Category: Menswear icons
“I don’t NEED to know what the suits are made of”, commented one female (presumed) journalist on the stairs above The Lincoln Room, deep within The Savoy Hotel, “Well I do, replied her colleague, “I have to write about this stuff!”. Given you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ll agree with me that as men we really do care about what we wear, and whilst certain quarters of the fashion press still think of men’s fashion needs in the third person, with men to be passively shopped for and “kept on trend”, luckily the greater part of the audience for the E.Tautz presentation on Wednesday looked to be much more likeminded, sharing an expectation that we were about to see beautiful menswear and to be educated about it by Patrick Grant.
I’ve had some Sharpened Lead T-shirts made up as a little celebration of Fashion weeks in NYC and London. T-shirts have already found their way to good homes in New York (some favourite designers, blogging friends and fashion editors) and now it’s London’s turn in prep for Wednesday’s Menswear day.
The T-shirt is screenprinted on a high-quality unbleached cotton by the lovely White Duck Screenprint people in Bath. The image is one I’ve licensed especially for this limited run of T-shirts, featuring a line drawing of Quentin Crisp, a personal idol of mine. The motto reads: “You first have to find out who you are, then be it like mad”, a saying that I’ve taken very much to heart in recent years and very much sums up my attitude to fashion.
There are still some available, so if you’re interested do drop me a line firstname.lastname@example.org. They will retail for £35.00 +P&P. Only size SMALL available.
Some images of the magical screenprinting process follow:
On my first visit to the new Surface to Air boutique during #FNO, a Kanye-esque hip-hop crew turned up complete with double-decker bus sized security guards and gold-plated credit cards to burn. It wasn’t the most conducive atmosphere to shop, though the spectacle was entertaining. I tend to be lukewarm about jeans brands, as they take up so much fashion space with little creativity to show for it. But I’m prepared to give Surface to Air the benefit, after all, the French label used to be a mainstay of my beloved and much missed BBlessing, the LES store that could claim to be my favourite menswear shop in the world. Minimal, savvy and with a dark edge, Surface to Air were a perfect label for BBlessing, a tiny shop that totally celebrated the dark side of Gotham City.
A chance sighting of David Bowie on the cover of 100 Years of Menswear got me thinking about how safe and unchallenging menswear has become in recent years. In all the rush to put on outdoorsy, woodsman gear or indeed tread the narrow path of irony around classic preppy looks, we’ve lost the sense of anything vaguely outrageous or challenging. Time was when a stylish man around town might dye his hair bright orange, wear a Dijon mustard yellow suit and wouldn’t be seen dead without a lick of eyeliner. We’ve become very gender specific, and whilst, as a gay man especially, I can appreciate all the coded details of classic mens clothing, there has to be more of a kick to be had in dressing up than in wearing your trousers a bit shorter, and buying your deckshoes a tone or two brighter. Which is where Wolfram comes in. The Vienna-NY based DJ and live performer, has just the right amount of rockstar swagger to personify what I’m talking about, a shift in attitude towards something more individual than bland ‘minimalism’ or preppy pastiche.
Inspiration can come from the smallest detail. So it is with a grainy, B&W photo of the artist Gordon Matta-Clark at the current Barbican exhibition, Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s. Matta-Clark made his art from buildings, sometimes from the gaps between them, or by literally slicing them in two. Shot outside Food, the restaurant he co-ran with fellow artists at the heart of New York’s then dangerous, crumbling SoHo in the late 70s, the photo shows Matta-Clark in iconic SoHo artist mode: in a simple T-shirt, VANS and jeans. No doubt he would hate to be considered an icon of something as vacuous as ‘fashion’ but style transcends that. To me he exudes downtown cool. It is impossible to dress like this today, with such a … Read More »
I’ve written about Mr Pitt before. There is no human being alive whom I would rather resemble physically. Somewhere between the full lips and soulful blue eyes there’s an inner confidence that suggests Michael Pitt knows exactly who Michael Pitt needs to be, and he is being it like mad. Steve Buscemi’s Nucky Thompson may steal the limelight with his flashy pin-collars and decadently colourful gangsterwear, but it’s Mr Pitt in tonal blue-on-blues that really draw the fashion eye. During the first season of Boardwalk Pitt grows before our eyes from a street urchin in tweed bakerboy cap to a man with a steely sense of confidence and style, born of bitter experience.