HOUS April 2011 : Page 78
Men of st y l e · 2 0 1 1 · GlOBA l Want to kick it with a prince from Ghana? Or a model from Iran, or a ballet star from Japan? Welcome to Houston, where edgy entrepreneurs and cultural crusaders from across the country, and around the world, collide. · | By Jody Schmal | Photography by Bode Helm | Styling by Todd Ramos | | Grooming by Sarah Tucker | Shot on location at Hotel Sorella | G OI nG The Accelerator He’s only been here a year, but todd Blue has made fast work of Houston. Literally. The debonair Kentucky native, 44, fulfilled a childhood dream to own a sports car dealership when he acquired Porsche of North Houston in 2010.More recently, he added Houston’s only Lamborghini dealership to his portfolio. It just seemed like the right time to step on the gas,metaphorically speaking, saysBlue, a Houston Rockets fanwho notes that Lamborghini’s hotly anticipated, 0-to-60-mph-in-2.9-seconds, 12-cycle LP700 Aventador hits in May. And this month, Blue, whose personal ride is a Porsche Cayenne Turbo SUV with room enough for his wife and three kids, moves his formerly Louisville-based IndigoClassicCars biz down toH-Town, too. (Think European cars from the late 1930s through the early ’70s.) Fittingly, given his dealerships, Blue’s fashion sense also leans classic and Italian. He favors polished looks by Isaia, Brioni, Kiton and Zegna. “Houston has shopping as good as anywhere in the country,” he gushes, touting local spots likeMPenner and A. Taghi. “Great clothes in Houston…and great cars.” Suit, $1,995, by Giorgio Armani, shirt, $135, and pocket square, $85, both by Ralph Lauren all at Saks Fifth Avenue. Nicolas Rieussec Monopusher chronograph watch with crocodile strap, $13,450, by Montblanc at Zadok Jewelers.
Men Of Style Going Global
Want to kick it with a prince from Ghana? Or a model from Iran, or a ballet star from Japan? Welcome to Houston, where edgy entrepreneurs and cultural crusaders from across the country, and around the world, collide.<br /> <br /> The Accelerator<br /> <br /> He's only been here a year, buttodd Blue has made fast work of Houston. Literally. The debonair Kentucky native, 44, fulfilled a childhood dream to own a sports car dealership when he acquired Porsche of North Houston in 2010. More recently, he added Houston's only Lamborghini dealership to his portfolio. It just seemed like the right time to step on the gas, metaphorically speaking, says Blue, a Houston Rockets fan who notes that Lamborghini's hotly anticipated, 0-to-60-mph-in-2.9-seconds, 12-cycle LP700 Aventador hits in May. And this month, Blue, whose personal ride is a Porsche Cayenne Turbo SUV with room enough for his wife and three kids, moves his formerly Louisvillebased Indigo Classic Cars biz down to H-Town, too. (Think European cars from the late 1930s through the early '70s.) Fittingly, given his dealerships, Blue's fashion sense also leans classic and Italian. He favors polished looks by Isaia, Brioni, Kiton and Zegna. "Houston has shopping as good as anywhere in the country," he gushes, touting local spots like M Penner and A. Taghi. "Great clothes in Houston…and great cars."<br /> <br /> Popular Scientist<br /> <br /> David eagleman, 39, describes his style as "rock star." Which seems odd coming from a neuroscientist. But Eagleman isn't just any neuroscientist; he's one of the buzziest thinkers in the world today, studying such topics at Baylor as the dynamics of time and perception. And he's an accomplished author to boot. In the New Mexico-born Rice grad's new non-fiction book, Incognito, out this month, his knack for explaining complex subject matter- here, the brain's vast subconscious-shines. And his best-selling 2009 fiction effort, Sum, musing on possible permutations of the after-life, was hailed as possessing "a jaw-dropping quality of genius" by UK's The Guardian. (U2 super-producer Brian Eno even wrote songs based on Sum.) Eagleman's globetrotting lecture schedule recently led him to New York, where he participated in a discussion series in which artists were paired with scientists. At the event, Eagleman, newly wed to a fellow neuroscientist, chatted onstage with punk icon Henry Rollins, about dreams. "They'd asked me to participate previously, as the artist for Sum," he says. "But I'd rather be the scientist."