Men of Style Archives

Chicago's New Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Man of the Moment


Tonight Chicago elected its new mayor Rahm Emanuel. As much as I am excited to see what he does with his time in office, I want to commend soon-to-be Mayor Emanuel on his style. The man who often is pictured near President Obama does not come up short, no pun intended, on style points. Emanuel mixes both casual and professional in a way that makes him look approachable yet distinguished. It seems that this mayor has the looks and the mindset down. Who knows maybe he will inspire Chicagoans in fashion and politics? Congratulations Mayor Emanuel! 

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Roberto Cavalli: Spring 2011


This spring, the sexy, va-va-voom designs of Roberto Cavalli return with skin-bearing flowy dresses and lace-up pants. Crocodile and snakeskin, leather and suede, dense fringe and beads scattered throughout, the collection comes together to evoke a feeling of sun-drenched paradise - just the right amount of wild, untamed beauty that was actually carefully crafted by the Italian designer.

Cavalli also hit 40 years of being in fashion, which he celebrated (along with his 70th birthday) with a grande festa at Les Beaux-Arts de Paris. Because he knows glitz and glamour more than anyone, the night was a fabulous mix of champagne, cake, and of course celebrities! Check out the photos from the party below as well as some more looks from the runway.

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Seal & Heidi: Sexy, Successful & In Love


Seal, one half of one of the hottest star duos, released his sixth album today! If you haven't heard any of it yet - after all, it's brand new - the first single, "Secret," has been out for a bit and is probably exactly what fans have been waiting for: a song with Seal's strong, deep, yet tender voice singing about the intimacy of love. As we all know, his romantic ballads are composed with only one person in mind - the fabulous Heidi Klum! With the release of this album, I can't help but think about what a power-couple these two are and how they never cease to do big things and deliver. What's most striking about them is how apparent their connection is; although the fashion maven is clearly a natural beauty all alone, her partnership with Seal makes her glow like no one else on the runway, red carpet, or stage when she joins her husband!

And when it comes to family, they are both all about commitment, which is the title of Seal's CD. In talking about his long-standing devotion to the main pillars of his life, he said, "Everything about my life is fully committed. I've never felt more focused on the matter at hand: My wife, my children, the family in general, my own well-being, and of course music and my career. Each one of these songs has personal meaning for me. I dug very deep and all I can hope for is that the music strikes a chord with people."

Check out more pics below of the amazing Seal and Heidi and their little ones!

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Man Up Monday: Men's Fashion from "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps"

Gone are the suspenders and the contrasting collared shirts seen in the 1987 movie Wall Street. In the current version I love the spread collar white shirts, pocket squares and fitted vests that Gordon Gekko wears with great style. It takes a certain attitude to carry off this accessory, which not all men embrace. When I was Jerry Springer's Image Consultant he disliked wearing vests because it probably reminded him of some old guy. Of course we know many of the cool rappers love this trend along with Roger Sterling in "Mad Men." Watches are another accessory that signal power and are very elegant in the movie with the appearance of a Vacheron Constantin, Cartier and IWC watches. In the Wall Street Journal, Ellen Mirojnick, the costume designer says, " A guy's watch is equivalent of a Birkin bag." The character Jake Moore wears six custom suits which Mirojnick claims were $6,500 each. I loved all the clothes in the movie on the Wall Street guys but the one scene at the Metropolitan Museum, with a focus on all the women's jewelry, took my breath away. Of course the Oscar de la Rentas, Marchesas, Vera Wangs, Guccis, Puccis were beautiful also. Don't miss, "Wall Street: Money Never Sleep," another excellent Oliver Stone movie.

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Rag & Bone at Intermix: A Word from the Designers

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It's always such a treat to meet the designers behind the names. Marcus Wainwright and David Neville, the geniuses who create the edgy yet refined looks of Rag & Bone, are definitely two cool guys with great style sensibilities. I interviewed them last week at the party at the Gold Coast Intermix and learned a little about their ideas and inspiration. As is evident from their looks on the runway, they told me they like the idea of pairing mismatched pieces and putting together unlikely combinations to fashion a signature style. I couldn't agree more as I mentioned I have always believed "perfect is perfectly boring"!

