Originally Posted by triniboy27
More importantly, I don't understand the fora's infatuation with a bunch of drawings from the 1930's.
Nice job f*cking up my little thread, Trini.
You're going on my shit list.
Originally Posted by George
There also seems to be a greater expression of colour, patterns and textures in those old plates, more than you see in today's fashion media which is strange when you consider that we've never had more choices available to us and at lower cost. Fashion/style seems to have become somewhat homogenised with few men showing much creative individualism, which is a topic in itself.
With the AA/Esquire plates the key I feel is to be inspired and learn from them, then build from there. I wouldn't think it's a good idea to just run out and have a facsimile made.
Originally Posted by Despos
To me the message in those old pics are dressing for the occasion. Every pic is in a different local, portraying multiple situations from business to casual to formal events to the horse track to the beach and the clothing reflects the feeling/formality/casualness of the occasion. The accessories, the colors, patterns all reflect a mood congruent to the setting. It is conveying a mode/attitude of dressing that is pretty much lost today. Most men have generic year round wardrobes that denote "one suit for all reasons and all seasons". SF posters excluded. Go to a meeting or a party and see how similar everyone looks. You'll know what I'm saying.
Originally Posted by Fuuma
I said that the idealization of the high society dress of a certain period is a huge influence on many members of this forum and often held as an unsurpassed golden standard by people who think there's an optimal way of dressing (hahahahaha!).
Originally Posted by Film Noir Buff
If you could develop this a bit more for discussion purposes. I don't necessarily say there isn't another reason, i just can't see a stronger one than wanting to identify more closely with the past.
Oh dear. This thread was supposed to be all Italo Calvino and you guys mess it up with deep thought. Now, I have to say something to bring the average down.
Let's start with the General with an anticipatory shot across the bow:
Thank you, General.
The great AA illustrations, particularly the Esky ones, are referenced often because they represent a coherent, accessible, and compelling visual summary of aspirational dressing at the zenith of modern tailored dress. What competes?
One of the reasons that I started LIFE threads the week that its archive was released on Google was to suggest some visual sources of high quality other than AA (if you mention the Sartorialist, I will send goons to tase you, then dump you in the river.) Despite their charms and power, however, these photographic images lack the singularity of the Esky drawings.
Despos tells it like it is when he notes that the AA illustrations portray a wide variety of dress for a wide variety of occasions, something now lost. I will amplify his point by suggesting that the AA illustrations also capture a time when men aspired to a life led as a concatenation of social occasions. This American aspiration was definitely one of American class.
Today, however, the class that was the object of aspiration in America is dissapated, diminished, and irrelevant.
A vignette of disintegration: this winter, I had the pleasure of attending an old event (somewhat secret) that had been held annually, but had not been held for five years because of the difficulty in assembling enough people. All the men were in full dress, and most of us arrived in top hats.
But you know what? I was the youngest guy there by twenty years, and I am not a young man.
Just because descendents live does not mean that class survives. And without that class, the underlying form of life to which the AA illustrations reach loses quite a lot of punch.
Originally Posted by Manton
I have met my share of upper class people in my time, and I have never come across one as insecure about his standing in the haute monde as our Carl. The geniune article is more like Vox, though perhaps a bit more outwardly humble (even if that is a pose).
Well, all the sins and glories of the flesh and mind are visited on all classes. The only thing that really makes the privileged class distinct is the encultured assumption of superiority which, if life does its job, gets broken by reality. And reality has broken it completely as far as I can see...and those who pretend otherwise should put the crack pipe down.
The AA illustrations are wonderful resource, and as George and Manton say, they can always be approached as inspiration.
In fact, for those of you who remember, Ralph Lauren launched Purple Label in the nineties with items almost exactly taken from AA...not from the real past, but from the illustrations.
I bet he was damning the public for lacking the proportionally tiny heads that help to make the illustrations so otherwordly handsome.