Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On the List - DelToro Velvet Slippers



I want to like velvet slippers.  It seems that most people I respect around the workplace have them in their closet.  They make for great formal shoes but most of the versions I've seen have crazy embroideries or monograms that are not my own.  I've always wondered why someone would want to promote somebody other than themselves by wearing a logo or another person's initials.  

Today I discovered DelToro Shoes which produces a clean, plain black velvet slipper for $120.  For a small additional fee they also do custom monograms and embroideries so that you can advertise yourself, not Ralph. 

Monday, December 29, 2008

13th & Wolf - looking back to move forward


June 1980

My Father's thoughts about my weblog as shared in its very first comment back on June 10th, 2008:

"The best part of the 1960s in the Ivy league was the melding of the children and grandchildren of the the late 19th-early 20th century immigrants into "Americans". Our cultural differences were hammered onto an anglo-saxon preppy anvil and thus were forged the new Americans-the leaders of the 20th Century, the leaders of "one America". The clothing style of British public (private in the american sense) schools was the unifying symbol of our emerging generation. This was an enormously successful enterprise, perhaps, the most successful in recorded history in terms of upward migration of social classes. There is much to be learned from that American era. The rules of meritocracy, social asencion without regard to ethnicity, symbols designating heirarchy i.e., freshmen dinks, pipes, Sophomore cars and elbow patches, Letter sweaters worn backward or inside out dependent on status were our guiding semiotics. The western civilization ship of excellence and shabby elegance has been rudderless for more than a quarter century. It is time to look back; it is actually overdue, and to regain the best of America. Aldo Penn '64"

I could not have said it better Pop. Looking back to move forward.


Time for Inspiration



My BB custom dual grosgrain strap timepiece.  Everyday this watch helps to remind me that I grew up listening to The Clash and Minor Threat.  The wine label next to it on my inspiration board and below is a reminder as well.  When Dad decided to do something, he committed himself to excel at it.  My father used to make his own wine with his grandfather's wine press.  He had stopped by the time I was old enough to drink it but he said that it has gotten pretty good by his last vintage.  I often wonder if it was as good as the label he created for it bearing our name and our house.




Gianni's taste is Lapo's luck


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Influential Imagery - Domenico Vacca

If you can afford it, get yourself down to West Broadway and go get fitted. You won't be dissapointed. Great fabrics, great cut, great details.




all photos taken from domenicovacca.com

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Swordplay - How to Saber a Champagne Bottle

Taken in full from today's urban daddy email blast. This actually went down at my high school graduation party...


December 17, 2008

Swordplay - How to Saber a Champagne Bottle

Around these times, our minds tend to drift to a non-stop longing for the cool caress of champagne. So as we build toward the New Year, it's time to revisit the subject of disrobing your bubbly. Considering the year that was 2008, we're recommending putting any latent aggression toward the sabering of your champagne bottle. Here to help you again is our step-by-step instruction guide...

1. DISROBE YOUR BUBBLY: Take your well-chilled bottle of champagne and remove the foil and the wire cage covering the cork. (As you probably know, it's essential the bottle be well-chilled to avoid leakage, foaming and premature cork-popping.)

2. LOCATE YOUR TARGET: Locate one of the two vertical seams running up the side of the bottle. Where the seam meets the lower lip of the bottleneck is the point at which you'll aim.

3. CONTROL YOUR SABER: Grip the bottle firmly around the base. Point the bottle at a 30-45 degree angle away from all people, windows and, obviously, Faberge eggs. Now take your saber (or the back edge of a chef's knife) and lay the blade flat, just below the lip at the weak spot.

4. MOMENT OF TRUTH: Draw the sword back along the seam and then swing with full force away from your body, upward and into the bottom of the lip. Don't forget to follow through (as with any sport, see the cork popping, be the saber). To minimize spillage, turn the bottle upright immediately afterward.

