His wardrobe has an English accent

Candid Closet

October 09, 1997|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

It isn't far-fetched to say that Peter Trippi, an Anglophile fascinated by Britain's ancient vitality, has adapted a style traceable to a certain extent to the country's spectacular textiles and costumes.

Trippi, a consultant curator of 19th-century British art, helped select items for the Baltimore Museum of Art's new exhibition, "A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum." On frequent trips to London, Trippi finds time to shop, making a particular point of stopping at the V&A gift shop, one of his "favorite places on Earth." Visitors to the BMA show will also be able to find some of the same fashion accessories available at the V&A, including William Morris ties, paisley shawls, beaded bags and walking canes. Good show!

Can you describe your style?

L An eccentric mix of Savile Row, Hugo Boss and Southern prep.

What are your favorite garments?

TC My English silk waistcoat (red, black and gold), a glen plaid jacket by Hugo Boss, my Levis 501 green jeans and a silk tie with a William Morris botanical pattern from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York.

Where do you shop in London?

I make a beeline for Next, a popular retailer in every British town's shopping street. They specialize in traditional shapes with fun, unusual patterns and textures. Also, I try to stop by a designer-consignment shop right off Hyde Park. I got my favorite windbreaker there in 1992 -- a reversible blue/ivory Byblos hip-length shell. I'm going back in December to start research on my new book about the Victorian painter J. W. Waterhouse, and hopefully they'll have some fresh deals.

What is your weakness?

Anything with medium-to-dark green in it. It brings out the green in my eyes.

If you could have any garment, what would it be?

In "A Grand Design," there is a gorgeous piece of tapestry fabric called Omar. It has golden lotus blossoms with green tendrils on a bright red ground, and was designed in 1906 by an English Arts & Crafts architect named C. H. Townsend. If I could have that made up into a waistcoat, I'd be happy forever.

Do you have a clothing budget?

Not really. Depending on what I come across, I may buy $500 worth of clothes one month, and then nothing for two months. I do not cruise the shops regularly.

Do you wear hats?

As little as possible. I look silly in them, and I always get hat-head. This is, perhaps, my life's biggest disappointment.

How do you handle hair care?

What hair? Every three weeks I bring my few remaining locks to Vicki at Salon Salon on Charles Street and she tidies them up.

What do you wear when you're actually in England?

It's hard competing with the Brits on their own turf. One garment that always helps me blend in is my Barbour jacket, an olive-green, hip-length coat made of waxed cotton that repels the continuous rain of an English winter.

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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