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What are the greatest menswear brands of all time? - Page 9

post #121 of 500

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post #122 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Thin Man View Post

I'm sorry that I misunderstood you. While I realized you were interested in the fashion designer discussion, I thought you weren't looking for designer brands for your list. I included a bunch of the recent Men's Clothing brands because they represent the highest-quality tailored clothing that manages to survive today, which I think is a decent standard for greatness, but I admit they are almost completely lacking in "innovation."

I don't think I'd base greatness on just innovation. I actually really liked rach's treatment here
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

That's one reason that these "greats" lists are so tough. "Great" doesn't necessarily mean "innovative;" "innovative" doesn't mean "influential," and "influential" doesn't necessarily mean unique or creative. Finally, none of that means that a designer was the first to do something, or even if he'she was first, that he/she did it the "best."

I think there are multiple dimensions to greatness. Innovation being one of them. Setting a new bar for what's possible might as well (Fok suggested GAP earlier; while I think they're outside of "tailored cloting," I like the logic). Perfecting some technique or process might be another. Etc.

Arrow was a great suggestion, by the way. I'll certainly pass that on to Jesse.
post #123 of 500
Sulka

Scholte

Vilebrequin
post #124 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by countdemoney View Post

Sulka
Scholte
Vilebrequin

I think you're going to have to elaborate on these; I've never even heard of the second one, and doesn't Vilbrequin make swimsuits?
Quote:
Originally Posted by ter1413 View Post

I mean.....just based on the name of this thread..no.
I would put Guess up there b4 Diesel....no?
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewYorkRanger View Post

Good point, I guess (no pun intended) that they were the first., I guess D was the one that took it to the next step with people paying $200+ for jeans...I always saw guess as a bit cheaper, but I could be way off. We should ask The Situation...calling Mike, has anyone seen Mike?

I could see Diesel on the list, for sure. Remember, it's not a list of brands we "like," but you'd have to agree that Diesel played a huge role in the premium denim explosion. Earlier, when I was talking about Helmut Lang, I initially also added Diesel; before those two (in different ways, of course), nobody ever really thought of spending that much for jeans, or of treating jeans like an actual fashion/luxury item.
post #125 of 500
The word "Greatest" has a lot of meaning when talking about menswear brand. There are smaller brands compare to big names, but clearly changed the way how people dress.

If talking about jeans, I would certainly add Diesel and Levi's to the list. The two brands are influential if you look at the past. Not like "Guess" stuff, it's crap.
post #126 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
They ALL tried, and mostly they all failed. Versace's "V2" didn't work; Ferre had Gieffeffe, which was a disaster, Armani had "Mani" that didn't work, etc. Some of them, Versace and Ferre again, created so many lines that they started to interrupt the brand vision and confuse customers. Halston is the most famous example; he made a low-priced line (sold at department stores) and pretty much it was what destroyed his company.
And yet Ralph has Purple, black, polo, lauren, chaps, etc. etc. and somehow they manage to work.
As for RTW and lifestyles, yes, long ago people didn't go to Valentino for the brand or what it represented as an "idea." Or, in other words, you didn't go to valentino to "browse." You went because Valentino made a particular type of dress in a particular style, with particular specifications/details you couldn't get elsewhere. If you needed a handbag to go with your Valentino dress, you went to a bagmaker (Hermes, Delvaux, etc.) If you wanted a watch, you went to XY Watchmaker. As such, when people thought of Valentino, they thought of a particular kind of dress, in the same way that they thought of a particular cut of suit with a savile row maker.
With RL, what do we think of? Sure, we think perhaps of a polo pony, but overall we think of those dark-panel wood libraries, a leather couch, some attractive rich woman taking off a pair of tall leather boots next to the stable, etc. That's quite unique in the history of fashion that you think of an overall AESTHETIC before you think of an individual product. From a sales/marketing point of view, that's genius... it ensures you can get people to buy a whole RANGE of things from you...

that is EXACTLY what i think of. spot on.

also, just want to say, your work in this thread is outstanding. bravo.
post #127 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

that is EXACTLY what i think of. spot on.
also, just want to say, your work in this thread is outstanding. bravo.

Thanks, amigo. Nice to have a chance to have a good fashion discussion; it's been a while for me!
post #128 of 500
Any top 10 -- or in this case, top 50 -- list will inevitably generate controversy. Therefore, it would be prudent for the OP and Dieworkwear to clearly define "greatest" in the beginning of the article that they will be writing to minimize reader confusion and/or dissension.

If greatest = gross revenue, then RL, Levis, Gap, and Zara ought to be the top ones.

If greatest = most influential, then Savile Row tailors, with global adoption of the suit as de rigueur business wear, and Levis, with global adoption of jeans as casual wear, should be the top 2.

