fop was never meant to be a compliment. it was used to describe some men who fretted about their clothes and appearance and the cumulative impression it all might make when they entered a room. it actually sounds a lot like hollywood today. i knew a fantastic fop however. he was cultured. refined. witty. erudite. and he knew how to wear an ascot. the ascot is highly misunderstood and underappreciated. cary grant--not a full fop knew how to wear one as well. kenneth was the real thing. an artist. a man who knew which fork to use even blindfolded. in another century he might have had velvet britches. when i met the great kenneth paul block for lunch it was shortly after joining a once great carriage trade emporium on fifth avenue. kenneth was one of their “artists.” at the time there was a fight of sorts going on between kenneth and “management.” management wanted him to work faster and consider being paid less. kenneth of course wanted to work at his own pace-- which could be quite fast--but take less money? never! i was put in a car to go meet him and attempt to broker a reconciliation of some sort and that i would know him when i saw him. entering this midtown eatery i looked around the room of grey and brown suits and grey and brown men. there at a small table for two was kenneth. resplendent in a crisp white shirt, double breasted navy jacket and a pink silk ascot. his hair sort of orbiting his head and large round swifty lazar glasses. he looked as if someone had shoved a 150 watt bulb up his bum. he simply glowed. i walked over to him and said, “kenneth?” he beamed. “how did you know it was me?” he asked in a fairly affected and metronome-ish sort of way. i said, “i was told to look for the best dressed man in the room.” it was love.
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