Originally Posted by dieworkwear
That's my understanding as well, the distinction of them being the first full men's brand to host a fashion show (not the first fashion show) and popularizing not only the Roman silhouette, but more importantly Italian style, in America.
I really like your list, Fok.
A few more words on Brioni, and as a sideline Pierre Cardin:
Since 'greatest' is very fuzzy, but 'moves the needle" is an important element, I think Brioni could be on the list for several reasons. The only issue is where it ranks.
While the current Brioni is the Continental-style outfitter of the internationally well-dressed (like a Bond or two) the original Brioni was influential differently: As the fashion show innovator, the Cinecita-visiting Hollywood star outfitter, and as the US presenter of Roman style. From the mid-50s on, they were featured in dozens of department stores across the United States, a move featured in LIFE magazine.
The result of this was an american version of 'Continental" style that was the most important countercurrent to the Ivy League through the 50s and 60s. Structured cuts, tight fits (especially in trousers), and shiny fabrics were hallmarks of this style, something flashy, sexy and disreputable. Joseph Abboud writes about these twin streams in his memoir, as have many others.
So in terms of "moving the needle", they're definitely in, just as much as Pierre Cardin for his influence on silhouettes of the 70s.
One elephant in the room, on no list posted so far, is the US Army.
It is not a 'designer' in the sense of being a single person, nor is it a brand of clothing originally intended for retail sale, but in terms of affecting how American men have dressed in the past 100 years, whose influence has been greater?
This is separate from the military influence on designers, which is pervasive: for example. Scholte's drape cut was inspired by the way fabric fell from shoulder to waist when guardsmen belted their coats.
Some more direct influence of the US Army:
From WWI: when and how men wore undershirts, also possibly (must check) the attached shirt collar.
From WWII: Khakis/chinos, the Eisenhower jacket, etc.
From Korea/Vietnam: The M65, camo, etc.
For millions of men, the military was their first school in how to wear and care for clothing, and the time in uniform was a hugely influential example (be it positive or negative) in how to dress in civilian life. In this age of the volunteer army, fewer men who patronize this board may have direct military experience, but the clothing influence remains.
Some of this influence is on streetwear, and so it should be at the top of that list as well, but as tailored clothing grows more casual, the military influence becomes even harder to ignore. PTO (Derek) recently did a post on three levels of formality in khakis, for example.Edited by mack11211 - 9/23/12 at 6:03am