I’ve been a fan of his jewelry for a long time. To me, Philip is a true artist — he designs AND makes a lot of his own work by hand. One of these days, I’ll treat myself to one of his custom-made pieces. In my opinion, they’re as powerful as tattoos.
I’ve also had the chance to get to know Philip personally for the past few years, and I’ve been able to appreciate not only his sweetness and sense of humor, but also his style… perfect without being too perfect. Which is the hardest balance to find in men’s fashion!
1. Describe your style in three words.
Easy, preppy, kinda lazy.
3. When you’re putting together a look, where do you start?
I get into serious ruts with items of clothing where I’ll wear the same thing for a couple weeks straight, so when I’m putting a look together it will usually start with whatever piece I’m obsessed with at the moment i.e. the above mentioned shoes – these days every look I put together relates to either the Birks or the Nikes.
4. What do you love the most about men’s summer fashion?
Shorts!! I love getting my legs out – it makes me feel like winter is a million miles away, though I think I’m starting to turn into one of those men who wears shorts year round like a German nature enthusiast – it’s only a matter of time…
5. Your sister Courtney and you have the jewelry line Giles & Brother. Where did your passion for jewelry start?
I’ve always been a bit of a magpie, attracted to shiny things – I remember being fascinated by jewelry my whole life but never thought about actually making it until I was at art school. I was majoring in painting and not really liking it when I visited a friend in the jewelry studio and instantly fell in love with space, all of the tools and fire. I switched majors that day and never looked back… My training was very technique-intensive, a real European goldsmithing education in the US is a rare thing, and I took to it right away. I feel so lucky that I found my calling.
6. You also have a second, eponymous line. Can you tell us about that?
Philip Crangi Jewelry is where it all started back in ’99, actually – Giles & Bro came a little later. PH jewelry is mostly made from steel or iron mixed with gold… I’m obsessed with the combination of these materials; the high-low, dark-light effect is so beautiful. With this collection I try and create pieces that are impossible to place in time and space, pieces that are beautiful mysteries – the hidden treasure you’ve been looking for your whole life…
7. Ok! So we have to hear what your most treasured piece of jewelry is…
It may seem the obvious choice but I have to say that it’s my 1976 gold Rolex Day-Date “Presidential” watch – it was a “Tuesday” gift from my partner Darren. I’ve wanted this watch forever and every time I look down at my wrist I freak out at how perfectly beautiful it is, and can’t believe I actually have it – what a feeling!!
8. How do your tattoos impact your style? Or are they part of it?
I think they’re definitely an integral part of my style, in a way I dress in counter-point to them: I think when I dress a little more preppy or classic my tattoos look better, plus I love the way they look with a tux.
9. Are there similarities between tattoos and jewelry?
Absolutely! I think throughout human history tattoos and jewelry have served a similar function: showing both inclusion in a society while distinguishing the individual. They certainly function that way for me.
10. When it comes to design, what do you prioritize: beauty, innovation or comfort? Why?
I would say that I try to approach design from the angle of innovation – I like the idea of invention and creating something totally new out of thin air. Of course this is a silly idea as nothing is ever truly new nor can it come from nowhere as I live in the real world, surrounded by influences and inspirations – but it’s a the challenge I give myself as a designer: making the thing only I can make.
11. And what’s the best fashion advice you’ve been given?
Stay fit – no matter what you wear, if you don’t look good naked it doesn’t matter. And don’t wear plaid pants, no one will take you seriously.
12. Do you have a fashion muse?
For mens fashion? I’ve had a long list over the years: Czar Nicholas II, Jeff Bridges in Against All Odds, Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in just about anything… But currently I am muse-less. Any suggestions?
Look 1 / Polo, Acne; Pants, 45 RPM; Sandals, Birkenstocks for J.Crew. Look 2 / Shirt, J.Crew; Shorts, Junya Watanabe; Sunglasses, Barton Perreira; Sneakers, Nike chukka fly knits; Bracelet, Giles & Brother; Watch, Rolex. Look 3 / Collarless shirt, Junya Watanabe; White jeans, J.Crew; White sneakers, New Balance. Look 4 / Shirt, vintage from Dover Street Market; Shorts, Comme des Garçons; Shoes, Vans.
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