Monday, April 25, 2016

meet Jorge Rios.. The Cosmopolite



It is a rarity in these times to find a man, so young in years, who possesses such remarkable style and polish, not mention exudes an air of elegance somewhat reminiscent of a Cary Grant or Gary Cooper vibe,  but a 21st century version. So it was my pleasure to get to know Mr. Rios who has parlayed his talents, background and his appearance into an all-encompassing public relations business that is surely to be admired by many of us in the worlds of fashion and style. Think in these descriptive terms: dapper, natty, savvy and tony and then find me ten other millennials who share these adjectives as traits!
 
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In these “millennial times” it is even rarer than a rooster with teeth to find a young man who honestly possesses the perfected appearance of a true gentleman in every sense of the word. Rios is an exception of his generation especially in this age of sweats, bed heads, tee shirts and torn or saggy jeans with little attention paid other than to fitting in rather than standing out.
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With clients like Versace and Ferragamo timepieces, Tattinger, Raquel Orozco along with writing style and fashion columns for various media outlets on an international scale, Jorge Rios is indeed one busy man. I finally pinned him down to a time when we might get better acquainted and this interview is the byproduct of that discussion and so in his own words:
 
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Jeffrey Felner: Would you please give us a brief history of you and how you arrived at where you are today with your profession.
Jorge Rios: I am Jorge Rios, born in Mexico City in 1979 with a mix of Mexican Indi - Spanish roots. My name Jorge was given because of  The Beatles as my dad was a fanatic in late 70's decided that name under George Harrison. I'm a public relations professional since almost 18th years involved in fashion, luxury brands and entertainment. Starting as a PR of Mexican jewels fashion designer to MAC cosmetics, then as my own PR Agency, representing brands like Givenchy, Emilio Pucci, Fendi fragrances, Jed Root Inc. in NYC, Timex Group luxury division with brands like: Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Hugo Boss, champagne Taittinger as a  PR Ambassador and representing Mexican fashion designer brand Raquel Orozco.
Actually I am doing collaborations having my own lifestyle column at theguiltycode.com , doing seasonal fashion weeks reviews for a Mexican newspaper as a guest insider, and fashion contributor for fashion media in Dubai and Asia. 
 
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JF: What is your dream collaboration or project and why
JR: There are so many Mexican talents inside and outside the country in sports, arts, gastronomy, fashion, architecture, music among others. My dream collaboration definitely could be with all of these because they finishing being as real Mexican ambassador´s showing the richest things that our Mexican culture roots represents which is more than just Frida Kahlo, tacos and Mariachis. Promoting so much of Mexican culture and gaining fame in other countries where no one sometimes knows about them, about what are they doing and the best image they are providing to the world about Mexico. So to be the bridge between them and my country would be awesome, supporting to open more doors inside and outside. 
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JF: if you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why
JR: It's so hard to mention this because I have already small groups of close best friends that I really love share time with them; we learn, share, laugh, sing, update, support. But If is about to be with famous worldwide people could be:
Wallis Simpson: She could provide this earthy royal thing to my dinner table and of course her good manners; she would let me know all the inside things about her life, her Prince Edward relationship, and how the hell she endured the tsunami of news through her life when the King abdicated the crown just because he wanted to be married with her as a true love story.
Oprah: Someone fun, who will help me to do a relax time along with others guests at the table throughout the dinner. She could do good questions and open our minds in the way she is well known. To get her point of view experience in many things with all this amazing people she had interviewed during her career.
Maria Felix: the Mexican golden era cinema actress icon who could provide the beauty and glamour in the table. I see clearly making a perfect match with all guests getting central attention with her personal and unique intelligence, her glow with sarcastic jokes and comments, wearing a "made to order" Valentino dress and her famous diamond Cartier alligator necklace.
Eleazar Rios: He's my uncle and mentor in life. Since I can remember I saw him like a perfect powerful, intelligent business man, a real gentleman, always perfectly tailored well dressed and scented; in the office, playing tennis, cocktail parties, traveling, in celebrations, or driving a nice sports car; always worried to keep the family together, a man of his word. A whole charming Casanova able to make everyone laugh in the table.
Porfirio Diaz: Imperialist Mexican ex-president era severely questioned and criticized in Mexican history books. He brought the French style decor and architecture to Mexico during his rule, as it is called "Porfiriano Style". He will provide that serious side to the table, but I'm sure he will be fascinated also with the other guests in table.
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JF: Can you tell us who are your style mentors or icons and why you have selected them?
JR: My Uncle mentor life: Eleazar Rios, means to me a real gentleman through my life since I was a child. He is someone who I could see and touch fashion that inspired me to try to be very well dressed for any place or moment. Rudolph Valentino: first Latin lover knows his style, attitude, poses, and amazing tailored suits and hats. Lapo Elkann: This man distilled his style anywhere at any time, seems like he just jump from bed (when also can look amazing) and pum! He's perfectly well dressed, unique. Prince Edward (Duke of Windsor) : a real bon vivant, perfectly well dressed for any occasion as a perfect Englishman.
 
