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October 23, 2012

Two Kings (of Cool) and a Spade

3 stylish new projects from Pharrell Williams, GQ’s Glenn O’Brien & Andy Spade offer hip-hop cool, GQ polish, edgy prep

By Nancy Staab

Here’s one for the guys:  three new resources for dapper style, culture and manners from iconic tastemakers, who have spanned the worlds of music, art, design, fashion, business and media.

Clockwise: Pharrell Williams; iPhone case & belt from Jack Spade; Glenn O'Brien & his GQ guide. Clockwise: Pharrell Williams; iPhone case & belt from Jack Spade; Glenn O'Brien & his GQ guide.

Jack Spade Is Coming to Atlanta

Andy Spade is many things: a former advertising exec for firms like Coca-Cola and Lexus; one half of the adorable and quintessentially NYC couple Andy and Kate Spade ( the tastemaker couple has been chronicled by The Selby, Tina Barney, and New York magazine); co-founder of the Kate Spade brand; and the creative force and face behind his own men’s lifestyle brand Jack Spade. Andy’s venture is obviously a lot more masculine than his wife’s counterpart business, but they do share a similar DNA. Both offer American prep with a twist, both employ wit and a dash of whimsy, both summon throwback retro charm, and neither are averse to pops of color.

Herringbone briefcase from Jack Spade Herringbone briefcase from Jack Spade

Good news:  Andy is bringing his Jack Spade brand to Atlanta with a future boutique in Westside. It is slated to open in March, next door to Billy Reid, at the Whie Provisions complex. The hip neighborhood of Westside is quickly morphing into a bastion of men’s style with Sid Mashburn and Billy Reid already presiding over fashion fiefdoms there. No word on the exact location or opening date of the local Jack Spade boutiuqe but stay tuned.

The Jack Spade brand originated around simple man-bags, brief cases, messengers and laptop cases that “were neither overly precious nor boring basics” according to the company’s website. Travel bags, trench coats and other masculine staples were soon added to the Jack Spade universe, which now purveys accessories, clothing, sunglasses and even iPhone cases. You can spring for a herringbone or black boarskin briefcase;  a classic tie in the Xavier plaid or a more quirky blasting rockets print; a sturdy down vest jacket in navy blue, or moss green suede boat shoes. The playfulness of the brand comes through in products like a wood-grained iPhone case, cutesy wooden “ice breaker” wooden tokens that read things like “I Apologize”, “I Will Do It” and “My Treat” to dispense when you are in the doghouse with your missus; or ironic but oh-so-polite calling cards that read “Nice Parking” to leave on the windshield of the dude straddling two parking places. And what to expect of the boutique itself? According to Andy Spade: “A modern haberdashery mixing found furniture, model rockets, vintage Playboys and classic products: Levi’s 501 jeans, Timex military watches, Lacoste tennis shirts and Mackintosh raincoats.” That’s in addition to Jack Spade’s own line, which we like to call “prep-hip.”


Andy and Kate Spade photographed by Tina Barney Andy and Kate Spade photographed by Tina Barney






Pharrell Williams and his collaboration with artist KAWS Pharrell Williams and his collaboration with artist KAWS



















Pharrell Williams Produces a Book About his Cultural Influences

If Jack Spade embodies prep-hip, Pharrell Williams often falls in the category of hip-hop. However, that adjective seems too limiting for this singer/producer and music-mogul turned renaissance man. Williams is just shy of 40 years old, but he’s already dabbled in music (His own plus hits for Jay-Z, Britney Spears, Garbage, Ludacris, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce) , modern design, fashion, and art, with collaborators like Jay-Z, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin (furniture), Louis Vuitton (jewelry and accessories), Bathing Ape, Anna Wintour, KAWS and Takashi Murakami.

