Saturday, 14 May 2011

Bentley’s Continental GT Hits the Road

Bentley has always had a touch of an identity problem. A British brand universally known for comfort and elegance, it has also won Le Mans—road racing’s most grueling endurance challenge—five times. Queen Elizabeth owns a Bentley, but so did John Lennon, and the psychedelic paint job he splashed on his vintage 1956 limo might have given the queen the royal vapors.

In 2003 Bentley blended the tough and tender facets of its personality into the Continental GT, a sporty luxury coupe that went on to increase the company’s sales volume tenfold. This year Bentley rolled out the first overhaul of its superstar product: a thundering 12-cylinder, 567-horsepower GT that can run on either gasoline, bioethanol, or a combination of the two.

Styling cues from Bentleys of the past, such as double headlights and brawny rear haunches, are still apparent in the new GT’s coachwork. But the edges are softer and smoother, and the aerodynamics are improved: Our test car, weighing in at a bruising 5,115 pounds, managed to achieve effortless zero-to-60 acceleration in 4.4 seconds, as promised. We chose to take Bentley’s word for the car’s top speed of 198 m.p.h.

Inside, the gauges are simple and the column-mounted, six-gear shifting paddles are prominent and well positioned. (The transmission also runs in automatic mode.) Thankfully Bentley’s center-console touch screen—maddeningly overengineered in many other luxury vehicles—glides easily between audio, telephone, comfort controls, and Google Maps–compatible GPS. Honorable mention must be given to the hand-stitched leather seats; they are by far the coziest we have snuggled into this year. We do, however, take issue with Bentley’s claim that the cabin seats “four people in total comfort.” That might be true if the rear passengers were named Bashful and Doc, but backseat claustrophobia has always been the bugaboo of 2+2 design.

There aren’t many performance luxury coupes out there that provide a more calming ride and whippet-fast acceleration—all for a mere $211,000 (as tested). After 90 years Bentley is still delighting the thrill seeker and the coddled driver alike. It’s a pleasure to be along for the ride.

The GT’s body panels are superheated and shaped by air pressure to reduce visible seams and welds.

Bentley’s flying B motif.

Hand-stitched leather seats are offered with ten massage cells each.

The shape of the dashboard echoes the spread wings of Bentley’s emblem

The center-mounted touch screen is Google Maps–compatible and includes a 30GB hard drive for music and route data.

Bentley’s Classic Designs

Models built between the company’s founding in 1919 and takeover by Rolls-Royce in 1931 are known as vintage Bentleys. At that time, Bentley only produced the chassis, or frame and working parts, and the body was created by one of several coachbuilders. It was one of these models, the Bentley Blower (shown), that Ian Fleming chose as James Bond’s car in his 007 books.

In the early days of the firm, Bentley made its mark on the racetrack, competing at Brooklands in Surrey, England, the Indianapolis 500, and the 24-hour Le Mans race in France. John Duff and Frank Clement privately entered a three-liter Bentley in the first 24-hour Le Mans in 1923. The next year, they returned to officially represent the company, and took first place. Here, Duff and Clement display their winning automobile at the 1924 race.

The fledgling company was kept afloat by an investment from wealthy motorist Woolf Barnato in 1926. Four years later, he wagered he could beat the famous Blue Train from Cannes, France, by road and even be in his London club before it reached Calais. He pulled up in the Bentley Speed Six outside the club four minutes before the train arrived at the Calais station.

In 1938, famed auto designer Georges Paulin—who had custom made bodies for the major brands of the day, including Peugot and Bugatti—conceived the Embiricos Bentley for a Greek banker. The car was developed further and released to the public in 1940 as the Corniche model. Paulin’s design would inspire the look of Bentleys for years to come.

The Bentley S1, released in 1955, was the first car to be both engineered and built at Crewe. The body was a foot longer than the R-type, giving it a roomier interior.

