Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Long Shirt

There's tons of fun to be had in playing with proportion and deviating from the conventional silhouette of menswear from time to time---my personal favorite being long shirts under fitted suit jackets. This shirt from Mister Hoolywood by Daisuke Obana has a cutaway front, reminiscent of the tails on a morning coat. It is also made from an odd wool-polyester blend fabric, giving the shirt a bit of extra warmth in the cooler months, and an impeccable drape.

Number (N)ine sunglasses, Topman jacket, Mister Hoolywood shirt, Cheap Monday trousers

worn with vintage salamander ring

I picked the shirt up, the last one on the rack, at Opening Ceremony a couple of seasons ago. But if you wish to try out this "dress shirt" look, I'd suggest you check out your local East Asian shop for a traditional Indian kurta for a more readily available alternative. In crisp white, it is immaculately YSL-chic, Bollywood star-handsome, and extremely comfortable on warm days. Perhaps if you're a little bolder and feeling creative, a plaid nightshirt from JCPenney?

Photographs by Felix Swensson. Do check out his special projects (Everything Everywhere, Still Life, and Men), all of which I found quite haunting and immensely inspiring.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Giveaway: Hermés Fragrance

As a little thank-you for my blog's loyal following, I thought I'd share one of my favorite scents from one of my favorite brands with one lucky, spunky reader of The Dandy Project. The blog has been up for nearly three years now, and to one of my five-hundred-and-counting followers on both Blogger and Facebook, I will give away a bottle of Hermés Un Jardin après la Mousson eau de toilette.

Hermés Un Jardin après la Mousson is a unisex fragrance described by Hermés as "A serene expression of nature's rebirth after the rain, somewhere in India. A vegetal, floral, spicy eau de toilette." It is a refreshing, sensual scent that you, my dear readers, male and female, would feel fine and dandy in during these sizzling summer months.

Here's how to join:
1. Be a Blogger follower of The Dandy Project by clicking the "Follow (with Google Friend Connect)" button on the right sidebar and/or be a Facebook fan by visiting the Facebook page and clicking "like".
2. E-mail me your Blogger name and/or Facebook name, for verification, and then humor me with answers to these two questions:
"How did you find The Dandy Project?"
"If I gave you $5,000 (I won't.) to spend on things you can wear, what would you buy?"
Send your Blogger/Facebook name and answers to: thedandyproject(at)yahoo(dot)com
3. The winner will be contacted via e-mail. Contest is open to all readers worldwide.

"a garden after the monsoon"

*Disclaimer: This giveaway is not done in cooperation with the Hermés marketing team. Costs for the giveaway have been shouldered by the blogger.

EDIT: Congratulations Benjamin, you will receive your package shortly!

Nibbles: Risto Digital-print Silk Trench

Risto Bimbiloski is at the forefront of merging fashion and technology with his expertise in digital-age digital prints. (digital-print silk satin trench coat by Risto Bimbiloski)

The Dandy Project was featured in New York Magazine's the Cut twice this month. (See here and here.) It was also mentioned in an interview with new wave indie pop musician Twin Shadow on Dossier magazine. Thanks, New York Mag and Dossier, I am very grateful.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Weekend Prepster

Preppy is not a term I'd use to describe my personal aesthetic, but there is some fun to be had in taking the unexpected and making it your own. I was in Boston for a weekend, and thought it could be amusing to dress up as my own dark-dandy version of the sherbet-colored prepsters that roam the old city.

Illesteva sunglasses, slim-fit Lacoste L!VE polo shirt, J. Crew belt, H&M jeans, Tod's loafers

My arm ornaments for the weekend:

rose gold pavé ring by Lanero, bracelets from Hermés, Number (N)ine, Susan Rosen, and Philip Crangi, Rolex watch

burnished periwinkle-blue Tod's penny driving loafers

buffoons in the background mocking the blogger

If you want to make like me and take a crack at being a weekend WASP, have a look at Lacoste clothing sold online at JD Sports.

photographs by Mikee Tuason

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blue Babies

Photos taken at the recent men's fashion gatherings in Italy, namely, Pitti Uomo in Florence and fashion week in Milan---particularly those shot by Tommy Ton---have shown a strong resurgence of everybody's favorite boy-color: blue. It wouldn't take a professional trendspotter to simply notice the general preference for blue, in all its most handsomely royal and vibrant iterations. Here are a few of my picks from the recently-surfaced street style snaps:

the Pitti Uomo menswear trade show, by Jak and Jil's Tommy Ton (via GQ.com)

Tommy's shots of the Milan Fashion Week scene (via GQ.com)

In response to the apparent wave of blue on the streets of Italy, allow me to share with you my very recent purchase, which I am about to mar on the scorching, occasionally-pungent, mean streets of New York. I thought to breathe a whiff of prep into my summer with a pair of Tod's driving shoes in a slightly burnished periwinkle-blue:

blue penny driving loafers by Tod's

the signature Tod's gommini pebbles that extend all the way to the back of the heel