I had a chance to speak with Marcus, who I stole away from the crowd and the champagne for a few minutes! Check out what he had to say about his designs.

Q: Rag & Bone is an interesting name for a clothing line, how did you choose it for your brand?
A: It really fits with the aesthetic of the brand. It reflects the feeling of dilapidated luxury, a tailored look that's also a little disheveled.

Q: I know that Rag & Bone came about from the desire to create the perfect pair of jeans. What do you think that is?
A: It's a lot about the denim, how the denim is made. They also need to show genuine care and craftsmanship while also using the highest quality fabric. This all leads to comfort, which is the most important thing.

Q: What would you say you notice about the celebrities who wear your clothing?
A: I think they choose Rag & Bone because the designs aren't ostentatious and they don't shout glamour or glitz, so the people who wear them are also somewhat subtle and understated in their style.

Q: Lastly, what could you tell me that is surprising?
A (from David): Marcus is a great photographer on the side of designing.
A (from Marcus): David eats the same thing every day for lunch!

It was great to learn these tidbits about the brand as well as the quirky habits of this amazingly talented duo. Check out the slideshow below for the looks that the buyers of Intermix selected from the Rag & Bone Fall/Winter 2010 collection for the store!

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Rag & Bone Party at Intermix

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Me, with the designers of Rag & Bone

It's always interesting to see so many of the most fabulously dressed Chicagoans in one place! That's definitely what the scene was at last night's gathering at the Delaware Place Intermix for the designers of clothing line Rag & Bone. The champagne was flowing, but admist the fun, the most noticeable element of the night was of course the fashion! The designers themselves received much due attention, but the guests at the party were also worth checking out, as they were all so stylish in their understated glamour - a look that perfectly reflected the image of the Rag & Bone brand that was being celebrated. I loved everyone's shoes most of all, from Chanel and Fendi to Christian Louboutin and Brian Atwood! Check out the pics from the party below and make sure to come back next week for the interview with David & Marcus, the brains behind the beauty!

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Landon Donovan's Goal Leads U.S. to Knockout Round



Talk about style - these guys on the American soccer team have the amazing confidence, talent, and strength to go all the way. I just would love to dress a few of the team members and do a commercial for them! Landon Donovan and the other star players who helped bring America to Wednesday's big win over Algeria are headed to round 16 in the World Cup, a huge feat in this global tournament. I know that screams and shouts of American pride rang through bars and even offices today in response to the dramatic, game-changing goal, scored in the last seconds. If that's not style, I don't know what is! The true spirit of the game and fans' loyalty really stood out today. Let's all support our team and hope for the next big win!

First Place Fashion at the US Open



Graeme McDowell won the 110th US Open on Sunday. But this was the only reason he's been worthy of attention. Bucking the trend of light-colored polos paired with khakis when hitting the green, McDowell kept it classy with a cardigan and slim, off-white trousers.

We haven't seen so much fun on the golf course since Payne Stewart who wore his knickers to loosen up the golf world! Also keep an eye out for Ryo Ishikawa, the young Japanese golfer who packs a lot of panache with his game.


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Best Kept Secrets: Men Behind the Curtain, John Diekmann & Joel Klaff

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Me, talking to Joel on the movie set

Remember that line in the Wizard of Oz...."Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"?.... Well when it comes to the creative team of John Diekmann and Joel Klaff; the owners of Workroom at 1906 Belmont in Chicago, that statement couldn't be further from the truth! They refer to themselves as the "men behind the curtain" and indeed, that's exactly who they are. When I first met Joel Klaff, he was a performance artist (yes, way before Lady Gaga) named Guy Taylor at the Chicago History Museum with an installation called Astro Man.  At the time, I was the fashion editor at the now defunct magazine, Inside Chicago, and was looking to do a story on talented creative people in the art and fashion world. Joel was living in a humble Bucktown abode before the community was the place to be. I must admit, I lost track of Joel until recently, when I learned he was part of the Oscar award-winning set design team for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. When Meryl suggested going to Workroom on Belmont, I was finally able to catch up with him and his partner in life and in business, John. Upon entering the shop, I was immediately greeted by the extremely charming John Diekmann, who refers to the shop as an extension of his home....and that it is! Surrounded  by fabulous drapery and objects extraordinaire, John explained, "We are the go-to-guys for textiles and the unusual. We are the one-stop shopping spot as we do custom bedding, pillows draperies, rug and wall coverings and all the work is done on-site!"

