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18 Jul '16


Posted by K. Cooper Ray




Fitch’s Corner, an equestrian event that brings as much authenticity to the sport of horses as it does to butterflies of the social whirl, is this weekend in Millbrook, New York. Horse lovers of all breeds will gather once again on the farm of former Tiffany’s & CO VP Fernanda Kellogg to partake in a uniquely American pastime. And what better venue to introduce the latest American brand in menswear HOPPER by Marin Hopper, the daughter of American original Dennis Hopper. Karen Klopp of What2WearWhere & K. Cooper Ray will host a curated POP SHOP at the Fitch’s Market over the weekend. Cooper has invited Brackish Bow Ties – the hand-made feathered brand favored by Bill Murray – to represent his home base of Charleston, South Carolina.



Fitch's Corner Horse Trials | July 23 & 24, 2016  Millbrook, NY TICKETS HERE

The 2016 Fitch’s Corner Horse Trials mark the 23rd Anniversary of a country weekend and horse competition, which competitors, enthusiasts, and the who’s who of Dutchess County simply don't miss. The elegant setting, challenging courses, and wide array of associated activities attracts both amateur and Olympic competitors. Fitch’s Market offers more than 50 exhibitors selling items from fashions to home and accessories for horse and hound. Fitch’s Food Court presents healthy and hearty fare in between the social events which include: the Blue Jean Ball Saturday night and the Spectator Luncheon, benefiting the Millbrook Fire Department and Rescue Squad on Sunday and featuring a Collector Car Show and Parade.

HOPPER Goods – HOPPER is a new menswear and accessories brand inspired by the life and spirit of Dennis Hopper, a photographer and a filmmaker, an artist and an actor. A lightning rod to half a century of pop culture who used his lens to document the high and low of world ‘on fire with change.”


Brackish Bow ties – The toast of Charleston, these hand-crafted bow ties are individual works of art that a man can wear! Every tie is handcrafted locally in South Carolina. And because every single feather is hand selected, no two Brackish bow ties are exactly alike. Every tie is a sustainable work of art. “We have put painstaking effort into our products and pride ourselves on genuine, intricate detail not found in mass production.” The artisanal brand held close to the hearts of southern gentlemen found itself in the glare of international spotlight when acclaimed actor (and local man about town) Bill Murray sported Brackish as the Academy Awards.


Saturday   Fitch's Market Open 10 AM until 8 PM

Noon:          K. Cooper Ray Book Signing and Reading

6:00  pm:    Cooper Ray & Karen Klopp book Signing

8:00 PM      Blue Jean Ball

SUNDAY:  Market Open  10am to 4pm

Noon        Spectator Luncheon

12 Jul '16


Posted by K. Cooper Ray

Last Night at Moomba was a story -- is a story --  I had to write. It marked my progress from an earnest Creative Writing student yearning to be the next great American writer to a writer comfortable enough in his skin to write with confidence. You see, until the writing of this novel I suffered from the writer’s pretension that unless it was great, it shouldn’t be written. In those student days I also only read classics, telling myself (and unbelievably others) that I did not want to be influenced by any other writer’s style. We all began at the same starting line – I pompously believed -- immersed in the classics and only through divine inspiration (and perspiration) could we break through our culture and experiences to find our own voice. Yes, it’s pretentious as hell. This was the time when I was deep in academia, attending the Sewanee Writers' Conference, applying to Masters’ programs and living a writer’s life. Don’t get me wrong. I loved, still love, that life. Surrounded by writers, joyfully sitting through countless readings, rubbing shoulders with greats, attending workshops. Living, breathing, eating, blissfully enraptured with all consuming words. Would I be a playwright (like Tennessee) or a poet (like Uncle Walt)? Would I write a collection of short stories or embark on a novel? Would I seek refuge in a university, studying, and teaching? This was my young-artist living dream. As it is with most serious writers, I imagine. “Have you been to Bread Loaf?” “Oh, yes, but Sewanee is so much better now”. And on and on we talked under the Banyan Tree at Benedict Hall on the mountain all while consuming copious amounts of liquor and trekking to the grave of Alan Tate. What fulfilling times those were. I count them as some of my best.