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JF: What is your opinion about fashion and style these days especially within your generation and please be honest?
JR: I think men´s next door in general are in a transition, they feel frightened about what and how to wear, they get conventional and boring in the way that they don't wanna take risks in special in Latin markets. But more and more they seem interested in new options, mixing textures, colours. Nowadays information is everywhere so they feel more confident. Italians are the best ones for me, creating a personal fashion singular sense taste.
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Monday, April 18, 2016

meet the maverick model .. Brad Welling



It may sound trite to say that I “caught up” with anyone for lunch (at Maialino) but when someone is seemingly a moving target that’s exactly what happens. This man is a virtuoso or possibly akin to a gold medaled Olympian when it comes to time management as he juggles one full time profession, one part time profession and a very active private life so with that being said, yes the moving the target was pinned down to a date and a time to have a bite and a chat which resulted in this interview. It might be noted here that there is no facet of his life that is treated fractionally or in other words there is no either or; all aspects are treated with equal import.

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The man is in possession of matinee idol looks, a swoon worthy presence and the access to a skill set that includes a boundless reservoir of charm that could easily charm the white off of rice and that’s no exaggeration or hyperbole. This is no empty headed wannabe model but a man of distinguished credentials who has a personal mission/challenge that belies his education and profession. In certain circles Brad would be looked upon as an iconoclast or possibly a renaissance man.

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In some odd twist of fate, our paths crossed and since that time, he inspires, provokes, impresses and is an endless source of amazement to this seasoned fashionphile. Mr. W is just this rare bird who wants in on the business of fashion by choice as he really doesn’t have to be involved in this messy world. This is his personal mission, his quest and eventually it will be another success for this much accomplished gentleman.

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And so without any further blathering on from me, here is Brad W in his own words speaking about a topic of which he is intimately familiar with and can speak to without equivocation: Brad W.

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Jeffrey Felner: Can you speak to the dichotomy between your everyday professional life vs. your aspirational profession?
Brad W: In my professional life, I play many different roles--advocate, influencer, cajoler, ambassador, or diplomat depending upon the circumstances and need of the client.  Because of the types of people I routinely interact with almost daily – ambassadors, diplomats, corporate executives, government ministers—I personally always try to fly below the radar, in other words, never attracting unwanted scrutiny or attention to myself or the client.
Similarly, as a model, I am capable of playing many different roles and looks—business executive, husband, rascal, lover, sports figure or handsome father depending upon who the designer or product is at the time of the assignment.  However, in these roles I welcome as much media scrutiny and attention to my image that can possibly be brought to help sell the designer or product.

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JF: Where do you see Brad W in 5 years?
BW: Life is pretty good right now.  However, never wanting to become stagnant or complacent, I see myself continuing to plod along to achieve my goals just as I am doing now as a lawyer and model.  I would like though to be able to look back five years from now with satisfaction to the number of times I have appeared in some of the world’s greatest international fashion magazines.

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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner, who would they be and why?
BW: Well, my dinner party would actually be an informal affair where I would cook several courses to last for a long evening of discourse and storytelling.  Without question, King Felipe VI of Spain is top of my list.  I sat down for a breakfast discussion with King Felipe late last year and, besides being impeccably dressed, I was so moved as he spoke passionately about the need to solve Spain’s chronically high youth unemployment rate.  I would next invite Henry Kissinger, whose commentary on China—a country I have visited more than any other country--remains timely and prescient.  Strong and intelligent women have always played a key role in my life and so I would want Mathilde Krim at my table.  I would love to listen to her stories about her struggles and lifelong commitment to advance human rights, gay rights, and medical research.  To liven up the conversation, I would invite Richard Branson whom I have never met, but his persona (and brand he represents) seems surely to liven up any dinner conversation.  Finally, I would invite a dear friend of mine at the Atlantic Council, Jessica Ashooh, who is one of the most beautiful and brilliant young women I have ever met.  She will probably become U.S. Secretary of State if not President of the United States one day.
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JF: If you could rewrite your life path what would you have changed and why or can you just speak to the path you are on?
BW: I would not change a thing!  I wake up each day saying “Today is a great day; what can I do to make my mark?”  I know that seems terribly trite, but it is true.  I am very optimistic and happy by nature.
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JF: What was the best advice you ever received and from whom and why?
BW: Shortly after I graduated from law school, my mother told me not to get distracted by momentary pleasures.  Keep working toward your goal and eventually you will be in a position to look back on your life without regrets.  So far, her advice has proven true.

