Tuesday, October 19, 2010

JBCStyle: Wass Stevens Style

I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.
Howard Roark, The Fountainhead

New York institution and actor Wass Stevens leaves clothing for last when we ask him about his style. It should come as no surprise; he has always steered his own course. Words, like machines, are handled with steely precision and his response is a road only he can pave. But first, the question is harnessed, then re-released in his own style:

"Style is one's lifestyle," Wass edits. "What brings someone happiness in life defines their style." A long pause, but it's not uncomfortable. He's thinking, and we like thoughtful answers. They are a dying breed.

"My dog-eared copy of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.  I bought it at Shakespeare & Co. and carried it with me while vacationing with my best friend Paulie this summer." Why? Another long pause, and then a definitive, "Because Howard Roark is god."

Wass shifts gears from books to bikes: "My custom Chopper. An open road. Euphoria."

photo credit Wass Stevens

The lifestyle continues, and he does it well. "My candy apple vintage Charvel. It's the latest addition to my collection. I play the blues. . . channel some Stevie Ray Vaughan."

photo credit Wass Stevens
"I make myself a cup of coffee every morning and sit on that chair," Wass continues. Yes, even with coffee Wass is acutely precise:

photo credit Wass Stevens
Precision is well founded; he may make the best cup of coffee this side of Rome. "I sip my coffee and look across at Roberto Butesco's Love Bite." A soaring masterpiece covers the wall across from him, and the untamed horses of Sable Island caught in a rare moment of tenderness (or is it?) stir the senses. He digs it.

Untamed bite style.

"I love to act," he adds simply, but there's an intensity and an honestly behind the admission that makes it far from simplistic. It might be the perfect answer. Recent projects include Goat with Ice-T, Armand Assante, and Vincent Pastore and Spike Lee's The Girl is in Trouble. Wass is well known for his roles in The Wrestler and World Trade Center, been in countless Law and Order - Criminal Intent episodes as well as other films and commercials (resident shitzu Harold Moscowitz is most pleased about one movie title in his resume - can you guess?) but we think the clip featured here from Brookyln's Finest might be some of his best work to date. He steals the scene. Sorry, Ethan.

Wesley SnipesRichard GereShannon KaneAntoine Fuqua, Wass Stevens Ethan Hawke
Now, finally, since we are JBCStyle and fashion recruiting is our business, we have to press the famously stylish Wass for the answer we originally expected - what is his favorite article of clothing in his wardrobe? We've been patient enough and Wass finally relents, perhaps even a little shyly: "My camel cashmere and mink Brioni overcoat."

In turn, we confess to relenting as well - somehow without the Rand hero, the chopper, the charvel, the perfect cup of coffee, the untamed horses, the love of his vocation. . . that coat might just be a coat. With the added lifestyle element it's given a personal cast that gives it a character and a presence.  It was Brioni, but now it's uniquely Wass.

Wear your clothes, don't let them wear you style.

We give credence to those who understand. A lesson learned from Wass Stevens, the original untamed horse.

Howard Roark laughed style.

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