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You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked and Racked New York for over a year. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion (which—as far as he's concerned—are essentially the same thing) even better with his brand new column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.
The Lichtensteins all that Anthony bought.
Dear Anthony Logistics,
Last week we spent an evening with your founder Anthony Sosnick in his SoHo loft as he hosted a tenth anniversary party for you—his line of semi-eponymous men's grooming products. From there we crossed Broadway to MiN—a recent addition to SoHo's retail landscape and a shop devoted almost exclusively to even more men's grooming products—for a book launch.
It's was a very men's grooming kind of night. And pretty early on—perhaps as, wine in hand, we gazed up at Sosnick's monumental Gilbert and George while a pianist tinkled away on Sosnick's baby grand—it occurred to us ? Well, first it occurred to us that this is nuts, we're standing in a living room full of Lichtensteins and nibbling on artisinal cheeses—who the hell let us in and what year did we slip into when we boarded that elevator, that elevator that actually opened up into this crazy apartment?
Sorry, we had to get that out. Anyway, it occurred to us that celebrating a tenth birthday for Anthony Logistics was very much akin to celebrating a tenth birthday for the whole of men's grooming—the concept, the products, the industry, the very movement.
Men (at least those of you who are, like, into skincare): Think back to 1999 or 2000 or 2001. Were you moisturizing? Perhaps you weren't, but if you were we're willing to bet you were pilfering Oil of Olay or Neutrogena from a girlfriend or your mom or your sister. Otherwise, you were popping on a hat and sunglasses to buy pink-tinted tubs of the stuff at CVS or Walgreens.
Then, all of a sudden, men's grooming became a trend—featurettes on how to shave properly and/or deal with ear hair popped up in magazines and newspapers. You suddenly showed up on store shelves along with offerings from new and relaunched lines like American Crew, Zihr, Jack Black and the Art of Shaving—clad in crisp, no-nonsense, occasionally-retro-apothecary (but always manly) packaging. And Queer Eye for the Straight Guy became a surprise crossover smash inviting a nation of viewers to audibly cringe right along with the five fabulous make-overers as the heteroafs in question shaved much too quickly.
(Meanwhile male models—the male fashion ideal—were getting younger and younger, more and more androgynous, paler, skinnier, virtually hairless. Essentially the boys dancing through Hedi Slimane's dreams were sauntering down every catwalk, posing in every ad campaign, affecting the size and fit of everything—not to mention how and what men should and could be grooming.)
Fast forward a half a decade and that army of newly moisturized, manicured men were not only accepted, but frequently deemed ideal. More importantly, they were ready to be marketed to and often flush with cash (or, at least, good at faking being flush with cash). The media had a field day with the term "metrosexual"—and though the term still really rubs us the wrong way, it cemented the fact that men were really starting to be okay with caring enough to use bristle shaving brushes and vitamin-enriched eye creams and herbal exfoliants and SPF moisturizers.
Cue men's grooming lines and upmarket specialty lines from Neutrogena, Pantene, Edge, L'Oreal, Gillette and Nivea; not to mention the plague of Axe for post-Maxim baby-hipster-metros and the relaunch (the term bombardment would also be appropriate) of Old Spice.
Long story still long: Thank you Anthony Logistics. You brought us out of our St. Ives and Oil of Olay ghettos. You saved us from Target's cosmetics aisles and gave us well-packaged, man-centric skincare with easy-to-follow instructions and no sense of shame. You let us out of our moisturizer closet. Happy birthday Anthony Logistics; Happy birthday men's grooming.