Women We Love is a chance for us to
interrogate sit down with the women in our lives whose style we love, work we admire, and heart we adore. We give them the celebrated Proust Questionnaire—which dates back to 19th-century Parisian salons—and throw in a few of our own. Grab a coffee, something to take notes with, and get to know the women we love as they ponder love, death, and the meaning of life.
Without further ado, Spencer Grammer.
On what occasion do you lie? When I believe the truth will hurt.
What do you most value in your friends? Intimacy and honesty.
Which quality do you most desire in a man? The ability to cook…at least one meal.
Which quality do you most desire in a woman? Camaraderie, humor, strength.
Which quality do you most desire in a pair of jeans? Must make my ass look good.
What is your favorite virtue? Humility.
What is your greatest fear? The hair in the drain.
How would you like to die? Young and with a bang.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be? A bird of prey, like a Peregrin Falcon.
Who are your favorite writers? T.S. Eliot, T.C. Boyle, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Shirley Jackson.
Which living person do you most despise? Ironically, the person I most love at any given time. Or Donald Trump.
Which living person do you most admire? Jane Goodall.
What is your most marked characteristic? My single dimple.
In which season do you feel most beautiful? Fall.
What do you dislike most about your appearance? My small breasts and athletic legs.
What is your greatest extravagance? Gucci heels.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? Flashes of insecurity.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Think less.
Which talent would you most like to have? Whistling loudly with my fingers.
What is your favorite occupation? Film Director/Auteur.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Simultaneously balancing motherhood, the MFA program at Columbia University, recording season four of Rick and Morty, and auditioning during pilot season…all while somehow maintaining friendships and my sanity (barely).
Who was the last person that gave you flowers? My son.
What is your most treasured possession? Diamond and gold cross my father gave me in high school.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse? “Does that make sense?” “Listen to me…”
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Unrequited love.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? God (but also my son).
Where would you like to live? New York City. An Upper West Side brownstone with a view of central park, and one must have a back garden. But also Paris,anywhere in Paris, I literally don’t care what arrondissement.
What is your motto? “So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember life’s a great balancing act.” —Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go
by Eric Twardzik
“I love the mentality of England, the tradition, and the old values. I love the suits of the gentlemen, the way they dress and live in the country. There is a code of light formality in
England today. It is something the modern world forgets.”
Valentino was on to something here. The Italian fashion designer poetically places his thumb on an English sensibility that deeply informs what we do at F.E. Castleberry. It’s evident in our anointment of a young David Hockney as a cardinal brand muse, our allegiance to a code of light formality (albeit slightly bent)—the better your dress, the worse you can behave—and our faithfulness to British cloth; especially our faithfulness to British cloth.
Our predilection for houndstooth, Glenn plaid, bold stripes, checks, and Harris tweed is unapologetic and frankly, fanatical; however, in a very un-British fashion, we soften everything up. Our natural—often unconstructed—shoulder and unlined construction give our made-to-measurement jackets and coats a distinctly American, free and easy feel.
That’s why we’re excited to offer a range of wools from Abraham Moon & Sons as part of our AW18 selection. In a field romanticized for its Britishness, Abraham Moon may be the most British. How British is that? Aside from sounding like the name of a untenured Hogwarts Professor, Abraham Moon was the 1995 recipient of The Queen’s Award for Export—presented by none other than QEII herself, at Buckingham Palace—and earned a four-hour visit from Prince Charles in 2015 as part of HRH’s Campaign for Wool (a British campaign we can fully endorse).
Even its origins align with the Crown. Abraham Moon & Sons was founded in Guiseley, West Yorkshire, in 1837—the same year that Queen Victoria ascended the throne. They were the first vertically integrated mill in town, and by close of the century their exports stretched from Western Europe to Japan.
Moon & Sons supplied cloth for the British Army in WWI, and survived the wave of shutters that decimated the British fabric business during the 20th century’s latter half. They remain one of Britain’s last-standing vertical mills, and continue to dye, spin and weave in the same building they’ve occupied since 1902.
As a vertical mill, everything at Abraham Moon begins with the raw wool. Their Merino comes from South Africa, the Shetland from New Zealand. The wool is dyed via a closely guarded equation involving time, pressure, and temperature, ensuring that their palette of over 500 colors can’t be replicated. For consistency’s sake, an on-site dye library helps them track standards.
Astoundingly, each yarn of Abraham Moon fabric can hold up to seven colors. The math here means that a tartan containing six colors in reality has 42 that can be picked up by the eye. This translates into murky tweeds and rich tartans with incredible range.
Among our favorites from this season are 100% wool highland tartans, whether they’re classic black watch overlaid with a discreet windowpane or bold, take-no-prisoner plaids that make use of every colored yarn Moon has to offer. There are town tweeds that can (almost) fade into the background with a tasteful, muddy houndstooth, then pop back into focus with a blue-and-green check when no one’s looking.
And then there’s the bold blazer stripe, composed of a navy ground overlaid by chalk-thick lines of dense yellow outlining a bold blue. The pattern makes us feel as if we’re about to lay down an oar at the height of Pax Brittanica or step up to the mic for The Kinks. Its composition is 60% wool, 40% cotton—just the sort of nudge needed if you’re not 100% ready for Fall to begin (we’ll excuse it).
