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What are the greatest menswear brands of all time? - Page 18

post #256 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Coming from Fuuma that's quite mild; read his gem-posts on mattress buying. He must be tired and/or was typing on a mobile device to write with such lack of zest. lol8[1].gif
It sort of reminds me ,though, of discussions about books, art, or anything else of a period. Get a general discussion of "greatest artists of the 20th century" and of course Picasso will be on the list. Real art critics or historians, though, will mostly roll their eyes. LIkewise, when those historians counter Picasso with Marcel Duchamp, most of the general public will give a big, "huh? The urinal guy??? WTF???"
It's a difference in focus, experience, and criteria for sure, but the last few pages have been interesting for clarifying for the OP how to approach such a discussion in his article.

There is a substantive difference between fashion and art or music that can't be ignored, though. Fashion is primarily a commercial enterprise with artistic underpinnings, and a vastly successful enterprise (say, H&M or Uniqlo) cannot be ignored the way artists can ignore the popularity of paintings of dogs playing poker or Velvet Elvises, or musicians can ignore Maroon 5. Put it this way, Uniqlo can get Jil Sander to do an entire line for them, and H&M can get Karl Lagerfield to do a capsule collection. I am going to bet $10 that Adam Levine can't get Tom Waits to write a song for him.
post #257 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

There is a substantive difference between fashion and art or music that can't be ignored, though. Fashion is primarily a commercial enterprise with artistic underpinnings, and a vastly successful enterprise (say, H&M or Uniqlo) cannot be ignored the way artists can ignore the popularity of paintings of dogs playing poker or Velvet Elvises, or musicians can ignore Maroon 5. Put it this way, Uniqlo can get Jil Sander to do an entire line for them, and H&M can get Karl Lagerfield to do a capsule collection. I am going to bet $10 that Adam Levine can't get Tom Waits to write a song for him.

Absolutely true, thanks for clarifying. I was just trying to illustrate the point of how two very different perspectives of "viewer" can come to two very different conclusions about a question, while both being right... as in the case of Fuuma's criticism of RL.
post #258 of 500
that's not a fair comparison. There are "sellouts' in any industry, both fashion and music.

Plenty of designers wouldn't do an H&M collection.
post #259 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

that's not a fair comparison. There are "sellouts' in any industry, both fashion and music.
Plenty of designers wouldn't do an H&M collection.

This takes the thread afield, so I won't pursue it too much... but the Lanvin/H&M collection and Missoni for Target were two of my biggest WTFs? I was overseas for both so never saw them in person, but as an idea I found both really sad. Others, I could understand, in that they targeted an overall aesthetic for a different, more accessible customer. Jil, Lagerfeld, etc. This didn't bother me.

Lanvin, though, has been about its exquisite cuts and uses of fabric, many of which were extremely $$$. The reason a pair of Lanvin pants cost $1000, while a comparable pair of YSL pants from the same season were $680 was because the Lanvin fabric was twice as much. LIkewise, Missoni isn't just about "patterned, colored textiles," but about the particular types of dyes, the quite complicated use of materials, etc. Just making these patterns/colors "cheaper" ruined it for me, and I felt was a big conceptual mistake on BOTH of their parts.

The missoni was especially bad because the easily recognizable patterns put onto very, very cheap fabric prints sort of diluted the image of the brand. I can only imagine the reaction of some NY woman with her $1000 Missoni sweater or $2500 handbag having some girl at the Starbuck's go, "OMG! I LOVE your bag... I have one, too!" and holds up a plastic $15 Target tote that's got virtually the same pattern on it, and the same MISSONI.
post #260 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

that's not a fair comparison. There are "sellouts' in any industry, both fashion and music.
Plenty of designers wouldn't do an H&M collection.

The point is that doing a collaboration with Uniqlo is not considered "selling out", except maybe by a few guys on Stylezeitgeist.
post #261 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

The point is that doing a collaboration with Uniqlo is not considered "selling out", except maybe by a few guys on Stylezeitgeist.

and doing a collaboration with Radiohead probably wouldn't be considered selling out either. Doing a collaboration with H&M? possibly, for the reasons that rach points out.

I'm not saying they're completely analogous, but you can't ignore the similarities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Just making these patterns/colors "cheaper" ruined it for me, and I felt was a big conceptual mistake on BOTH of their parts.

I feel like you're talking about commercial integrity, not necessarily artistic integrity.

Also, when this happened, it's not like Lanvin or Missoni were obscure or even particularly artistic in their creations. Don't get me wrong, I like both brands (especially missoni) but they were already pretty big names at the time.
post #262 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

I feel like you're talking about commercial integrity, not necessarily artistic integrity.

Not for these two brands, because their patterns/fabrics/colors WERE their artistry. Obviously, Lagerfeld's high-collar shirt or a Jil-cut jacket can be done in cheaper fabric... but you can't take a company whose artistry IS its fabric and way of using that fabric in unique ways onto cheap fabrics. It's not a translation of their DNA into another field... it's sort of a mutation. wink.gif
post #263 of 500
well, yeah, it is considered a sellout by purists and I tend to agree. Not much point in buying a missoni sweater that's made of average fabric.

