A Rare Glimpse at Vecchia Mano

Michael ToschiHard to believe it’s been a year and a half since Michael Toschi first mentioned a very exclusive project he would be undertaking to both celebrate and preserve the art of the handmade shoe. Now, Michael Toschi is not the only shoemaker in the world offering a benchmade shoe, but as a shoe company first, they see firsthand the true artisan shoemaker slowly fading from the landscape in favor of machines. 

The project was called "Vecchia Mano" which, in Italian, literally means "old hand". We wrote about the launch of the program last January, but never published photos (we have iPhone photos of every model but have not shared them for fear of reprisals from angry Italians [we base that stereotype solely on movies we’ve seen]).

The shoes have been available for purchase solely through invitation-only events hosted by Toschi’s top retailers. They retail for $1,600-$2,500, and having owned 2 pair now, the biggest problem with them is that they are so nice, I am afraid to wear them if I know I will be walking on anything other than carpet or rose petals. 

The pair above are from the Venezia line (our favorite due to the contrasting soles & stitching), and they are a gift to our top Michael Toschi shoe customer. Toschi’s biggest fans are a small, but growing, group of aficionados that include former & current Presidents of foreign nations, music moguls, and professional athletes. These happen to be a size 15 for a future baseball Hall-of-Famer, and we hope he will wear them to his induction. Who is the lucky guy? We’re gentlemen…we would never kiss-&-tell.  

A Cherry Is a Grape Is a Nut

It’s Hump Day, dear readers — and we thought we’d help get your mid-week workday started with a little wake-up post.

How’s this for a morning jolt?

For the hockey-deprived, this (ahem) colourful gentleman is Don Cherry, colour commentator (there was no way around that …) on the CBC’s "Hockey Night in Canada."

L’assemblage burst through American TV screens last Friday, when Cherry ("Grape" to his fans) debuted on ESPN. But don’t think he reserved his Pepto-Bismal-pink pukefest for the occasion — Mr. Cherry/Grape has made his name with such fruitcake ensembles. (Before you click here and here and here, you might dig out some dramamine.)

Horrifying as these get-ups are, don’t they also have a sort of creepy-clown vibe? When so much attention is meant to be directed to his clothes, one wonders what that attention is being detoured away from. Scarily Dickensian, don’t you think?

Cherry’s working the last two rounds of the NHL playoffs. But word is that the Worldwide Leader’s regular hockey man, Barry Melrose, is thinking of returning to coaching — and that Mr. Cherry/Grape could take The Mullet‘s place.

Desperation, dear readers, is a state in which you find yourself willing to put up with one clown if it means steering clear of another.

James Bond and the Job Interview

James BondHere?s a slice of sartorial advice you?re unlikely to find in any ?dress for success? guide or style bible. And it just might give you the much-needed edge in an increasingly competitive job market.

Common wisdom dictates that you should wear your best clothes to a job interview and that usually means a new or nearly new suit. But that?s a mistake. Here?s why.

While you might think that you?re putting your best foot forward, a new suit is by its very nature stiff and unyielding. This takes its toll on your body language. A new suit can make you look uptight, creating exactly the wrong impression. The vibe you want to give off is one of relaxed confidence. Your best ally, then, is a good suit that allows you to move in it with ease, comfort, and a certain amount of aplomb.

But what if you don?t have a suit that conforms to your body like a second skin?

Then look to Bond, James Bond for the answer. In 1962, when Sean Connery was selected for the role of the suave spy in the first flick in this never-ending film franchise, he was a brawny former lorry driver with manly appeal, a blue-collar bloke, not a suit-and-tie type.

So Terrence Young, the director of Dr. No, who was a natty dresser, had Anthony Sinclair, his Savile Row tailor, make Connery a custom suit. Connery looked great in his posh new duds, but he didn?t move with the graceful ease that would become a Bond trademark, so Young instructed Connery to wear the suit all day and all night and even sleep in it if he had to, so that by the time filming started Connery could move in it unselfconsciously.

And it worked. Connery became a style as well as a movie icon. But no need to go to that extreme to break in your own interview suit, but you should wear it out and about or around the house until you feel as relaxed and comfortable in it as you do in your jeans and T-shirt.

After that you should be ready for your interview. Just don?t forget your resume and talking points.

Paul Goydos in Fairway & Greene

Paul Goydos and Sergio Garcia are about to tee off in the first playoff hole at The Players Championship. Of course, it happens to be one of the most intimidating holes in all of golf — the island green on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. The two players are polar opposites in a lot of respects, most notably their clothing.

Sergio Garcia could be the only person at the course dressed all in black. Head-to-toe in black and white, with Adidas’ iconic three stripes zig-zagging horizontally in some places and vertically in others.