The T-type followed in the ’60s and was identical to Rolls-Royce’s Silver Shadow, apart from the radiator and branding. It was the first Bentley to have four-wheel disc brakes

Launched in 1980, the Mulsanne shared a design with Rolls-Royce’s Silver Spirit. A 140 m.p.h. turbo version—with better acceleration than many Ferraris—was introduced two years later.

Debuting in 1991, the Continental R featured an all-steel body and was the first Bentley since 1963 to have an original design that was not shared with a Rolls-Royce model.

The Arnage, launched in 1998, was a flagship model for the company until production of the vehicle ended in 2008.

The 2011 Continental Supersports recently broke a world speed record on ice, reaching 205.48 m.p.h. off the coast of Finland.

Iris Apfel

As a child, Iris Barrel Apfel once had a screaming fit when her mother put a ribbon in her hair whose color didn’t match her outfit. So it comes as no surprise that the interior designer and co-founder of the textile house Old World Weavers grew up to become a fashion icon. “But I don’t like anything matchy-matchy anymore,” says the self-proclaimed geriatric starlet, who is prone to donning daredevil extravaganzas of pattern and color along with masses of clanking jewelry.

Apfel burst onto the international stage in 2005, when the Metropolitan Museum of Art put the octogenarian’s flamboyantly bohemian personal wardrobe—antique Chinese robes, haute-couture feathered coats, operatic necklaces, many of them made to her eccentric order—on display in its Costume Institute. And now she is literally taking her mix-master taste on the road, from advising fashion-school students to designing a forthcoming collection of costume jewelry.

Taking a break from stringing beads, Apfel—wearing pencil-slim blue jeans, a brilliantly embroidered Indian jacket, and armloads of rattling wood bracelets—sat down in her Manhattan apartment with Mitchell Owens, Architectural Digest’s special projects editor, for an afternoon chat. The topics of conversation? Everything from how fashion can be the most liberating thing around to why church vestments can make a most modern ensemble.

ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST: Some people, and I am not among them, find fashion talk to be foolishness. But you don’t.

IRIS APFEL: Clothes are not frippery. Properly done, they can be an art form. Throughout history clothes represented who you were; they are a great vehicle for explaining who you are. During the Ching dynasty, for example, what you wore and how it was made reflected your status in society. People could literally read your clothes like a book, just by its color and how it was embroidered.

AD: So what do your clothes reflect?

IA: Just me. I’ve never tried to be a rebel or upset anybody. I just figured if I pleased my husband, and my mother didn’t get upset, then I was okay. Fashion really is women’s liberation in a lot of ways. Look at how many women in this country are depressed about how they look and how they think they have to look! It’s really sad. And it’s not about money. People with a lot of money don’t dress as well as people who have to make do, who have to be inventive. Those are the people who are always more interestingly dressed, I think. Everything I do, I do with gut instinct. If I think too much, it won’t come out right.

AD: You’ve been dressing like this for more than 50 years; what is the reaction as you walk down the street?

IA: I never care much what people think. I honestly don’t; I don’t pay any attention to the fashion police. A lot of people, probably most people, dress for status, and think they are well dressed if they wear something that costs a lot of money. And they all want the same labels, so they all look alike, which I think is awful.

AD: Why do you prefer fake jewels to the real thing?

IA: My husband, Carl, is a very lucky man: Diamond necklaces don’t appeal to me at all. I prefer fun jewelry with big stones—so large they would be untouchable if they were real. Now, don’t get me wrong. I do appreciate Daddy Warbucks–size stones, like a big, flawed emerald. I love stones that are inherently flawed: rock crystal, turquoise with big veins. It’s like Rodin once said, “More beautiful than a beautiful thing is the ruin of a beautiful thing.” I think that’s a great observation, and most of the time so very true.

AD: You’re designing a costume-jewelry collection now; have you ever designed fashion or jewelry before?

IA: All my life I’ve done that, made things or had things made, both clothes and jewelry. I used to take those beige cardboard tubes that are used for masking tape and draw designs on them with black pens and wear them as bracelets. I have a whole collection of those. You can make all kinds of wonderful stuff. All you need is a little imagination. I don’t know what happens to people’s imaginations. We have it when we’re young, but so many lose it when we grow up.

