Our Friday:5ive: the Stylish Michael Crooks

One of the nicest gents I’ve met in my many recent menswear sojourns out and about, from our MensWearNetwork gatherings to AskMen Academy evenings, Mike Crooks is the real dapper deal. Hailing from Atlanta – yes, he’s got that Southern Charm, alright – Mike is as sweet as he is fashionable. FashionWhirled was able to nail him down for his astute and educated take on stylish dressing, his haberdashery choices and, naturally, his unique way of rocking a bow tie and no socks.

FashionWhirled:   What role does fashion and style play in your everyday personal life? You are one sharply dressed dude; what is your creative process for dressing everyday? For dressing for a special occasion?

Mike with Michael Arguella and me

Michael Crooks:  This answer has probably been recycled more than once, but for me, style is more important than fashion. Fashion denotes a current trend Continue reading

HELP! Please help our friend and colleague Vicki Vasilopoulos meet her Kickstarter goal for MEN OF THE CLOTH

This movie is just about ready to head out to the film festivals. Help get it there by funding Vicki Vasilopoulos’s Men of the Cloth via her Kickstarter campaign. FOUR MORE DAYS TO  GO and she will meet her goal! Do it!

It’s a moving look at the endangered art of fine Italian tailoring, honoring the legacy of three of the Italian masters. As VV words it:  “It’s a life-affirming film that illustrates what it means to find your true calling despite the odds.”

Please view her trailer, read her press, get excited, and DONATE, below,

FashionWhirled thanks you.

Please Help Us Get to the Finish Line

Make a contribution to our KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN by Friday December 21st 

MEN OF THE CLOTH: 4 Days Left to Meet Our Funding Goal

MEN OF THE CLOTH honors the legacy of three Italian master tailors whose passion and dedication is an inspiration to us all. It’s a life-affirming film that illustrates what it means to Continue reading

Mangosteen + Myrrh: An Artful Evening with Eric Parnes + Rebecca Weber

The things I learn about art from Eric Esmailzadeh Parnes….I had no idea about the manifestation of the I Dream of Jeannie vase!

From Eric Esmailzadeh Parnes’s “I Dream of Jeannie: I See Demons” collection: Jinn Vessel Gold
6cm x 35cm

Per Eric’s website: “It is of especial interest to note that Jeannie’s famous bottle was not specifically manufactured for the show. The actual bottle was a 1964 Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey liquor decanter, produced as a specialty release for Christmas that year. It was created by a commercial designer by the name of Roy Kramer for the Wheaton Bottle Company, clearly influenced by a Middle Eastern design. Reportedly, Jim Beam Distillery’s President at the time, Martin Lewin, had travelled through Europe to inspect the company’s branches situated overseas; and during a trip to Germany in 1963, he noted a Middle Eastern decanter that would eventually become the holiday edition of the whiskey and later the vessel for Jeannie.”

Also from Eric’s “I Dream of Jeannie: I See Demons” collection: “Of Visions of Jinn II”
Acrylic on Canvas
140cm x 132cm

Not only is Eric an art world eye opener, he’s great fun, a terrific neighbor quick with artful conversation and a unique sense of style that never ceases to amaze me. FashionWhirled has featured him before, focusing both on his art and his fashion (remember his cool “mandels?”).

Rebecca and Eric, such a lovely couple, in gorgeous fashions from Qatar, where Eric just returned from exhibiting his latest work

Plus, he and the lovely artiste and chef Rebecca Weber, whom we’ve also written about in a past post, brought us some amazing myrrh and a mangosteen the other evening when we were lucky enough to spend some time over wine with them. Thank you, Eric and Rebecca!

the magical mangosteen with myrrh




AskMen.com’s Armando Gomez is FashionWhirled’s Friday:5ive

Armando Gomez is certainly the international man about town when it comes to fashion and style.  Based in Montreal of Spanish descent, the AskMen‘s advertising and promotions manager travels often, with brief sojourns for various events in the U.S., particularly Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Miami. Those trips have come fast and hard recently, especially ever since he initiated the AskMen Academy, a style series with, as he says, “a curated guest list of top influencers & tastemakers of must-experience events dedicated to helping guys look better, live better & know better.”

