HTSI editor’s letter: Brad, Graydon and the art of friendship
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This letter comes to you from the queue at the Eurostar, where I am waiting in a line at least 50 people deep for a coffee I already know will taste disgusting and which will cost somewhere in the region of £4. This aggrieves me. In a week where the pound has been plummeting in the markets and the temperature has plunged us into winter, I am presumably among many who are alarmed by the rising costs of life. What’s more frustrating to me, however, is less the price hikes but the diminishing quality of so many daily basics.
High-street coffee is among the things that seem to have been a casualty in the cost-of-living crisis – most of it now tastes like something you might drain from the battery of your car. Be sure to check out our round-up of the world’s best independent coffee shops, in print earlier this year and online forever. When it comes to spending it on beverages, I feel it is our duty to ensure you don’t waste another penny.
As to this week’s issue, I was surprisingly moved to find that the stories that entwine the trio of artists who make up the WE collective include childhood trauma, breakdown, addiction and grief. Brad Pitt has been very open about his “journey” since his separation from his second wife Angelina Jolie, but I had not anticipated that the artworks he has been making throughout this period would be so emotionally raw. Likewise Nick Cave, the singer who has been through the unconscionable horror of losing two children, and has channelled his bereavement into some quite exquisite art. The LA-based artist Thomas Houseago, Pitt and Cave have come together for an exhibition of their work in Finland, but what resonates most strongly from their interaction is not the relative merit of the work but how restorative their emerging friendship has been. Victoria Woodcock travelled to Tampere to find out how their art has been a rather extraordinary therapy, and why the road to recovery can be just as brutal and exposing for the gilded stars of Hollywood as it is for normal human beings.
I can’t quite imagine Graydon Carter locked in an artistic bromance – his passions are reserved for more quotidian things such as maps, flea markets, table tennis and vintage cars. The former magazine editor and his wife Anna open up their Connecticut home to the FT New York correspondent Joshua Chaffin to discuss their world after Vanity Fair, a mellower and more reclusive lifestyle and their latest venture, Electragram, a fancy form of electronic correspondence where you can send your thank yous in a timely and courteous way. Having idolised his magazine throughout the decades of his editorship, I was curious to see what Carter had been occupied with in his new post-print milieu. While he has removed himself from the klieg lights of celebrity, he is no less enthusiastic about surrounding himself with glamour. To which end, he argues, Electragram is one such product, an innovation that harkens to a golden, more solicitous age.
More glamour, via Nick Foulkes: our most exotic of correspondents is writing about the allure of leopard print. Of course he is. As he writes eruditely in his paean to the big cat, “I think of it like one of those very elaborate fragrances with top notes of Tarzan and Brian Eno, heart notes of Rod Stewart in his high-camp pomp and base notes of cultural appropriation”, before elaborating on his own early stylistic forays in the print. “I opted for blue leopard-print drainpipe jeans, which I accessorised with a studded belt and blue baseball boots, topped with a pink string vest. (If I recall, there was a sleeveless leather jerkin festooned with chains and studs involved as well.)” A strong look indeed, although sadly no pictorial evidence of this sartorial debacle has yet been excavated for our amusement.
Lastly, the Moncler CEO and chairman Remo Ruffini offers illuminating insights as this week’s Aesthete. On the 70th anniversary of the Italian outerwear brand, which reported sales of $2.28bn last year, Ruffini’s tastes reflect those of the quintessential Moncler man: his is a world of hiking, ebiking, brutalist-inspired Japanese pottery and monochrome. And he’s a man after my own heart in his clothing preferences. “My personal style signifier is navy, navy, and more navy,” he tells Christina Ohly Evans, “with different fabrics, fitting and stitching depending on whether I’m at the office or it’s the weekend. My bespoke jackets by Umit Benan hide those extra kilos and… I am a fan of long-sleeved James Perse T-shirts.” Sage advice for anyone still searching for the perfect capsule wardrobe: glamour undercut with a hit of adrenaline.
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