I stubbornly cling to non-color for my clothing, and may not yet be ready to have all that blue next to my face. But as a gentle way of livening up a dark wardrobe for the warmer months, I think these blue shoes would be just right.
the Tod's threesome: my blue babies with my brother's in brown leather and my uncle's in brown suede

last three photographs by Mikee Tuason

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Polo Barong

In honor of Philippine Independence Day yesterday, June 12th, I'm wearing this polo barong I had tailored for me in Manila. What, you might ask, is a polo barong? It is a riff on the traditional Filipino formal tunic-shirt called the barong tagalog, long-sleeved and made of ivory-colored semi-stiff sheer pineapple fiber. The polo barong is more suited for everyday, typically short-sleeved and breezier, and is the shirt of choice for Filipino men in a stunning variety of occupations: chauffeurs, court justices, janitors, salesmen, students, security guards.

embroidered white linen polo barong by Bergamo

The polo barong, stiff and wrinkly, is usually worn a size or three unflatteringly too big, untucked over a white undershirt and with dress pants and shoes. I recall many a high school day spent in my near-flammable 100% polyester school-issue polo barong, worn with sateen-shiny black trousers and chunky, angular, multi-strap raver shoes---my then-dandyisms---not the most graceful of days!

Illesteva sunglasses, Bergamo polo barong, J.Crew belt, H&M jeans, Number (N)ine flat creepers

worn with Comme des Garcons jacket, somewhat inspired by this photograph on The Sartorialist

details: watch-skeleton ring by Once Lost

Wearing the polo barong with sleeves rolled, tucked into white denim, and under a blazer, I may have well committed a travesty in the eyes of some. But my dear countrymen, amnesty for keeping my hair properly pomaded a la Philippine national hero Jose Rizal?

special thanks to George for sparking the idea of wearing a polo barong in New York

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nibbles: Cold Picnic Necklace

Neckwear need not always be of the -tie persuasion. (necklace made out of recycled bird toy leather and vintage chains by Cold Picnic)

In a similar vein to Style Salvage's Details posts, I'd like to introduce a new series on The Dandy Project simply called "Nibbles". In this age of fleeting attention spans and Tumblr-blogging, I know that you would sometimes prefer little nibbles of style over a four-course meal of my farfetched musings on fashion. Here's one for the last remaining hour of the weekend.

Cold Picnic's online store

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Marmor Eye Armor

In the search for summer's new sunglasses, the finalists were these two: the Illesteva Leonard sunglasses in olive, and the Leonards in marmor---a black, gray, and clear mottled marble. The lovely sales associate at Assembly said the olive ones looked really good, and the ones in marmor might be a little too "art dealer". Guess which pair I went for.

Illesteva Leonard sunglasses in Marmor

Central Park, 5/16/11

photographs by Mikee Tuason

Monday, June 6, 2011

Le Labo: The Making of, and the Man Behind the Line

I'm currently harboring a liking for this line of freshly hand-manufactured scents called Le Labo. Their scents, each named after a primary ingredient (e.g. sandalwood, iris, vetiver), are deceptively complex, with the primary scent giving way to deeper and sometimes unexpected notes singing in harmony with the first whiff. For instance, one of their men's fragrances, Rose 31, starts off with a very planty smell of rose, and then develops into the alluring, savory scent of cumin!

Last week, I had a candid conversation with Le Labo's founder Fabrice Penot, who I found both impressively passionate and hysterically funny. I also had the privilege of observing Isaac, a specialist at the Elizabeth Street flagship store, in the process of preparing a fragrance from start to finish, the photographs of which I am delighted to share with you today.

Le Labo's Fabrice Penot (via The Discerning Brute)

Can you tell us about your perfume line Le Labo and why are they formulated-to-order?

Well, we have a collection of 13 perfumes, created in collaboration with the world's best perfumers. We freshly hand-make them to order in front of you because a perfume is fragile: we keep the essential oils away from the light and the heat until the last moment. But most importantly, what makes our perfume special is their soul... and to get it, you need to spray on your skin and enjoy the journey.

Fragrance specialist Isaac Wolf-Tanner selects from a library of essential oils and mixes them according to the recipe.

Why did you decide to make perfumes?

Because I can't sing.

He makes sure everything is combined in the right proportions

and then adds the alcohol at the very last minute.

I was trying on a few of your fragrances at the Barney's boutique, and found that people’s perception of the gender of certain scents could differ greatly. I sprayed on the Neroli, and thought it was fresh and masculine, but my father thought it was way too feminine! (Perhaps I have a high olfactory tolerance for femininity.) What are your thoughts about gender and perfume?

My point on that is that great perfumery is genderless. A great perfume can be wore [sic] by anyone. The person who wears it will bring the edge of femininity or virility. A perfume should be genderless, and sexful.

