The modern gentleman: Chris Beastall talks style and timeless flair
September 18, 2018
Chris Beastall of Ape to Gentleman fame gives us the lowdown on style and flair for the modern gentleman.
Chris Beastall, founder and editor of online men’s magazine, Ape to Gentleman, is flying the flag for the modern gentleman who loves traditional masculine style with timeless flair. He talks to Decology about his path from Ape to Gentleman and what influences his own fashion and interiors style.
How did Ape to Gentleman come about and what’s its mission?
Ape to Gentleman is the online evolution of a traditional men’s magazine, dedicated to timeless yet contemporary style, intelligent living and value. We aim to educate rather than sell. All of our writers abide to our aforementioned mission. And we all base our writing on our own experience and style.
What do you think are the concerns facing men regarding interiors style and designing their own space?
I’d say the main concerns are a complete lack of knowledge. Education is key. Or failing that, have someone like Decology interior design online do it for you. Another side to it is having the right eye for design. We take a lot of photos – anyone can buy an expensive camera, but it’s about the style of picture – have you got an eye for photography? I’m sure it’s the same for interior design.
Do you think tech now plays a big part in interior and fashion styling?
In terms of fashion (or style as we call it), not really. Tech is a great medium for viewing items and ordering but we haven’t seen much in the way of tech for styling. Online is essentially a digital magazine, and little has changed really. There are ‘Find Your Fit’ web apps that match your well-fitting pieces to the retailers own sizing. We did consider a clothing match app some years ago but it’s hard to convey not only colour but texture, fit, quality – for instance, a digital version of a supermarket suit would probably look similar to a Thom Sweeney bespoke, when in reality – the differences are wide-ranging.
What would you say is your personal interiors style or style combination?
I’m a big fan of clean design. Less is more. Bauhaus. My Leica M10 camera embodies this in the tech world. Style wise – brands such as COS own this space. I feel a minimalist/cleanly designed room leads to clearer thinking and better productivity.
Do you have any interior design particular loves or hates?
This sounds snobbish, but I bought a load of IKEA furniture a few years back. And it’s decent enough quality, and affordable. But now my bedroom looks like a tacky IKEA showroom. Hence the redesign. Colour wise, neutrals are more to my taste, as is wood. I’m not really a fan of plastics or metals.
In your home, which is the space that you most love and which most needs a re-style and why?
My favourite space is the kitchen – because it’s the hub of the house. It’s a kitchen with a lounge space. Also, it’s where we eat – and I love food. My bedroom is the room that needs the re-style as mentioned above…
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Do you have any favourite designers or interiors style influencers?
To be honest, interior design/ exterior design is new to me but Philippe Starck’s work has always stood out. And Frank Lloyd Wright because of Fallingwater and Richard Neutra because of Kaufmann Desert House, as photographed by one of my favourite photographers; Slim Aarons. My cousin Richard Beastall has been an inspiration here too. He’s Partner at TP Bennett – a leading global design company – who created some stunning office interior designs. He’s also just completed his ‘beach house’ which is incredible.
Who is your ultimate modern classical gentlemen / your style icon?
Modern is tough. So, I’ll go with current i.e. not modern, but still relevant. Gianni Agnelli, the Italian industrialist and major shareholder in Fiat. His business wear was second to none. Smart but with nuances of Italian flair. Also, Richard Gere as Julian Kay in the 1980 film, American Gigolo. Dressed entirely by Giorgio Armani. Smart Casual never looked so good.
What are your favourite furniture or accessories in your own home at the moment
We have a huge U-shaped sofa in the lounge – it’s cream in colour which isn’t easy to keep clean, but it’s a real statement piece and very comfy. There are two matching armchairs too. I also have a drinks cabinet with space for a plethora of glasses, bottles and a drinks serving area.
What do you think of the new Decology Lookbook and 3D Studio?
The lookbook is great for inspiration – something which I (and I suspect most men) struggle with. And the 3D Studio is equally impressive – somewhere you can receive a bespoke interior design from an expert for such a reasonable expense. A most welcome service. There’s no excuse for poorly laid out, and incoherently styled rooms now, gentlemen.