For over 62 years , Beverly Hills based Carroll & Co. (www.carrollandco.com) has been dressing prestigious directors, producers, writers, and numerous actors. Carroll & Co. has custom-tailored clothing for Hollywood celebrities such as Clark Gable, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson, George Clooney, and Ryan Gosling to name a few. Examiner.com recently had the pleasure of speaking with legendary menswear connoisseur John Carroll about his storied career, red carpet trends, love of fashion, and more…
Q: Where did you grow up and what was it like there?
A: I was fortunate enough to grow up in Beverly Hills and attend Beverly Hills High School. Beverly Hills had its positives and negatives. Yes, there were the rich kids with the nice cars, but there were more middle class families like myself. Early on as a high school kid I took an interest in my father's men's store and worked throughout my high school years. It gave me a great foundation to begin my career.
Q: What are the wardrobe staples every man must have in his closet?
A: Every man should have a navy blue suit, a navy blazer, a pair of grey dress slacks, for the dress up times. A blue and black jean, one or two cashmere sweaters and a leather jacket for those more casual affairs. With these items, he's set.
Q: What are some of your favorite pieces of the Carroll & Co collection?
A: Every piece of sportswear that we do from Luciano Barbera is a work of art.
Our Connaught Collection of Savile Row inspired clothing is a big hit. Meticulously tailored using the finest fabrics and very well priced. I love our classic navy blazer with scarlet red lining and our Carroll brass buttons. We do an Italian gabardine slack that is tailored and fits better than any slack I have ever seen. Cashmere sweatshirt from Scotland in 26 colors - a real winner. And for fun, our "cushy sock" has a following among our customers like no other item in the store. So soft and fluffy, you think you're wearing a soft slipper.
Q: Describe John Carroll style in three words?
A: Stylish, Classic, Quality,
Q: You’ve have an amazing legacy that includes over 5 decades of premiere fashion and style, what would be your advice to an upcoming stylist who seeks to make a mark in the industry?
A: Stick to your core, don't try to be all things to all people. Pick you style and go with it. Never trade down, your customer will accept higher prices but not lesser quality.
Q: What inspired you to get into Menswear fashion and design?
A: As a young man, I became interested in fashion and retail while working at Carroll & Co. My father was a great teacher and quickly got me involved in all aspects of the business. I loved going to Europe in my teens and visiting the many factories that we worked with. It gave me the opportunity to meet the designers, engineers and factory workers and really appreciate their art. I had many people who gave me inspiration.
Q: Mens fashion almost always takes a backseat to women’s fashion do you see that paradigm shifting anytime soon?
A:Women's fashion is so much more intricate than men's. There are so many more options for a women's wardrobe than for a man. I have always felt, especially with red carpet events, that the woman should be the shining star and the man should just look proper standing with her. The focus should remain on her and he should never upstage her. This isn't going to change anytime soon.