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CLASSICAL FOUNDATIONS

James Andrew - architecture McKim, Mead & White

James Andrew - architecture McKim, Mead & White

If we cannot have connoisseurship in the young decorators, I would settle for a few history lessons. There is so little awareness of classical Greece, the neoclassical period, the eighteenth century, and the first half of the twentieth century. Without a foundation the house will crumble. What I am saying is not to be taken for nostalgia. Nothing is more exciting than the new. While you can build on the past, you can never really return to it.

– Albert Hadley

My esteemed friend and mentor, Hadley, always encouraged me to do historical research at the very outset of any design, but this approach certainly shouldn’t be limited to design and architecture, it can—and let’s just say should!—be applied to all creative endeavors: from design to fashion; film to photography. Of course, how one approaches the research can entail a vast variety of resources—from travel, books, magazines, lectures, movies, etc.—there is quite a limitless wellspring of inspiration and knowledge to be had!

Back in my showroom days, one of my other great teachers, Ralph Lauren, once told me “You need to learn the rules before you can break them.” With a good solid base of knowledge one can really proceed forward, confidently expressing perhaps a more unique, and personal point of view.

On a sublime Sunday afternoon, I’ve stopped to admire the work of McKim, Mead & White. I’m sporting a chartreuse suede safari jacket and chartreuse python belt with silver double horse head buckle by Gucci, Tom Ford dusty rose check cotton shirt with French cuffs and woven pale olive suede espadrilles, vintage moon stone cuff links, Rolex Oyster Perpetual watch and sunglasses by Gucci, my fragrance is Eua d’Italie’s Paestum Rose.

5 Comments

  1. Brad says:

    So true. As I mentioned before, it’s important to establish that balance between modernity and the past. In terms of fashion, one of the most interesting things is when a designer looks to the house’s archives and reinterprets here and there. The ability to know what can and should be adapted is an essential quality in any discipline.

  2. James Andrew says:

    Dear Brad,

    These ideas are so important!

    I just wanted to stress how important it is to continue to educate ourselves.

    Cheers

    JA

  3. Dean says:

    James, (and Brad)

    I couldn’t agree more! James, see Rome with these amazing eyes of yours, and bring it back, in the great tradition of the Beaux Arts. I’ve been re-reading my copy of “740 Park” and have gleaned a lot of interesting and useful information. Even the grandest of New York co-ops at one time contained rentals! JA, have a great trip to “the continent” as it was referred to in the 19th century… Dean

  4. Valuable lessons from amazing mentors – thank you for sharing, James!

  5. POUYA says:

    James,the Color of your Safari jacket is EPIC! and I think having Ralph Lauren as A Mentor is Absolutely Fantastic………have a safe trip & enjoy…

    Regards,
    POUYA…

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