Both designers believe in giving back, working with organizations such as Little City and the Arts of Life. I later got to interview Joel via telephone as he was at an undisclosed location working on yet again another movie with Victor J. Zolfo (Benjamin button set decorator). Joel's other credits include "Ray," "Empire Falls," "Dreamer," "All the Kings Men," and "Public Enemies". Both Joel and John admit that they don't follow trends but like to create them as Joel stated, "...when we spot something that can become a trend, we know it in our veins before others see it"...and that they do with beauty and grace and add their own touch of funky. So another secret is out as I so enjoyed my afternoon experiencing this creative duo...I wanted to walk out with at least 10 items from the store, including their most adorable pugs, not to be left unmentioned, Trudy and Brenda.

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Man-Up Monday: Men of Style: Eli Boyer, General Manager of DMK

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Of course we all know that fashion and food often overlap. You dress your table and your plates the way you dress your body, hopefully with style and your own signature. I had fun interviewing the General Manger, Eli Boyer, of the latest hamburger restaurant/bar, DMK (DMK's name is a combination of the owners David Morton and the highly respected chef/owner of MK, Michael Kornick.) While the restaurant is only three months old, it is one of the hottest places to eat, with lines of people waiting anytime after 5:00 PM. I sat down with Eli as he revealed some of his own personal style to me.
Every restaurant is designed with a particular look. What is unique about the style of DMK?
Eli: Whenever David and Michael spoke about the design of the restaurant, one key concept couldn't be denied -  it had to be timeless.  Not what's hot today, not what might be hot in the next year, but a design that would age well and allow us to grow this business over the next 25 years.  When you come to DMK, you'll see a unique mix of raw materials and design elements that have allowed us to achieve that original concept, whether it's the reclaimed barn wood on the walls, menu board behind the wall, or antique chandeliers above our community table.   
How would you describe your own personal style and how is it reflected in the personality of the restaurant?
Eli: To be honest, I've never thought of myself as having a unique style.  However, I want the vibe and energy of the restaurant to be reflected in what I might wear or the language I might use when speaking with guests.  Every night, it's my and the other Manager's job to set the tone at the restaurant, and the way we choose to present ourselves can go a long way.  On a Saturday night, I might choose to break out a crushed velvet blazer, but on a Tuesday afternoon, it may be more appropriate to lace up my converse sneakers.
All the waitresses and bartenders seem to dress with a unique look of their own. Do you give them any guidelines or limitations?
Eli: We ask our team to dress as if they're going on a 2nd date, if that makes sense.  In the restaurant industry, people are usually restricted to a strict uniform, so our staff has responded very positively, as you would imagine.  You should have seen the look on their faces when we first told them - shock, surprise, and smiles all around.  We spent a great amount of time interviewing and choosing the right staff for DMK, so we want them to able to flex their own individuality and unique style, which gives us a different look.
There are 13 burgers on your menu with the newest addition and launch of  "Big DMK" on March 6th. What's your own personal favorite?
Eli: My personal favorite is the #4, which is what most of Chicago's foodie nation chooses when they check out DMK.  It has roasted hatch green chiles, smoked bacon, Sonoma jack cheese and it's topped with a fried egg.  It's a spicy burger, but it packs a unique (and tasty) flavor profile.  It's our version of the cheeseburgers you can find in the Southwest U.S., specifically New Mexico.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
Eli: Don't be afraid to make hard choices when it comes to your happiness - plain and simple.  I'm originally from Metro-Detroit and lived there for my entire existence prior to moving to Chicago in March 2009.  I was comfortable in Michigan and my entire family was there - It was all that I knew.  I just couldn't turn down the opportunity to work with a Chef like Michael and a Businessman like David.  I knew that they could help me achieve my professional goals and I knew that I could help them realize their vision in DMK Burger Bar.
What is your favorite junk food?
Eli: I'm loyal to many junk foods. It's always difficult for me to turn down a slice of New York-style pizza, or some late night Mexican food at one of Chicago's fine taco joints.  The closest to my heart, however, is one of Detroit's famous Coney dogs.  It's a hot dog that's topped with Greek-style chili, yellow mustard and onions.
Tell me something about you that would surprise my readers.
Eli: Maybe that I'm only 24 years old.  Don't ever think that your age can hold you back from doing what you really want to do.  Age has nothing on hard work, passion, and a willingness to try.