That's kinda my point, I don't really see that much commercial differences between the music industry and fashion. They're quite similar IMO.
post #264 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankie22 View Post

Agree, but people are acting cray!
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Including Ralph Lauren in a list of greatest menswear designers is like including McDonalds in a list of greatest restaurants; it is true according to the way market democracies value things but it tells us a lot about market democracies...
post #265 of 500
What's McDonalds' Purple Label? Or even Polo for that matter. For most people, Polo is very expensive. McDonalds is cheap for most people. Kirkland or H&M or Forever 21 would be the McD of fashion IMHO, not RL.
post #266 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturdays View Post

If you knew anything about him, then you'd know he didn't change his name for the sake of his company, his brother Jerry changed his name first to Jerry Lauren, and Ralph did so soon after - only because they were bullied in school and made fun of, for their last name.
Your point that he changed his name to rebrand himself is moot - since he had no plans of becoming a successful clothing designer when he was in school...

And from which P.R. article or autobiography did you gleam this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

It hints of anti-semitism - whether that is what you intended or not - that's why.

Interesting inference. Are you saying that ethnic-sounding surname should never be used? That it is something shameful and should be hidden from the public?

FWIW, I have been assumed to be Jewish because of my pro-Israel stance.
Edited by JensenH - 9/27/12 at 1:39am
post #267 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Not for these two brands, because their patterns/fabrics/colors WERE their artistry. Obviously, Lagerfeld's high-collar shirt or a Jil-cut jacket can be done in cheaper fabric... but you can't take a company whose artistry IS its fabric and way of using that fabric in unique ways onto cheap fabrics. It's not a translation of their DNA into another field... it's sort of a mutation. wink.gif

You forget that Jil Sander was all about luxurious fabrics and extremely expensive construction to make a seemingly plain garment very attractive. I was looking at some of the stuff Menichetti did for her first menswear collections, and there was a reason that a simple moleskin shirt jacket cost $450, in 1998 dollars. That same piece today would probably sell for close to $1K. I'm actually reminded of this because I recently got hold of some vintage deadstock Jil for my wife, and the construction on the skirts is impeccable, and the materials used were beautiful and expensive. So, you could easily say that J+, the materials for which would charitably be described as "garbagio", falls into the same category. The cuts of the jackets were superficially similar, the end.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuuma View Post

Including Ralph Lauren in a list of greatest menswear designers is like including McDonalds in a list of greatest restaurants; it is true according to the way market democracies value things but it tells us a lot about market democracies...

You'd never put McDonald's into a list of the world's greatest restaurants, just as you"d never put Ralph Lauren (or franklly, most of the SF MC approved brands) into a list of great designers. But McDonald's would certainly be placed highly in a list of "Greatest Food Brands", for any number of reasons, and this discussions is focused on "menswear brands", not menswear designers. So, categorical mistake. The list of greatest menswear designers would look radially different from the list i proposed for this particular exercise, though there would be some overlap, clearly.
post #268 of 500
RL deserves to be #1 if the ranking criterion is solely based on gross revenue, followed by the likes of Nike, Gap, Levis, Zara, and H&M.

But if creativity, innovation, and influence are given more weight than the all mighty dollar in the definition of greatness, then RL does not even belong in the top ten.

If this is a suit-centric list, my top 5 would be:

1) Savile Row (as an aggregate of the various storied tailor houses) -- The birthplace of the modern suit which is de rigeuer business wear all over the world. Innovative and influential.

2) Brooks Brothers -- Mass production of RTW suits made them assessable -- both geographically and financially -- to the masses, thereby influenced how millions of people dressed for about a century. Originator of the sack suit. Assessable, influential, and innovative.

3) Armani -- Revolutionized the suit which hadn't changed much for several decades. First to use wool crepe, which was heretofore considered as women's fabric, as suiting material. Low lapel gorge, padded shoulders, and elongated jacket combined to give a casual elegant look. The drape (due to the softness of the suiting) and the silhouette are unmistakeably Armani. One could argue the current preference for Napolese soft construction is a natural progression of Armani's removal of stiffness from the suit. Innovative, influential, assessable, and eminently wearable.

4) Slimane for Dior -- the next innovator after Armani. His influence went beyond the skinny suits that are still favored by today's hipsters, as evidenced in the trimmer silhouette in mainstream tailored clothing. Innovative and influential.

Toss up among:

5) Versace -- Big shoulders and dizzily colors (think Miami Vice where many of his jackets were featured). Peacocky and of questionable taste to many, his impact was nevertheless huge during the mid 80s to the early 90's. Innovative and influential -- if only for a limited time.

5) Napolese (as an aggregate of Attolini, Borrelli, Kiton, Rubinacci, et al) -- Tweaking the Anglo look with natural shoulders and softer suiting, the Napolese elevated suits to an exalted level with impeccable workmanship and superb fabrics. While not innovative, they moved the quality "needle".

5) Brioni -- others have already wrote on this, so I won't repeat.



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post #269 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by JensenH View Post

5) Napolese
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facepalm.gif
post #270 of 500
If using mass market arguments, then Hugo Boss deserves a strong shout. They invented the fused jacket and approximately 95% of all suits sitting on store racks are entirely fused (I count half canvassed / single floating chest piece canvas jackets as part of the fused catergory).

While fusing is despised in this forum, this cheap production technique made suiting affordable to the masses where traditionally a man could typically only afford one or two suits.

However, to call Hugo Boss a great menswear brand would be pure blasphemy.

To rectify this, I think a stronger emphasis should be placed on design versus marketing genius. Just my two Deutschmarks.
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