Yoga as a lifestyle, Studio 54 and a passion for scarves from an iconic New Yorker
How should we start with our dearest Rod Cummings ? We could tell you that he has been one of our first customer. The first from New York City for sure and one of the most supportive ever. We’ve followed his unique take on effortlessness from the streets of NYC to the Amalfitan Coast, Mykonos and Capri. We’ve tried to understand how on earth he could do such sophisticated yoga poses with always a relaxed smile on his face. Still trying to figure out. We could also tell you that he is an experienced psychotherapist, coach and yoga instructor down in Chelsea, NYC. We could do all that for sure but decided to let him do the work. Will be so much better.
LBH: First and foremost, thanks a lot for taking the time to seat with us.
RC: Of course, my pleasure. I’m a big fan of your work.
LBH: Thank you for your kind words. You’re based in Chelsea, NYC and seem to live the city to the fullest. What is the part that you like the most about New York ?
RC: It’s the most vibrant and dynamic city in the world. Each day is a new adventure. There’s always something new around each corner and with each passing season. As the songs go, it can be pretty tough at times to live in this “concrete jungle where dreams are made of” and, not to sound cliche but “ if you can make it here, you really can make it anywhere!”
LBH: What about the Hamptons ?
RC: Ahh, paradise. So close yet so far away. My retreat and refuge. I have a hidden vintage oasis close to the ocean where my family and friends hang out and play. Little known to some but New York’s Long Island has some of the most majestic beaches in the world. Soft sand, amazing dunes, incredible light and a wild and ever changing seascape. The local clams we pull out of our waters here are sublime.
LBH: Were you born in New York ?
RC: No. I’m a native of Los Angeles, California. I moved to NYC for college when I was 18.
LBH: What are the memories you keep from your early days in New York ?
RC: I was lucky enough to come of age there and fortunate to have been exposed to the untamed and wild period of the early 80s. I was able to be a part of a special time in history and to witness to the finest in music, art and fashion. The days where Andy Warhol was God and Studio 54 and Area were the after dark playgrounds of the famous and fabulous and, of course, the want-to-be fabulous.
LBH: How does it translate into your personal style ?
RC: I think I have picked up on the various style icons from my childhood and formative years. Growing up on the beach in California in the 70s the major influences were the surf and skate culture in addition to being surrounded by Hollywood glamour. I have taken influence and inspiration from what I see on the street and on film. I have always loved the look and attitude of men who carry themselves and present themselves with a certain insouciance which I have tried to adopt and emulate.
LBH: Apart from being psychotherapist and life coach, you’re also a highly trained yoga instructor. Your Instagram is full of amazing poses. Would you say that yoga conveys a specific aesthetic ?
RC: Yoga is the manifestation of the mind, body and soul trifecta. One’s equal alignment, in all three areas, is vital for physical and mental health and wellness. The architecture of the body when in a pose should reflect a harmony of equal parts strength and ease. Equal parts grace and force.
LBH: Getting back to your personal style, it seems that you put great care in picking clothes and accessories. What do you look for first in a clothing/accessory piece ?
RC: I always rely on the initial vibe I get when I first see a piece of clothing, a pair of shoes or an accessory. I rely on my instinct that guides me to obtain something new and incorporate it into my collection. I like easy, wearable and classic items that can be mixed and matched with ease and spontaneity.
LBH: Who is your all-time style icons ?
RC: My grandfather, Mackie, was my first style icon. He was dapper and chic without ever trying. It was the way he carried himself and how he mixed his simple wardrobe and adopted a regal yet approachable attitude. Always with a scarf, cravat or tie, even when he was in his pajamas, robe and slippers he looked like a movie star but in reality he was a pretty simple, modest gentleman. There’s something about Haider Ackermann and his style that reminds me in a way of my grandfather. And, of course, Yves Saint Laurent who was always an icon of chic and the exotic to me.
LBH: Who else from today's fashion scene ?
RC: I love looking at Haider Ackermann and his band of brothers like Umit Benan. I think they are timelessly hip, cool, stylish and irreverent. I also have been a long time fan of the interiors and lifestyle couple who created the Roman and Williams brand.
LBH: What’s your approach to shopping ? Do you have favorite places in New York ? LA ? The Hamptons ? Paris ?
RC: Well, I always move about with my eyes wide open. Whether wandering the Souk stalls of the Medina in Marrakech, the back streets of the Marais in Paris or on a sidestreet in Venice, California, I’m always in the hunt for something new to incorporate.
LBH: Do you have go-to looks that would make you feel good whatever happens ?
RC: Lately, I find that if I have my new black cashmere Berber blazer from Morocco, my favorite pair of Acne Ace jeans, my Japanese cotton James Perse tee-shirt, a pair of vintage Gucci loafers and a well-worn LBH scarf I can be set for pretty much anything. And of course I can’t leave the house without my Tom Ford shades.
LBH: You’re a great traveler, never losing the occasion to embark your crew to new trips, mainly across Europe lately. What do you like the most about our old continent ?
RC: I adore the heritage and legacy of Europe. I love the tradition, the ease and bravado that men in Europe possess. Of course, I love the languages, the food and the art and architecture. I always feel a sense of being distant yet at home in Europe for some reason.
LBH: In particular, you seem to be a big fan of Italy. What about it ?
RC: Ah, Italia! It’s a simple equation. When you have a gorgeous language, a perfectly delicious food and drink culture, a divine history and beautiful, welcoming and easy-going people there’s perfection. If you add the summer sun and the Mediterranean sea that’s what I call heavenly perfection.
LBH: Do you have a daily accessory you take everywhere you go no matter how you dress ?
RC: Yes. My day bag, which lately is my black calf Bottega Veneta tote, my Tom Ford shades, my Cartier Santos and, of course, my LBH scarf and I’m ready! I never forget a few sprays of Wonderwood by Comme Des Garçons as well.
LBH: What is scarf meaning to you ? How do you approach it in terms of styling ?
RC: I’ve worn scarves since coming to NYC as a teenager. I was obsessed with vintage style from the 50s, 60s and 70s. I’ve always had a collection as did my grandfather. A scarf is that simple easy to grab element that adds so much and feels so good. There’s something about a piece of silk around my neck that feels so sexy, comforting, stylish and decadent all at the same time.
LBH: We know you have a few of our scarves in your collection. How did you find out about our Maison ?
RC: I think it was an Instagram love match made by the powers that be.
LBH: What did you think when you first met us ?
RC: I felt an immediate connection and a synchronistic vibe with the brand and its attitude. I remember thinking, “wow, these guys got this!”
LBH: You can't please us more, thank you for these kind words. What’s your next travel destination ?
RC: Always looking for a winter escape, I will visit the desert in California - Palm Springs and Joshua Tree - and, of course, look forward to my return to the Greek Islands and Capri this next summer.
LBH: Sounds like a nice program. Thank you so much for your time Rod, it means a lot to us.
RC: Of course.