Perhaps you do not recognize AA by his name or face, but surely you get the general idea. Caped or draped, Bronson defies conventional dress for an aesthetic that he sees as his own. While some may refer to his statement as eccentric, Bronson is comfortable just letting the queer out. Channeling a hint of bearded darkness, Bronson admits that female dissent is not on his list of worries. If I have learned anything, you can’t please everyone. There is always an anti-beard protest going on in someone’s backyard.
Name: AA Bronson (born Michael Tims – photographed above left with his spouse, the architect Mark Jan Krayenhoff van de Leur)
City: Manhattan, NYC
Are you a grower or a show-er? Are you the type of guy who has always has a beard, or is your growth a response to a trend?
I like to be a grower and a shower, hehe. I’ve had my current beard for about 13 years and don’t intend to ever get rid of it again. I like to think I set trends rather than follow them.
Do you keep it neat and clean, or is a little unkempt more your style?
I keep my beard well tended but not fastidiously so. I like a kind of Victorian naturalistic look, nothing too fussy. Women tend to complain about my beard, which I take to mean I am going in the right direction.
Does your beard ever factor in to the clothes you choose to wear? Do you like to frame it as your statement, rather than wear bold patterns, graphics and colours to distract from it?
My beard is white and I am often dressed in black. I have about fifteen matching black t-shirts, for example. I like a kind of Greek Orthodox styling, a little bit grand without going all the way to caftans. I have been wearing a lot of Yohji Yamamoto, since I discovered his first little store in Paris in 1982. On the other hand, extremely formal Saville Row fashion (think Richard James) works wonders on me too.
Does facial hair suit everyone? If you weren’t fully bearded, would you sport a ‘stache?
I think that facial hair suits many many men in a way they don’t seem to appreciate. And I am thankful for the current trend that has allowed many men to look more like who they really are, less of a “good boy” type… and I welcome a little of the dark side showing through. We don’t all have to be the boys our mothers wanted us to be.
How would you classify your style?
Definitely bohemian, some call me eccentric, but I think I am just myself.
What do you think about bearded, less-standardized models on the runways of Yohji Yamamoto, Vivienne Westwood, Walter Van Beirendonck? Can high fashion be showcased in this way?
Yay! I am all for it. Go, Walter van Beirendonck!
Name one item you will never part with from your wardrobe
My full-length knitted multi-color cape by Bless. I have only worn it once, to Terence Koh’s opening at the Whitney Museum.
Any advice to those gents out there who may want to achieve a beard like yours?
Embrace your inner manhood! Don’t be afraid to be a little queer!
first image: Richard Kern for Vice Magazine
second image: photo by Matthias Herrmann
third image: photo by Chris Clary
fourth image: TBA
fifth image: photo by Ryan McGinley