I am becoming increasingly curious about your identity.
I am an international man of mystery.
My original critique of the bespoke craze relied not so much on the fact that bespoke clothing is generally inaccessible for economical reasons, but rather on the fact that those who marketed the bespoke trend have elevated class distinctions by plucking the suit from its democratic roots and planting it in a mythical, unassailable past before the traditions of the ancient and noble order and had been usurped.
An excellent point. Of course, marketing in general relies on such distortions. Usually, they're of the baser kind: i.e., buying Brand X will get you laid. (New campaign: Coke drinkers get more sex than Pepsi drinkers.) In the case of the suits, the marketers are simply playing to the pretensions of the people who can afford to buy them. One would think such people would recognize quality and the value thereof without the need for a bogus pedigree, but I doubt the marketers would keep employing the same schtick if it weren't working.
In contrast, many modern designers are inherently populist, either taking inspiration from inexpensive streetwear and symbols of youthful rebellion or consciously looking towards the future.Â The designs of Raf Simons, though not particularly subtle, are a good example of the former, those of Hedi Slimane, the latter.
Well, again, this sort of "populism" is, in its own way, as suspect as the "traditionalism" of the suit. Certainly the aesthetic begins with populist influences. However, I don't see how couture can ever be truly populist. These designers are "elevating" today's streetclothes in much the way Paone, et al., "elevate" the streetclothes of a previous generation...in concept, in class consciousness, and in price. The modernists, or post-modernists, or post-post-modernists, may be doing it with a greater sense of irony"”although I wouldn't guarantee it for all of them"”but they're still usurping the common and reinventing (or simply redeploying) it as rareified. Even "hip" diffusion lines are marketed on the premise that you're buying into the class of the marque at the entry level. Once you see past the hype, I don't think it makes much difference, socially or politically, whether you wear an Attolini bespoke suit or inside-out Evisu jeans with "eat the rich" scrawled on them in crayon. It just comes down to what resonates with you on a purely personal level. As I'm a man of moods"”as well as mystery
"”my closet is stocked with items from all points on the spectrum, to mix and match as the day demands. Re: Slimane specifically, I'm still not sold on him as "looking towards the future," any more than most of his contemporaries. That he's going to be around for the long haul, and that his influence will be felt in other menswear lines, I have little doubt. (One may even hope that Karl Lagerfeld will be inspired to launch a full men's line at Chanel.) However, it's not difficult to find historical influences for Slimane's designs, such as Bowie's "Thin White Duke" and Joe Strummer in the heyday of the Clash, as well as the lean minimalism of 1940s menswear and the "streamline modern" movement. Let's not forget the nod to Helmut Lang in his severity of line and palette, either. What Slimane isn't doing is walking the streets looking for ideas he can nick from schoolchildren. (Nor, thank god, crossing Native American ceremonial dress with Roerich's Ballets Russes costumes for "Le Sacre du Printemps," like stable-mate Galliano.)