AskMen’s Armando Gomez

I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Armando ever since the last AskMen Academy event at the Dream Hotel, where he told me I had this fabulous aura, this glow, that emanated from my very being! Now, that’s flattery! Finally, FashionWhirled had the good fortune to catch up with Armando this past week at Continue reading

Artist Maria Moyer’s Friday:5ive Reveal

Maria Moyer, snapped by author/photographer Leslie Williamson of the “Handcrafted Modern” and T-Magazine’s “People Watching” blog.

A childhood spent amidst the beaches of Southern California ingrained Maria Moyer with a loving respect for ocean landscapes and sea organisms, lending her work as a sculptor and jeweler inspiration from the “exquisite weirdness of nature,” a sensibility that imbues her overall work as an artist. From the opportunity to dissect an 18-foot beached squid at 11 years old under the tutelage of her professor, to an iconic meeting with Dr. Jane Goodall years later where she was able to present the doctor with a “thank you” porcelain rose, Maria’s intersections with nature and the world at large always have created magic.

Now, inhabiting realms between Oakland, CA and New York City, NY, Maria’s work melds both corporate and art, both nature and man’s worlds. When not creating beautiful, tactile sculpture and jewelry, Continue reading

Sandy Clean Up: Devastation Still Affecting the East Village

Heading out to Rockaways today to help clean, hopefully take pre-packed, self-heating meals (Army style) and try to do my part to help.
Have been putting in hours at the Sixth Street Community Center, helping make PBJ sandwiches, man the donation areas, unload trucks, van and cars as they come in with donations. It simultaneously has been a heartwarming and heart wrenching experience. Yesterday, a couple came in with their one-month old baby, needing all kinds of supplies a baby that young needs, as well as warmth for themselves. Others came in needing a sweater, a jacket, blankets. One gentleman took a book by Marcus Aurelius, saying he needed to feed his body, spirit AND mind. Some said no to offers of additional items of clothing, saying they didn’t need it and better to leave it for someone who did. I won’t say there weren’t others stuffing rolling cart after rolling cart with clothes, but, hey, no judgement. Perhaps they’d lost their closets in the flood and needed everything they could get their hands on.
People have been so kind and generous, donating brand new blankets, clothes with tags on them, non-perishable food, batteries, sandwiches and baby goods. A woman came in Wednesday during the snow storm carrying several bags of new soft faux fur throws from Century 21; a little girl carried one out that night, clutching it to her, fearful to give it up even to put it in a plastic bag to protect it from getting wet as she walked home with her mother in the thick of the wet whiteness. A couple, landlords from midtown, came with 10 brand newly-bought sweaters, among other items. The Turkish Cultural Center came Wednesday  with box upon box of brand new men’s dress socks, warm and toasty enough for males and females. A couple of angels from Calvin Klein dropped off a huge amount of gift-with-purchase bags from their perfume division, greatly appreciated for the runners taking food to elderly on high floors, shut-ins who hadn’t eaten in three or more days and people just generally afraid to leave their homes in the NYCHA buildings, which have had no power or heat.
The 9th Street Police Precinct dropped off in the height of the snow, late Wednesday, with tons of Pampers and the like, as well as water and other necessities.
Several people have set up Amazon registries, so people donating to the Rockaways know  exactly what and how many of each item is needed, like this one called Occupy Sandy and Occupy Sandy’s Wedding Registry.
Here’s what I posted earlier this week about the East Village, many of whose residents are still without power or heat:
Please know that as terrible as things are out in the Rockaways and Staten Island (and they are BEYOND TERRIBLE – met a woman today who’d been out there over the weekend volunteering until she ran out of gas and couldn’t get back so she came to Sixth Street from the Bronx; they need tons of help out there and Staten Island, too), there is SO much to be done here at home in the EAST VILLAGE, not even a block from our apartment building.
People who got flooded in the EV up and down Avenue C are still without power, heat, food. Some live in NYCHA buildings on high floors, unable to make it down the 20+ flights of stairs in the dark without the elevator — I met an EV neighbor yesterday who’d been taking FEMA meals to shut-ins who told me he met a 90 year old woman yesterday who hadn’t eaten in three days and another woman on a respirator that had been hooked up to a car battery to ensure she could breathe.The angel of our neighborhood, The Sixth Street Community Center, working in tandem with GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), will be open tomorrow afternoon to 6. They will need more bread tomorrow for PBJ sammies for sure, among other donations. People are lining up and coming in cold, looking for blankets (they got a donation from the Red Cross late today), warm winter coats, sweaters, hats. Angels from Calvin Klein brought in gift-with-purchase bags to help people carry away sustenance, warmth, water.

