29 July, 2012

"Sunday Runway, Bright. and Brighter . . . "


We're gonna just keep it simple around here today.  It's just a few days away from August and now is the time for the fullest expression of our summer wardrobes.   I spent part of this last week in New York, and had one of my few chances to wear actual Summer clothing.  (For those of you who are new here . . . it's regularly no warmer than the mid 60's or 70's here in San Francisco in the summer.  And yes, I wore a wool sweater to work on Thursday.)

So, let's break out the madras . . . and the fun, bright colours . . . and party like it's summer.

SMW Design, East Hampton Residence

One of the highlights of last week's visit to New York was a private tour of The Cary Collection.  It's a dense, but highly curated, collection of antiques and memorabilia.  Vintage clothing.  First edition books.  And amazing objet.

A glimpse inside my own closet . . . and evidence of a weekend of laundry.

Drip-drying a small part of my polo shirt collection . . .
(laundry day continues!)

Another image from The Cary Collection

Don't forget the sunscreen,

28 July, 2012

"Designers at Home . . . "


I'm pleased to announce that my own home will be included in Ronda Carman's wonderful new book,  "Designers at Home: Personal Reflection on Stylish Living," due out next Spring from Rizzoli.  Here's a taste of what you'll find . . .

"Ronda Rice Carman, founder of the popular lifestyle blog All the Best, takes readers on a guided tour through the houses of renowned designers, who share their thoughts on gracious living and how they bring their professional philosophies home. Designers at Home: Personal Reflections on Stylish Living presents the personal living spaces of fifty distinctive design leaders, including Charlotte Moss, Ashley Hicks, Barry Dixon, Vicente Wolf, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Kevin Sharkey, Suzanne Rheinstein, Rose Tarlow, Jay Jeffers, Michelle Nussbaumer, Jan Showers, Alex Papachristidis, Madeline Stuart, Matthew Patrick Smyth, Colette van den Thillart, Malcolm James Kutner, Ken Fulk, Scot Meacham Wood, Bunny Williams and more. These select dwellings range from chic apartments and luxurious estates, to charming country homes. 

From the homey historic English hunting lodge of Nicky Haslam and the glamorous Beverly Hills home of Hutton Wilkinson to the serene Sag Harbor retreat of Steven Gambrel, each page is filled with inspiring design, entertaining ideas, and imagery that invites readers to explore the idiosyncrasies of design while infusing their own homes with individuality and flair. The book's conversational tone and practical tips from these experts provide a referential approach to creating a highly personal place. From favorite sheets and pillows, how to create impromptu dinner parties, to the decorative details that bring a room to life, each designer's meaningful advice will inspire one to thoughtfully consider their own distinctive home."

The book is available for pre-order (publishing in April, 2013 ) at Amazon.com starting today.  


15 July, 2012

"Sunday Runway, Playing with Fire . . . "


(edited and expanded from my facebook posting yesterday)

I've actually been avoiding this discussion - because one's views rarely improve upon the silence when the subject of politics comes up - but, maybe I can chime in. I worked for Ralph for almost 15 years - from 1988 until 2002 . . . and have seen a great deal of his business change and evolve over that time period as well as in the years since I moved on.  I can clearly remember when the entire company was owned directly and uniquely by Mr. Lauren. Those were the days when we had huge decorative budgets, opened fabulous, glamorous stores - hell, we even had amazing floral budgets to make shopping in the stores an experience. Then the company went public. We, overnight, became answerable to stockholders.  And the business of retailing changed. 

Even ten years ago - while I was still with Polo - most of the company's manufacturing took place overseas.  The globalization of the clothing industry was well underway.  The higher price-point items produced either here in the US - or in England and Italy . . . the lower price-point items in China and elsewhere. And frankly, that same division of manufacturing exists with most every other major designer and retailer in this country.  That is just the current landscape of manufacturing.  

You might not like that fact - and I can understand being disappointed that items for our Olympic teams were produced outside our borders - but, the vitriolic response to this situation feels seriously misplaced.  The accusation of "traitor" feel more than just a little hyperbolic.  Instead of cries that we should “Burn the uniforms” (and it’s always worrisome when Harry Reid and Donald Trump are in agreement about anything- lol) - I'd much rather the situation open a conversation about re-engaging manufacturing here in the US.  The truly disappointing realization is that we, as a nation, are consumers.  Not manufactures.     

