Sun Valley Style

When media moguls and tech startup CEOs gather for casual, culture-clashing sessions in Sun Valley, I can't help but marvel at the remarkable mix of styles.

There's nothing like catching a CEO who feels safe in his pin stripes awkwardly sporting bermuda shorts. I'm not saying these men--and nearly all of the CEOs here are men--don't own their styles. There are just a few distinct types.

Not-so-informal Chic:
Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman epitomizes the most formal of the looks here: crisp button down tucked into pressed jeans. Accessorized with loafers (probably Ferregamo) and matching belt. Favored by the likes of Henry Kravitz and Comcast's Brian Roberts, it's sends the message that these guys aren't entirely letting down their hair.

Preppy Casual:
The go-to style for West-coast based media CEOs, Disney's Bob Iger nailed this look yesterday- polo shirt, khakis and sneakers. Casual, but entirely appropriate for the locale. Sir Howard Stringer and Sony Pictures entertainment chief Michael Lynton both sported polos around the duck pond during lunch yesterday. Think Ralph Lauren meets J. Crew. NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker and Paramount Pictures chief Brad Grey sported this look when they arrived in time for dinner last night.

Hollywood Grunge:
People in Hollywood have no qualms about wearing T-Shirts, no matter their age. I'd venture to say that the higher-powered the exec, the more casual he'll go. Universal Pictures chief Ron Meyer bore out this theory, modeling a couple of T Shirts with shorts. He of all people seems to understand the value of promotion, in the afternoon wearing a shirt bearing the logo of "Wanted," Universal's Angelina Jolie pic that opened to great numbers nearly two weeks ago.. As a rule, with the exception of talent agents, nearly no one in "the industry" wears a suit and a tie to work every day. (It makes it easy to pick agents out of a crowd). Harvey Weinstein, notorious indie film producer, wore his usual oversized rumpled linen.

Startup Hip:
The Silicon Valley folks play by their own rules. As he did last year, Googleco-founder Sergey Brin sported Crocs without socks. But- news alert- Brin pointed out to me that these are the "off road" type- with a closed-toe instead of having perforations in front. With casual camping pants and a T-shirt, Brin's nailed the NorCal look. Max Levchin, one of PayPal's co-founders, here as CEO of his socially-oriented new media company Slide, sported long cargo shorts. But Levchin had no qualms about advertising his affiliations, wearing a fairly tight chocolate brown T-Shirt with a giant Slide logo on it. These guys always look like they're about to jump into a Suburu Outback and go driving into the hills for some Northern California style hiking.

This year it's worth pointing to InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller- I daresay his attire is most improved. Last year he rode around town on a bike, in khaki shorts, a T-shirt and an oversized hoodie flapping behind him. This year he arrived to the first day of sessions with wife Diane Von Furstenberg, dressed in chinos and a blue button down, looking a lot more formal. Maybe it's just because it's colder, but he looked outright dapper.

But no matter what category you fall into, Sun Valley Swag is a democratizing force. Every year attendees receive fleece vests (this year they are a bright red) and, also this year, blue neoprene running jackets were passed out. I think Herb Allen must be thinking that every year people forget how cold it gets at night and in the morning. Or maybe it's just to camouflage the execs so it's harder for us journalists to pick them out.

Questions? Comments?