AD: Well, it takes imagination to walk out of the house wearing a priest’s cassock, which you’ve done.

IA: Back in the ’50s, when I was in Paris on a buying trip, I found this positively beautiful ruby silk-velvet vestment at the flea market. It was like a big, floppy tunic, but stiff, and I put it on right away. I thought it was pretty swell. My husband started to scream, “I don’t want you in old clothes, people will think I can’t afford to dress you properly.” Really, he was carrying on like a madman. Just then Eugenia Sheppard, the fashion editor at The New York Herald Tribune, came waddling by, and she saw the vestment and said, “Isn’t this divine?” I asked if she would do me a favor: “Go and tell my husband.” And she did. So I bought it, and it was a sensation. I had some old silk velvet made into skinny trousers and ruby velvet shoes, and on top I wore a long string of turquoise beads.

AD: You have a big collection of Chinese robes, too.

IA: I have worn Chinese robes a lot and they were so cheap to buy. After the Revolution, French and English people who worked in China as missionaries or bankers left the country and took a lot of stuff home with them. Their children didn’t want them, I suppose, so I bought what I could find. I love Middle Eastern clothes too, especially Turkish things.

AD: But you have no problem with jeans.

IA: Only with what they cost. Have you seen the prices? Scandalous. I mean, yes, if they are embroidered or beaded or made special in some divine way, but honestly, jeans are jeans. I live in them most of the time, but I had a helluva time getting a pair of jeans around 1940, when I was at the University of Wisconsin. I thought I’d wear jeans, a turban, and some old earrings. So I went to an Army-Navy store, but you have to remember, back in those days, all the men in Wisconsin were the size of Paul Bunyan. Then the salesman told me, “Young ladies don’t wear jeans.” He wouldn’t sell me any or have them cut down. So I kept going back to the store, and they kept throwing me out, so to get rid of me, they finally ordered me some boys’ jeans. I love men’s jeans; they fit me better.

Red-Hot Berlin

Hotel Amano

Since its debut in 2009, the Amano has become Mitte’s most successful new boutique hotel. The rooms are appealingly simple, the lobby is a lively meeting place for locals, and the bar and rooftop lounge have become undisputed hot spots. Ester Bruzkus, who did the interior design, credits the owners for opening their pocketbooks to get the right look: “It was the first time working in Mitte where I got to use whatever brands I wanted—Artemide, Gervasoni, Zeitraum.” Rates from around $130/night;

KW Institute

Founded in the early 1990s, this pioneering contemporary-art center mounts avant-garde exhibitions of rising or unjustly overlooked names. Pictured is a recent installation by Polish artist Paulina Olowska.

Bandol Sur Mer

The insiders’ pick for Mitte’s best restaurant is this intimate French bistro housed in a former kebab joint. With only seven tables, booking ahead is crucial. The menu, displayed on giant blackboards, is authentic French: fish soup, escargots, veal tartare. 011-49-30-67-30-20-51

Lunettes Selection

This tiny boutique on Torstrasse has garnered a reputation among stylesetters for its stock of rare, unworn vintage eyewear. Now, proprietor Uta Geyer has debuted her own collection inspired by the best designs of the last century— dashing and romantic frames that bring to mind Berlin’s bohemian past.

Soho House

Last year this outpost of the London members-only club opened in a former Communist-party archive. The tongue-in-cheek country-house decor, playful atmosphere (ping-pong in the lobby), and rooftop pool have quickly found favor with well-heeled Berliners—and the rooms, also available to nonmembers, are the most comfortable in Mitte. Rates from around $170/night;


Mitte’s boîte of the moment is found hidden under a railway bridge. Dress the part and you’ll get past the doorman and into a tunnel-like cocktail lounge plated with mirrors and lit by a jet-engine-shaped lamp at one end. There’s a DJ, an extensive cocktail menu, and a backroom cantina for those who like to fuel up before dancing all night.

