So with Saturday marking the start of that German beer-for-all known as Oktoberfest—your guess is as good as ours why it’s not called Late-Septemberfest—we’re pouring you a hearty swig of visual encouragement from the ever-handsome pantheon of men who could somehow make lager look a bit more luxury.
Consider denim. It’s sturdy. Loyal. Cleans up nice. And this week, we’re declaring it Denim Week here on Kempt, giving denim the credit it deserves… starting with:
We don’t get the opportunity to write about women’s wear much at Kempt.
And today, that… stays exactly the same.
We will, however, discuss one of the most famous women’s wear designers: Roy Halston Frowick, otherwise known as Halston, otherwise known as one of the most iconic fashion designers—and iconic men, period—of the past 100 years.
Today we take on James Coburn, a pitch-perfect lesson in the power of walking around like you’ve got the secret.
Coburn was the guy who introduced McQueen to Ferraris. A guy who lampooned James Bond, intimidated the hell out of Bob Dylan and somehow ended up on the cover of Band on the Run over the course of a 70-film, Oscar-winning career.
He was a Hollywood tough guy in the golden era of the archetype. But he brought rakishness to the role that belied the menace, the cunning. At that point in the movie where a Bronson would simply scowl harder, where an Eastwood would chomp a little firmer on that toothpick, Coburn would turn a gloriously mustachioed glower into a Cheshire grin.»
Leather is an easy cop-out for wannabe bad boys of rock.
It’s far more difficult (and much more interesting) when menace is conjured with an impeccably tailored suit.
Case in point would be the singer, writer and all-around bad seed Nick Cave.
Regardless of who you believe won last night’s third and final presidential debate, there’s one talking point we can all get behind: Bill Clinton has never looked better.
If you had told us in the mid-’90s that we would one day be lauding Bubba as a style icon, we would likely have directed you to photos like this and asked you to note the lumpy dad jeans, the Casio stopwatch, the white-on-off-white New Balances, the peanut butter and banana sandwich, and so on.
Indeed, the 42nd President of the United States is one of the only men we know whose style has reached iconic status thanks in very little part to his clothing. When it comes to Clintonian style, it’s all about the swagger.
There’s nothing like a living legend. And with the Olympics ramping up, we thought we’d pay tribute to nine-time Olympic gold medalist and ’70s poster boy Mark Spitz.
In today’s era of swimming, it’s all about drag-reducing sleekness—rubber caps, shaving from head to toe, shark-skin-inspired swimsuits—so it’s surprising to look back at photos of Spitz’s record-shattering run at the 1972 Games in Munich and see him dominate the field with a mop-top of hair and mustache. There’s something mystical about his confidence and unwillingness to sacrifice his personal style in hopes of shaving off a few tenths of a second on his times. It’s a ’70s swagger that he carried throughout his youth (sadly, he recently ditched the ’stache) and we’d like to applaud it.
Andy Garcia has given us a lot over the years—he’s been the gold standard of slick bastards everywhere since his first big screen outing in The Untouchables. (It doesn’t hurt to never have a hair out of place and a hint of an accent—he was born in Havana.) And on occasion of his latest turn, as a mustachioed agnostic religious freedom fighter in 1920s Mexico, we thought we’d take a moment to applaud his contributions to the three-piece suit, ascot, Panama hat and round horn-rimmed glasses, to name a few.
Every time some new tennis hotshot goes on a major winning streak, Rod Laver’s name gets bandied about. It’s for good reason, of course. He is the only man still living to have completed the Grand Slam—winning all four major tennis tournaments in the same year. And he’s done it twice. It’s really an impressive stat, seeing as the recent technological advancements in sports have led to the shattering of just about every other record in the books—and the tennis world has had since 1969 to catch up.
The latest contender was Novak Djokovic. The kid was on a tear, but ultimately met his demise on Monday, one game short of the Grand Slam, on the clay courts of Roland Garros—reaffirming that Rod Laver is in a class of his own. In addition to his contributions to tennis, he also gave us one of the more timeless summer shoes in existence (his eponymous Adidas). They’re most commonly found in all-white with a grass-green sole—which is how Rod dressed almost exclusively. We’d like to take a moment to give the man his due with five iconic photos of Mr. Laver.
Twenty years ago this week, on May 22, 1992, Johnny Carson ended his 30-year reign as the host of The Tonight Show. In the newly released PBS documentary Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, we’re pleasantly reminded why, decades later, the prototype Carson set for late-night hosts—trustworthy, likable, neighborly, cool—remains the same. “Johnny was to comedy what Walter Cronkite was to news,” explains Paul Block, a longtime producer on Carson’s Tonight Show.
We trusted Johnny. We liked Johnny.
Pulp is having a moment. They played a packed house at Radio City last night and they’re headed to Coachella this weekend, with more than a few talk show gigs along the way. It’s a reminder of something many fans never forgot: Jarvis Cocker is a very well-dressed man.
In case you’re not convinced, we’ve got photographic evidence…
George was the quiet one—at least according to the fan magazines.
But while Lennon and McCartney still soak up most of the praise, we’d like to single out Mr. Harrison as the most stylish of the Beatles. We don’t mean the Hard Day’s Night-era Chesterfields, or the Tommy Nutter suits that came a few years later. Once he shook off the mantle of the Biggest Band Ever, George developed a low-key style that outlasted all of it, all without drawing attention to itself.
So on the heels of Martin Scorsese’s new documentary about the underdog Beatle, we’re taking a closer look at the man’s unique style. Especially the quiet parts.
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.
Soul is a funny thing. You can dress it up, press records of it, put it on film—but there’s always some surge of inspiration you can’t quite nail down.
And another thing about soul: it always looks good.
The movie business runs on swagger.
Directors are allowed to cultivate a certain artistic schlubbiness, anyone who’s required to make deals has to be the most brazen, self-confident person in any particular room, with the clothes to match. When it works, it’s a thing of beauty.
And if you’re curious what that looks like, we’d direct you to Mr. Robert Evans…
“Icon” is usually used to talk about 60s movie stars or dead painters, but this time around, we’re going with someone a little closer to home. Ladies and Gentlemen, Magnum P.I. himself: Mr. Tom Selleck.
Trends work in mysterious ways. Sometimes, for strange and obscure reasons, random things will surge back into style—like cargo shorts, or neckerchiefs…
Or a 30-year-old American soccer team.
Thanks to some occult rights issues, the 1977 New York Cosmos are having another moment in the spotlight, with Umbro partnerships, throwback t-shirts and genuinely cool parties. It’s a puzzling but welcome development; luckily, we’re here to explain what all the fuss is about.
With the Bulls’ Joakim Noah currently burning up the NBA playoffs, we thought we’d take a minute to recognize Noah the Elder—France’s finest tennis player, occasional pop star and longtime supporter of the dreadlock.
Now that old world style is surging up again—specifically the double-breasted variety—we’d like to salute one of the gents who pulled it off best: Mr. Aristotle Onassis. Consider this your master class in tycoon style.
Aging is hard. But like the tax code, it’s something all men eventually have to deal with—some more gracefully than others.
So we thought we’d bring your attention to one of the more graceful examples: Mr. Kris Kristofferson, who’s managed to grow steadily more grizzled over the past few decades without ever looking like anyone other than himself. As for how he pulled it off, we’ve got some ideas…
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