Callum Keith Rennie as Lew Ashby, maverick record producer and rock legend
Los Angeles, Spring 2008
Episodes: “La Ronde” (Episode 2.09)
Air Date: November 23, 2008
Director: Adam Bernstein
Costume Designer: Peggy A. Schnitzer
Californication‘s early seasons are often considered to be its best, and the show’s ability to avoid a sophomore slump should give major credit to Callum Keith Rennie’s appearance as Lew Ashby, the enigmatic, charismatic, and hedonistic record producer that shelters Hank for most of the season.
As a show that reveres both rock and literature, Californication wisely spun its second season around a Gatsby-esque plot with writer Hank Moody reasonably placed in the central Nick Carraway role as the cleverly-named Ashby became his Gatsby. Ashby built his rock empire to impress Janie Jones, who now lives with a brutish husband in a Hollywood McMansion and still reminisces – albeit, more bitterly – about her days with Lew when he was just a poor aspiring rocker with a broken-down Mustang.
In a deviation from Fitzgerald’s masterpiece plot, Ashby briefly falls for Hank’s flame – Karen – and steals her away for an impromptu
kidnapping date to the Hollywood Bowl. Karen is charmed, for sure, but she’s too reasonable to fall for someone that is even more debauched than Hank.
What’d He Wear?
Suits don’t get much love in the Californication world. The show’s t-shirt-loving protagonist, Hank Moody, refers to his “one and only suit” that is worn only for weddings, funerals, and court appearances. However, Lew Ashby knows when the right duds are needed to impress a lady.
For his Hollywood Bowl date with Karen, Lew spruces himself up in a light gray suit constructed from a lightweight semi-solid wool in a pick weave.
The single-breasted jacket has a two-button front and 4-button cuffs. The breast pocket is welted and the flapped hip pockets sit straight back on Lew’s waist. The wide peak lapels flare out to the roped sleeveheads. The shoulders are unpadded.
The back of Lew’s jacket has long double rear vents. His matching trousers are likely flat front with a low rise below his natural waist. They probably have side pockets, although the jetted rear pockets – which close with a button – are best seen.
Lew wears a black leather belt through the trousers’ belt loops. Apropos the outfit’s steely tones, his belt has a silver-toned buckle. The bottoms of the trousers are plain-hemmed with a full break that covers his black leather boots. Assuming they are the same boots he wears through most of the show, they have a strap across the vamp that closes with a small steel buckle.
Perhaps knowing that Karen digs guys who wear black shirts, Lew opts for a black long-sleeve dress shirt with black buttons down the plain, placket-less front. It has a large collar, which he leaves open with the first few buttons undone.
Unlike many of the BAMFs featured on this blog, Lew Ashby isn’t afraid to bedazzle himself with plentiful accessories on a daily basis. Hank wears one silver ring, but Lew ups the ante with two – one on the third finger of each hand.
Like Hank, he also wears a simple black corded leather bracelet that appears to never be removed. Unlike Hank, he wears it on his right wrist.
Since this is the most that Lew ever covers up his sleeves, it’s difficult to determine if he’s wearing his other accessories… but it’s likely that he is. He doubles down on his left wrist, sporting both a bracelet of silver spherical studs and a stainless watch on a black rubber strap. On a corded necklace his neck, he wears a steel pendant with what appears to be an owl’s face etched into it.
Go Big or Go Home
The Hollywood Bowl is an impressive enough date spot alone, but Ashby’s musical connections allow him to rent the place out for a private concert for just he and Karen to see Lili Haydn.
I admittedly had never heard of Lili Haydn before the show, but Karen is duly impressed, as was I after I learned more about her. She began playing the violin at the age of eight, shortly after launching her acting career as the young daughter of Columbo. Not long after her appearance on Californication, she sustained neurological damage after being exposed to a pesticide which left her unable to write lyrics. She still, however, manages to write music and continues to compose film scores and the music for her latest EP, Lilliland, which was released last September.
I’m proud to say I’ve been to the Hollywood Bowl myself, but I’m ashamed to say that I was only eight years old; as the guest of a large family outing to the Bowl, I was unable to truly enjoyed it and spent most of the time being upset that I was split away from my parents. Spoiled brat, I was.
How to Get the Look
Lew shows Hank that date attire doesn’t always have to be a black shirt and jeans.
- Light gray semi-solid pick lightweight wool suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted jacket with wide peak lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and long double rear vents
- Flat front low rise trousers with belt loops, side pockets, jetted button-through rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black long-sleeve dress shirt with large collar, plain front, and button cuffs
- Black leather belt with squared steel single-claw buckle
- Black leather buckle-strap boots
- Tarnished steel ring, worn on right ring finger
- Spiral steel ring, worn on left ring finger
- Black corded leather bracelet, worn on right wrist
- Steel spherical studded bracelet, worn on left wrist
- Stainless wristwatch with white dial on black rubber strap, worn on left wrist
- Steel “owl face” pendant on corded necklace
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the second season.
Life is just too fucking boring not to try.
For any of you who may have remembered from last year, today is my birthday – I’m now 26. Woo hoo!