But if greatness also encompasses factors such as innovation, uniqueness, and accessibility, then it gets tricky.

IMHO, greatness ought to be a combination of all of the aforementioned factors. How much each factor weighs in the definition of "greatness" is the difficult task the authors will have to face.
post #129 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

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.

Me too.

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
post #130 of 500
^^ VERY interesting thought about the army ^^
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Thanks, amigo. Nice to have a chance to have a good fashion discussion; it's been a while for me!

indeed. you should foray here, more often. cheers.gif
post #131 of 500
Allen Edmonds
Brooks Brothers
Ralph Lauren
J Crew
Brioni
Hugo Boss
post #132 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

=
Arrow was a great suggestion, by the way. I'll certainly pass that on to Jesse.

I actually had that on my list and bumped it. My bad. Arrow totally deserved to be there, for that contribution (attached collars) alone.
post #133 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by JensenH View Post

If this list is ranked by the criterion who is the most financially successful menswear designer, then Ralph Lauren absolutely and irrefutably belongs at the top spot.
If, on the other hand, the ranking is based on design innovation and influence on the fashion industry, R.L. do not even belong in the top ten.
Mr. Ralph Lipschitz is a brilliant merchandiser and businessman, and his lines are loved by all segments of economical class.
But a designer? Hardly.
To wit: The Ivy Look -- from B.B. and J. Press.
The ubiquitous polo tee shirts -- Lacoste
Jeans and denim wear -- Levis
Outdoor rugged clothing -- LL Bean. (A fashion writer who interviewed him had noticed Mr. Lipschitz and his brother cutting out photos from a Bean catalog in his design studio)
RLPL -- Savile Row
RLBL -- Hedi Slimane
Polo tailored clothing -- again, B.B. and Press.
Everything he puts out is derivative. I honestly can not think of one innovative design from him. Can you?

But if this is about brand, than Ralph Lauren is far, far more important than any of them. Hedi Slimane would have been stuck in the netherworld of fashion, and J Press and Savile Row had very limited appeal.

The question isn't just about originality.
post #134 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by countdemoney View Post

Sulka
Scholte
Vilebrequin

I'd be hard pressed to make a case for any of these three, except *maybe* Scholte, if it's the same Frederick Scholte that we are speaking of.

Sulka was essentially a high end men's haberdashery. Except for having nice clothes, it didn't "move the needle" in any meaningful way.

Vilibrequin, I'm really not sure about the case for it at all in any top 50 list. Maybe a top 1000 list, and then we'd have to stick in Billabong and other surf companies ahead of it, probably, and probably companies like Reef.

Frederick Scholte is credited with the "English Drape" cut. However, seeing how English tailoring is perceived, still, I am not sure that he can be credited with moving the needle much, if at all. Certainly, he didn't have nearly the influence of Poole in making Savile Row *the* tailoring destination. And though his cut was adopted by another great house, the English definitely never got away from their reputation as a place to get "military" like suiting.
post #135 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

I'd be hard pressed to make a case for any of these three, except *maybe* Scholte, if it's the same Frederick Scholte that we are speaking of.
Sulka was essentially a high end men's haberdashery. Except for having nice clothes, it didn't "move the needle" in any meaningful way.
Vilibrequin, I'm really not sure about the case for it at all in any top 50 list. Maybe a top 1000 list, and then we'd have to stick in Billabong and other surf companies ahead of it, probably, and probably companies like Reef.
Frederick Scholte is credited with the "English Drape" cut. However, seeing how English tailoring is perceived, still, I am not sure that he can be credited with moving the needle much, if at all. Certainly, he didn't have nearly the influence of Poole in making Savile Row *the* tailoring destination. And though his cut was adopted by another great house, the English definitely never got away from their reputation as a place to get "military" like suiting.

I'd amend 1, agree with 2 and disagree with 3 mostly.

Sulka had a distinctively peculiar taste in neckwear styling that often ignored the traditional patterns and weaves without being considered in (too) bad taste, and were favored by showbiz types and mobsters like Lucky Luciano. Fondly remembered, but not top 50 material.

In terms of influence, the Prince of Wales is widely regarded as the man who helped Americans 'move the needle" in the 30s when we Americanized the coat silhouette known as the drape cut. This held sway through the 30s and 40s before bowing out in exaggerated form as the "Bold Look" postwar. And the drape comes from Anderson & Sheppard, which grew out of Scholte's firm. Henry Poole was the biggest house on Savile Row, to be sure, but they and most of the other houses hewed closer to a structured cut with a military or equestrian heritage.

The drape cut, transmitted via 1940s Cary Grant and other Hollywood types, was the dream Ralph Lauren has refashioned again and again over the past 45 years.
Edited by mack11211 - 9/23/12 at 11:42am
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