Then something happened that surely comes as no surprise. I returned to Manhattan through a whirlwind of opportunity and found myself in the epicenter of High Society. Suffice to say there is a huge story in between those sentences but I’ll save that for the autobiography. You will definitely come close to my experience of those heady days reading Last Night at Moomba as it is part Roman a clef, part historical fiction, part romantic illusions and nostalgic reminiscences. It was during this time I began writing what would become Moomba. The working title was An Extra Man for obvious reasons. I was, and very much am still, an extra man called upon to fill any table, outing,  party, what have you, with joie de vivre, a quick wit, ample connections and of course, devastating style. I used to add good looks (the photo is of me during those Moomba days) and sex appeal, but alas, with time, you settle for good hair and a whipped waist. Oh the days. The days – and more so the nights -- were glorious.

But as my good friend Jen Slocumb of Martha's Trouble wrote and sings, "When the night ended I was alone." Listen to this song about when I left Manhattan after September 11, 2001 to return to Alabama and in particular, Waverly. It always makes me cry.  So naturally I had to write about it.  The outpouring of the bulk of the book happened while living in Laurel Canyon (that’s the famous Hollywood Hills you hear so much about). I was living with my great friend Kevin West and we decided not to return home to our beloved South (his; South Carolina. Mine; Alabama) and stay on in LA and take advantage of the post-Christmas depression and lock ourselves up for a writing boot camp. And that we did. It also happened to coincide with the worst torrential rain Los Angeles had experienced in over a hundred years. We often looked up from our writing to see if the house would slide with the mud down the mountain. It was an ideal setting and the words flowed. I found myself in the grip of a maniacal writing surge sitting over my keyboard for 6, 8, 10, 12 up to 14 hours a day writing, writing, writing. It was the greatest time of my life. And one I hope to experience again. My body ached, my stomach churned from a steady diet of scotch and cigarettes but I lived! And wrote.

Soon after, I sent the manuscript off to several agents and took the summer off to Cape Cod. Provincetown, to be precise and found myself again. Arriving on that spit of sand with a broken spirit (if not wing) I discovered the good side of gay in that glorious summer. More on that time in the autobiography or perhaps it will make itself known another way, but not today. I received an email from none other than the hot new agent at William Morris wanting to meet me right away and could I come down to Manhattan for a meeting. Oh high hopes they do intoxicate. After a long series of disappointments and near misses let’s just say, well, the novel did not sell. I shelved it, shopped for a new agent, it was acquired by an executive at Warner Brothers television then dropped for a similar project which never made it to air either. I finally pulled the book out of the ether and started working on the blog and book that would become Social Primer and have been riding that wave to this day.

Along the way, I pulled the trigger and published the book on demand. As the covers above will attest, I was always fiddling with the story. I still may not be done with it entirely, but here is what is about to happen. I have pulled the editions that have floated around the internet like flotsam and am poised to release the original manuscript from those creative Laurel Canyon days with minimal edit and minor intro prologue. Perhaps this post is that piece. All to say, the versions that are out there are not the original. They have been edited to please others. The book I will release soon is the unadulterated, uncompromised, replete with dirty (well, naughty) scenes, language and thoughts intact. And it’s the best one.

So. If you have one of those others you will LOVE the one to come. And you might be surprised to know I have restored the protagonist’s name to its original, Judge, not Jake. Judge is the name of a family friend I borrowed for the story and changed when I felt uncomfortable using it. But now, with a clear disclaimer that any resemblance to persons living or dead is strictly coincidental, I am charging ahead. I identify so deeply with my greatest character Judge that it felt like someone else when I changed his name to Jake. Judge is back. In all his glory. And you’re going to love him too. Or at least love to hate him. So into the breach we go! Onward.


Here’s a peak at what is new, an index if you will, of the book to follow.


