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three little words

I never expected to hear in the same sentence: Thierry Mugler toiletries. So, so sad.

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andy fraser, tartan butler

Curious about whether you can pull off a tartan plaid in 2012?  Look no further than Andy Fraser, the new Tartan Butler at Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel. A master at tracing Scottish ancestry, Fraser scoured over 30 variations of his own family tartan to trace the clan as far back as the early 13th Century. Coming quick to the realization that this talent was more than just an avocation, the local Edinburgh resident partnered with Rocco Forte’s Balmoral to share his expert guidance with guests wanting to find out a little more about their Scottish heritage. The gentleman definitely knows his history, too: “It was the Dress Act of 1746 that tried to bring the warrior clans under government by banning the tartan and other aspects of Gaelic culture,” says the Scotsman. “When the law was abolished in 1782, it was no longer ordinary Highland dress but was adopted instead as the national dress of Scotland.” Just imagine: plaid, a political statement. Once Fraser has established a connection to one of the thousands of clans and traditionally recognized tartans, he can arrange a trip to Kinloch Anderson, one of the city’s most established Highland dress shops. Or better yet head to my friend, kilt maker Howie Nicholsby, for an altogether 21st century kind of statement.

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live blog: handy dandy

Ruin your tie with a splash of soup at lunch? Forgot about that event tonight and you’re without your favorite pocket square? Has your toe finally poked through that pair of socks while at work?  Breathe easy, gents. One of my favorite websites for dapper accessories, Fine And Dandy, now offers a semi-secret same day delivery service to offices in Manhattan: 14th to 89th Street, river to river (If you’re just outside of the delivery area just ask and they’ll do their best to accommodate you). Best of all it’s free for the price of a tie. Anything less it’s $4.99 – which is a small price to pay for staying sartorially smart when duty demands. To keep the not-so-secret-anymore, contact them directly at: [email protected]

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savage beauty

If there’s been a more evocative – or truer – title for an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in recent years, I missed it. And while Savage Beauty concisely defines the life-work of Alexander McQueen, it also tells a greater, bolder truth: this is way more than just fashion; it’s Rousseau (both of them) come to life. It’s also one of the most compellingly immersive theatrical events of the year. Despite exhausting crowds and a line that practically quarantines the Impressionists as it snakes its way through Babylon and Assyria and into the Great Hall, Savage Beauty is a head-spinning head trip worthy of the endurance it demands. In truth, by the time you’ve wandered your way through – or been carried along by the crowd, depending on how you time it – the endless jostling seems an almost calculated manifestation of the constant conflict inherent in McQueen’s designs: life or death? Lightness or darkness? Predator or prey? Man or machine? Lest you think that’s a lot of philosophical ground for a handful of dresses to navigate, this show will elevate any future expectations. What it also makes stupefying clear is that Alexander McQueen was foremost a first-rank artist.

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