<br /> <br /> Rocker on a Roll<br /> <br /> On a cold Tuesday night a year ago, New West Records owner George Fontaine braved rare icy roadways to see Chris Wise and his cohorts in the local roots-rock band Buxton perform at Walter's on Washington. The group had just refashioned itself from a trio to a quintet, and it was the first time they had ever played together onstage. Not optimal conditions inside or out, yet still, they killed. "The most important show for us so far," says bassist Wise, 24, who first started playing during his high school days in La Porte. Now signed to New West, which also reps Steve Earle and the Old 97's, Buxton is gearing up for a tour touting their label-debut album, Nothing Here Seems Strange, slated for September release. The band also has several high-profile local shows on tap, including iFest May 8 and Summer Fest in June. As the Buxton boys bide their time till stardom arrives, Wise says he juggles two day jobs with performances, noting that he's too busy to go to the movies, much less woo a girlfriend. "I love to be on the go and not at home," says Wise, whose personal style includes Levi's and wellworn boots. "[Touring] is a dream come true."<br /> <br /> The Fresh Prince<br /> <br /> With a lithe 5-foot-8 frame, Kofisarkodie, 20, fits the physical mold of a pro soccer player. But there's something special about the whip-smart and stylesavvy Houston Dynamo rookie (who says labels like Armani suit his "cultured, clean" style). Something beyond even having been the valedictorian of his Ohio high school. Something regal. Turns out that, back in mother country Ghana, Sarkodie's grandma is a tribal queen. "People go to her for advice," explains the defender, who dons a wellworn bracelet of Ghana-proud green, yellow and red but says he hasn't had time to visit in a while. He's been busy training since joining the team-whose season is underway-as its top pick in last year's draft. He's especially excited about the new Dynamo stadium in EaDo, whose February groundbreaking he attended alongside Dynamo MVP Brian Ching, a World Cup alum. "It was really cool," he says with wide eyes, adding that he hopes to play in the Cup himself one day. For team Ghana, or USA? Good question, Sarkodie says, deflecting with the skill of both a soccer pro and the political savvy of a prince. "I'll decide when the time comes."<br /> <br /> The Fashion Plate<br /> <br /> Several years after the unceremonious shuttering of his acclaimed Bistro Moderne, Houston's favorite French-reared, New York-savvy chef-about-town, Philippe schmit, is back in the saddle. From Day One in February, his eponymous new fine-diningbut- casual-chic restaurant near the Galleria has been a revolving door of the city's bold-faced names. In fact, his fab fans have kept him so busy that he's gained 10 pounds-no time for jogging-and can't even remember his last day off . Which is a shame. Though we'd hate to be deprived of divine dishes like duck confit tamales and bouillabaisse, stylish Schmit (who, by the way, answers "young enough" when asked his age) deserves to be seen in apparel other than his chef whites now and then. A self-professed "metrosexual" and lover of cowboy culture, he favors classic but colorful clothes by the likes of Versace and Jean-Paul Gautier. And for Western wear? Posh Pinto Ranch, adjacent to his restaurant, is his go-to for boots and shirts. In fact, Pinto Ranch is kind of an addiction for the perennial bachelor. Or, as he cheeky-charmingly calls it, "the store that doesn't give me a discount."