Hugo Nicole and Kristen Strombelline, after their bag drop off at Sixth Street Community Center

Oh, and P.S., I was lucky enough to have so many people thank me that I nearly burst into tears a number of times. What were they thanking ME for?! I was doing nothing! Now, if I could turn on their power and heat, that would be another story….

Artist and Designer Jason Miller – FW’s Friday:5ive

I fell in love with Jason Miller‘s studio work when I supposed to profile him in the launch issue of a debuting gift-centric magazine. The article never happened, but I — on a whim — asked if he’d partake in one of FashionWhirled’s upcoming Friday:5ive features. He acquiesced and are we ever the grateful blogger on this end!

Jason Miller, the artist

His artwork is whimsical and enduring. Plates, like these below, caught my eye immediately. Called “Seconds,” they are a pun (my favorite form of humor) on multiple levels, visually as well as verbally.

Jason Miller Dinner Plate Set, “Seconds”

This Brooklyn-ite founded the Jason Miller Studio in 2001, and has enjoyed solo shows worldwide, from Istanbul to Milan to Miami. In 2010, the Brooklyn Museum named him “Designer of the Year,” and his work remains a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Arts and Design, the Corning Museum of Glass and the Brooklyn Museum. As a compliment to his studio, Jason recently formed Roll & Hill, a contemporary lighting company producing work by a select group of designers, with Jason as the Creative Director and CEO.

FashionWhirled:  As an artist, what role does fashion or style play in your everyday life, personally and as a product designer? How does your personal style inspire your designs for Jason Miller Studio overall? For individual collections, such as “Daydreams?” (i.e., it seems you have a tenacious personal style of design!)

Jason Miller “Daydreams” mirror

Jason Miller: I have to say I have fantasies of refining my wardrobe to such a degree, that there are no choices left to make. I’d love to whittle it down to the perfect pair of jeans (APC), the perfect blue button-down shirt (still undecided) and the perfect pair of shoes (Vans, different styles according to season). In practice it’s not quite as dogmatic, however, I think the process of refinement is very similar to how I like to approach my work.

FW:  Your artwork and product pieces range from furniture to gift objects to tableware; I think my favorite pieces are your porcelain “Little Gift” and your “Seconds” dinner plates! What inspires you during your creative process? How would you describe your creative process? (It seems humor plays a big part in your designs…).

Jason Miller “Little Gift” porcelain cupcake

JM:  The two products you mention, Little Gift and Seconds, both came from a show I did in 2005 called “Ok As Is.” I was working with a specific idea about personal spaces that are outside of public view, such as the basement or garage. I am working with different ideas now, however, this is typical of how I like to work. That is, I like to think of a larger idea about living and then design pieces that fit within that framework.

FW:  Who would you say acts as your muse? Why and how do they inspire you?

JM:  I think I have finally gotten to a point in my career where I am confident enough in what I am doing that I can be self-directed. There are of course, millions of things out there that I find inspiring, however, I think my days of looking towards a muse are over. For now at least…

FW:  If you could have any notable individual — dead or alive — purchase Jason Miller pieces and use them within their home, who would it be and why? How would you change their home or decorating or home accessorizing style and why?

JM:  Someone once told me that an installation I made looked “very Tom Ford.” I can’t think of someone who I would rather have interested in my products.

Designer Tom Ford from the documentary by Alex Folzi

FW:  What words of wisdom or inspiration, or daily affirmation do you live by, or at least strive to live by? And what legacy do you hope to leave to the future and why?

JM:  I hope people will simply think “Jason Miller was a good designer” when I’m gone. That is why I constantly ask myself, “Can this be done better?”

Jason Miller wooly chair of bison hide

Hurricane Sandy: PTSD*

Since the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, those of us living below 39th Street on the East Side of NYC, have been getting through day by day, zombie-like, during the aftermath of the storm, seemingly experiencing *Post Traumatic Sandy Disorder. We don’t have electric, many of us with water don’t have any hot for bathing, and all those movies we preemptively stockpiled for the storm? Oh yeah. We don’t have electric.

