Q- Why does the world need the Young Gentlemen’s Guide?
I think that most men, especially in America today, are taught that being a man is to not care about your appearance or what you look like—which is preposterous. Italian young men grow up going with their fathers to their tailors, they learn from a very young age that being a man is in fact caring about how you look like, not from a shallow point of view, but because it matters.
Q- Like it matters to women?
A- Well, I suppose, it’s different. Women have social pressures, but it seems with men all that goes by the way side. Your wife, girlfriend, partners, takes pains to look good, why shouldn’t you? Plus it’s decorum- those little things in life which separates us from mere animals or cavemen. It’s making a ritual out of the mundane things in life…
Q- An so TGG…
A- Well it fills that gap, it espouses something that is very simple; being a man, a Young man, a Gentleman, is about a variety of things; it’s about respecting those around you, it’s about being responsible, sure a man needs to be able to build stuff, and perhaps jump-start a car… but a man also needs to know other subtleties; how to make a great steak, how to smell good, the difference between a notch-lapel and a peak lapel, what makes Cognac more than just a brandy and what is opera all about. These are all things that separate the man from the gentleman.
Q- But why is that important?
A- We are living in a great historical paradox: continual uncertainly paired with a very high standard of living in the industrialized world. We are also seeing the apex of the ubiquity of luxury. Recently in Bombay it was amazing for me to see how many women, some in $8USD saris were carrying around Louis Vuitton bags- whether they are authentic or not is no matter, they still had it. What we “assume” to be luxury surrounds us, suffocates us to the extent that we can no longer discern what is luxury or not… and luxury can simply be ten minutes of silence no more. But it’s luxury nonetheless.
Q- So how do you define luxury?
A- I define it as pleasure, as bliss. There is a hedonistic aspect to real luxury, but real luxury is what I call a “Bespoke Life”. A Life that is yours, defined by surrounding yourself with hand-crafted experiences (be they goods or services) which brings you bliss and pleasure because they represent the best the in that category and their rarity or the skill it took to make or perform make it one of the world’s rarest delights. It is putting together a curio of some of the world’s rarest experiences… this rarely comes in a Cohiba, Dom Perignon or a Lamborghini but in harder to find, trickier to discern ways…
Q- So is it always about rare, expensive and coveted?
A- No not at all… it’s about pleasure. Joseph Campbell once said, “…Follow your bliss” and that’s what its all about.
Q- So Follow Your Bliss and you’ll find Luxury…
A- Precisely; Bliss is pleasure. At the end of the day, people go places, they have stuff and all those things should deliver bliss. Bliss can come without anything in the world, if you’re an outdoors person a hike is bliss, if you like massages a one-hour massage at the spa is bliss; but not all things are created equal and that’s where The Young Gentlemen’s Guide comes in; to help the Young Gentlemen navigate through the maze of products, consumables and other things. It’s about looking past the hype and marketing and arriving at real substance.
Q- Is marketing the real enemy?
A- Marketing is there to perform a function, and that is to sell, to convince you that their product is better. Marketing does not equal truth, and that’s what’s missing. Truth versus marketing. Is a Dolce & Gabanna shirt good? Sure, it’s great. Is there better, for less? Yes absolutely.
The Young Gentlemen’s guide presents the Young Gentleman with a compus, a guide through life for those things that deliver excellence and bliss.
Q- Bliss in everything?
A- Yes. Bliss is in great Ice Cream, in a beautiful beach, in comfy slippers, in plush pillows, or a great cigar. It is everywhere and it’s here at the Young Gentlemen’s Guide.