At a party and presentation last night for IMPROVD, The Observer spotted Paul Johnson-Calderon sporting a bit of an uptown/downtown ensemble: blazer and bow tie up top; cutoffs, knee socks and sneakers down below. And in the middle: black nail polish. “Goth is coming back, I think,” Mr. Johnson-Calderon explained, “So I did the Dior black nails.”
Mr. Johnson-Calderon said he had just been to a Brooks Brothers party for True Prep, the new sequel to The Official Preppy Handbook you may remember from your days at Choate. “At the True Prep party, a lot of the old people that were there, like, my friends’ parents, were like, ‘What? Who is this person?!’” Mr. Johnson-Calderon said. “And everybody else was like, ‘You look rad!’”
“But my close friends were like, ‘Get that nail polish off, you look like you’re from Milwaukee,’” Mr. Johnson-Calderon continued. “I’m like, ‘I’m from California. That’s very different.’”
But to get back to that bow tie — it was an awfully cute one, in a distinctive toile pattern that looked just the tiniest bit familiar. Paul, who makes the tie?
“I make this bow tie,” Mr. Johnson-Calderon said. “The line is called Mauvais Garçon, which is ‘bad boy’ in French, and they’re the original curtains from the Beatrice Inn. So this is the Beatrice tie.”
Wait, wait, wait. The original curtains? How did he — how can we put this delicately — acquire them? (Does the name of the line provide a clue, perhaps?)
“Ages ago, before it closed, I got them, and I had them up in my apartment because they’re beautiful toile curtains,” he said. “But then I was like, ‘How do I make this something for everyone, you know?’ Not for everyone, but for the people that used to go to Beatrice, it’s a little piece of history.”
Very Sister Maria! “Thank you, yeah! I think my inspiration was Gone with the Wind,” Mr. Johnson-Calderon said with a flourish. We’re still unsure how he got the curtains.