Styling The Man

Month: April, 2013

Black, blue on blue on high octane

A well thought through combination of solid colors like Black & Blue can turn out like the finish of a marathon Kenyan runner, smooth and effortless, with a lot of staying power.

Black & Blue make a striking but harmonious combo. Here, Ryan carries it off urbanely. If this combination is any inspiration for your next entrance, make sure that one of these two bold colors takes the floor. Ryan declares blue below the belt; Indigo sporty dress pants, deep cerulean socks, and a loafer, nubuck in texture, inky blue, on a subtle natural wood pseudo platform.

We lift our eyes to Ryan’s choice of a crisp white perfect cotton shirt, no collar buttons; A blank canvas enlivened by a deep cerulean challis floral burst patterned tie. And for the topper, a BRANDO-ESQUE vintage schoot real biker jacket encases him in urban armour, mirrored ray bans reflecting.
M Ryan villarina

Ryan Villarina

Ryan Villarina

Mr. Renaissance

Gordon ParksGordon Parks was one of the most influential and prolific photographers of the twentieth century, whose artistic vision was boundless.

During a multi-faceted career that spanned over six decades in America and across the world, master photographer Gordon Parks was the embodiment of the Renaissance man. He was cool, confident and a man of great. Born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the youngest of 15, Parks successfully wore several creative hats throughout his artistically diverse career. He was an accomplished essayist, novelist, poet, screenwriter, composer and was the first African American to write, produce, direct and score a film. He was also the first African American to work at The Office of War Information and The Farm Security Administration (FSA), experiences he credits largely with influencing and informing his photojournalism approach and integrity in his work.

One morning in 1948, after a brief stint at vogue, Parks took his portfolio to Wilson Hicks, then picture editor of Life Magazine and asked for a job. To Parks’ surprise, he was offered a job-making him not only the magazine’s first African American staff photographer and writer, but also its youngest staff member to be assigned to its Paris bureau. In fact, even before he was officially on the magazine’s staff, Parks was sent to Europe to do assignments, a move the magazine wouldn’t normally do for a young photographer just starting out. His first assignment for life was a photographic essay on 16 year old Harlem gang leader Red Jackson, during a time when gang wars were on the rise in Harlem. The essay was published, winning Parks much widespread recognition and praises. Parks also had an incredible ear for music and with the encouragement of a friend, while on assignment in Paris for Life Magazine from 1949 to 1951, he wrote and composed concerto for piano and orchestras.

In 1969, Parks’ became the first black artist to direct a major film in Hollywood and it was The Learning Tree-an autobiographical novel he wrote, about a coming of age adolescent black boy in rural America. In the 70s, he served as editorial director for Essence Magazine from its debut in 1970 for the next three years. Many credit him as being one of the magazine’s founders. Around the same time of his gig with Essence, Parks subsequently made the cult-classic action flicks Shaft and Shaft’s Big Score. The first movie I saw that Parks directed, starred Roger E Mosely who brilliantly portrays talented, but troubled blues and folk singer Leadbetter, nicked name Leadbelly. (Notice a young Ernie Hudson in his movie debut.) Every time I watch this movie, I discover something new and exciting. Only a photographer with a master talent like his, could have directed Leadbelly the way he did, especially with the way he used that Southern lighting he knew so well. Leadbelly has all the elements of a Gordon Parks project, a great storyline, vibrant colors, wonderful lighting, all set against the rural countryside.

Gordon Parks had a special feeling for humanity and was always involved in things that were happening to people. No matter what color they were, whether they were Indians, or blacks, the poor white person or anyone who he though got a bad shake. His phenomenal body of work represents Americans of all levels of society-from the rural and laboring of the South to the wealthy and leisured of Park Ave. His powerful images of the civil rights movement, racial segregation and poverty throughout the South, remain some of the most vivid and important images in telling America’s social legacy. From a very young age Parks was very strong-willed and independent minded.  He refused to be defeated by racism, poverty and especially gang violence, which he saw as the enemy. In 1997 in his book Half Past Autumn, he wrote, “in my youth, violence became my enemy …Photography, writing, music and film are the weapons I use against it…”

Whether it was through his photographs, the movies he wrote and directed, his beautiful books, concertos he wrote applying his style of reading music or his brilliant poetry, Gordon Roger Parks was a man of indomitable courage, who was always searching for a deeper meaning of life.

