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What are the greatest menswear brands of all time? - Page 11

post #151 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

I like the idea of "aesthetic achievement." I think Versace, for example, is a good example of that.

+1. Versace ALMOST succeeded in setting a "lifestyle" brand early on, but (as I said earlier in the thread) the aesthetic simply couldn't connect with the audience RL did, nor be at a pricepoint where it could work.

But, even in the 1980's, Versace was another brand that you can almost think of an idea or "theme" before you think of an actual item: sun drenched beaches, tanned chiseled men and beautiful women on a yacht, exquisitely died silks flowing in the breeze, etc.

This aesthetic became something of a gimmick in the mid-late 1990's (due largely to the shift to minimalism AND Gianni's untimely death) and never really recovered, with the "lifestyle" brand shifting from very luxe upscale to "aging footballers with too much suntan lotion and Russian mobsters with too much gold jewelry."

edit; by the way, if we're going to add brands like Sulka or others that influenced color, tone, or pattern, then brands like Etro or Byblos would be equally valid, the former for introducing a wide range of patterns into classic menswear and the latter for the shift toward subtle uses of bright solids. Not, I'm not arguing for their inclusion, but only to say that I think a case could be made why they (esp. Etro) would be a better fit than several of the others mentioned.
post #152 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Thin Man View Post

Mostly victims...
I personally don't see the point of saying "great" and leaving aesthetics out. Individual opinions about greatness should have a large degree of subjectivity.
And I do think you can talk about brands in a way that doesn't focus on business.

1. i think strict aesthetics is of great importance, and also impossible to rank. it is entirely subjective. i doubt anyone here likes the giant firm shouldered suits of the 80s. but at the time, people loved them, and some people still do. does the fact that you or i think they are hideous make them so? i wouldnt say so. its just my opinion. someone may hate bengal striped shirts, does that make them aesthetically bad? nope. there is no way to reach consensus on aesthetics.

however, as pertained to accomplishments, effects on society and style around the world, appreciation by the public, name recognition... a brand can be ranked. at least to a certain degree. it gives framework within in which we can start to build. i do not think that is possible at all in strict aesthetic terms.

as a side bar, i just went shopping today, and saw 10 drakes ties. while i love drakes, i thought half of them were gross. and i guarantee they will all find happy homes with owners who swear by them.

2. i disagree. without branding and maketing almost none of us would have heard of many many companies. and they would have lived in obscurity, or died completely. we are all brand whores to one degree or another. anyone who denies that is lying to themselves. successful brand imaging and marketing is a very significant factor in the rise and fall, and dare i say, importance, of most brands. we may not even know it, but how we feel emotionally when we buy certain items, is a direct result of successful, muli layered, multi leveled, marketing.

that is my opinion anyway.
post #153 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Great points, Fok, and I agree. It seems to me that the thread is largely divided in terms of criteria into two quite different groups: (1) who are more like critics, and (2) who are more like customers. They'll use the same terms (greatest, innovative, etc.) but necessarily have two COMPLETELY different sets of experiences and criteria in mind).
Given that SF isn't, technically, a "fashion" forum in the classic sense (like thefashionspot ca 2003-5), I'd actually say this forum is more heavily populated with "customers" (group 2). For example, how many members here have actually gone into stores, or reviewed collections in person, that they had no intention of actually buying? How many keep up (or kept up) with the industry outside of their "personal" favorites?
So, it's difficult to get many of group (2) understand, for example, why Gaultier or Ferre might be on the list but not Borrelli, because 99% of members have never owned Gaultier or Ferre, and probably never really even seen one. RL, though, is owned by just about everybody here. As well, classic makers like Brioni and such are probably much more represented, because it is a site with a lot of professionals, not just a lot of fashion fans.
Finally, if a discussion like this becomes too "personal aesthetic," then the discussion becomes just like every other thread on SF. "Check out my new XXY suit; isn't it great?" "I don't like the drape." "Well, I like the drape." "Shoulder has too much padding." "I like padding!" etc.
Whether I like Gaultier or not, or whether I wear Arrow shirts, doesn't mean that both of them aren't more influential than, say, Roberto Menichetti... even though personally I wear his stuff and have more of his garments than either of these others. Thus, I'd put myself and my comments into group (1), as I would also Fok's, but many others would be in group (2). I don't know that we'll ever be able to come up with a comparable list, though BOTH are equally valid (in a sense).
In any case, it's still been (and is) a very good discussion and I'm learning a lot, especially in this recent batch.

well said. also, i own a ferre tie. smile.gif
post #154 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

well said. also, i own a ferre tie. smile.gif

Get one of his pagoda-shouldered shearling trenches with internal construction like samurai armor and then we'll talk. lol8[1].gif
post #155 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Get one of his pagoda-shouldered shearling trenches with internal construction like samurai armor and then we'll talk. lol8[1].gif

link? biggrin.gif
post #156 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

link? biggrin.gif

edit; I posted some, but it will get the thread off track. People will say, "AGH! See what ugly fashion crap. Nope, BORRELLI is the greatest brand!" My quip to you was just a joke, anyway... okay, back to the real discussion!

Somebody comment on Etro and Byblos, though....
post #157 of 500
top middle, bottom right. full of win. would wear.
post #158 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

edit; I posted some, but it will get the thread off track. People will say, "AGH! See what ugly fashion crap. Nope, BORRELLI is the greatest brand!" My quip to you was just a joke, anyway... okay, back to the real discussion!
Somebody comment on Etro and Byblos, though....

