“The well-dressed man is he whose clothes you never notice”. – W. Somerset Maugham

Don’t dress like a juggler’s assistant

I’m no fashion expert, but I have tried many styles and am old enough to know what works. I was lucky enough to catch the heyday of Beatlemania, the emerging pop-culture of television, hippydom, the rise of importance of Silicon Valley, Los Angeles decadence during the ’80s… and… most importantly… the radical changes in fashion that have taken place over the last thirty years. I’ve been guilty of poor fashion choices too, but I feel there’s no better way to learn how the world works than to roll up your sleeves and get filthy with experience. I’ve been stupid, smart, cursed, lucky, broke, well off, mocked, worshiped, hated and loved in this business

On cruise ships we have lavish production shows that the cruise companies pour enormous amounts of money into. Looking at their brilliant costumes and working on ships as long as I have, I soon learned how they achieved this look. Silvia’s Costumes is who makes their costumes. And if money’s no object this is where you want to go. Now Silvia doesn’t come cheap. For me, until I’m mounting my own show in a Vegas hotel with investors, Silvia’s a little out of my budget. So I looked to foreign manufacturing.

My first discovery of getting clothes made abroad was twelve years ago while performing in Asia. I took a ten day vacation to Bangkok, Thailand to change my visa and discovered many tailors willing to make almost anything for ¼ the price of the states. So, I had a boat-load of show costumes made at amazing prices. In hindsight, these costumes didn’t really have the flair that I was looking for, but I was very pleased with the sheer volume of costumes that I could get, and my show desperately needed upgrading in this area.

Last year this time one of our ports of call was Kusadasi, Turkey. Now I must admit that before I went there I thought, “who would want to go to this place”?  But I am a coffee addict and had wanted to try Turkish coffee for many years now. You know, the kind that could put hair on your chest?  So out I ventured out into the abyss once our shipped docked. I always prefer docking to a tender boat situation because you can get off the boat so quickly. Didn’t find my Turkish coffee, but the streets were filled with vendor selling numerous things from Persian rugs (hand made on the premises), fake watches, exotic art and leather goods. Very interesting. As I strolled up a quaint street I was taken back by an amazing display of suits in a store window. I mean they just looked so chic; like they were right out of GQ magazine. I walked into this place and was greeted by wiry energetic guy with black hair named Fevzi. He reminded me of a Turkish Peter Pit.

I immediately noticed the “flair” in his suits. Then he told me he makes them all himself. Soon I met his wife Nedda who was in the back sewing. She asked me if I wanted anything to drink. Now was my chance for that famous Turkish coffee I’d heard so much about. I couldn’t resist. She mad one for me. It had a mint taste to it and was stronger than onions. It’s so powerful, after you drink it there’s sludge left at the bottom of the cup. Well, there’s still the same amount of hair on my chest but I was wired and began thinking how great some of Fevzi’s suits would look under stage light.

For the most part magicians, myself included, look like acrobats in mid-career change.   So here was my chance to finally look fashionable on stage with out paying the Beverly Hills price tag.  What impressed me most about Fevzi is that his suits were so contemporary. He’s not somebody who goes out and tries to become the most famous tailor in Turkey. He’s more like a “quiet trade secret” for those few of us with fashion needs beyond the drab. He’s one of those people you’ll rarely ever get the opportunity to find unless you travel to Turkey. (Another perk of working on cruise ships).  Well, Fevzi made a very slick black custom fitted suit out of a denim material that i just love.  It looks great on stage, accentuates my physique and feels great on my body.  I still use it in my main stage show here on The Diamond Princess

Happy Cruising!

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