I apologize for not getting to this post sooner, but the weekend was much busier that I had originally assumed; and this post is significantly longer than expected.
Thursday night was a night that I will surely not forget, and will be telling the story of for quite some time. For me it wasn’t just a one day affair either, it actually took a bit of time to prepare. The main focus was on what to wear; more importantly how to wear it. I used Beverly’s birthday party a week earlier for a trial run on the suit; I had to make sure that the tailoring that I had was good enough for the Sartorialist signing. While it was good, it wasn’t at its peak, and so I was really glad that I was able to wear it out and walk in it for a bit before I wore it to the signing. On the Monday prior to the signing I brought the jacket back to Vegas Tailor Shop to get it and the grey jacket tailored to a much better fitting garment. Some may think that what I did was going a bit overboard for such a simple book signing, however I must disagree to the fullest extent. For me this was more than just a book signing, it was a chance to show other fashionists a true reflection of myself; but I digress...
So with the suit back at the tailors I needed to make sure that all of the accessories and detail pieces that I had were also in order. Due to some crazy bit of horribles, my grandfather’s trilby was lost last year in, I think, Chicago. So there was a great need for me to find a fedora to go with the rest of the garments. I located a place in Los Angeles called "Hollywood Hatters" on Beverly Blvd. This meant that I would be able to head over and pick it up on the day of the signing. A couple days later I picked up the jackets from Vegas, and then brought what I was going to wear for the event into the cleaners.
Thursday came around and I picked up the suit at the cleaners, then headed to B&N to pick up a fresh copy of Scott’s book, and then finally got on the freeway around 2pm. The drive was pleasant, and was made all the better thanks to "The XX" and “Phoenix” blasting.
I got into LA around 4pm and made my way to Hollywood Hatters and found a fantastic fedora from a company called Selentino, and once the owner told me it was made in the Czech Republic I was sold. Since I was in the area I dropped in a few shops and ended up at Marc Jacobs, located a fantastic wallet, and was finally able to replace my broken one.
I pulled into the Beverly Center parking garage around 5:30pm, 2.5 hours before the signing. My reasoning for this was due to it being in LA, and figured that there would be a substantial line. While in the parking garage I changed into the suit, made sure all of the details were in place, and made my way to the outdoor terrace. When I got there, I didn't see a soul. This was actually a lucky turn of chance though; the belt that I had brought no longer fits me since the weight loss, and needed another one. I walked around the mall for a bit, ended up at Club Monaco, found a simple black belt, and then went back to the car to drop off the old belt and put on the new.
After I made the swap I went back to the terrace to see if anyone was there yet; there wasn’t. So to pass the time I made my way down to the bar for a few drinks. Around 7pm and 3 gin and tonics later, I made my way back up to find there was a whole 6 people waiting in line! WOAH! I sat down, flipped a few pages of the book, grew tired of just waiting in a corner, and went back to the bar for another drink.
As I was on the escalator looking as to where I was going to sit, at the edge of the bar I see this guy and gal waving me over. I walked over, introduced myself, and started to chat with them. The man introduces himself as Steve Valentine, and the gal's name is Shauna Aminzaden. Come to find out Steve heads PR for the Beverly Center, and Shauna is his account coordinator. They asked if I was heading up to the book signing, and if I was at the Barney's signing earlier. I was quite shocked at this news, I was unawares of the book signing at Barney's; especially because it was a bit more low key and would have possibly had the chance to talk to him about this, that, and the other. But, it was okay I will still going to be able to meet him.
I ordered up another gin and tonic, and Steve offered to buy it for me. While this might sound lame to the female audience out there, but this was the first time that I have EVER had a drink bought for me from someone that I just met. So at this point I am feeling fantast. We continue talking about fashion, our jobs and what not; and when I told them that I am a mechanical engineer, they pause and give a bit of a double take. I understood completely, I am an outlier in the M.E. community. We continue on and he asks me if I would be willing to take a photo with Scott Schuman for the Beverly Center; this time I pause.
I went back down to the bar because I didn’t want to just wait in a corner. Because of that unwillingness to just wait I meet up with some fantastic people, and am given the opportunity to take some shots for the Beverly Center. Bazango.
I quickly reply that I would be completely honored to take a photograph with someone that I admire greatly. Steve, Shauna, and Aaron Davis send their goodbyes and head on up to make sure that everything is hunky dory.
Before they get to the escalators, I am going bananas in my mind. The night hasn’t even started and it was already turning into one of the happiest moments of my life.
I finish my drink, smile bigger than the Cheshire cat, and make my way up to the terrace for the book signing. Shortly after I arrive at the waiting corner with the, now, 8 other people they start letting us in. All of us in line half assume that we are going to get out photograph taken at the entrance, but there was no photographer. Shauna was there writing our names on slips of paper so that Scott wouldn’t fudge on the spelling. After handing it to us we continued onto a man sitting by a table.