What we love: F.E. Castleberry made-to-measure navy/blue/gold blazer stripe suit, tasseled kiltie loafer.
by Eric Twardzik
For most of history, sea monsters were indicative of where you shouldn’t be going. Dig up a medieval map, and look for those corners of the globe they hadn’t quite figured out yet. In place of South America or Taiwan you’ll see fearsome, cryptozoological swimmers that stand for one thing: “lost.”
So it’s a bit ironic that these creatures had their image rehabilitated by a device that tells you precisely were where you are—in time, anyway.
An embossed sea monster is just one of the things that makes the Omega Seamaster a whimsical, yet classic, piece of design. The half-horse, half-fish Hippocampus of Greek Mythology has been embossed on the backside of the watch since 1958. It’s a fitting icon for a timepiece based on designs made for the Royal Navy during WWII and essentially serves as a secret handshake between the Seamaster and its wearer.
Mythological beasts and world wars (not to mention its appearance on the wrists of two James Bonds) ensure that each Seamaster bears a historied origin story before it’s ever worn. But when the model’s provenance is combined with the personal history that can only come from a vintage piece, something inimitable happens.
Fred’s inimitable timepiece happens to be a Swiss 1962 Omega Seamaster purchased from an American Indian Chief. When Fred first came by it, it still had a sterling silver and turquoise watch band. The hands told the time but the deep patina of the watch face told a different story; a tale of where it’d been and who it had known that can’t be divided into minutes or hours. It imbues a mechanical object with something that can’t be priced while simultaneously disproving the notion that a one-of-a-kind timepiece must carry an exorbitant price tag (most models in excellent condition can be found for just under $3,000).
But no matter how Swiss it is, it’s still made up of moving pieces that require attention and care. When Fred realized his Seamaster was in need of servicing (i.e. the hands stuck at 11:17pm each day), he brought it to the city’s best—Grand Central Watch.
As its name implies, the shop is located within New York’s premier transportation hub. It’s not exactly Platform Nine and Three Quarters, but its discovery requires a trip down the 45th Street Passage until you discover a wood-paneled shop built into its left wall. It’s there that Grand Central Watch has been restoring life to timepieces from previous decades, and sometimes, centuries, since 1962.
Those 57 years of service have allowed Grand Central Watch to build a library of OEM parts that’s nearly unmatchable. In addition to having the pieces that can restore a 200-year-old pocket watch, they employ a team of experts skilled enough to use their bare hands in minute repairs when a tool might run the risk of damage.
At the time Fred purchased his Seamaster, it lacked the date window magnifier that would have originally been part of the crystal (there’s an interesting story behind that, he’s sure). It came back from Grand Central Watch with the proper crystal and a pristine new date adjust window. He’s enjoying that once-again relevant feature of his watch along with the fact that whoever it comes to next will too.
by Eric Twardzik
The air in 2019 is rife with four-letter words, and we’d rather not contribute to the chorus unless we really mean it. And in the case of the F*ck You Buck, made in collaboration with Blackstock & Weber, we most certainly do.
So, why the French? We think it’s in keeping with the true spirit of the white buck, which today is viewed through too genteel of a lens. Before the white shoe became synonymous with garden parties and seersucker, it was the shoe of choice for college punks. That’s right, punks. White suede bucks were Dr. Martens before Dr. Martens.
During the Jazz Age, rebellious Ivy League students would lace up white bucks with their tweed and flannels. From grass stains to beer splotches, they’d let their white bucks accumulate as much dirt as possible as a way of politely extending their middle finger towards the establishment.
Perhaps that’s why the white buck feels like the missing link between Fred’s past and present. During his adolescent punk phase, Fred lived in Docs. So when the opportunity arose to design a shoe with Blackstock & Weber—another made in England shoe label—he saw it as a chance to revive the white buck’s punk spirit by infusing it with Dr. Marten-inspired details.
What kind of details? For starters, we set our buck on a boot last that flaunts a bulbous toe box and a rounder profile akin to the original Dr. Marten 1461. We then bulked it up with metal eyelets, and a chunky, aggressive sole perfectly capable of kicking someone’s teeth in (of course, only when in dire straits).
But we didn’t abandon any of the refined details that have kept the white buck a prep staple through the years. Its upper is made from supple white suede—not nubuck—and has a velvety nap. In keeping with tradition, its chunky Ridgeway sole is made from brick-red rubber with an art deco tread pattern.
The other features are in line with quality shoemaking (and as Blackstock & Weber employs a third-generation Northampton workshop, we’d expect nothing less). You may know the drill: all-over calfskin leather lining, traditional Goodyear cork lining, and a storm-welted Goodyear construction that seam-seals the outsole, keeping out moisture (i.e. Negronis) and the elements (i.e. other people’s Negronis).
And yet, these carefully considered details will have been in vain if only worn to your annual Derby Day party. We designed the F*ck You Buck for everyday wear through dilapidated downtown subways, on post-dinner strolls, and for snuffing out American Spirits greedily smoked all the way down to the filter. The nappy white suede is primed to bare every scuff, scrape, and stain until they’re as lived-in as the threadbare Persian rug on your living room floor.
Wear your F*ck You Bucks after Labor Day…especially after Labor Day. And if anyone doesn’t like it, well, let your shoes deliver your French for you.
Slim Aarons spent his life documenting jet setters, movie stars, and beautiful people doing beautiful things in beautiful places during the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. In “The High Life,” the story behind some of his most iconic photographs come to light. We loved it and think you will too.