December 20, 2014 by Ville Raivio
VR: Your age and occupation?
RP: I was born around a year after my Father returned from the Second World War. When I was a boy, I wanted to work for the railroad, which I did until my Father died. After that, I worked in the family business, a chain of retail stores, which was eventually sold to a larger retail chain. After that I didn’t do anything for a while, until around fifteen years ago when I decided that I wanted to work in retail again. I then worked for several stores, and for a museum. Around two years ago, working wasn’t fun anymore, and since then I have gone back to not doing anything.
VR: Your educational background?
RP: My education began at a school called The School For Nursery Years (now called The Center For Early Education), It was a “Progressive” school. I never have been a “Progressive” and I got thrown out of that school. I had lunch near there a few months ago and I had my friend take my picture standing in front of the school. As I am taller now and no longer have blond hair, no one at the school recognized me (although there probably isn’t anyone working there now who was working there in 1949). After that, I was able to continue my education for many years, and got thrown out of only one other school.
VR: Have you any children or spouse (and how do they relate to your style enthusiasm)?
RP: As I was a horrid child, I thought that it was best not to add any more horrid children to the population, particularly since nearly all the girls I have known were also horrid children when they were young, so we were almost certain to have truly horrid little children.
VR: …and your parents and siblings’ reactions back when you were younger?
RP: My Father had grown up when the Prince Of Wales (later the Duke Of Windsor) was setting the style for young men, and my Father continued to dress in the style of the former Prince Of Wales, except that my Father always wore Borsalino hats. My Father always wore white-on-white shirts that he had made by a shirtmaker. He always wore shirts with collar stays and cuff links, and he once asked me if the Brooks Brothers oxford cloth button-down shirts that I wore were a little stiff or heavy. That was the only discussion that my Father and I ever had about what I was wearing.
My younger brother never said anything about what I was wearing. He now lives in London and New York. The last time that he was here and we went to dinner, he didn’t say anything about my Gryffindor tie, and I didn’t say anything about his black shoes with tan trousers and a blue blazer. I’ve seem him on television at awards shows and in photographs at the openings of his shows wearing a very nice double-breasted dinner jacket, but I’ve never said anything about it to him.
VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides classic apparel?
RP: Around once or twice a year, I still go for a ride on a train. My friend and I go out for lunch, and since she worked in fashion publishing and later dressing people in show business, and since I worked in retail, we swan around looking in shops to see what’s new and interesting. We like going into shops and talking to people who are still working in retail. We take pictures of each other standing next to things, sitting on things, or eating things, which we to show to our friends and relatives so that they know that we are still up and around. We always seem to be having a better time than anyone else that we see when we are out.
VR: How did you first become interested in style, and when did you turn your eyes towards the classics? Why these instead of fashion?
RP: Since I started picking out my own clothes, I have almost always got most of my clothes at Brooks Brothers, which was located upstairs in an office building in downtown Los Angeles when I first started shopping there. Many of the things that I wear now are the things that I got at Brooks Brothers in the sixties and seventies. I have looked just about the same my entire life.
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of the tailored look — from books, talks with salesmen or somewhere else?
RP: I have always just gone into a store, looked around, and got things that I liked.
VR: When did you first find Styleforum, and what has kept you active over the years?
RP: I don’t remember exactly when I first looked at Styleforum, and I looked at Styleforum a while before I joined. I like seeing what actual people all over the world are wearing and I am very impressed by the people who take the time and the trouble to take and post pictures.
VR: How would you describe your style?
RP: I have always thought (as do most of my friends) that it’s English style, but people in England (and the rest of the world) think it’s American style.
VR: Which tailors or RTW makers do you favour and why?
RP: Brooks Brothers before their unbroken series of very unfortunate ownership changes was my favorite. Anyone who is curious about what went wrong with the entire upscale fashion industry might want to read, “Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Luster”, by Dana Thomas (Penguin Press, New York, 2007).
VR: Have you any particular style or cut philosophy behind your items?
RP: I don’t think so. I’ve always worn the same clothes. In many ways, the changes in men’s fashions in the fifty years between 1965 and 2015 was almost as great (and maybe in some ways greater) than it was in the fifty years between 1790 and 1840. Sometimes I think that I am like some of the characters in H. Rider Haggard’s Victorian novels, who got their clothes in when they were younger in the Georgian era, and are still wearing their Georgian clothing in the Victorian era.
VR: Who or what inspires you?
RP: I’ve always just done what I wanted.
VR: What’s your definition of style?
RP: It seems as if, for the first time in history, there is a universal world wide style for all sexes and ages consisting of tennis shoes, jeans (or short pants), back packs, ball caps (worn indoors and outdoors), and tee shirts, which almost all people wear wherever they go and whatever they do. Any other style seems to be a relic of a time that has gone and will never come back.
VR: Finally, what can Keikari’s readers learn from traditional American dress?
RP: Probably the same things that they can learn from looking at dinosaur bones, seeing what’s left of a time that has passed forever. When I was young, everyone looked like me. Now, very few people still look like me. Eventually, probably no one will look like me. Some time in the future traditional American prep-ivy-trad style will be as rare as knee breeches, tricorn hats, and powdered hair are now.
Photos: Roycru and mystery photographer