<br /> <br /> The Barre Flies<br /> <br /> It's shaping up to be a buzzy spring for the Houston Ballet, which opens its Center for Dance Downtown this month, as it steels for highly anticipated performances. And dancers Ian Casady, 30, who's been with the company for 14 years, and up-andcomer Charles-louis yoshiyama, 21, will be in the middle of it all. Both have turns in next month's Raising the Barre, which includes a world premiere by European choreographer Jorma Elo. The sometimes hoop-earring-wearing Tokyo native Yoshiyama has, for his part, acclimated fi ne since arriving here as a student in '08. He just started driving, and he's scored both a new place in the Heights and a hot girlfriend-Katelyn May, also a dancer. Meanwhile, Cali-born Casady, 30, just bought a Heights house with his own ballerina, retired-dancer wife Tyann. With his career at full tilt, he's stoked about what's next, hoping eventually to tackle Kenneth MacMillan's Meyerling-because "the pas de deux are incredible"-among other challenges. For now, though, he's happy to help christen the Ballet's HQ. "It feels," he says, "like the kind of place in which you would want to create art."<br /> <br /> Mr. Write Now<br /> <br /> Novelist and Rice prof Justin Cronin has sunk his teeth into the literary world-and Hollywood. Shortly after he moved here from Philadelphia, a bidding war broke out among publishers over the post-apocalyptic vampire thriller he was halfway finished writing. Published in 2010, The Passage, the first of a planned trilogy that wound up fetching $3.75 mil from Random House, graced The New York Times bestseller list for three months and is now for sale in 33 countries. "I should move to New Zealand," jokes the author, 48. "I think everyone there's read it." But, despite that Gladiator director Ridley Scott has already snapped up the fi lm rights, Cronin is modest-just a guy who likes hanging with his wife and two kids in Bellaire, and listening to his iPod while he does the dishes. He's also sartorially low-key, preferring dark colors and understated pieces from Brooks Brothers and Harold's in the Heights. Italian Gravati shoes are an indulgence. "But most days you'll fi nd me in jeans and a shirt that probably should have been ironed." The Twelve, the trilogy's second installment, is due next year, as The Passage hits in paperback in May.<br /> <br /> The Hot Shot<br /> <br /> Two hundred years ago, Iñaki Orozco's greatgrandmother was gifted 10,000 acres in Jalisco, Mexico, by the government for her support during the Mexican War of Independence. She gave much of the land away, but kept 700 acres in the heart of tequila country. Many years later, Orozco, then a Rice MBA student, got an idea. "I saw what Americans considered premium tequila," says the 34-year-old, "and that there was a huge opportunity." Believing he could off er a better bottle, he flew down to his family's land and planted his first agave plant, the spirit's main ingredient. Now his Riazul tequila, which launched in Houston in 2008, is available in 10 U.S. cities, as well as China, the Philippines and, naturally, Mexico. Outdoorsy Orozco now divides his time between here and New York, where he's working on building his international company. But some of his favorite haunts anywhere are in Montrose-Hugo's for Mexican meals, and Zimm's Martini Bar for cocktailing. But don't expect to find him drinking martinis. He's a tequila man, straight down the line. "For mixology, for sipping," he insists. "It's the next vodka."<br /> <br /> Night Riders<br /> <br /> Two young party pros, Kalon McMahon, 25, and Ash Attar, 27, are making their move in Houston's nightlife scene. Green-eyed Iranian Attar arrived in the U.S. at 19 and, after attending college in Phoenix, moved here to nurture his entrepreneurial spirit. "Always been a risk taker," says the 6-foot- 1 bachelor, who just opened buzzy, Vegas-esque club Avenue on Wash Ave. He knows, however, that the bar biz is fickle. "If it works, great," says Attar, who cites Dolce & Gabbana as a go-to for fashion. "If not, I'll do something else." He could fall back on making love to the camera, a sideline he shares with fellow part-time Neal Hamil model and budding club aficionado McMahon. Th e Lone Star legacy-his fam started Texas State Optical- consults on nightlife projects such as Red Room in River Oaks. The high-profile McMahon has strict fashion rules. He never wears socks, for one thing, and he swears by Ralph Lauren Black Label, Ray- Bans-and arrived at our shoot in a blue suit from Dallas' bespoke Hadleigh's. "Black suits are for weddings and funerals," says the pointedly single McMahon, "which are pretty much the same thing if you ask me."