A cocktail reception before the discussion was an event in itself. Documentary film maker Albert Maysles held court as guests eddied and flowed around him. The open bar flowed with Tanqueray cocktails like the Basil Smash and the Negroni.
Quickly emptied black lacquer trays carried a steady stream of tasty hors d'oevres. Deviled eggs, piping hot fried scallops, and rolled salmon on crispbread were devoured with relish. Both Mark Lewisohn and Beatles photographer Henry Grossman had tables hawking their respective books.
Downstairs in the beautifully lit auditorium, images from the Hardy Amies campaign lit up the screen. The revered Saville Row clothier has just released a collection of menswear inspired by the Fab Four which is currently on sale at Bloomingdale's. Slim cut, thin lapeled suits and distinctive overcoats worn with perfectly polished shoes. It was the look that the boys brought to America with them, a dressed up effortless look defined by a Hardy Amies quote:
"A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them."
Introduced by Nick Sullivan (Esquire's Fashio Director), the panel consisted of Henry Grossman, Beatles collector John McKewen, Albert Maysles, and Mark Lewisohn. the evening began with a bang as McKewen showed us a never-before-seen clip that had been languishing in a Swedish fan's collection since 1963.
From there we were led through Maysles' footage (when asked to shoot the Beatles for Granada TV, he asked his brother if they were any good before taking the job), and then Grossman took over with his exclusive still images, which he began taking the day of their Ed Sullivan appearance.
For nearly fifty years, John Lennon,Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr have been the background music to many an American life. To see them as young men, their heads tossing, hands strumming guitars, or to see George mischievously flick ash onto John's head, was like watching your uncles cavort in home movies. They are so familiar that their images translate across gender, race, and ethnicity. They are simply the best and most fun rock band ever. Mark Lewisohn remarked that '...the Beatles have never gone away...they are here to stay' and I definitely have to agree with him.
Mark Lewisohn's book, Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years- Volume 1 is on sale now. You can purchase Henry Grossman's book of rock photographs featuring artists such as the Beatles and a very young Michael jackson, at www.henrygrossman.com. The Hardy Amies Autumn Winter Collection is on sale at Bloomingdales and at www.hardyamies.com. Many thanks to Deborah Hughes Inc for the surprise invitation.