Celebrating style, individuality, and joie de vivre, this book showcases 80 original men who will inspire readers to lead a less ordinary life. Original Man is a compendium of the stories of extraordinary men. From household names including Andy Warhol, Freddie Mercury, and Yves Saint-Laurent to lesser-known personalities, the 80 men presented here are incredibly diverse, yet all share entirely original lives. Featuring famous hell-raisers such as Iggy Pop, indomitable explorers including Ernest Shackleton, visionaries like Federico Fellini, and some less mainstream personalities such as Quentin Crisp or Takeshi Kitano, these biographies are as gripping as any fiction.
This book is the brainchild of UK men's fashion maven Patrick Grant. As set about re-awakening the traditional Saile Row tailoring house of E. Tautz after a thirty-year slumber, he wanted to define the kind of man he aspired to clothe. Original Man is the compelling result of his musings--a collection of portraits of men who go beyond a veneer of stylish attire to wring every last drop out of life with their actions, thoughs, or words in a manner scarcely seen nowadays.
These are not the biographies of those the world considers to be the best writers, thinkers, or adventurers (though undoubtedly some arguably are). Rather, this book celebrates those that have lived lives that are genuinely different. Whether in the life of a stylist, a libertine, an artist, or a hero, originality and historical precedence trumps prowess; the manner of their endeavors is what counts, not the end result.
Reflecting Grant's personal background and experiences approximately half of the book's notable men come from the UK, a quarter from the US, and most of the remainder from Western Europe. Explaining his strong British bias, Grant states "we seem to breed original characters (or celebrate them more vocally) at a rate which belies our relatively small population."
Because a claim to inclusion requires sustained effort, not just a brief burst of activity, few of the men featured in Original Man are young. Some, such as Malcolm X and Ayrton Senna, died young, but had a lasting impact. The book also contains a few men well known for their hedonistic lifestyles such as Ozzy Osbourne and Oliver Reed, but it does not celebrate those who simply fritter their lives away at play unless it is done with the greatest sense of style. Often their tales are rather sad ones, like that of snooker player Alex Higgins, and are included in the hope that they are as precautionary as they are laudatory. Aware that there do not seem to be many equivalents to these stories today, Grant wishes to share these portraits to inspire readers--men and women alike--to try to live more interesting and original lives themselves.