And as far as Ralph’s involvement in all of this - it’s not as if he had promised to produce these garments in the US - and then maliciously took the orders to China under the cover of darkness.  Ralph Lauren manufactures clothing in China.  The Olympic uniforms for the last several years were manufactured in China.  As I understand it, these are clothes that are privately funded. And in response to those paying the bill for these uniforms - they should be produced at a competitive price.   

I’m ALL for national pride. But, you should most likely take a good long look at the American flag wafting in the breeze in your front yard. Most likely, it was made in China too.


11 July, 2012

"A Light in the Dark . . . "


I've always been a closet-pyromaniac.  Fire delights me.  A lot.  I've never, ever been involved in damaging any kind of property (and the small fire incident in college while lighting farts in a fraternity house were clearly much more closely related to scotch consumption than anything else).  But, when camping I'm always the one that takes responsibility for 'the fire.'  I was a Boy Scout.  I build fires.  I keep fires going.

Maybe my fascination is more about seeing, and forging, a light in the darkness.  Looking for the best in a situation - and hoping that the 'better' will show through the 'worse.'  So with that in mind - let's talk a little about ye olde blog for a moment.

Firstly, I'm seeing a little pattern emerging out of my blog postings from the last several months.  Every time I start writing - I feel like I should say, 'sorry for the erratic updates here on the blog.'  Now, I also notice that I never actually write those very words . . . but, they seem to be hanging over almost everything a write.

The good news is - I'm swamped with work.  Design work here on the west coast.  Projects on the east coast.  And a continuing parade of airports in between.  Photographing projects to update my website, as well as working to get a few projects published.

And more good news - as so often happens, being busy brings you more business.  So on top of my regular projects - I'm working on several big, new ideas that I'm not quite ready to announce yet.  But, be assured - this is where I'll start 'spreading the news' when everything starts coming together.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share this little collection of images.  I've had these pulled together in a 'draft' form for what seems like months . . . and have never quite come up with the best narrative to wrap them in.  But, something about luminescence in the dark delights and inspires me.  How a small germ of an idea can create a glow that can be seen for miles around.  Or tiny sea creatures, robbed of the actual sunlight, produce their own glow in direct opposition to the darkness that surrounds them.

And sometimes it's good to see things in perspective.  Most everything seems different when seen from a great distance.  It also helps me to understand where all this excitement is leading.

So the lights are still on here at tartanscot.  Though, often times there's not been anyone home - lol.  And I appreciate those of you who leave comments - or the many of you who come by to check in on my little life . . .


03 July, 2012

"Meanwhile, Over On Tobi's Blog . . . "

in Los Angeles with Brooke Carter Wallace, me, Tobi Fairley, and Ronda Rice Carman.


I'm pleased as punch to be part of a new series on Tobi Fairley's blog called "Expert Advice" - with designers and style-makers talking about the best advice they've ever gotten.

Check it out - HERE.


01 July, 2012

"Sunday Runway - Red, White, and Blazer . . ."


Though it has deeply English origins, there's nothing that feel quite as American as a classic navy blazer.  Whether paired with traditional grey flannels and khaki trousers - or a more modern denim or bright 'go-to-hell' pant, I find that one's wardrobe would never be complete without one.

I think we've all heard the story of the rowdy, motley crew of the HMS Blazer in the mid-1800's . . . and how the captain decided to put them all in matching dark blue jackets during their shore leave to smarten them up.  Knowing first hand the ability of any one my own blazers to give everything from wrinkled chinos to lambswool-cashmere flannels a significant 'step-up' - I've always liked that particular tale.

from Ralph Lauren. 

But, I also like the story of the Lady Margaret Boat Club at Cambridge - around 1825.   It seems like the members were known for wearing bright red (or blazing red) coats before and after matches.  Thus the term 'blazer' was used to describe a nautical jacket . . . and the 'navy' aspect of it evolved later.

Michael Bastian, menswear designer.  Photographed in his own home.

from Hackett of London, Spring 2010

Regardless of its origins . . . the modern men's wardrobe would be lost without at least one navy blazer.  Personally, I have five.  A traditional wool single-vent blazer, a light-weight linen version for summer, a heavier wool one with 'school-boy' trim on the collar, a sturdy cotton chino blazer  . . . and a snappy, wool-cashmere hacking style coat - all single-breasted.

from DC's own style blog - Necessary and Proper

So let's hear three cheers for our navy blazers.  They keep us stylish.  They can often disguise our rowdy behaviour.  And though they have a history of making us look 'uniform' - nothing in the modern men's wardrobe could be more flexible.

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