Film noir gangsters may be bad role models, but they sure are sharp dressers. In the 1940’s, when the crime genre was king, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson, Humphrey Bogart, and George Raft, portrayed cutthroat outlaws with dapper taste in custom-tailored suits, silk ties, wingtips, gloves and fedoras. Hollywood movie mobsters wouldn’t be caught dead in cheap duds, apparently, ‘cause they sure looked like they spent a load of dough on the best that their dirty money could buy.
Continuing that sartorial tradition is the impeccably-dressed ensemble cast of Mob City, TNT’s new three-week series from Frank Darabont about the ‘40s power-struggle between the mafia and the Los Angeles police. The riveting drama centers on Det. Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal of “The Walking Dead”), an ex-Marine assigned to a new mob task force headed by Det. Hal Morrison (Jeffrey DeMunn of “The Walking Dead” and “The Shawshank Redemption”). The task force is part of a crusade by L.A. Police Chief William Parker (Neal McDonough of “Captain America” and “Desperate Housewives”), to free the city of criminals like Ben “Bugsy” Siegel (Ed Burns of “Saving Private Ryan” and “Entourage”) and Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke of “Don Jon”), the ruthless king of the L.A. underworld.
The striking cast of cops and robbers—also including Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Gregory Itzin (“24”), and Robert Knepper (“Prison Break”)—is dressed to kill by costume designer Giovanna Ottobre-Melton, who clothed her men head-to-toe in a carefully curated collection of original power suits and vintage finds. If she could have, she would have shopped at a long-gone men’s clothing store called Michael’s Exclusive Haberdashery, which just happened to be owned by notorious gangster Mickey Cohen (and laundered more money than shirts). That little known fact inspired the TNT channel to briefly revive the store in New York with Mickey’s Haberdashery, a three-day pop-up shop in Chelsea Market, where the only shady business was the sale of wide-brimmed hats.
On December 2-4 Mickey’s Haberdashery briefly offered a smart collection of men’s and women’s vintage and contemporary classic-style apparel and accessories—including hats, pocket squares, ties, cuff links and heritage sunglasses—curated by Ignacio Quiles, co-owner of QP & Monty and stylist behind Sartorial Pairings. The 1940’s time-capsule is now history, so JustLuxe persuaded Quiles to share his favorite New York designer styling sources so shoppers can still add a little Mob City gangster-glam to their wardrobes.
MILLER’S OATH: This sophisticated bespoke clothing company was originally founded in Groton, South Dakota in 1906 by the great grandfather of the new Greenwich shop founder Kirk Miller and his brothers. Each custom piece – which requires a minimum of three fittings—is a full canvas garment cut by hand and features a cut-away front and single button. The semi-rope shoulder creates a modern yet timeless silhouette.
VICTORY OPTICAL: The Victory Optical Collection revives a line of classic American eyewear designs that have been in the same family for four generations. Founder Vincent J. Salierno’s design sense appealed to individuals such as Buddy Holly, Dean Martin, Connie Francis, Phil Silvers, political figures and crime bosses. Many of their original designs are now offered again. "I kept seeing the influence of retro-styling emerge in fashion, movies, cars and furniture," says grandson William Marfuggi. "As I styled product for other companies I kept returning to our family archive of catalogues and frames for inspiration. I realized the time was right to put the classic designs of my grandfather and father back into production."
JACK ERWIN SHOES: No self-respecting mobster would stomp on the enemy without a pair of polished wingtips. Jack Erwin shoes are Quiles’ top choice for vintage styles and expert craftsmanship. “We are unwaveringly committed to quality materials and to the labor intensive, age-old craft of fine shoemaking,” says Jack Erwin, who starts with inspiration and a pen. “Each design is hand sketched as a tribute to tradition and as a reminder that real artistry and craft will always remain relevant.”
LEISURE LIFE NYC: For casual Fridays, this line of vintage-inspired sportswear is just right for a day of threatening bookies at the track. Brooklyn artist/designer Charnier Corey, has always had a unique life perspective and the gift of expressing himself creatively, starting at 13 with his first jeans design. The pants were immediately stolen, cementing his belief in his design direction.
TRACY WATTS: Brooklyn based milliner, Tracy Watts creates handmade hat for men and women, with finishing touches done on vintage machinery through artisanal methods. “For the men’s collections, I find my muse in historical events such as the five points draft riots and prohibition, books, songs, and films.” Her Bed-Stuy Natural Fedora is a hand-blocked rabbit fur felt fedora with grosgrain and button tether in black, midnight, or chocolate. For dames, her Veiled Small Fedora is hand-blocked velour fur felt, veiled with a Swarovski beauty-mark accent.
QP & MONTY: This West Village vintage shop is run by Ignacio Quiles himself, arguably the best-dressed dandy in Manhattan, and the soon-to-be proprietor of Sartorial Pairings, a new apparel and accessories brand of old school style designed for new world lives. “I borrow from history and try to give voice to my favorite eras, but I’m not always decked out in head to toe vintage,” he smiles, pointing out that he’s clad in Paul Smith from the neck to the ankles, but his hat and shoes have ‘40s-era designer pedigrees. “It’s my nod to the old school. I know it doesn’t compare to today’s fast fashion, but prior to Beau Brummel this kind of sartorial pleasure was the sole province of Kings and maybe a few Dukes, not commoners.” His ever-changing designer vintage includes styles for the full spectrum of men who follow his personal manifesto: “Enjoy what you wear. Wear what you enjoy. Then go out and show the world exactly what you’re made of.”