Ron Herman has been at the forefront of L.A. style since opening his first boutique in 1976 at the storied Fred Segal on Melrose Avenue. Ever since then, Herman’s eye for combining the chic with the understated has been drawing an ultimate who’s who through his doors, from Steve McQueen and Warren Beatty, to Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp. Here, Herman sits down with longtime friend Jeffrey Rüdes to discuss the launch of Rüdes’ eponymous new line and learn more about the very personal inspirations behind it.
Ron: I recall the first time I met you. I immediately saw then that you had an impeccable sense of style and I have this philosophy that to acquire knowledge of fashion, you have to love it. I'm just curious, how does that style relate to your vision for the Jeffrey Rüdes Collection?
Jeffrey: Personally, I can tell a lot about someone’s personal habits by the way they dress. Quite simply, I think that a man's style speaks to his lifestyle. Style is everywhere we go. It's how you travel. It's where you eat. It's not only the clothing you wear.
Ron: Well I have to tell you, when you walked in today, I took one look at you and there was no question in my mind that you are the man behind the brand. You look like the guy you're describing and the guy that you'd like to have step out of your store. I wonder if this idea of creating a label with your name on it felt like a bold move, especially as the line is incredibly emblematic of all that you are.
Jeffrey: That’s a fantastic question. Everything that goes into the Jeffrey Rüdes label is about evoking a particular feeling. It's about making guys look modern and feel great about it. I've always had a sense of style and I think that my style comes through the collection. In the end the pieces you see are a direct reflection of how I dress.
Ron: What would you say are the key inspirations for your line?
Jeffrey: To be honest, very early on I was conscious of my own style and how that was a reflection of who I was and – importantly, how I wanted to be perceived. In many ways, the Jeffrey Rüdes line draws its inspiration from my life and a certain attitude I bring to it. I care about quality finishes, handmade touches, and subtle details in the clothes I wear and as a result, you can find all of these in my line.
Ron: I can absolutely see that. Let me ask you this: how would you describe the Jeffrey Rüdes lifestyle and look to a man just discovering the label?
Jeffrey: I feel it is very important to any guy's wardrobe that he be able to look appropriate at all times. There are parts of the line, whether it is a dark jacket and a crisp white shirt, that just keeps everything looking smart. But then we go to silk shirts and velvet dinner jackets with silk-satin lapels and skinny jeans that reflect a modern sensibility. It’s sexy and masculine.
Ron: I also feel your life in L.A. has helped inform your aesthetic.
Jeffrey: Sure. I created this collection envisioning places where I would wear pieces from it – going to dinner at Providence or the Chateau Marmont wearing a clean white t-shirt, fitted black blazer, and a pair of cool jeans. And to me, it’s not casual because of the attire, but rather it’s an attitude towards how you dress.
It’s modern. It’s a lifestyle.
Ron: Jeff, let me ask you some really quick questions. Rapid-fire if you will. What's the one item of clothing no man should be without?
Jeffrey: A black jacket. I think that if you don't have a black jacket and a white crisp shirt in your closet you might be going on the wrong date.
Ron: Okay. Can you really wear jeans with anything?
Jeffrey: I think so. I've seen it where people had jeans at a beach wedding with a formal tuxedo from the waist up. It was a cool ripped jean because it was creating an attitude.
Ron: What qualities in a man do you admire?
Jeffrey: The qualities I admire are integrity and honesty.
Ron: Okay, one last question. New York or LA?
Ron: Bingo! Absolutely.