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JF: Can you tell us what has been the best day of your life thus far and why as well as what do you think could be the best day of your life in the future?
BW: Without question, the best day in my entire life was February 18, 2012, the day I arrived at a rural hospital in the Midwest of the United States to see for the first time the infant girl I was to adopt as my own child.  The best day of my life in the future will be at her wedding when she marries a woman or man of her choice.

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Sunday, April 10, 2016

meet Juan Avellaneda the 21st century haberdasher



Merriam Webster dictionary defines haberdasher as a noun with its definition being a person who owns or works in a shop that sells men's clothes
 
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When growing up, men’s shops were not just shops that carried the newest, the latest and the greatest fashion of the times, rather they were places where men went to wardrobe themselves. Simply said, a haberdashery, a purveyor of fashion, otherwise known as a clothier, catered to every need that any man could have/need and Juan Avellaneda seems to be a 21st century incarnation of a haberdasher disguised as a brand.
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Do not be deceived by his youth as his modus operandi is much the same as those who came many decades before him and paved the way for the likes of this man. He has reinterpreted the classics in ways that retain the original DNA of menswear’s past and but his collection offers an unmistakably au courant twist whether achieved by tweaking proportion, detail, color or fabrication.
 
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What Juan Avellaneda offers to his retail and bespoke clients is best explained with the Italian word whose definition is copied below; think Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Lapo Elkann, Steve McQueen, Gianni Agnelli, Marcello Mastroianni, Alain Delon and many other men who crafted the act of dressing as an art form and means of self-expression.
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“sprez·za·tu·ra (spretsəˈt(y)o͝orə) noun  defined as studied carelessness, especially as a characteristic quality or style of art or literature. Sprezzatura is an Italian word originating from Baldassare Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier, where it is defined by the author as "a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it.”

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Jeffrey Felner: Can you please describe your journey in the menswear business?
Juan Avallaneda: Avellaneda began in 2014 as a long cherished project in which I wanted to translate my concerns, interests and demands in my own fashion Brand.
 I was linked to the textile sector as I worked as a freelance designer specialized in accessories for men luxury brands and I have been always fascinated by fashion, the history of costume, crafts and clothing, contemporary art, Asian culture, among many other things which are directly related to this industry.
I also studied Creative Direction at Central Saint Martins and majored in Business Administration. It was at this point when I strongly thought about starting this adventure, which has led me to the point where I am right know and I could not be prouder and happier of the journey I have been through. Since the launch of the first collection in autumn 2014, which marked the entry into the menswear market, everything has been really extraordinary.
 
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JF: Since your clothes are those of great distinction, can you speak to the topics of inspirations and how you decide to merchandise the store?
 JA: It came a time when I realized there was room on the market for an upscale yet relaxed men’s label, a label with a strong Mediterranean identity that would address an international clientele.
The showroom we’ve been working on in Barcelona encapsulated this Mediterranean style: it’s a place that “breathes” Barcelona, a city which is very cosmopolitan. It is very important to me since I truly believe that a brand is much more than just clothes, it is also about lifestyle. “ A fully assumed jet setter, Avellaneda designs clothes for a man who resembles him, sophisticated yet casual, self-confident and without any complex;  A Mediterranean version of the famous “American casual-chic style”.
 
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JF: Besides being your own best model and spokesperson, how do you balance your personal tastes versus what you think you will sell? Are your designs now available to other stores and where?
 JA: Every piece that I design is made from my taste and my instinct.
When I see a fabric, if I fall for it, I end up creating something with it. At the end, there’s something inside yourself that tells you either to do it or not. Nevertheless, it is obvious that not every creation has its commercial side, but from my point of view, it is crucial to design pieces that I would wear, because otherwise, what sense would it make?
Our collections are currently available in different stores. Santa Eulalia and Jean Pierre Bua, both located in Barcelona, sell our designs, and Yusty, located in Madrid, does it too. We selected these shops because of their history and luxury vocation.
Nonetheless, our Showroom is our main point of sales since our private clients are able to customize their pieces.
Last but not least, we have done some Pop Up Stores, where clients can find our designs in unusual places, or the other way round, unusual designs in our current point of sale locations.
 
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JF: Let us speak to the future of here and ask who would be your dream collaboration and where do you see the brand and yourself in 10 years?
 JA: I would love to have multi-brand points of sale all around the world, but they should be always the best ones. Moreover, I would love to be able to collaborate with pioneer/heritage  brands and do some co-branding projects, for example in jewelry, footwear or something more “lifestylish”, because at the end, the kind of man dressed by Avellaneda lives in a certain environment and frequents certain places, etc.
 
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JF: If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would they be and why?
 JA: Instead of a dinner, I’d rather throw a party in which I could chat from Yves Saint Laurent and Tom Ford to characters such as Alain Delon, Dali, Diana Vreeland or people who could give me good pieces of advice.
At the end, I would end up inviting people whom I admire for their work, such as designers, editors, photographers, businessmen, etc.