Chris Tennant is not a snob. He is simply…particular.
A Jack of All Trades, who simultaneously has a myopic focus upon whatever highly-specific task at hand–be it preserving and positioning just-so a horseshoe crab for one of his Victorian-inspired illuminated dioramas, editing an article on a tiger shark photographer or tending to his bamboo wall in salty Bellport, Long Island–this “last gentleman” of 40 years old never loses concentration.
It comes as little surprise that he was editor and creative director of the late and erudite glossy Man of the World. He embodied it. Less so, his hilariously sardonic guide, “The Official Filthy Rich Handbook,” a reaction of sorts to that “Preppie” one. “Rich” is not a word that will fly from this Cobble Hill, Brookyner’s mouth. “Outré,” yes.
Tennant, who grew up near Boston, likes how things were done when they were done…correctly. He likes things with “story” behind them. The former editor at snarky but relevant venues such as the New York Post’s “Page Six” and Radar magazine likes things that are well made, subtly exquisite. Yet he doesn’t live in the past.
We’ve called this prep-schooler a “young fogey,” and he will accept that. It’s just that his noggin doesn’t stop at Wes Anderson pining for another time (and all its Louis Vuitton trunk trappings). His Darjeling Limited train keeps rolling, often all night long. When there’s a summer group birthday party at his beach house–they call it “Leochella,” as he and his closest are that astrological sign–things may get wily. Well, drunken fun. At his annual “Apocalypse Now!” fete, he is the guy pitching the tents, hanging the Chinese lanterns, not doing the ‘shrooms.” Tennant remains oblivious to it all, invariably off rewiring the beak of some dusty toucan he found at an estate sale
OK, he is an eccentric. Let this rapier-witted “Take Ivy” guy do his thing. The world, and the would-be Men of the World can learn from him. Here, a word, with “Tenny,” as his cool-ass Brit wife Zoe endearingly calls him. We do not.
What say, Chris?
Describe your personal style.
Vaguely dissolute American preppy—more Tim Leary than Ralph Lauren. Natural fibers, ‘60s tailoring, solid colors, and nothing too peacock-y.
Favorite item of clothing you can't live without?
A well-cut double-breasted overcoat will pay for itself ten times over. You can wear anything under it and still be taken seriously.
Ice-cold Negroni at Dante in the Village
Are you a nostalgist?
Absolutely. Read way too many books as a kid.
What notable, live or dead, has influenced you in life, and why?
The swashbuckling artist and adventurer Carl Akeley, who invented modern taxidermy and built all the dioramas in the main hall of the American Museum of Natural History after collecting the specimens himself.
You have an adventurist spirit, hands in so many things of curio. Where does that come from?
My mother, who put a lot of stock in curiosity as a virtue, which I do as well.
Discuss your affinity for the horseshoe crab?
They’re the closest thing we have to dinosaurs, and look like something out of a horror movie. What’s not to love?
The Pangolin, which is nearly extinct. It looks like a miniature medieval dragon or a heavily armored ant eater.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Nicorette and thedrudgereport.
Next up on your plate?
Motto to live by?
Life’s rough. Be gentle.