But at least we have the fronts to our buildings, in tact, where they’re supposed to be.

façade-less building on 8th Avenue

As New Yorkers, we’re a resilient lot. We may not be able to get cell phone service in our abodes, but there are plenty of places in the flooded out Lower East Side that are serving as cell service areas, so marked and flocked to by many.

East Village “cell phone service area”

We have our own “charging centers” — bicycles built for power where you can ride your way back to mobile juice, picture to come later (they weren’t at it yet this morning; East Villagers tend to sleep late). That’s Avenue C, where cars were inundated by the waters of the East River as the salt water rushed past capacity of normal beds and flowed into autos, basements, ground floor apartments. People were pumping out even as of yesterday afternoon with the help of generators. Front and back seats were drying out next to open car doors and piles of furniture inhabited sidewalks.

Luckily I was able to take yoga last night. Our practice was illuminated by candle light in the hallway, stairs and classroom. It was lovely.

Yoga to the People stairs

Driving downtown Tuesday night from the Land of the Living, aka the uptown electric slide, into the Dead Zone, traffic lights were non-existent, building windows looked blackened and only the car lights gave any indication of life. Oh and the crazies on St. Marks who made themselves known by slapping our car on the side after P rolled the window up on one of them.

police cruise with LED “Proceed with caution” message

Living by candlelight has been interesting, a bit romantic and a times a fire hazard scare. One of our candles in the kitchen was blazing a little too high and thank god we got it put out in time. Not as scary as one of our former neighbors, who had to actually call the fire department on a neighbor using a hibachi grill in their apartment last night. Idiots!

Cooking by candlelight offers its own, I believe obvious, drawbacks. Was that salt or sugar I just sprinkled in to the veggie soup??!!

candlelight cooking

But at least P got in the spirit of Halloween and treated me (tricked me?!) to a birthday party after picking me up from my fabulous yoga class. My neighbors were hiding there in the darkness – I almost screamed when I realized someone was sitting on our bed – before everyone yelled out “Surprise!”

Vienero’s chocolate mousse cake

There was chocolate mousse cake, an amazing prezzie and even a birthday card (unheard of in the past!) from my loving hubby.

Birthday prezzie!

But I think my favorite part of last night was the full moon I could see shining soooo brightly through our apartment’s picture window overlooking the park. I always called it our tree-house window, but with the top of our beautiful fall-leaf laden tree broken off during Sandy, there’s now an unfettered view from the bed. It’s truly a picture window. Plus with no street or building lights, the sky shows all its night time beauty = moon, stars, everything.

Full moon from our window

I may not have had electricity for lights or hot water for a bath or shower for my birthday, but it seemed like I had everything else I might have needed to turn one more year older and make it one of the most memorable birthdays yet (mmmm, actually the Machu Piccu surprise trip took the proverbial cake). And, thus, I fell asleep in our ultra quiet, moonlight-shadowed apartment with a smile fully plastered on my face, a tummy full of chocolate happyhappyhappiness and a heart full of love for my amazingly thoughtful husband.

P.S. The prezzie was a Breville juicer. We’ll have to wait a while until we can test it out; supposedly, electric will be back on by Sunday or Monday. If we can make it til then!



Paul Stuart Mad for Plaid windows on Madison Avenue

“Mad for Plaid,” the seasonal windows at Paul Stuart

If you’re uptown near Grand Central, check out the new “Mad for Plaid” windows of the Paul Stuart store. They’ll get you in the mood for fall/winter dressing — and shopping — like nothing else will.

Phineas Cole plaid corner

The name says it all. Featuring both men’s and women’s wear plaid combinations (predominately men’s), the windows were styled by five menswear bloggers and print editors — Nick Sullivan of Esquire, Lawrence Schlossman of Four Pins, Mordechai Rubinstein of Mister Mort, Tasha Green of Departures, John Tinseth of The Trad and Stephen Pulvirent of Hodinkee — with videos featuring each as they pulled traditional plaid fare from the revered shop.

Last week’s cocktail party replete with live jazz kicked off the windows, which will be up through November 12th.

Michael Arguello in front of the jazz trio