According to the Times, Paul Goydos "is
almost certainly the only pro in the field who bought his own cap". In fact, Goydos doesn’t have any corporate sponsors, and that may be part of the reason he seems to be the crowd favorite. The cap he wore represents Long Beach State University where he graduated with a degree in Finance. But we noticed his affinity for Fairway & Greene shirts. The photo above appears to be the Classic Stripe in Coral, while on Sunday, he was wearing a green short-sleeve moc turtleneck. The significance of that to us and to Fairway & Greene loyalists, is that Fairway & Greene does not pay players to wear their clothes. Any professional wearing their shirts is doing it because they know it is the finest in golf.

The coverage of Goydos’ unlikely rise to the top of the leaderboard involved words like "journeyman", "a ham-and-egg guy", "common man", and "comedian". He made a lot of fans this week with his easygoing nature and self-deprecating humor. 

  • Exhibit #1: Asked if he was surprised to be leading, he replied: ?I don’t know. I’ve
    only been out here for 16 years.?
  • Exhibit #2: Given the 90 degree heat, a reporter pointed out to him that the top button of his shirt was fastened on Saturday, to which replied: "Because I don’t have any shoulders, this is how the shirt stays on."

Well, Goydos’ tee shot on 17th is in the drink, and Garcia’s is a few feet from the hole, so it looks like Garcia will come out the winner today. But we hope Fairway & Greene is sending him a couple shirts on the house for all the free press… 

Our Next Cigar-of-the-Month?

May’s Cigar-of-the-Month selection is already in the mail — the 2005 God of Fire Carlito Blend — but we may have discovered June’s cigar in this morning’s New York Times

The inside page of the Business section features a small story about a Minnesota company called Ruyan America that has invented a cigar that produces water vapor instead of smoke. Whaa?

According to the company, the "E-Cigar" is "a revolutionary product and new to the world of electronic smoking substitutes/cigarettes alternatives".  To really grasp the complexity of this product, you should visit the company’s site and check out the internal view of the cigar that illustrates the "nicotine-infused cartridge", "atomizer", "airflow sensor", "lithium battery", "red LED", and other components you have never, ever heard of in a cigar. Then again, I was not aware of a "world of electronic smoking" existed.

The cigar is 5 1/2" long with a 50 ring gauge, and "looks and feels like a premium traditional cigar". Each cigar is good for 1,800 "mouthfuls of vapor" (a flavor I have been dying to find in a cigar), and costs about $40.

Feeling like it was my duty to buy one of these "cigars" and try it, I immediately clicked the "Where to Buy" button. To my dismay, there is only one online retailer, and they seem to only have the E-Cigarette products, and lord knows I ain’t ever smoked no cigarette.

In their defense, the company’s President acknowledges that a real cigar aficionado will not be "blown away" by the cigar, but with specs like these, the casual smoker may be a centrifuge away from a dirty bomb. God help us.

What to Wear to a Recession

Confused by conflicting reports about a global recession? Well, you’re not alone. Even the experts disagree. According to Morgan Stanley, the US is already in one. Then CNN commentator Lou Dobbs hysterically announced that the US economy was flirting with disaster. Meanwhile, the luxury industry asserts it’s sitting pretty, as recession-proof as ever. Clearly sectors such as the housing market are already experiencing an economic downturn but amid the predictions and chatter about the world’s current and future fiscal health, there’s one important question that hasn’t been asked: if there is a recession, what does one wear? It’s not as trivial as it might seem.

You can read my full article, published May 3rd, here.

Haute Couture for Superheroes

OMG! Monday was, like, Christmas in May for New York sports fashionistas: the Met held its annual Costume Institute Gala, and SO MANY jock-types on the guest list! This year’s theme? "Superheroes: Fashion & Fantasy."

TCL wonders whether that explains the way Victoria Beckham looked on the arm of her dapper dandy. Was Posh Spice dressing up as Cruella DeVille? Or maybe Mommy Dearest. The way she fills out those adhesive cups, she’s a natural (um, er, unnatural?) to play Silicone Woman.
Eva Longoria-Parker attended without son homme, who was busy taking a whuppin in the Big Easy. From the looks of it, EL-P might have been dipping into Willie Wonka’s River of Sangria a la Augustus GloopShe tumbled in and was washed downstream, straight into the Gi-Normous Triple-Crank Whirly-Whipper Plumarufflerium. … And violà! Quinciñera Barbie!
Of all the celebs at the "Party of the Year," Venus Williams was the only one with superhero bona fides — the name, the body and the power disguised as a black Diana Prince. (Not on tour because of some mysterious malady, tennis’ designer/goddess wannabe spent the after-party cozying up to fashion royalty.)
Monday night’s red carpet event wasn’t just a chick trip — since there are plenty of male superheroes.
Mike Comrie showed up with his main squeeze, actress Hilary Duff. The Isles center was the theme party’s perfect escort as his head is straight out of "The Incredibles."
On the arm of his wife, former model Ingrid Vandebosch, was Nascar anti-hero Jeff Gordon, apparently doing a star-turn as WT Man.
Also gracing the red carpet was NFL superhunk Tom Brady, accompanied by Brazilian superhottie Gisele Bundchen. "Tom Terrific" appears well put together in his tux, he still looks stunned from Super Bowl XLII, right?
But — Giants fans be damned — no tuxedoed romeo at the Met could hold a candle to our man Tiki.