Neues Museum

Museum Island can feel overcrowded with tourists, but you should make time to see this 19th-century museum devoted to ancient treasures and artifacts (including an iconic bust of Nefertiti). Reduced to a near-ruin by wartime bombing, the building has only recently reopened, thanks to a stunning and meticulous renovation by British architect David Chipperfield.

The Barn

It doesn’t get any more cheerful and relaxed than this new locavore café with its micro-roasted coffee and tasty artisanal sandwiches. It’s the perfect place to recharge while gallery-hopping along Auguststrasse, just steps away. A recommendation: the carrot cake. “It’s from my mother’s recipe book,” says the friendly owner, Ralf Rüller (pictured).

Sprüth Magers

Mitte teems with galleries, from newcomers like Peres Projects to established spaces such as Neugerriemschneider and Sprüth Magers. Put the latter, housed in an 18th-century social club, at the top of your list, given its generous exhibition rooms and star-filled roster, which includes Richard Prince, Andreas Gursky, and Louise Lawler (2009 installation shown).
Photo: Jens Ziehe
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Casa Camper

The Spanish shoe company’s new hotel has a chic-functional aesthetic and an inside-out façade (the room numbers are displayed to the street on exterior translucent shades). The interior design is spare but considerate, with Shaker pegs along the bright red walls of the rooms, hanging lamps, and ample bathrooms illuminated by enormous windows. The top-floor lounge and terrace with food and drink available 24 hours is a thoughtful touch for the just-arrived and jet-lagged. Rates from around $230/night;

Dos Palillos

Casa Camper tapped Albert Raurich, former head chef at Spain’s temple of gastronomy El Bulli, to helm its new ground-floor restaurant—the most talked about in Mitte. Take a seat at the gleaming white dining bar fronting the open kitchen and try not to be intimidated by the menu, which offers a choice of 12 or 16 courses. The pan-Asian tapas-inspired dishes, from pickled cucumber to egg soup to Cantonese-style pork, are delicately flavored and well paced while the cool, sleek space, designed by Paris-based siblings Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, makes you want to linger.

Me Collectors Room

This new art venue on gallery-packed Auguststrasse comes courtesy of Thomas Olbricht, a physician with an extensive collection of works by major contemporary artists—John Currin, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman—as well as Renaissance and Baroque objets. The latter form the site’s permanent collection, “Wunderkammer,” while temporary exhibitions aim to challenge and titillate (“X-Rated,” pictured, runs through May 8; a show devoted to cannibalism opens May 29).

Lala Berlin

Mulackstrasse is Mitte’s best and most intimate shopping street, and Leyla Piedayesh’s Lala Berlin is its go-to centerpiece. Eight years ago the designer quit her job with MTV to create a line of luxurious cashmere scarves (still Piedayesh’s signature) and has since expanded her line to include gossamer silk dresses, tailored jackets, and a new shoe collaboration with Unützer.

Calm, Cool, Collected

The living room of Nina Bauer and Andrew Shapiro’s New York City apartment, which was renovated by architect David Ruff of Design Laboratories and decorated by Penny Drue Baird of Dessins. The space serves as a gallery for works by, from left, Damien Hirst, William Klein, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. The angular armchairs are 1930s French, the barrel-back bergères are from Lee Calicchio, and the cowhide rug is by Stark Carpet.

Bauer with a painting by Jacqueline Humphries.

Hand-painted wallpaper by Gracie adds shimmer to the dining room. The 1940s Italian bronze chandeliers are from Carlos de la Puente, the midcentury Austrian chairs are from Bardin Palomo, and the table was custom made by Mark H. Luedeman; the antique herringbone floor is from Exquisite Surfaces.

The Quarrel by Cecily Brown hangs above a velvet-upholstered sofa in the living room; the cocktail table is ’40s French.