Half Past AutumnGordon ParksMuhammad AliBy Gordon ParksGordon Parks for VogueBy Gordon ParksBy Gordon ParksBy Gordon ParksBy Gordon ParksBy Gordon ParksElla Watson, 1942

The Gordon Parks Foundation

Jungle Fever

I’ve always been attracted to the bold, paradigm-shattering work of Jean Paul Goude.

Through his visually stimulating, socially conscious, sometimes provocative photographs and advertising films he directed, Jean Paul Goude speaks a powerful language of acceptance and toleration. In constant dialog with the French avant-garde, Goude’s work is visibly influenced by girls of color and French colonialism-a result of having grown up in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Between 1968-69, Goude was offered a position as Art Director of Esquire, which he accepted-prompting an immediate relocation to New York City. It was at the tail end of the disco era when the young graphic designer met Grace Jones, a then fresh faced model with big aspirations, who became his muse and mother of his son. For the next three decades, Goude worked on Jones’ commercials, her album covers, music videos, and countless photo-shoots, producing some memorable and thought-provoking works. In 1983, Goude published Jungle Fever, a beautifully illustrated book in full color with Goude’s sometimes outlandish and sexually explicit photos, artwork, drawings and collages. He highlights Latino and African-American models along with everyday people in the most colorful concepts, that are uniquely Goude.

When it was first published over thirty years ago, Jungle Fever broke new ground by exploring traditional concepts and pushing them beyond the bounds of appropriateness and cultural norms. Chances of finding a copy today in perfect condition are slim to none. Depending on what state of affairs it’s in, a copy can fetch anywhere from $200 up to $700 dollars. But, it’s a collector’s item which only appreciates in value with time and is worth every bit of your hard earned cents. On a side note-does anyone remember the super model Toukie Smith who was a long time partner of Robert De Niro, with whom she has two sons? Well, there are some fascinating scribbles by her in this book you’ll find interesting.

Grace Jones ©Jean Paul Goude


Jungle Fever ©Jean Paul Goude & Grace Jones

Goude & Grace

The other prince of style

Dear Sexy Socks...Moray Kaba is one of the most superlatively dressed men in New York. He has an appreciation and understanding of menswear and, likes to talk about style, and where it came from. He hopes to inspire others when he dresses.  As those who know him will attest, he has impeccable taste.

I met Moray over a decade ago through the acquaintance of an old friend, and, can still remember that moment as if it were only yesterday. He was affable to the point of familiarity. Like a true swell, graceful in manner, and spoke seven languages. On the subject of dressing, Moray knows his stuff as well as anyone I know and is always willing to share some of that knowledge. Every suit Moray owns is constructed with working button-holes on each sleeve.  At home, the man’s wardrobe is a treasure trove of handsome, Italian worsted wool suits, colorful hand-stitched ties and, some of the most finely crafted shoes, of quality leather. In my many years of knowing Mory, I can’t remember once, ever seeing him not well turned out.

I met up recently with Moray, at Tincati, an Italian menswear store he manages, over on Madison Ave. There are four floors of terrific haberdashery and custom tailored top quality choices of apparel to offer today’s urbane urban male.

Mory Kaba


Custom made frabic woven, specially for Tincati

Italian shirt fabric - Phototography by Charles David for ©Styling The Man

Mory Kaba - Phototography by Charles David for ©Styling The Man

Chicken Feet stitch - Phototography by Charles David for ©Styling The Man

Mory Kaba

Mory Kaba - Phototography by Charles David for ©Styling The Man

Mory Kaba - Phototography by Charles David for ©Styling The Man

Mory Kaba

Mory Kaba

If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor – Albert Einstein