5. VICTORY: If done right, the cork and bottle top will thrust several feet into the air, and you will lose no more than an ounce of your champagne. And you will be a hero. A champagne-pouring, knife-wielding hero...

vintage vespas - continuing the obsession





All photos from the LIFE photo Archive.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Influential Imagery - Alexander Olch


Alexander Olch and I have a few things common, mainly a penchant for wool and cashmere ties, film and sculpture. His ties are (a couple shown below) are just about the best I've seen this winter. He's also a filmmaker and, according to the video above, was a sculptor in college. Its funny, I went to college with a similar passion for film annd art. I showed up fifteen minutes early on the day of my first sculpture class to introduce myself to the teacher and let him know just how excited I was to dive into the classical techniques. After I had done so he handed me what he called "a brief history of scuplture." The first date was marked at 1935. I took one look and the piece of paper, grabbed my bag and never came back. It appears Olch had a bigger tolerance than I and it yielded great results.

Herringbone in Superfine English Wool

Houndstooth in Superfine English Wool

You can pick these ties up here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli - a brief retrospective

On Oct. 28th 2008 I lost my father, my hero, my best friend.

As any consistent reader of this weblog could tell, he has had a tremendous impact on me. My father excelled in all aspects of his well-lived life. He was first and foremost a dedicated and fiercely loyal family man as well as a brilliant doctor, a thoughtful intellectual, a lucid writer, a loquacious orator....the list could go on and on.
Dad has inspired me in every part of my life and looking at some of these old photos will hopefully do the same for anyone who sees them.

We will always love you Pop.


mom & dad - september 1978

february 1981

may 1981

dad & me circa 1985

australia 2007

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I liked music better in middle school

I've recently come to the realization that my most of musical preferences in middle school were much better than they currently are (although the clash was still my favorite band then).  Here are a few videos for some of my favs in 7th/8th grade.  The videos are pretty outrageous but the music is refreshing, so close your eyes if you need to and enjoy.

superdrag - "sucked out"

fountains of wayne (awesome before stacy's mom) - radiation vibe

the refreshments - banditos

On the List - "Alfie" and the Vespa


Jude Law is the one of the most stylish actors in Hollywood. Plain and simple. His role in "Alfie" has added two things to my ever-growing list of meaningless possessions. I purchased the first yesterday, a cable knit hooded sweater. Alfie's was cashmere, mine is a handknit Irish fisherman's. The second image that this film has set in motion perpetually in my head is me riding the 1966 Piaggio Vespa 150 Sprint (With my lovely wife in the place of Sienna Miller obviously). Via ebay, I have found a guy in Florida that painstakingly restores them and ships them anywhere in the country for free if you pay his asking price, although he will entertain best offers as well.  The silver one is up for auction as we speak.  Go get it guys.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Billy Reid - My kind of southern gentleman



Thanks to Hollister Hovey for her post about Alabama's own Billy Reid.   Its like looking at Rugby's fall delivery without the all the logos (or my own closet). 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Father, My Hero

Cicero once said that ability without honor is useless. This is dedicated to a man who has never been lacking in either.

Rolled sleeves - Style from day one

From South Philly sharkskin to ivy league tweed - UPENN 1964

Mom and Pop in the late 60s

Just a couple of trads

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thom Browne is out of his f***ing mind...

You can check out the rest of the man-dress saturated collection here if you want. I am literally floored at how this guy keeps getting good reviews. Thanks for making the suit relevant again, now go away.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No News is Good News


I've been busy -- Moving into my new apartment in soho, finishing up planning for my wedding (T minus three weeks)--It hardly leaves time to reflect. I promise that these posts will grow far more frequent when my life stabilizes around mid-October. In the meantime, here's a top five list of things that have held my attention this week:

1. My fiancee's quirky sense of humor.

2. The anticipation of Michael Bastian's Spring 09 Collection (the show was tonight, photos should be up here tomorrow).

3. Barney's current windows featuring the most transparent Rugby plagiarism yet AKA Andre 3000's "Benjamin Bixby" line.

4. "What's the difference between a PTA member and a Pitbull?  Lipstick" - Our future VP Sarah Palin.

