gentleman explorer

Latest commission, a friend paid me to draw her cat, TIffin, as a Gentleman Explorer.

Interesting story about this cat. He was found abandoned in front of our local foreigner bar, The Bookworm, last year. He was very weak and we weren’t sure he would survive the night. I heard later that he was adopted by a regular customer and that was the last I heard of him until this year when I started playing board games with a new group of people. One of my board game friends asked if I’d draw her cat, TIffin, and when she explained how she acquired him, I recognized the story immediately. I thought I’d never hear about that poor orphan kitten again, but here he was alive and well and having a portrait painted in his likeness. From humble beginnings, indeed.

The Gentleman Explorer

“Womenswear is very fashion, men’s is very classic,” Tom Ford stated, echoing the popular sentiment for menswear fall/winter 2013. The staples of a man’s wardrobe will usually remain relevant regardless of what era they are associated with. By Ford’s own account, included among these signature items are a well-cut dark suit, a smart blazer, and a closet laden with crisp, white cotton shirts. As expected, the runways were filled with a variety of these kinds of offerings – immaculately cut, polished business casual collections, along with a version of streetwear that resembled a romanticized gentleman explorer. This new frontier for menswear reads like a map of where it has traveled before, although there’s a new sense of luxury this time around.

Thick knits, durable fabrics, pops of colour, and silk accenting were presented as the modern adaptation of what trailblazers would have worn a century ago. Relics of tradition were simplified and streamlined, while still conjuring images of men capering through the countryside and scaling Himalayan mountain faces (in fantastic boots, no less). Biker jackets, leopard print, and suitcase backpacks were thrown in for good measure, giving the archetypal outdoorsman a more modern, metropolitan flavor. Looks were layered to add contrast, pattern, and texture, to the effect of rugged richness.

It was a provenance of styles, with an expansive heritage to draw inspiration from. Explorers in their time were heroes – iconic legends with a thirsty determination to delve into the unknown, never quite sure if they would return. The emphasis placed on purveying this legendary image while simultaneously appearing manly and adventurous should not be underestimated. The early pioneers of alpine and arctic expeditions were a pedigreed bunch, after all.