A Reprieve for His Airness

TCL pondered for untold hours what first impression we ought properly to make on readers in our first post for OnTheFly.com. Better to go flash … or trash? Classy or sassy?  High-brow — or low?
Well, here’s how it is: Michael Jordan ruined everything, foiling our intention to kick off this web log by taking some of the air out of His Airness.
Oh, we had him good, too. At a recent press conference, the man who was once the eye-candy of the NBA appeared wearing the sartorial equivalent of brussel sprouts. (If this is what a "Managing Member of Basketball Operations" looks like, we’re awfully glad we don’t have a member to manage.) But then, a few days later, to announce that the Charlotte Bobcats had hired Larry Brown as their new coach, MMBO Jordan made up for his plaid madness with this perfectly handsome ensemble.
So, if we couldn’t bring you one hoopster who shills for underwear, the least we can do is introduce you to another — Connecticut Sun reserve guard Erin Phillips showing off her SpencerLacy’s knickers.
Reportedly, the WNBA sophomore is appearing on the cover of Alpha, the Australian equal of Maxim, ahead of the Beijing Olympics to hype the Aussie women’s national team, on which she is the starting point guard. (No, really — it’s not all about her. Can’t you see how the ball she’s carrying on her shoulder …  is a metaphor about her and her T-E-A-M?)
Admittedly, TCL is a little confused about the message here. So, okay, she’s a strong, athletic woman. … But, hey, don’t forget how feminine. … But wait! She insists in the accompanying story that "We’re not going to be Team USA’s little bitch." … But, um, she’ll play the "little bitch" for Alpha‘s readers?
We think we’re coming down with the sort of migraine usually caused by muffin tops and bad NBA ‘dos.
Still, we somehow fancy Phillips’ image here. She reminds us of Pink, who we sort of admire for her butt-kicking ‘tude. And however racy the photo might seem to Puritan media types, Phillips looks a lot better in these SpencerLacy’s than the company’s own model.
We think it might have everything to do with her sass.

Introducing Teri Berg

Lebron's StyleThe man at left is not Teri Berg. In fact, Teri is not a man. But due to her daily immersion in sports for her real job, and the photo subject’s savvy fashion sense, LeBron James is one of Teri Berg’s most frequent topics when it comes to writing about the intersection of fashion & sports. Since many of you have been enjoying the frequent posts from Richard Torregrossa, a fashion writer & author of Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style, we have added another professional writer to our arsenal here: Teri Berg

Teri is a sportswriter by day and a fashion-in-sports writer by night. She is currently covering the NBA playoffs for NBA.com (her latest article is here), but she will be checking in weekly to highlight winners & losers, trend-setters and followers in the wide world of sports.

Her current blog — now in its third year — can be found at theclothezline.blogspot.com, and she calls it TCL for short, if you’d like to read past posts. Her knowledge and opinions run broad and deep: football, baseball, basketball, and golf, sports writers & announcers [especially those who make sartorial statements], and of course the top athletes’ tastes in fashion, hair styles, facial hair, tattoos, and their endorsement deals. Some of my favorite posts include her recent verdict on Kobe Bryant "trying too hard", a plea to get Jason Kidd a razor, and a provocative analysis of the NFL Cheerleader Ban.

We are excited to publish Teri’s first post tomorrow, and we hope you enjoy her point-of-view as much as we do.

Forbes.com – April 30, 2008

One of the reasons we carry more than just men’s clothing is because we strive to be a convenient destination for the gentleman who also appreciates fine wines, premium cigars, and other aspects of the "good life". Influencing our assortment was time spent by several of the principals at Sherlock’s Haven, San Francisco’s premier tobacconist (now under new ownership and definitely not the same). Back in 2002, Forbes.com named Sherlock’s Haven one of the Top Ten Tobacconists in the World.  

Six years later, On The Fly has garnered similar attention. Forbes.com just published the Ten Best Clothing Stores for Men, and we were among the honorees. We are flattered to be mentioned with such stalwarts as Gene Hiller, Bergdorf Goodman, and Cuffs, and the new breed like Lisa Kline and Oslo’s. While most of our customers live a plane flight away from the showroom/warehouse, we do hope you’ll pop in for a visit if you’re even in the Bay Area.