Well, Byblos was probably one of the first "collaboration" companies, in that it brought in new head designers frequently, and by design, so that they would put their mark on the brand, without losing its overall playful, colorful, tone. (This is in contrast to say, Chloe, which embraced fully the personality it the head designer.)

Etro... I dunno (though I do love their paisleys, and have a most awesome purple and black silk shirt from about 2000). I mean, it started out making great fabrics, and moved onto whimsical, Euro-lensed preppy. So, if we needed a brand that essentially started by making Persian rugs, and changed the landscape by showing that really cool accessories and clothes could be made using Persian rugs, then sure.

If this list was based on stuff that buy and wear, Wings+Horns and Common Projects would be put alongside Ralph Lauren and Martin Margiela. At least it could be argued that Number (n)ine and Engineered Garments were some of the first brands Japanese "Americana" brands, though radically different.

BTW, Nike should really be put on that list. It's not just a shoe brand, though that's how they started. It really a lifestyle brand at this point, as is Adidas.
post #159 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

Well, Byblos
Etro... I dunno
.

Good analysis. As I said above, I"m not arguing for their inclusion, but only trying to complicate the debate somewhat with alternatives lest things get too narrow. If others will argue for small brands like Sulka or others, which did things with prints or fabrics, then I just thought we'd have to consider others like Etro.

In any case, I think still your list back several pages ago stands as the best so far. Balanced, fair, and inclusive.

Quick note on Byblos; like Ferre, I think that those who only know fashion from 2005 or later don't realize that Byblos was quite a big brand back in the 1980's, with a big influence on the use of bright, seasonal colors. They still put out nice collections, surprisingly enough, but are almost impossible to find. I haven't seen it in stores in ages; my guess is that outside Italy/Paris they just don't have stockists (though I see an occasional item or two in japanese brand stores from time to time)

LK and I used to lament on this forum the lengths one had to go through to find a store carrying either Byblos or Fendi Uomo. smile.gif
post #160 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. Just curious on your reasoning for J Crew and Paul Smith? I assume APC is for introducing non-"fashion" raw jeans?
I was wondering if Bass should be included for having brought the Norwegian loafer to the US. I don't know if it's necessarily true, but one could argue that the popularity of the penny loafer made it possible to have the Gucci loafer, driving loafer, and tassel loafer. That brands essentially felt there was a viable market for these kinds of shoes because of how popular the penny loafer was in America.
I tried to think of innovative business models as well. I thought someone's mention of LL Bean's use of the mail order catalog was interesting. Though I think that was really invented by Montgomery Ward and then pushed by many dept stores after that. Perhaps LL Bean showed how brands could do their own mail order system? Have there been other innovations in business models? I feel like fashion brands have been somewhat late adopters of digital technologies.

Bass absolutely belongs, just for the penny loafer, even though they've put out a lot more than that over the years (big source for bucks, camp mocs, and whatnot too). Can anybody think of a shoe company that doesn't make a version?

Florsheim deserves a spot too. Single brand shoe stores were their innovation, and they sold luxury shoes to massive numbers of businessmen. In the 50's, every self respecting businessman in New York City was wearing black, pebble grain Florsheim gunboats to go with his gray flannel suit. They're a shadow of their former self now, but they should probably be on the list.
post #161 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by cptjeff View Post

Florsheim deserves a spot too. Single brand shoe stores were their innovation

Wait, really? I feel like the single brand shoe store would have been the next logical step after we move away from pre-industrial shoemaking. The multi-brand store concept seems like it requires a certain distribution network that would have been unlikely to exist 100 years ago. Did England not have single brand stores?
post #162 of 500
All time?? Maybe the last 10 or 20 years, but not all time. I bet less than 10% of SF has been wearing high quality clothing and shoes for more than 10 years?
post #163 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

if we're going to add brands like Sulka or others that influenced color, tone, or pattern

Sulka was known for more than just ties. Their robes/dressing gowns were the standard for decades. Sulka also had a substantial existence - with almost 50 of those years - as taste leaders. Even decades old sulka pieces still look like and feel like a dream.

I included vilebrequin on my list as they are one of the last practitioners of classic resort wear. While not in the company of some previously mentioned names for influence, there is something to be said for timeless style. Resort and beach wear are also part of men's fasion, as surely as shoes. I'm not sure if any company has a true influence in this space, but it's an overlooked area.

I don't know if I've seen Pendelton mentioned, but they certainly deserve some consideration, certainly much more important and influential than Woolrich.
post #164 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

Wait, really? I feel like the single brand shoe store would have been the next logical step after we move away from pre-industrial shoemaking. The multi-brand store concept seems like it requires a certain distribution network that would have been unlikely to exist 100 years ago. Did England not have single brand stores?

The original multi-brand store predates brands, perhaps -- the department store, which was a mid 19th c development. The distribution/supply network was made possible by the rail system.

The big distinction back then was whether you made what you sold, even if it all bore your label. Brooks Brothers were "makers and merchants" which distinguished them from those who were merchants only. But in the latter case, you would contract with whoever was useful to you at the time, just as Polo RL does today.
post #165 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by mack11211 View Post

The original multi-brand store predates brands, perhaps -- the department store, which was a mid 19th c development. The distribution/supply network was made possible by the rail system.
The big distinction back then was whether you made what you sold, even if it all bore your label. Brooks Brothers were "makers and merchants" which distinguished them from those who were merchants only. But in the latter case, you would contract with whoever was useful to you at the time, just as Polo RL does today.

Ah, right. Forgot about dept stores.
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