Act One:        The Players

Chapter 1       Judge Mender’s Call of Duty

Chapter 2       Victoria Newton Stokes

Chapter 3       Maxwell Jones Gloats

Chapter 4       Scarlet Goodman Floats

Chapter 5       Scarlet & Harrison Discovery

Chapter 6       Jet Set Exposed

Chapter 7       Scarlet Rises, Victoria Reigns

Chapter 8       Lucy Shining & The Wonder Ball


Act Two:        Rise & Fall    

Chapter 9   Buddy Russ & Lucinda Walker

Chapter 10 Caleb Returns, Maxwell’s Miami

Chapter 11 Shining Achievement

Chapter 12 The Scarlet Lamb

Chapter 13 La Goulue, Save Venice, Doubles Entendre

Chapter 14 Young Fellows Frick & Victoria’s Frost

Chapter 15 The Photo

Chapter 16 Recklessness & Reckoning

Chapter 17 The Season’s It Girls

Chapter 18 The Walkers Take Manhattan

Chapter 19 The List


Act Three       Season in the Sun

Chapter 20 Into the Shining

Chapter 21 The Announcement

Chapter 22 A Flea Market Affair

Chapter 23 Last Night at Moomba

Chapter 24 The Photo Reveals

Chapter 25 Myths & Muses at NYC Ballet Gala


Last Night at Moomba on Amazon


20 Apr '16


Posted by K. Cooper Ray

I announced last year that I was suspending the bow tie business. The work was exhausting and had taken me far away from the thing I enjoy most, and that is designing. Well, a year has passed, but  the desire to create interesting bows has not been on hiatus. I’ve found myself collecting fabrics, tinkering with patterns and simply realized that I am not done with bow ties. This spring I opened my annual pop up shop inside The Hidden Countship an Italian boutique for fine living operated by my friends Count and Countess della Porta. They are lovely people with exquisite taste and have provided a remarkable inspiring little spot in downtown Charleston to work. I have my sewing machine upstairs and have found myself staying very late at night hunched over the contraption.

I am not a good sewing person. I can run the machine and make something come to life, but in my previous incarnations as a designer I always handed off the real work of sewing to the masters. I am not taking that route this time. I am sewing up these bows myself and since I do not suffer from nostalgia, I am selling them off. I’m calling this the Burns Lane Collection as I have been very inspired here at the Countship and have a collection of fabrics I would like to play with.  I am starting with this incredible printed Crewell I bought a while back intending to use it for a blazer collection that never came to fruition. The name of the print is Carolina Crewell. Need I say more? I am excited to share this new project with you. I will begin with various combinations of the Crewell, and I will certainly dally in white cotton pique for formal and informal ties. This time the play should be fun.


Play is a good word for the finished product, if you can call it finished, because it is not perfect. It is in fact far from it. You can see that I do not sew a straight line.  An apt metaphor for my life and style perhaps, but not particularly appreciated in a bow tie. But I think they are interesting and thought some of you would too. Since I have no idea what to charge for these crooked little creations, I have decided to list them on Ebay  and let you decide what it is worth.


I will say the pieces in this collection will certainly be one-of-a-kind. Ha. And they do have the Social Primer label. They are one size, no hardware. This first one is a small. Small will fit 14-16” neck size. I will make more soon. Medium will fit 15-16.5”. Large will fit 15.5 to 17”.

BID HERE Stay tuned.



05 Apr '16


Posted by K. Cooper Ray

Well, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to whip up a bow tie. I found these very light fabrics and dusted off the old sewing machine. I set out to experiment with something new. No hardware, easy to sew and wear. The result is here. I’m calling this little beaut Burns Lane. I’ve moved into my new little pop up shop for the Spring and boy howdy, am I inspired. I am making these myself, for now. So if you like, you’ll have to be patient. I’ll be adding more styles daily so be sure to check in. Who knows how long this will go or how fast  my sewing fingers will tire. Or, more likely, my attention turns elsewhere. But for now let’s just celebrate the birth of a new bow. Onward!


