By Michael Talley and Eric Sellers, PQ Monthly
In a city teeming with fashion, personal expression, and trend setters, I want to get into the heads of some of Portland’s stylish LGBTQ icons. To me style is not made in magazines, malls or on television; it’s personal. This is the reason for this style deconstruction.
Christopher Giovarelli, 31, owner, Christopher David Experience Design and David Brady, 29, Art Director, Nike Inc.
When did you realize style mattered? Explain — idols, musicians, peers.
David Brady: It wasn’t until I came out at 16 that I really started noticing style – all of a sudden I was part of this world where it mattered, where it was accepted. Sadly, my first style inspiration was the boy bands of the late 90s – I wanted to look like Justin Timberlake. Spiked blonde hair, distressed jeans, cowboy boots, the whole nine. These days, my idols are a bit more classic – James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman. “Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse.”
Christopher Giovarelli: When I was five I tried on my mother’s high-heeled, leather boots. I thought I was pretty hot shit and pretended I was Wonder Woman. What can I say? Lynda Carter was fierce. I actually still have a pair of blue underwear with stars on them that I wear from time-to-time, but these days without the heels. Then came the awkward years (think Skechers and Henleys, before Henleys were cool). I’d say those years lasted until Henleys actually were cool, by which time I was sick of them. Avant garde you say? Why thank you. Nowadays I just wear what I like, which sometimes just means gym shorts and a sweatshirt. Most of the time it means that.
Who gives you a style boner now?
DB: Tom Ford is incredible. I love that he is not only a fashion designer, but Art Directs films as well. “A Single Man” was stunning visually – I would love to work on a project like that someday. Ryan Gosling has great style as well; it comes off effortless yet sexy at the same time. And Footballers like David Beckham and Christiano Ronaldo. I get most of my hair inspiration from them.
CG: Blaine from Glee. Kidding… Actually not kidding at all. I mean bow ties with a polo shirt!? Good God how fantastic.
What is your most valued article of clothing?
DB: When I got the call from Nike offering me a job (which would move me back home to Portland from NYC), I decided to commemorate by spending some cash (it was a pretty big salary jump). I was in Vegas at the time, and loved Dolce & Gabbana – so I picked up this amazing leather jacket for about $3,000. It looks like something Wolverine would wear if he was an Italian Glam Rocker. I think I have worn it twice.
CG: Mine’s actually a hand-me-down. It’s my father’s high school letterman sweater — South Plainfield High School. It’s beige with grass green accents, which is a hell of a color combination to match with anything. I try not to wear it too often (again, beige and green), but I just think it’s really cool.
Do you wear jewels? What accessories are a must-have in your closet?
DB: I don’t wear much in terms of jewelry – I had fake diamond studs when I was younger, but these days my engagement ring is the one thing I wear. It is a signet ring I designed with my older brother, then we prototyped it as a 3D print before having it cast in gold. Once Chris and I get married this August, we will engrave the tops with a monogram of our initials interlocked.
CG: I’m loving gentlemen’s neckpieces these days. I was first inspired to wear them by the fashion design work of my friend Joshua Christensen, and now I’m hooked. They are an awesome alternative to a bowtie.
My only regular accessory is my signet ring. David and I had them designed as engagement rings, and we’ll get our monogram engraved on them when we get married this summer. I first had it made in bronze because I loved the color, but then it turned by finger green (dammit). Now it’s gold. Remember when gold was gross and everything was silver? Funny how pendulums swing.
Smells. Are you all-natural? Soaps? Sprays? Discuss. We wanna know brands.
DB: I like Old Spice After Hours deodorant – it has a masculine scent, and keeps me fresh. For cologne, I have long been a Yves St. Laurent L’Homme guy. It has a fresh, woody, bright scent.
CG: I used to just use bar soap, like Irish Springs. Nothing fancy. But David got me into body wash, so now I slather something involving oatmeal and spices on my body every morning. For cologne, my every day is Gucci Guilty, and my special occasions scent is Creed Royal Oud. On low days I just rub some of my Old Spice Aqua Reef deodorant on my hands, wipe it on my face, and call it good.
Eat, Drink, Scene: What do you nosh? What’s your sip? Where are your haunts?
DB: Lately, I have been loving Multnomah Whiskey Library. It is a sexy dark bar that makes me feel so dapper and civilized. Can’t go wrong with a good rye whiskey Manhattan made on a cart next to your overstuffed chesterfield! Fish Sauce is also great for Vietnamese, great ambiance and the Pho is fantastic. They have a long live edge wood communal table, and chandeliers made of mason jars and wood pallets. And even though it is a total plug, I love getting breakfast at Christopher David on the weekends. An almond milk salted caramel latte and sausage breakfast sandwich always does me right.