In the library, custom-made sofas upholstered in a Holly Hunt leather nestle in individual niches under lithographs by Sam Francis; the cocktail tables are by Christian Liaigre. The ottomans, by Ralph Lauren Home, are covered in a J. Robert Scott fabric; the rug was custom made by Stark Carpet.

A 1960s light fixture from Venfield presides over the breakfast nook. Ruff designed the lacquer cabinetry; the chair is from Design Within Reach, and the Roman-shade fabric is by Lulu DK. The countertops and wainscot are statuary marble.

In the master bedroom, the bed is upholstered in embroidered fabric by Holland & Sherry, and the bed linens were custom made by Casa del Bianco. The 1920s chandelier is by Baguès, the photographs are by Anni Leppälä, and a J. Robert Scott fabric covers the sofa.

10 Easy New Hair Ideas for Summer

Where we saw it: Chanel
The scoop: For the slick, polished style hairstylist Sam McKnight created at Chanel, apply mousse to your roots, then comb it through to the ends. Create a clean center part, pull all your hair back into a low ponytail, and secure it with an elastic. Add some polish by running a flatiron over the ends and adorn the base with a dramatic hair accessory (feathers and pearls are hot right now).

Where we saw it: Donna Karan (shown here) and Proenza Schouler
The scoop: To create these flouncy updos, hairstylist Eugene Souleiman gave the models' hair a tousled texture by prepping it with Wella Professional High Hair Ocean Spritz when it was dry. He made a deep side part before loosely pulling the hair back into a low ponytail. He then rolled the tail up (not under) into a loop that he secured with a few pins. Don't stress if it doesn't look perfect—it's not supposed to. "We wanted the hair to get a little messed up when they were putting on their clothes to give the style even more texture," Souleiman said.

Where we saw it: DKNY
The scoop: Souleiman created sleek low loops for the DKNY show. In real life, these make a polished alternative to sloppy ponytails but keep you just as cool. He parted the models' hair on the side—"not too low or harsh," he said. Gathering it at the nape of the neck, he anchored it into a low ponytail, which he folded over and retied with an elastic, creating a side loop. The finishing touch? Souleiman spritzed a fluffy kabuki makeup brush with hair spray and glided it over flyaways. "Think of it as setting powder for your hair," he said.

Where we saw it: Anna Sui
The scoop: At Anna Sui, hairstylist Garren used a double-barrel curling iron to form soft waves, creating a "bohemian vibe, as if the hair had air-dried," he said. To get the look, work a styling mousse through wet hair, and twist about four to six sections into little buns, securing them with hair clips. When they dry (you can air-dry or use a diffuser), remove the pins, shake the hair out, and you'll get beachy waves. (P.S.: Go ahead and skip the floral wreaths.)

Where we saw it: Calvin Klein
The scoop: On lazy summer days when you want to exert minimal effort, skip washing and re-create the style at the spring 2011 Calvin Klein show. Hairstylist Guido gave the hair a fuzzy texture (which most of us have in the summer naturally) by parting it down the middle and loosely pulling it back into a low ponytail complete with flyaways. To accentuate your flyaways, pull strands of hair out of the top of your ponytail.

Where we saw it: Lanvin
The scoop: Guido wanted the ponytails for Lanvin's spring 2011 show to look "sexy, sporty, and wet—it's like a girl who has just gotten out of the shower and pulled back her hair," he said. To get the look, he wet the models' hair and applied Redken Hardwear 16 Super Strong Styling Gel from roots to tips. He raked it back with his fingers, pulling it above the ears and into a ponytail at the nape of the neck. After tying it with an elastic, Guido spritzed the tail with more water and rubbed it between his hands so it looked naturally disheveled. To amp up the shine factor, he sprayed Redken Shine Brilliance Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist all over on the finished look. Bonus: You can execute this lazy look straight out of the shower—or the pool.

