Later this moth G. Bruce Boyer’s new book Gary Cooper: Enduring Style hits book stores and the web. Luckily I don’t have to wait that long and can give you a little sneak peak inside.
If you’ve read any of Boyer’s other film-star-centric books (Fred Astaire Style or Rebel Style), you’ll know that he’s interested in much more than the clothes on the icons’ backs. Clothes speak volumes about a person, and it seems to be Boyer’s mission to capture those volumes in his own.
The object itself is a thing of beauty. Brown cloth, sturdy slip-box, and inlaid pictures on the cover. Funnily enough I think it’s the exact same cover-cloth as Anderson & Sheppard’s A Style is Born. They look quite the pair sitting on my bookshelf.
The project took Boyer and his co-author Maria Cooper Janis (Gary’s only daughter) years to complete and they sorted through literally thousands of family photos to get the book in front of you. The images are presented on the pages as they were found, so polaroids have their borders (some with scribbles in them) and any tape that didn’t quite come off got scanned along with the frame. You really do get the feeling of flipping through a family album.
Boyer’s essay is, as you would expect, excellent. He cuts to the core of the man under the endless piles of tweed, linen, and exotic silks, making you really understand why Cooper is still a relevant symbol of American, and International, masculine culture today.
Ralph Lauren rarely puts his name on anything he doesn’t have total control over. This discerning taste and ability to edit is part of what makes him and his brand so special. But, without hesitation, he has written the foreword to Boyer and Janis’ tome, lamenting only that he never got to meet Cooper himself.
If you would like to read more about the genesis of the project and get a glimpse at a few select photo’s narrated by Boyer check out the article I recently wrote for Departures.
Gary Cooper: Enduring Style By G. Bruce Boyer and Maria Cooper Janis (Foreword by Ralph Lauren) – Powerhouse Books.