Murray winds up the fans while wearing the
Tropical Mums polo from William Murray GOlf on
Feb. 12, 2017 at AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in
Pebble Beach, Calif.
ANGELES — So I wasn’t holding out much hope that the
Murricane would touch down in a Marina del Rey
conference room last month to review spring 2018 designs
for the collection that bears his name. ("Bill is
notoriously unreliable and lives by his own
schedule," a media representative for the label had
already warned me via email. "There’s a chance,
but you never can be 100 percent.")
online in September in partnership with humor and
entertainment website theChive.com and the six
golf-loving Murray brothers — Brian, Ed, Bill, Andy,
John and Joel — William Murray Golf is a celebrity
clothing line. But it’s a celebrity clothing line the
way Bill Murray is a celebrity: it doesn’t take itself
too seriously, it has heart and whimsy and performance
where it counts, and it’s full of random, unexpected
Murray in the mix this first Monday in April is Joel —
the Los Angeles-based writer-director-actor, youngest of
nine Murrays and the chief executive of Murray Bros. LLC.
He’s here to review proposed design ideas, which he’ll
then disseminate to his five brothers for comments,
suggestions and tweaks.
the way, he and label executives, including William
Murray Golf co-founder and CEO Kerry Michaels, walk me
through designs, explaining the subtle (and sometimes
not so subtle) references to the family, the Murray
brothers’ love of golf and their most famous sibling.
here’s a look at some William Murray Golf designs and
the young brand’s future:
element that ties the collection together is the green,
navy blue and red Murray family tartan, a plaid pattern
that appears on every garment. Some pieces, like the
long-sleeve button-front shirt with four-way stretch or
shorts with extra roomy pockets ("So your golf
balls don’t fall out when you sit in the golf
cart," says Joel), are completely tarted up in the
tartan. On others, the pops of plaid are barely
noticeable accents — edging a single sleeve on a
short-sleeve polo or the coin/ball-marker pockets of
boldly patterned shorts.
A FEW OVER (NOT BACK)
says the polo shirt bearing the "Old
Fashioned" highball glass design — it was
originally inspired by the fictional "Suntory"
ad campaign in Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film "Lost in
Translation" — was the bestseller of William
Murray Golf’s debut collection.
points to it as a good example of how brother Bill helps
the creative process. "We all liked the design when
we first saw it," he recounts. "But [Bill] was
the one going: ‘Yeah, yeah, but drinks spill, so why
don’t you have every eighth one spilled? Why don’t
you knock a couple of them over?’"
wear this one a lot," Joel says, as he held aloft a
polo shirt with a bold, repeating pattern called
"Sandy Tiles." He points to the circle in the
center of a tile. "These are golf balls," he
says before pointing to the edge of the tile. "And
these are the ends of sand rakes.
sort of started out being a design that came from
wrought iron," he explains. "We were talking
about a certain city that was an inspiration to us. We
decided we weren’t going to mention the city where
Billy lives. But let’s just say we were looking at all
this wrought iron in Charleston, and that’s how it
came about." (Bill is part-owner of the Charleston,
S.C., RiverDogs minor league baseball team and widely
reported to be a part-time resident of that city.)
MUMS THE WORD
popular pattern from the debut fall 2016 collection
might look like polka dots or starbursts from afar, but
a closer look reveals a floral design with the
occasional exploding spray of petals. Called
"Cinderella Story," it was inspired by a scene
from the 1980 comedy "Caddyshack," in which
Bill Murray’s Carl Spackler tees off on a row of
clubhouse mums with a serrated grass whip to great comic
evolved [the mum design] from our first season,"
Michaels says, "and made it look a little more
springy and summery — more of a Hawaiian print — but
with mums so it still ties back to the movie."
new design, "Tropical Mums," can be seen in a
recently released spring 2017 polo shirt as well as a
short-sleeve button-front shirt coming later in the
of like an all-Bill-Murray-movie-character version of
"Where’s Waldo?," the "Playing
Around" pattern, one of the new spring 2017
patterns that dropped April 25, rounds up riffs on some
of Bill’s most memorable characters and drops them on
the golf course.
many mini-Murrays include Spackler ("Caddyshack"),
Steve Zissou (from Wes Anderson’s 2004 film "The
Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou," he’s in the red
knit cap) and "Ghostbusters’" Peter Venkman
(proton pack still strapped to his back).
martini glasses, whatever," Joel says of this
pattern. "The idea behind it was a rake and a mower
— it was one of the groundskeeper-and-his-tools
inspiration stories — but people said they saw martini
glasses so that adds an unexpected element of fun to it,
your regular [camouflage pattern] except we put pin
flags in it, and now it’s golf-themed," Joel says
of the spring 2017 design. "And if we put a couple
of rakes in there, it becomes a sand trap. It’s basic
camo but with some fun going on."
says Bill Murray gave her some input about tweaking the
design for future seasons. "He loved it," she
says, "but he really wants us to try and
incorporate some animal into the design. We suggested
deer, but he thinks that’s a little bit too expected.
So what about foxes? Or alligators?"
counters by suggesting "two [mating] otters,"
explaining that it was a joke involving Bill’s
observation of the otters while playing at Pebble Beach
TURTLES, SEAHORSES AND MORE
late November 2016, the brothers convened at the brand’s
headquarters in Austin, Texas, for a design meeting
("Shockingly, even Billy got there," says
Joel), and the conversation turned to memories of
was one of the youngest ones and I wasn’t old enough
to drink when a lot of them went out to the bars in
Wisconsin," Joel explains. "So when the nieces
and nephews woke up at the crack of dawn, it was my job
— and sometimes Johnny’s — to keep them quiet so
everybody else could be hungover and stay in bed. We’d
take them out in a rowboat to go ‘turtle fishing,’
and the rule was that they couldn’t make any noise or
they’d scare the turtles … . It was basically to see
how long they could stay quiet."
story is reflected in a proposed spring 2018 design
called "Turtle Hunt" that has the brand’s
"faceless man" logo sitting in a rowboat
alongside his golf clubs, with a turtle not far away.
design under consideration is a zebra-print pattern
inspired by a wallpaper in "Lost in
Translation." ("Like the camo print, it’s
something we can put our own spin on in an authentic
way," Michaels says.)
is an all-over print of seahorses, some of them sporting
red knit caps like the ones worn by the crew of the
Belafonte in "The Life Aquatic." ("Can we
maybe throw a submarine in there somewhere?" asks
the apparel offerings are available online only through
williammurraygolf.com and consist of polos (retailing at
$70 and $75), short- and long-sleeve button-front shirts
($80 and $90, respectively) and shorts ($70), but a
performance blazer is in the works for fall 2017 and a
Murray-appropriate vest is on the drawing board for
of the things we noticed when Bill was at the World
Series was that he was wearing this kind of fishing vest
that had all these pockets in it," Michaels says,
"one for his sunglasses, one for his keys, one for
his wallet … . We liked that concept and designed a
vest that’s a little different. It has a small front
pocket, and inside there’s a special spot for a
cellphone or a pencil and a scorecard. And there will be
a rear pocket for some golf balls."
the time Michaels finishes talking about the vest, the
realization has sunken in: Even though Bill Murray the
man hadn’t darkened the doorstep of the conference
room in the flesh, Bill Murray the living pop-culture
meme was most assuredly as palpably present in the room
as anyone at the table.