Where we saw it: Derek Lam (shown here), Balmain, Cynthia Steffe, and Elie Saab
The scoop: For the Derek Lam show, hairstylist Orlando Pita wanted the look to feel effortless and not "too done," he said. The result? A '60s-inspired silhouette: a center part worn loose and straight with a slightly disheveled finish. To get the look, Pita prepped dry hair with T3 + Orlando Pita Plump Heat-Seeking Liquid Hair Plumper and T3 + Orlando Pita Elevate Heat-Seeking Iron Volumizer, used a round brush to lift the roots, and blow-dried the front forward, then created a middle part.

Where we saw it: Oscar de la Renta
The scoop: To mimic the supersize buns Orlando Pita created for the Oscar de la Renta show, follow these steps: Part your hair down the center and tie it into a high ponytail. Tease the tail to make it big and thick, twist it, then wrap it around the base until you've created a perfectly rounded and oversize bun. Then secure it with pins and finish with a strong-hold hair spray.

Where we saw it: Michael Kors
The scoop: To create the laid-back style at Michael Kors, Orlando Pita prepped the models' hair with Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray, drew a deep side part, and twisted small sections into coils, clamping down on them with a flatiron for crimped texture. After securing the hair into a low ponytail, Pita split the hair into two sections and tied a double knot at the back of the head, and using a few pins to keep it secure. A chunky piece was left loose in the front of each model's style; the sections haphazardly fell into the models' faces as they walked down the runway.

Where we saw it: Dolce & Gabanna
The scoop: To create this sexy, slept-in look, Souleiman raked side sections of hair (the ones over the ears) back, twisted them together into one piece, and pinned it in place. He randomly pulled out smaller sections, pinning them to the crown to add texture. The piece left hanging down at the back was then tucked under into a loose loop and secured at the nape of the neck. Finally, he blasted the models' hair with a blow-dryer to create more flyaways.

Mama Said Knock You Out

I thought we could start with parenting. I'm curious for your advice for new dads. Is there shit we should be doing that we don't know about?
Well, I don't know. My husband was really good about helping out. The problem was diapers. He never got past the poop. He would do these [gagging noise] Oh God, I'm gonna vomit. Never got over it.

That's a long road, man.
Four years. A loooong road.

I remember, the first time I saw my wife's breast pump, I thought, This is an alarming, medieval device.
Yeah, the thing's upsetting. I would try to pump milk while watching Entourage on demand. And that was the worst possible way to do it. Like, I had the pump on, and I'd hear Turtle on TV: Yo, E, you ever fuck a girl when she has her period? I just sat there thinking: Oooh, this is not how this is meant to be.

Louis C.K. has a classic line that it's completely okay to call your kid an asshole. What do you think?
I think that any person being an asshole deserves it. Especially toddlers—they're total d-bags. You gotta let them know.

You write about telling your daughter that people have "yellow" hair to fight the global blonde conspiracy. My son's blond. Is he superior, or do you have to be a girl for that magic to happen?
Oh, it still carries some weight. I think yeah. I wouldn't even bother with him—he'll be fine. What color are his eyes?

Don't even teach him to read.

When the 30 Rock pilot aired, Tom Shales wrote that it needed "a better premise and funnier dialogue." Since you're shooting the one hundredth episode today, would you like to tell him to suck it on the record?
I'm pretty sure he did go back and suck it. But my memory is that the main problem with it was that I was such a terrible actor! Which I do not dispute—but now contend doesn't matter.

But Liz is in almost every scene!
She is the spine, yes. But I always feel like she's like Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld. You couldn't have done Seinfeld and hired some random guy to be Seinfeld. What he was bringing was very specific to him.

What was the darkest moment on the road to one hundred episodes? It was dicey for a while there.
You know, I just watched an episode that, in my mind, is a pivotal one: "Black Tie," from season one, where Paul Reubens played an inbred Austrian prince.

Of course, I remember it.
It was very, very weird.

Jenna ends up with him at the end, right?
And then he dies. It was the last episode that we shot before we were supposed to get our pickup. When we were on-set, we were joking that the episode was called "Black Tie" but should be called "Good-bye America!" We weren't trying to be weird, you know. We wanted people to like the show—we just didn't know how to do it. We were just like, "This? Do you like this? Do you like inbred Austrians? No? You don't?" That was the one where we were like, "Maybe we should start looking for what props we're going to keep from this endeavor."

