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Jay-Z

Kanye West has been compared to Pink Floyd, Steve Jobs, and even Mozart. (That last article drew a lot of fire in its comments section, of course…as well as a few lucid arguments from music majors who backed their opinions up with historical facts and classical theory.)

Whatever you think about the man and his music, you have to admit that he’s been influential—in pop culture at large, as well as in the realm of menswear. GQ ran a retrospective on West’s style today, which points pretty clearly to the fact that (ethical qualms with floor-length fur aside) the rapper/producer’s present-day wardrobe choices are his wisest, and most relevant to the rest of us, to date.

See above. West’s tough, monochromatic minimalism seems right in step with the bluntly reduced electro thump of his new album, Yeezus, out today. In his recent NY Times interview, West says a lamp by minimalist architect/designer Le Corbusier changed his entire point of view. He also says it takes him a fraction of the time to get dressed these days—proving what we’ve known for a while now: Throw on a leather jacket with anything, from a T-shirt to a tie, and you’re good to go.

[We're not saying West did or would wear these particular jackets; but if you'd like to recreate his minimalist MOTO look, start here. Pierre Balmain | A.P.C. | Just Cavalli]

The image up top is from West’s performance on Saturday Night Live last month—one of the darkest, most jarring, and most fascinating things that’s happened on that show maybe ever. (Well, there was this.) We can’t exactly show the video here, but if you can handle some controversial political topics, click here.

Here’s a few more live music performances, some from Kanye, some from SNL, and some from 20+ years ago, whose style tips you can take to heart today:


West and Jay-Z performing their Watch the Throne single ‘Otis’ at the MTV Video Music Awards. Kanye reps DENIM ON DENIM, with a touch of AMERICANA in the form of a hanky in his back pocket. (Oh yeah, and the giant US flag-inspired backdrop, designed by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci as part of the duo’s album art.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaOkhAs6LMA
At his previous SNL appearance, performing ‘Runaway’ off My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West definitely got our memo on BOLD BLAZERS (or, maybe, it was the other way around).

 
Kanye West famously wore a women’s blouse by Céline at Coachella a couple years ago. Bold move—and we won’t fault him for it. For the rest of us though, vintage grunge heroes like Pearl Jam, promo’ing and dress-rehearsing for SNL in 1992, are probably better role models for summer FESTIVAL STYLE.


Meanwhile, for more BOLD COLOR (colour?), surf-inspired gear, tank tops, high tops and wildly printed pants, Living Colour in 1989 take the cake. (OK, fine, we just like this song.)

 
 

[Intro image via Gorilla Vs. Bear. Video clips © NBC and MTV. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

Do your best to ignore the souped-up Rolls Royces, the gyrating flappers, the sinister-sounding Kanye West / Jay-Z / Frank Ocean beat (which would have been infinitely cooler here if a handful of mediocre action flicks didn’t already use it), the hypnotic visual overload director Baz Luhrmann made famous in 1996′s amped-up Romeo & Juliet remix—and even try to look past Carey Mulligan’s beauty mark, if at all humanly possible.

Instead, feast your eyes on the impeccable menswear Great Gatsby costume designer Catherine Martin created in collaboration with 195-year-old American institution Brooks Brothers. Delving into the brand’s archives, Martin nailed every detail—from straw boater to gold collar pin to powder-pink peak lapel.

Watch a behind-the-scenes mini-documentary on the film’s costume design here, and catch The Great Gatsby in theaters May 10.

 

SHOP: BROOKS BROTHERS

…And for more sartorial inspiration for the season ahead,
check out our new Summer Suiting Guide.

 
 
 

[Trailer courtesy of Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures. Still images are captures from the Brooks Brothers video about the film's costume design. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom.]

Jay-Z has won 14 Grammy Awards, written a book, put a ring on Beyoncé, and has now successfully relocated the Nets (the NBA team he owns a partial stake in) from New Jersey to his hometown of Brooklyn.

If you can accomplish any of the above, or a reasonable equivalent, we’ll be the first to buy you a drink. But one way you can be like Jay right here and now is to rock the same Baldwin camo trousers he’s been spotted wearing all over the world (as reported by GQ.com).

Watch the Nets defend their new home turf against the Boston Celtics tonight at 8pm EST on TNT. 

But first, on a related note, here’s another camouflage collage from our research file. (See the previous one here.)



Photos, clockwise from top: Courtesy of Noah Emrich | Obey T-Shirt |
Courtesy of Le Blog de Betty | Herschel Supply Co. Backpack



Photos, clockwise from top: By Tommy Ton, courtesy of GQ.com |
A highly collectible (as in, 200 bucks on eBay) camo figurine based on the work of street artist Futura for British musical outfit Unkle, via | Brixton Ball Cap |
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, who’s been a rock star for 20 years and counting
(photo by T Maidana/Fame Pictures, via Us Weekly)




Photos, from top: Travis Gumbs, courtesy of Street Etiquette |
Mimetico (Camouflage) by Alighiero Boetti, 1966, via MoMA.org | Courtesy of Disarming Darling
A spread from camo historian Hardy Blechman’s 944-page book, DPM: Disruptive Pattern Material
 

SHOP CAMOUFLAGE in The Rail Department,
and check out previous blog posts on the subject:
Camouflage Collage #1 | The Natural Evolution of Camo
 
 

[Jay-Z pictures, from top, courtesy of Jay-Z's Life + Times and GQ.com. Individuals pictured do not endorse Nordstrom or products shown. If your work appears here and you would like it credited differently or removed, please contact us using the 'Email the Editor' link at right.]

Some simple rules when choosing gifts for guys:

1) Make it functional.
A book of quotes or hand-made card is extremely kind. But soon forgotten.

2) Get the right size.
Hence the perennial popularity of one-size-fits-all items like watches, ties, and gift cards.

3) Tailor it to his specific tastes.
Find some favorite watches below, no matter what your dad and/or grad is into.

 

He appreciates: Cars, architecture, graphic design.
His style icon: Jay-Z.
His new watch: Stealth Mode

[Shown: Left | Center | Right]

 

He appreciates: Jack Daniels, a good cigar, the morning paper.
His style icon: Clive Owen.
His new watch: A Timeless Classic

[Shown: Left | Center | Right]

 

He appreciates: Dry humor, ’90s nostalgia, vintage vinyl.
His style icons: The Strokes.
His new watch: Retro Digital

[Shown: Left | Center | Right]

 

He appreciates: Flag football, Budweiser, his dog.
His style icon: Jason Bourne.
His new watch: A Precision Instrument

[Shown: Left | Center | Right]

 

Shop all Father’s Day Gifts and Graduation Gifts on Nordstrom.com.