02 Apr '16

SOCIAL PRIMER Burns Lane Pop Up Shop

Posted by K. Cooper Ray



April 2, 2016 (Charleston, SC) – K. Cooper Ray of Social Primer opens his annual pop up shop in The Hidden Countship, in the Historic King Street Shopping District of Charleston, SC. Social Primer Burns Lane will feature the brand's signature reversible bowties, long ties, and cummerbund sets, as well as a curated mix of antiques and merchandise from local dealers in Charleston and regional collectors. There will be a special gift edition of Cooper’s best-selling etiquette guide, "Bill of Rites for The American Man". This is the designer and author’s fifth annual retail collaboration: SP Lily Lodge (Beverly Hills), SP Cafiero Select (Manhattan), SP Billy Reid (Charleston), SP Shoes on King (Charleston), and now SP Burns Lane (Charleston).

            In addition to Cooper’s well-known selection of menswear collections and curations, this year’s Pop Up Shop will feature several new additions. The shop will stock hand-painted cachepot planters of perennials and herbs for cash-and-carrysale, along with selected gifts for ladies. The shop will feature an event room called “The Parlor” for trunk shows and parties all marketed and hosted by the Charleston bon vivant.

Culture Class

Cooper will lead etiquette classes for men of any age based on his book Bill of Rites for the American Man concentrating on table manners, introductions, the arts, wardrobe, and more. (For fee and scheduling classes, contact sp@socialprimer.com)

The Charleston Way: The Grace of Old Charleston, the Energy of New

K. Cooper Ray launches a concierge service for new residents, visitors, and tourists who seek an experience beyond the typical Charleston postcard, dubbed The Charleston Way. For example, Samuel Fox has rented a beach house on Sullivan’s Island for a month when he unexpectedly receives an invitation to one of Charleston’s legendary galas. Sure, Mr. Fox could rent an ill-fitting, cheap-looking tuxedo, however, he has discovered Charlestonians have discerning taste (subtle, not flashy). Helen Highwater has just moved into a charming carriage house South of Broad. Our dear Helen wants to host an afternoon tea in her garden for the ladies of the historic society (proper tea: from service to biscuits). Robert Bowman plans his groomsmen weekend and wants a bonified Lowcountry duck hunt (outfitting and guide). Louisa Ohetian wishes to throw a debutant party for her daughter, Julia (venue, planning, and protocol). Finally, Mr. and Mrs. Grant Fitzgerald are in town for the weekend and would like to attend church service in the Holy City (Denomination, Congregation, and Architecture). What separates these visitors from the thousands that trek these hallowed, ancient streets? Our esteemed guests want to experience the Holy City the Charleston Way. K. Cooper Ray has lived, worked, danced, and dined in the world’s fashion capitals and epicenters of society and culture. He brings his experience to this service and will guide clients to deliver a true experience in these areas and any other that a visitor or new resident may desire. Keeping with the Social Primer brand’s defining motto -- one does not have to be rich to live the good life, -- one merely needs to respect tradition and appreciate appropriateness to fully engage in Charleston’s rich pageant and to discover the secrets of the city with a true Charlestonian.

Cooper Ray is a blogger (SocialPrimer.com), designer (Brooks Brothers, Social Primer Collections), author (Bill of Rites for The American Man, Last Night at Moomba), event host and planner (Dom Perignon and Bottega Veneta), and television presence (Bravo TV’s Southern Charm).

The Hidden Countship (21 Burns Lane) was described by Southern Living as a well curated selection of Italian furniture and antiques handpicked by the Italian owners themselves, Donatella and Giulio della Porta, this is not only a store but also a Museum highlighting some of the della Porta family heirlooms. Named after his family's property in Umbria, Contea Nascosta, this unique store is hidden down the adorable Burns Lane just off of King Street. With a desire to celebrate and promote the artists and history of Italy, you can discover everything from linens, artwork, jewelry, and furniture that has been imported directly from Italy.

For more information, please contact sp@socialprimer.com


and by appointment or chance. 


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