Pharrell's new book Pharrell's new book

Several of these co-conspirators have contributed to Pharrell’s brand new book, Pharrell’s Places and Spaces I’ve Been, out by Rizzoli this month. The book may be a little self-centered-- highlighting the universe of Pharrell and where he’s been and what he loves, but it’s a pretty dizzying trip that spans countries, style genres and various creative classes. This guy can even get arhitecture’s high priestess Zaha Hadid to sit down with him and chew the cultural cud.  Pharrell’s own words and essays of guest designers and artists are interspersed with photos of Pharrell’s  “skateboard-chic” fashions for Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream (the fashion collaboration with Japan’s Bathing Ape brand); advertising campaigns, magazine features and performance photos from his music tours.

According to : “This vibrant coffee table book…includes transcripts of Williams’ candid conversations with some of today’s biggest tastemakers and trailblazers; he talks Nirvana and grunge music with Jay-Z, Louis Vuitton and the laws of physics with astronaut Buzz Aldrin; glass skeletons and green architecture with Ambra Medda; and synesthesia and fame with Kanye West. “

To read this book is to tap into the Zelig-like capacities of one of our pop culture lightning-rods.

Pharrell: Places and Spaces I’ve Been (Rizzoli) is available at fine bookstores everywhere and at



GQ's style sage Glenn O'Brien (2nd from right) with Richard Prince, Andre Balazs & GQ's Jim Nelson. GQ's style sage Glenn O'Brien (2nd from right) with Richard Prince, Andre Balazs & GQ's Jim Nelson.












Glenn O’Brien Crafts a Style Guide for GQ

GQ magazine’s resident “Style Guy” and “dandy-about-town” Glenn O’Brien, now has his own special GQ issue entitled GQ: The Style Guy on the newsstands through January. The glossy compendium anthologizes the best of O’Brien’s many year’s of dispensing style and social advice for GQ’s befuddled but bespoke readers. Kate Moss has famously declared “If more men read Glenn O’Brien, women would have a lot less explaining to do.”

This is not new territory for O’Brien, who recently penned a spirited and modern style and etiquette book How to Be a Man. (See some of his famous quotes from the book below). And where does he get his style street cred? Well, aside from working at Playboy,  hosting a popular New Wave TV show in the 80’s, and acting as creative director of Island Records and Calvin Klein, O’Brien cites the sartorial splendor of old movie idols like Cary Grant and William Powell, Any Warhol’s Factory and his stint at Barney’s as major influences on his fashion sense. According to WWD, the GQ special issue will also provide insight into O’Brien’s own closet, including prize possessions such as a Schott motorcycle jacket customized with a Basquiat doodle and Nike Destroyer sneakers.  

Glenn O’Brien’s GQ: Style Guy is on newsstands now through January. Want to read more about O’Brien and his advice for 21st century masculine style, morals and manners, check out our LuxeCrush review of his book How to Be a Man (scroll down):


Glenn O’Brien on Dressing Well:

“…that’s exactly what I love about the tie: its sheer, almost transcendental uselessness. The tie’s only function is beauty, a quality of man that seems at low ebb in this benighted age.


"The tie is a prime location for deviant self-expression. A knot should almost always be asymmetrical. I like a tie that looks like it was tied without looking."

O'Brien's The Style Guy special issue for GQ O'Brien's The Style Guy special issue for GQ


"Matching the shirt was a favorite Fred Astaire tactic, but socks can also match your sweater or your eyes or your 1969 911 Targa."


"Once you get your look perfect, it’s time to f**k it up. Add some charming defects, mannerisms, and discrepancies. If you look at photos of the dashing majordomo of early twentieth-century bohemia, Ezra Pound, his dandy look often features one shirt collar up and one shirt collar down. This is one of my personal favorite affectations, Ezra-ing the chemise."


On Taste:

"Bad taste is often preferable to good taste because it may possess certain virtues, such as daring and exuberance. Good taste tends toward fascism and monotony..."


"Business cards don’t cost much and they indicate you’re a serious person. It’s very hip to have a Japanese translation or Braille on the flip side. When boring people give you business cards, save them in your wallet to use as aliases when you meet other boring people."


"If you have only one thing in the refrigerator, make it Champagne. You’ll be ready to celebrate or seduce at all times. And if you don’t drink anything else you probably won’t get a hangover."