I'm curious. Do you think Liz is ugly? Because there are all these jokes about her being unattractive, and I just don't see it.
It's never that she's ugly—I mean, she is sometimes slovenly. But for me, it's always been kind of the opposite of what people have said about her. It's about how other men see her, and has nothing to do with how she really is. When Jack is like, "Ugh, you're a mess," it's because of what his brain wants a woman to be. It has nothing to do with the physical symmetry of her size or anything. So no, she's not ugly. She's kind of sloppy. But all the clothes that Liz Lemon wears are much nicer than what I would wear on a writing-hiatus week.

Lady blogs like Jezebel exploded after the episode with the Liz-hires-a-feminist-comic thing. It sure seemed like you were commenting on the outrage when Olivia Munn—hot lady, not necessarily hot comic—was hired on The Daily Show.
I was actually really pleased that Jezebel got that it was about the whole Olivia thing, because the treatment of Olivia was weird on that site. She just kept getting reamed! And it was this weird mix. They would go after her, and then the next thing would be like, "Defending the Rights of Sex Workers." And I was just like, "Well, why can't we just say Olivia's a sex worker? Leave her alone!"

You've claimed publicly that the key to comedy is a staffing mix of Harvard people and Chicago improv people. What's the alchemy there?
It's Spock and Kirk. One's visceral and the other's cerebral. They're asocial, but they mix together nicely.

The Lonely Island's Style

The Lonely Island will never be accused of taking their success too seriously. "The fact that we got a record deal was hilarious and the fact that our album was decently successful was also hilarious," Jorma Taccone told GQ. "And then we decided to make a second one." So, just like that, Turtleneck & Chain (Universal Republic) arrives this week, a fully-committed parody album of the highest order. In flipping through the album artwork, we couldn't help but notice some of the group's, erm, curious style choices. So we grabbed a few minutes with Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer to talk turtlenecks, chains, cults, puns, Pierce Brosnan, and more.

"Turtleneck & Chain"
Schaffer: The title is an easy one for us to talk about, because it was our look in junior high in like seventh grade—because we've known each other since seventh grade—that was actually in the Bay Area and maybe elsewhere, I don't was kind of a popular look, like a cotton turtleneck and a really thin gold or silver chain.
Taccone: It certainly wasn't a look in New York, I've asked people and they did not do that, but it was definitely popular in the Bay Area.
Schaffer: And I mean maybe someone who was 25 was wearing it well, but in seventh grade we were 11 or 12-years-old wearing the stuff. It was a pretty handsome and great-looking look.
Taccone: And it was not a Run-D.M.C. style. It wasn't turtlenecks and giant dookie chains; it was the thinnest chains possible. And I couldn't even afford gold, so it was always silver for me. It's become gold for this look, but it was always silver when I did it.

"Grown 'n' Sexy"
Schaffer: We're conceptualizing everything, giving very detailed directions. But this guy Brian Hemesath, who works at "SNL" and is also the costume designer for "Sesame Street," he's our guy we call on. We tell him it once and he comes back with great stuff for us.
Taccone: So just to clarify, the Emmy-nominated designer of clothes for "Sesame Street" is also our designer.
Schaffer: And so that white one is vaguely modeled off—even though he's not wearing a turtleneck—the Al Green cover.

"Cult Leaders"
Taccone: Those are more like linen shirts from a cult.
Schaffer: They certainly take on a cult-quality with those wigs. It could also be a nice day at the beach, like on a yacht or something.
Taccone: We're wearing almost like hemp necklaces.
Schaffer: Yeah, it could just be a nice Pierce Brosnan Mamma Mia kind of look.
Taccone: It's the symmetry of the hair that makes it cultish.
Taccone: The hair came from Akiva's brain.
Schaffer: Yeah, just from my mind.
Taccone: It's kind of like a Blue Lagoon slash Top Secret, really, because I don't know if I've ever seen Blue Lagoon, I'll be honest.
Schaffer: Oh, but I have.
Taccone: Okay, and Blue Lagoon.