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Tom Ford's "A Single Man"

I was mesmerized listening to Tom Ford on Charlie Rose, my favorite talk show host, who was recently talking about "Single Man"--the latest movie project he directed with Colin Firth & Julianne Moore. Of course, most of us know that Ford brought glamor and sex back to fashion in the early 90's when he was the Creative Director at Gucci. He introduced velvet pantsuits and satin open-necked slinky shirts to the runway and celebrities quickly supported his new look. When I was the Founding Fashion Editor at CS (Chicago Social), I had the privilege of showing some of those pieces on models photographed for the cover of CS, including the exceptional patent boots that helped to give the magazine a cutting edge look.  Ford explained the differences of designing clothes to directing movies: "In fashion you are designing a dress that doesn't last. When you create a film, you create a world." I can't wait to see the results of his latest cinematic venture as most consider Ford the most influential designer of the last decade.

I certainly agree.


Men of Style: An Interview with Sean Graney of The Hypocrites


Need a great idea on what to do for Halloween? If monsters, blood, vampires & exceptional theater entertainment are your cup of green tea, rush over to the MCA Theater (220 E. Chicago Ave) to see a cutting-edge performance of Frankenstein from the classic Mary Shelly novel. I saw it - and loved it!  Award winning Artistic Director & Founder of The Hypocrites, Sean Graney, is just so cool. We are lucky to have this former Boston native talent in residence in Chicago. I sat down with him recently to uncover some of his style & what gives him the courage to break with tradition. 

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Men of Style: An Interview with Designer Adam Lippes


I recently sat down with Adam Lippes at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Ave. to view the Spring 2010 collection for his line, ADAM. At 36 years old, Lippes has quite the resume. After graduating from Cornell with a degree in psychology and attending the American University in Paris to study art history and architecture, Lippes returned home to try a hand at what he was really passionate about: fashion. He began his career at Ralph Lauren before moving onto Oscar de la Renta where he quickly rose to Global Creative Director. Although his background is somewhat nontraditional, he brings a truly fresh approach to fashion's contemporary market. Today Lippes has three of his own freestanding boutiques and his collection is featured in 300 other stores around the world. 

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Men of Style: An Interview with Billie Dec


Billy Dec's clothing style can be described as vintage mixed with something new but perhaps his best style is his ability to give back to the community. I first met the CLTV TV host, attorney & CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions (Rockit Bar & Grill, Sunda, and The Underground, all of which earned him US "Operator of the Year), when we both volunteered to be "Principal For The Day" at Lake View High School. One of his pet projects is the Chicago 2016 Olympic Committee Director of Cultural Relations.  We also share the fact that we both have blogs - Billie runs a popular blog called - definitely be sure to drop by and check it out - it's really fun! 

Anyways, I recently said down with Billie to learn more about his style and the city he loves!

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Men of Style: An Interview with Donald Madia


When it comes to Chicago fashion & style, no best dressed list would be complete without the addition of restaurantuer Donald J. Madia. Is there anyone in Chicago or beyond, like many epicurean tourists, who hasn't heard of, or dined at, Blackbird, Avec, or his newest restaurant, Publican?  Or partied at The Violet Hour & Sonotheque?  When I had dinner with Karl Lagerfeld several years ago, I exposed him to dinning at my favorite Donald Madia restaurant, Blackbird. Of course he too was impressed which is no easy feat with a international traveler & designer. I recently celebrated my b-day at my favorite choice and sat down to interview my friend Donald.

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