5.  The Allen Edmonds Mora (pictured) double monk in brown suede, one strap (or two) in the right direction.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Daily Dino - Mr. Martin & Mr. Harris

Style Icon - JFK jr.

Courtesy of mens.style.com

GQ.com currently has a great piece up about JFK jr.'s impact on men's style. While his father is usually noted as the trendsetter of the late mid century, this article shows that Jr. was no slouch either.

Stars, Stripes and Peaks - American Colors, Italian Style


An iconicly Italian take on the American flag courtesy of Luciano Barbera

Friday, August 15, 2008

Influential Imagery - Band of Outsiders Fall 08

Courtesy of GQ Magazine

My director and I just popped over to Barney's to take a look at Band of Outsiders' Fall collection. If you're like me and you've been looking for a well-fitting, Duke of Windsor-inspired midnight blue evening suit, look no further because Scott Sternberg has you covered. His suiting, like the amazing windowpane three-piece above and the leather button-clad brown corduroy is what sets him apart from the rest of the droves of recent preppywithatwist start ups.

Fall 08 Trends - Blackwatch Outerwear

"The Style Guy" himself

I've been seeing a lot of blackwatch outerwear for this fall (J. Crew, Gant, A.P.C.)and I think it has a lot to do with this photo of Glenn O'Brien courtesy of the sartorialist. While the overcoat in question is amazing, I'm far more drawn to Glenn's bespoke pinstripe denim double-breasted suit...what a surprise.

Monday, August 4, 2008

On the List - The Vaughn Penny Loafer from To Boot New York



These are a heavyweight contender for the wedding shoes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

il bagatto - "the best trattoria in manhattan"


Last Thursday, my fiancee and I found ourselves downtown without concrete dinner plans.  Our discussion took but a moment before we agreed to head over to 192 east 2nd St. and Ave. B.  This is the address of il bagatto, our favorite Italian spot in the city.  The menu is Romana tipica, which is simplicity at its best.  I always get a big kick out of the menu listing for the tagliata seafood special: "No cheese allowed for this dish so please don't ask!"  This brings me back to my days in Rome.  Waiters would look a you as if you had three heads if you asked for cheese with seafood.

Ethan Desu


Ethan Desu is, from what I gather, a tailor and designer for the Sydney, AU-based Herringbone.  He is also the author of ethandesu.  I stumbled upon his blog one day while looking for photos of Al Bazar's Lino and was pleasantly surprised to find someone on the other side of the world that shared similar sartorial taste and zeal for the craft.  It is his blog that lead me to the slew of online traditionalists that I check in with every morning (Admiral Cod and Tucker, you can thank Ethan for my pesky comments).  He posts sparingly but, as the saying goes, its all about quality, not quantity.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Completing a Look - Embroidered Silk Knit



This is it. After months of trying to find the perfect wedding tie for my groomsmen and myself, I've landed on a version of the above. The silk knit tie is great because it adds subtle texture to what can be a day in, day out mundane look. While planning my wedding wardrobe I've been thinking slightly informal but classic and this line of thinking can easily yield a final product that is both unrefined and boring. The embroidered silk knit (custom of course with embroidered dots to match the bridesmaid's dresses) is the last piece of the puzzle.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Influential Imagery: Gino Iannucci

Patrick O'Dell is finally putting the "epic" in Epicly Later'd, his web TV show on VBS.tv. The first episode of season duece will be focused on none other than my all time favorite, Gino Iannucci. I can draw inspiration from anything or anyone that has there own individual style and Gino's got more of it in his fakie 360 kickturn than I will in my entire life, no matter how many Michael Bastian jackets I own.

Here's a teaser for the episode....

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Daily Dino - Bye, Bye Booze? Hardly....

Influential Imagery - The Best of Michael Bastian

This is where I've been looking now that I'm starting to think about the fall. Here are some of my favorite looks from his various fall collections. The one directly below inspired me to take a chambray shirt of mine to Raymond, my custom shirtmaker outside Philadelphia, and have him replace its collar with a fresh white cutaway.







All photos borrowed from mens.style.com