Scott Schuman introduces himself to the person he is signing the book for, and after a few people he starts asking what the other people's names are after them. I was around 6th or so in line, and biding my time to introduce myself to the man that helped me find and refine my style. He asks the person in front of me what their name was, and just when I thought he was about to ask mine he says "Oh, and this well dressed man must be Zach."
My mind kinda goes fuzzy for a bit after that moment, and can’t really remember what happened for the next minute or two; I remember shaking his hand, saying that I am honored to meet him, and then asking him to sign my copy of his book, and that is kinda all.
I was blown away. I thought I was on cloud 9 when I was asked to take a photograph with Scott, but now... I can’t really explain it. While it may appear that I got star struck, it wasn’t the fact that I got to meet him or see him; it was the fact that he said I was well dressed, and knew my name.
After I got my book signed I was asked by Steve to come back to the opening to get a photograph of me using his photographer. I was more than happy to, and asked his photographer if he would also take one with my camera.
I walked back into the terrace with a skip in my step, saw this fantastic gal sitting by her lonesome and introduced myself, her name is Lauryn Franklin.
we started talking about fashion, how long we have each been following the blog, and we eventually got into where we are located and what do we do. Come to find out she goes to school in San Marcos, no joke 30 minutes away from me. What are the frikken chances that the first person that I meet in the signing is also from San Diego, and that close. We get some complimentary wine and snag a super delicious dense chocolate mini cupcake (gotta love those modifiers!).
I asked her if she wanted to join me in attacking the crowd and getting some photographs. The one stipulation is that if anyone wants to take a photograph with either of us, they have to also use my camera.
The first person we meet just happened to be, if I remember correctly, owner of Traffic (they were the ones that hosted the signing).
As we were going through the line we were ambushed by a fun group of gals from Fashionable Earth (www.fashionableearth.org)
-The only person whom name I remember is Maude, second photograph-
They offered to take on of Lauryn and me.
Then we were stopped by a couple gals from A-list International (www.alist-international.com)
I had to stop this guy wearing some rolled up shorts
I asked this man with a great lavender pocket square if I could get a photo with him.
Then I met back up with Steve Valentine (www.valentinegroupla.com), and Aaron Davis; you have seriously got to love his tie.
While I was next to Steve I asked him if I could squeeze into the front of the line so that both Lauryn and I could get a photo with Scott now that they brought a second chair out. He was all for it and asked if I could wait a sec while he finds his photographer before we sit down. Here I am asking to cut in front of 80+ people waiting in line, and it isn’t an issue at all. AMAZING!
Then I asked Lauryn wanted a shot in front of the Beverly Center signage. Steve's photographer followed us in and took a couple more shots
We went back out to the terrace to see if there were any more people’s souls to steal, and we found this guy who looked like he came out of a Thom Browne add. Come to find out he was actually photographed by Scott Schuman and was published in his book, pg250 Sept. 2007, lucky!
Continuing on through the line we were stopped by Jessica VanDeuren (Red Shirt) and Sarah (orange dress)
Lauryn and I got some more wine, sat down and saw these delicious looking coconut balls
Then came the stalking battle
This is a well put together outfit, love the splash of yellow!
I took a stand on one of the benches and took a few shots to show the crowd at 9pm
Then I met the ONLY person there that was taller than I was! And to top it all off he was dressed fantastically.
Lauryn's friend Bre Renne was able to make up in time
Walking around a bit more and Dan Gellert, co-founder of jitterbug, asked to take a photograph with us
Snagged a few more shots of Scott with Bre
Then ran into the wonderful couple, Cherise Pascual, and Alex Lombardi (alexlombardi.com) let’s just say that we are super similar… Fedoras, Photography, and Octopi, OH MY!
I was able to get a shot with the always amazing Shauna Aminzaden
Snagged a shot of Lauryn, Bre, and myself in front of a back-lit
Ran into Steve again and got a shot of his gang, and one with his partner
Took the mandatory "be ridiculous" shot
Then ran into one of THE BEST dressed couple at the signing Jonathan and Holley Powell (www.jandhp.com)
Sadly Lauryn and Bre had to leave early, but I stayed. Walked around for a bit met back up with Jessica and Sarah and we started to have a bit of fun
Found another fella with a bow-tie and some awesome boots.
Lauren wanted some forage
and sprinkled her findings of magic dirt.
Sarah was attacking us with photos and demanded excellence
So we gave her awesome
Around 10ish they asked us to leave. Jessica, Sarah, and I made our way out of the terrace, off to the parking garage, and parted ways. The drive home was not bad; mostly filled with really loud music, and quite a bit of yelling. I was able to meet a plethora of amazing people, each with their own fantastic quirks.
Before I end it must thank Steve and Shauna immensely for making my night a glorious one, if either of you need a hand feel free to ask. Lauryn for being frikken awesome at life and helping with the model/photographer for the line styles; follow Lauryn and Bre's blog at glasscloud.blogspot.com. Jessica and Sarah for your hijinks and hilarity.
And, of course, Thank you Mr. Scott Schuman for making the time to come to Los Angeles, meeting us, signing our books, and knowing my name.
'till next time.