patrick grant's 10 ways to be an original man
Patrick Grant, Creative Director of Norton & Sons and E. Tautz is not only celebrating a new shop on the fast revamping Duke Street in Mayfair, but he’s releasing a new book too, titled Original Man, which investigates how you can become a less...
The Tautz Compendium of Less Ordinary Gentleman pulls together a list of the extraordinary men who have influenced the dapper designer. It's an attempt to redress the balance of banal vs. brilliant public figures, which has been tipping towards the trashy for years now. "We celebrate some boring individuals, absolutely put them on pedestals," Grant says angrily. "There are so many men who have nothing interesting to say or add to the world and the genuinely interesting men, who are not out there standing on the red carpet seven times a week, are being lost in the noise of all the vacuous idiots. I find that very unsatisfying and I wanted to try and celebrate some of the people that I think are genuinely worth talking about." The book features fun, informative biographies of the well-known (Yves Saint Laurent, Malcolm X, Quentin Crisp) as well as more fringe figures (playboy Gunther Sachs, army man Adrian Carton de Wiart and documentarian Wilfred Thesiger). i-D asked Patrick to round up 10 ways that made these men so original.
1. Don't give a damn
"They were doing what they did with total disregard for what people would think. They understood that you don't need to be loved by everybody. It is perfectly okay to be hated by 99% of the world as long as 1% of the world think that you're amazing."
2. Do what you truly love
"The people in here are those who have found the one thing that they're good at, either by luck or by hard work. There's almost nobody in the book who would have been better doing something else, whereas most of us are doing a job that we don't like that much."
3. And stick to one thing
"These people are not flopping from one thing to another. They have a single, very clear vision of what they are doing in the world and they pursue it."
4. Avoid offices at all costs
"It's very hard to be a genuine original if you have to go and work in an office from 9-6 and answer to somebody else and abide by people's rules."
5. Fake it to make it
"Lots of artists create themselves. When a journalist asked Hardy Amies what he felt was his most perfect creation, he said something like, "Why Hardy Amies of course!" The journalist said, "Do you mean the brand?" And he said, "No, I mean the man." The idea that you build something of yourself is something to be applauded. The greatest creation of their lives is themselves."
6. Confidence - in the truest sense - is key
"We think about confidence as a sort of gregariousness and actually I don't think that's necessarily the case. I think it's the confidence that comes in the belief that what you are doing is true to yourself. Look at Jarvis Cocker. He has the confidence to do an album recording the sound of people crunching on gravel at the stately homes of England. You really have to be absolutely comfortable with yourself to do a project like that."
7. It helps to be very rich… or very poor
"Quentin Crisp is straight-forward on this: he says only the very rich and the very poor can ever be interesting. The incredibly wealthy come with inbred certainty, and money doesn't matter to them. And at the very opposite end of the scale, where you have no money, you have nothing to lose. His quote is something like, "a sufficiency of money is the greatest killer of style." In the book, there are very few that have emerged from the middle classes."
8. Put lovers, friends and family on ice
"Where these people are absolutely winning, there's a selfishness about them that excludes family, close sexual relations and long-term stability because they are single-mindedly focusing on doing the thing they love. They love that more than anything."
9. Find yourself a right hand man, or woman
"This seems to be the case a lot in fashion, Yves St Laurent existed because Pierre Bergé had his back from the very beginning and there are plenty in fashion like that. Marc Jacobs has Robert Duffy too. That person is there to allow them to be the thing that they need to be. If you have to spend your life dealing with the everyday drudgery, it leaves very little time for being the great force that you can be."
10. But be warned: you might not be any happier for it
"If you look at the stories, there's a spilt. Some of them do end tragically. Alex Higgins's story is heart-breaking, but then Elton John has been through all this stuff and seems to have a lovely, fulfilling, quite normal life now. A lot of personalities have an addictive streak. Huge numbers have dependencies - plenty with alcohol, drugs, sex and adrenalin - and some just enjoy it, but for plenty it becomes a problem. These are people who at some point felt bored or trapped or just wanted to take themselves somewhere else."
is available in the E. Tautz store on 71 Duke Street, W1, www.etautz.com and at Waterstones.
Text Stuart Brumfitt