CG: I’m a dinner party kind of guy. We designed our loft’s dining table to seat 12, and have pushed it to 14. There’s nothing better than good people, good food and good conversation with no bill to split at the end. Recently we did Angus sliders with sprouts and Brie; a staple is our goat cheese quesadillas with pollo asado.
Shoes! Oh my God, shoes! What do you have? What do you need?
DB: I have way too many Cole Haan shoes. Love a good pair of boots – they had a pair that I fell in love with last winter, and I bought them in three colors of leather (brown with brown laces, black with red laces, and gray suede with black laces). I also love oxfords (I have this great stone gray leather pair with emerald laces), and my green leather deck shoes with plaid interior. And of course I love my Nike Flyknits – they look great with anything, are lightweight, and comfortable. Doesn’t hurt that they are better for the environment too.
CG: Without really realizing it, I’ve apparently assembled an arsenal of brogues. What can I say? I love them. I get most comments on my brown mid-rise boot version, but a personal favorite is a pair of grey Cole Haans with white laces and sole to match. The other day I was out furniture sourcing for a client and the older salesman commented on my shoes and about all the pairs of wingtips he had when he was younger. He said he sure hoped they’d come back in style so he could wear them again. I tried not to look too offended.
Forever young! I wanna be forever young! What do you slather and slop on to pamper yourself?
DB: I am such a stickler for taking care of my skin. I wash my face morning, post workout, and night – and I always moisturize afterwards. I go with Cetaphil – it is super simple, no fragrance, and doesn’t clog your pores. For my body, I always use a moisturizing wash. Currently using Aveeno with oatmeal.
CG: I’m au natural. I don’t think I actually knew what moisturizer was used for until I met David (see body wash comment above), he’s really helped me come a long way.
You have a time machine. Go back in time and anything from any era. What would you get, where and when?
DB: That is tough – I would probably go back to the 1940s when Belstaff first started, get one of their amazing leather jackets. Or to 1963 to get the one McQueen wore in The Great Escape!
CG: I think I’d head back to the summer of 1898 in Newport, Rhode Island. The Guilded Age was in full bloom, and so were the society parties. As much as I loathe formality and pretension, I think it would be a blast. I’d probably pretend I was the heir to some copper fortune out West as I smooth talked the ladies (and the men). Although now that I think about it, there was entirely too much clothing back then…
Favorite artists, designers, and musicians—and give us whys.
DB: My favorite artist has always been Andy Warhol – I loved his process, screen printing has always been inspiring to me as a graphic designer. He was really pushing the commentary on pop culture, and doing it in a beautiful, textured way. Designer would be Tom Ford. Incredible, handsome clothes and some damn sexy ad campaigns. He is also a very handsome man. I would love to get married in one of his tuxedos (navy blue). If I have a fraction of his success someday, I could die happy. And my favorite musician would be Muse. Amazing band from Devon, England. They have this operatic, stunning take on rock music. And the lead singer Matthew has some serious pipes.
CG: Without trying to sound uncouth, I find keeping track of artists, fashion designers and musicians a lot like managing my March Madness brackets. Too many players, teams and coaches to keep it all straight. I love rich modern art and have a fanciful connection to impressionism. I also like the American realism movement and Edward Hopper.
I’m drawn to fashion that is sharp, masculine and serious that then draws the eye with a glimpse of playfulness and whimsy. I like designers who make clothes for real, yet slightly eccentric people. I think that’s what many of us are. Who doesn’t love a grey blazer with a purple paisley liner?
You know that guy who knows who and what’s up and coming on the music scenes? I’ve always kind of wanted to be him. But I’m not, and that’s okay. I’m inspired by musicians who embrace life and lifestyle and use their music to touch and inspire. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga both seem to do that, and I appreciate their gusto for life.
What’s your most irritating fashion faux pas?
DB: Mixing black and brown is a big one – I just don’t get it. I also am not a fan when people get too matchy-matchy with colors. On that same level is when people ignore color all together and wear all black – where is the fun in that? Plus it shows dog or cat hair way too easily. I love snuggling with our Shiba Jack way too much to wear black.
CG: Oh gosh. People should mostly wear whatever they want, but why would you wear sandals with socks? Seriously. Straight men: (not that you’re reading this) but I’m talking to you.