Vetiver 46, Rose 31, Santal 33, Bergamote 22: Le Labo suggests that these scents are more on the masculine side, but encourages customers to try out everything to feel what is right for them.

How do you think a man should smell?

Show me the man you are talking about...

The fragrance is given a final shaking to ensure all the essential oils are blended thoroughly.

And an atomizer is affixed.

What about fashion and perfume? As you create new scents, do you consciously respond to movements in fashion? Androgyny? Minimalism? Color?

We don't follow any trends. Trends in perfumery are for perfumes that are here to last just a season. This is not our view of perfumery. Fashion last [sic] 6 months. What we create is here to last decades so we deny trends and we just follow our intuition.

a spice bureau with ingredients found in the fragrances, Le Labo's line of candles on top

Do you find yourself coordinating your scents with what you wear?

Nope... until I find a way to create a scent with holes everywhere.

a bottle of Tubereuse 40 Eau de Parfum, boxed and ready for delivery

What is your everyday scent?

For the last year it has been Santal 33; as we were finalizing the formula, I had to wear it everyday to understand its full personality. Now that it is just launched, I could switch over to another but there is something about it that grows on me, over and over. I think this is going to be me for a while.

Fabrice's everyday scent, Le Labo's Santal 33

In your stores, do you encourage your fragrance specialists to talk about feelings and imagery that came with the conceptualization of the scents, or do you have them keep things technical and let the customers feel things on their own?

Well, our specialists are trained to know about perfumery, but also to forget about the known... There is a risk to choose a perfume with your brain and not with your nose, your intuition. I see too many people saying "Oh I don't want to try the Iris 39 or the Rose 31 because I don't wear florals." We really encourage our clients to trust their guts on what perfume they want to wear. [We ask them,] "What do you want to say to the world about you with your perfume?" I think spraying on your skin, closing your eyes and "feeling" what is happening is the only way.

Le Labo massage and bath oils

and interior perfumes

Anything exciting coming up in the future?

A lot... We are just launching a new sampling program on the web, releasing our last scent Santal 33, opening a new shop in San Francisco, creating a line of amenities for hotel rooms, and trying to keep making our clients happy!

Le Labo vintage candles

and laundry detergents created in collaboration with The Laundress

Special thanks to Gaelle, Fabrice, and Isaac of Le Labo; and to Austin for encouraging me to check out the line.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Ill-fitting Mao Jacket

I purchased this Mao jacket last winter, vintage from Japan, despite it being rather ill-fitting: about an inch and a fourth too big on each shoulder, and the sleeves too short for my long, yoga-binding arms. I never had the chance to have it altered to fit properly, so it sat in my wardrobe for a long while. A few days ago, I decided to give it a second chance; and I was pleased at how such an ill-fitting jacket could fit so well.

vintage Mao jacket from Japan, vintage astronaut pin on right sleeve, H&M jeans, Dr. Martens oxfords

The fabric drapes excellently; and though I know a little nip and tuck on the shoulders and sleeves would help make the jacket even more impeccable, quality fabric molds to the body and hides a multitude of fit errors.

Pins weren't made for lapels and left breasts only. (vintage silver astronaut pin with moonstone head)

my white-soled Dr. Martens 1461 oxfords, getting creasy and greasy with wear

a permanent fixture on my left pinky as of late: the rose gold and brown diamond signet ring I co-designed

an undersized umbrella helping keep an oversized jacket dry

Hello from the Financial District.

photographs by Mikee Tuason

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I know a special piece is meant to be mine when circumstances conspire to have such an item in my possession. I blogged about this apparently elusive Yves Saint Laurent tote that I had seen on Jak and Jil months ago as a shoot-for-the-moon option in my search for the perfect summer tote. I’ve since scoured boutiques and outlets in the Northeast USA and beyond, and all my resources online, and it was nowhere to be bought. Fast forward to a few weeks later, sitting pretty at the window of the YSL boutique in Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong, the bag I wanted was available---a special personal order not picked up by a terribly misguided customer.

Yves Saint Laurent Sac Vavin tote in black leather

I’d typically be apprehensive of toting a bag with a logo larger than my head stuck on it, but I thought the idea of the handles and buckles morphing into a network of leather-roads winding and going up and over each other---much like the twisting flying roads leading to an airport terminal---forming the iconic YSL emblem was clever and subtly done.

close-up of the thick textured leather emblem detail

The large open-tote style is infinitely functional. I’ve used it as a weekender on a trip to Boston, as a blanket bag for an afternoon of laying around in Central park, and as a picnic basket to a little dinner party last night.

In a city where the young, beautiful creatures all wear things so homogenously obscure and nondescript, where laurels are won when people ask and then find themselves unfamiliar with who makes another’s clothes, I think it would be, for once, refreshing for people to know exactly who makes my bag, even from across the block.

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