Schaffer: That's kind of a Weekend at Bernie's look.
Taccone: Oh for sure, Weekend at Bernie's, yeah, big influence. I mean, really, there's a lot of looks we're trying to bring back it seems like.
Schaffer: That one we put it on, because there's this album art thing in our album if you open our booklet or if you go onto our website you can buy the poster, we did a series of fake movie posters. And one of the incredibly intelligent, smart posters was for a movie called Ghost Buttsters, in which there's three guys whose butts are ghosts. That's like an outtake from that photo shoot.
Taccone: Just to reiterate, their butts are actually ghosts. They're not busting, like... Schaffer: There's "butting" happening.
Taccone: We were trying to make Ghost Buttsters look like it was the front of a copy of a VHS tape at a movie store that you would've walked by and been bummed out. It looks like our three butts are a version of Slimer, but butt-shaped.
Schaffer: It's Oscar fodder, you know?
Taccone: And that was Andy's idea.

"The Creep"
Schaffer: The song had already come up, and then we were like, "What's the look of a classic creeper?" And then we were like, "Oh, it's the John Waters look." And it's actually kind of an awesome look, but it's a tight suit with a little bit shorter pants, flooding pants, really tight suit, plaid undershirt-y kind of thing, bow tie, pencil mustache, slicked down hair. We describe it in the video, but it was kind of a John Waters look, and then we were like, "What if we could get John Waters to introduce the actual song and video?" And we psyched that he did.
Taccone: But look-wise, too, that does crossover into being a very cool look. Like that too-tight-for-your-body, awesome, heroin-chic look is kinda dope.
Schaffer: I think you could [get away with it in Williamsburg] easily.
Taccone: It's hilarious, because John Waters was in San Francisco and we had a remote crew go to him because he was on a book tour. And we talked to him on the phone a bunch of times and we trying to clarify what this was going to be. His quote was, "There's a thin line between perv and asshole, and if you could please keep me on the perv side of things." And we were like, "Absolutely, that's not a problem."

"Shy Ronnie"
Schaffer: We were talking about it like, "You know, we're describing the teenage son on the HBO show Hung." So we started pulling that stuff up. We didn't go with exactly him, because it has nothing to do with him, but we were already tip-toeing around it without even realizing it, and then one of us brought it up and were like, "Yeah, that's kind of him."
Taccone: By the way, that's the first time we've actually revealed that in the press, so you if you print that, then that kid's going to be extremely bummed.

"The Perfect Magentlemen"
Taccone: From that first album [Incredibad], all those album covers ended up becoming very bizarre, tangential wordplay titles.
Schaffer: Wordplay is being really generous—terrible puns.
Taccone: This one's from another fake album cover from our first album called The Perfect Magentlemen. And the title of the album was Magentlemen Prefer Bond. And then it was a picture of a blond woman looking on disappointed as we huddled around a U.S. savings bond looking super excited.

"Photo Finnish"
Taccone: Yeah, that's when it really went off the rails, I think I was responsible for that one.
Schaffer: Yes, we were coming up with the worst possible things we could think of, exactly the right way to put it.

"Male Pattern Tallness"
Schaffer: There's also Male Pattern Tallness cooking magnets.
Taccone: That one's probably the best title for an album.
Schaffer: And we also have male pattern baldness.
Taccone: That's when it becomes confusing, we're also bald.
Schaffer: And with all that, we also happen to be pussy magnets.

"The Original"
Taccone: I'm probably the most exited about Turtleneck & Chain.
Schaffer: I like the one where you have that different color turtleneck and I'm lounging on the couch and they're kind of hugging. Most of the turtlenecks we're wearing are women's turtlenecks, because men's turtlenecks are out of fashion and are very hard to find.