THE GRAPHIC DESIGNER
"Seersucker makes my mouth water," says Stephen Doyle, Spy magazine's former design director and the mind behind the identity of clients like Martha Stewart Everyday and fabric giant Clarence House. "As a child I associated the word with 'pucker,' which led to lemons, which the nuns at the Saint Mary's Boys Choir used to make us eat before a performance." The reaction may be part mnemonic and part Pavlov's dog, but the sentiment speaks to Doyle's philosophy. "Good design," he says, "should enhance understanding in a way that reaches more than just one of your senses. But I'm happy if it's just your sense of humor."
BROOKS BROTHERS jacket, $245. BRIONI shirt, $360. ROBERT TALBOTT tie, $135.
Thirty-three-year-old Sasha Eisenman spent his childhood shuttling between his home in Orange County, California (where he caught the surfing bug), and Jerusalem (where his father, Robert, spent months each year translating the Dead Sea Scrolls). Today the map of Eisenman's life is no less extreme. One week may find him in Lamu, Kenya, shooting for The New York Times Magazine, the next backstage at a concert with Keith Richards's daughters on assignment for British GQ. All in a day's work for the nomadic lensman, of course, but for this shoot he ventured into uncharted territory. How does the photographer pose for a photograph? Eisenman, with newsboy cap at full tilt, cool slouch perfectly postured, proved a natural.
MARC JACOBS suit, $1,420, and shirt, $290. POLO RALPH LAUREN cap, $60. Shoes, his own.
"Style is inseparable from any dining experience," says Geoffrey Zakarian, the owner and chef of New York's Town, a restaurant one critic described as "so compelling, starlit, and plush you half expect Nick and Nora Charles at the next table." For Zakarian, who has worked at some of the city's swellest outposts—Le Cirque, Patroon, the Royalton hotel's 44—style does not stop at the Elsa Perretti-inspired Austrian crystal-and-steel chains, which hang floor to ceiling at Town. Case in point: his unusual and fabulous risotto with escargots. "I try to take classic cuisine and restyle it without ever losing the foundation of pure deliciousness," he explains. Next up is a new Manhattan project called Country, opening this fall. Of seersucker, another classic, served here with a twist, Zakarian says, "It makes me think of gin and tonics and light and carefree summer nights."
VALENTINO jacket, $250, and shirt, $225
"Mint juleps and the Kentucky Derby—that's seersucker to me," says Taylor Plimpton. "I also think of my father; he had a jacket he wore every summer." In the delicate balancing act of following in a famous parent's footsteps, Plimpton, son of literary legend George Plimpton, has exhibited particular grace. Like his father—who wrote about playing third-string quarterback for the Detroit Lions and sparring in the boxing ring with Archie Moore—this Plimpton is always ready for an adventure. He has authored articles on climbing Utah's Grand Staircase and exploring Idaho's Frank Church-River of No Return. Plimpton spends his days as any young writer does—sending essays to The New Yorker, finishing a memoir, and taking notes.
ASPREY jacket, $1,300. ALEX HITZ FOR I PEZZI DIPINTI raw silk tie, $140. POLO RALPH LAUREN shirt, $98.
TOURE & RITA NAKOUZI
Minutes after entering the photo studio, Touré—writer and professional talking head—grabbed an iPod cord and introduced the assembled crew to the sounds of British-Sri Lankan singer M.I.A. Then he took his new wife, Rita Nakouzi, a luxury-trend forecaster, for a spin. Off the dance floor, he can be seen on CNN's "90-Second Pop" segment deconstructing Chris Rock's Oscar host gig and the romance between Charles and Camilla. Or he might be at work on his next novel. "It's about a son of God named Judas Jackson, who is the fingernails on his father's blackboard," he says. Touré knew Rita was "it" because he could take her to This Is How It Goes at the Public Theater and then to an Eminem concert—and she'd be happy at both. The week this shot was taken, the couple co-deejayed a downtown party and hosted a lecture by novelist Jhumpa Lahiri. The honeymoon continues.
On her: MICHAEL KORS strapless dress, $1,800. SEAMAN SCHEPPS necklaces, from $2,300. On him: ETRO jacket (part of suit), $1,380, and shirt, $275. HELMUT LANG pants, $320.
After his daughter was born, Dan Zanes decided he needed to find music they could enjoy together. For inspiration he turned to the American songbooks of the thirties and forties, a mandolin, and a banjo and has since discovered enough appropriate material to fill eight CDs and countless concert seats. "Traditional kids' songs are all about learning to tie your laces, which I already know how to do," Zanes says. "On the other hand, a rock song about an old girlfriend doesn't quite speak to a three-year-old." Finding common ground through music, he says, is his main goal: "If I were president, I'd give a ukulele to every family in America."
PAUL STUART jacket, $784. ALEX HITZ tie, $140. RALPH LAUREN shirt, $98, and shoes, $850.
When asked to choreograph a piece for the New York City Ballet, soloist Edwaard Liang chose to set it against the music of Yo-Yo Ma and Bobby "Don't Worry, Be Happy" McFerrin. It's a perfect sound track for the Taiwan-born Liang, who is equal parts disciplined virtuoso and good-natured guy. For this season's repertoire, he premiered a work titled Distant Cries, in which a dancer struggles with her soul in limbo. Then, for the annual Dance with the Dancers City Ballet party he was hosting, he pitched an Us Weekly paparazzi theme. "It can't all be darkness and drama!" says Liang, who also dreamed up the costumes for Cries: torn Prada pants for the male soloist and a ripped-up Ghost dress for the woman. The seersucker and cashmere ensemble shown here inspired ideas for Liang ballets of the future. "It's perfect," he says, "for something light and summery set to an Aaron Copland adagio."
ZEGNA SPORT shorts, $175. POLO RALPH LAUREN sweater, $398. BURBERRY watch, $325. Turquoise bracelet, his own.
"When I was growing up in Rome, a trip to the Davide Cenci store with my father was an annual treat," says Steven Wagner, style editor at House Beautiful, interior designer, and consummate clotheshorse. "But do I have the nerve to wear this pink Cenci seersucker on the streets of New York?" Not that Wagner, known for creating whimsical but modern children's rooms, would ever shy away from color. Witness the purple paisley pocket-square—it's his own.
DAVIDE CENCI jacket, $895, and pants, $215. ETRO shirt, $275. PHILIPPE STARCK FOR ALAIN MIKLI glasses, $435. TOD'S loafers, $295. ROLEX watch, $3,800.
The morning after Thom Pain (Based On Nothing) opened, a reviewer advised readers to "run, don't walk" to the 70-minute one-man show on childhood memories and adult heartbreak, with a curious bit involving a raffle. James Urbaniak is that one man, onstage alone, asking the big questions. His angular face and deadpan delivery spark notes of recognition from roles in movies such as American Splendor (he played the cartoonist R. Crumb) and on television (yes, he was the creepy foot fetishist on Sex and the City). At the end of Thom Pain he tells the audience, "I know this wasn't much, but let it be enough." Apparently it was. The show's run has been extended through September.
THOM BROWNE blazer, $1,895, and khakis, $525. SALVATORE FERRAGAMO sneakers, $320.