Born a slave, the nineteenth-century abolitionist Frederick Douglass was not only one of the best orators in American history, he was also one of the most dashing—whatever it takes to captivate an audience. Izzy would love to see someone resurrect Douglass’ romantic hairstyle, a sort of a combed-over afro.
Werner Herzog, the obsessive director of obsessives real and imaginary, a filmmaker whose career began with his stealing a camera from film school, serves as a stark example of a gentleman who ought to have kept his moustache. That horizontal strip of hair flatters a long face and de-emphasizes a mountainous nose. Given that one of Herzog’s chief fixations has been the nature of manliness, it’s all the stranger that the director of Fitzcarraldo deforested the wide swath between his nose and mouth.
Having bemoaned the plague of less-than-masculine male models, Izzy is not quite willing to praise this rare example of the opposite extreme: a hairy, meaty chav with teeth that only an orthodontist could love—all courtesy of punk fashionist Vivienne Westwood. Izzy hasn’t seen this much bling since Hans Holbein the Younger.
Not being a habitué of Gstaad, Izzy had never heard of French/Swiss financier Arpad Busson prior to the announcment of his engagement to Uma Thurman, but the self-made ladykiller definitely has the rich-playboy style down pat. Note his high shirt collar, decolletage, unbuttoned (or are they uncuffed?) mitred cuffs, and funky bracelets.
In the past, with a different beauty on his arm, he has even been able to add color to a tuxedo without looking gauche. But Izzy is even more impressed with Busson’s ultra-slim-fitting peak-lapel dinner jacket. (Are those bracelets his trademark?)
Like milk and orange juice, pregnant and bearded are two things that were never meant to go together. Izzy hopes that, upon being born, the baby girl will not curdle our blood.
It’s not easy to wear a sweater on one’s shoulders without looking unbearably preppy, but this gentleman in Manhattan succeeds, perhaps because the dark navy melds into the shirt and jacket. His entire outfit is a well-balanced study in brown and blue, even in such details as his tortoise-shell glasses, woven belt, and puffed-up pocket square.
Like the directions of a compass rose, Roman Polanski’s hair and open wing collar point in all directions—which, fittingly for a director, makes his face the focal point.
The poet Walt Whitman once rhapsodized:
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
But that apologia for inconsistency surely doesn’t excuse Sean Penn’s combining a 1950s rockabilly pompadour with a nineteenth-century-style shirt and tie. To Izzy’s eyes, chronological contradictions can be the most disagreeable.
While visting Cannes for the screening of Che, his bio-pic of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, director Steven Soderbergh sported a beard that extended down beneath his shirt collar. Given that Soderbergh is usually clean-shaven, can there be any doubt that he disposed of his razor (and good sense) in homage to Che’s neck beard, which made him look like he had a lion’s mane?