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What are the greatest menswear brands of all time? - Page 7

post #91 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

another point of great note for RL, imo, is their ability to brand across the entire spectrum. from chaps all the way to RLPL. not many, or maybe any, other companies, can a make a line for kohls and the like, that you can pick up suits for 100 bucks or so, and shirts for 10, and not have that take away from their ability to brand items that cost tens of thousands of dollars. offen producing the former, causes people to not take the latter very seriously.
the fact they are able to cover literally all bases, and be looked upon favorably in each area, is, i think, unparalleled.

I agree with you if we are talking about the impact RL has had as a lifestyle brand. But if we are talking purely about tailored clothing i would have to argue for Brioni. Majority of the suits out there today are based on a cut (Continental Cut) that they invented, and they have consistently have had very high standards when it comes to fabric and quality level from their founding all the way till today. But if we are talking lifestyle brand then of course Brioni would lose out to RL.

Edit: Was looking for this quote by Jay Mclnerney "Today, devotees of the subtle luxury of Brioni are as likely to be heads of state, diplomats, and stylish CEOs as movie stars, Still any male who has ever fantasized about being an international bon vivant aboard a yacht or in a convertible sportscar is probably picturing himself, whether he knows it or not, dressed in Brioni"

That pretty much sums up why i think Brioni should be on the list, and high up on it as well.
Edited by jeff13007 - 9/21/12 at 12:47pm
post #92 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff13007 View Post

I agree with you if we are talking about the impact RL has had as a lifestyle brand. But if we are talking purely about tailored clothing i would have to argue for Brioni. Majority of the suits out there today are based on a cut (Continental Cut) that they invented, and they have consistently have had very high standards when it comes to fabric and quality level from their founding all the way till today. But if we are talking lifestyle brand then of course Brioni would lose out to RL.

Does Brioni really claim to have invented a "cut" that anyone cares about? That is hilarious.
post #93 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by johanm View Post

Does Brioni really claim to have invented a "cut" that anyone cares about? That is hilarious.

Its not just them claiming it, many books and articles on menswear attribute this to them.
post #94 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

I thought about it, and decided to leave them out. It's a solid brand, but really, it's only a minor commercial success, and only really has one well known product to their name.

Makes sense. More of a 'one iconic item' than a 'greatest menswear brand of all time'.

Anyone considered Drake's? Too niche?
post #95 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff13007 View Post

I agree with you if we are talking about the impact RL has had as a lifestyle brand. But if we are talking purely about tailored clothing i would have to argue for Brioni. Majority of the suits out there today are based on a cut (Continental Cut) that they invented, and they have consistently have had very high standards when it comes to fabric and quality level from their founding all the way till today. But if we are talking lifestyle brand then of course Brioni would lose out to RL.
Edit: Was looking for this quote by Jay Mclnerney "Today, devotees of the subtle luxury of Brioni are as likely to be heads of state, diplomats, and stylish CEOs as movie stars, Still any male who has ever fantasized about being an international bon vivant aboard a yacht or in a convertible sportscar is probably picturing himself, whether he knows it or not, dressed in Brioni"
That pretty much sums up why i think Brioni should be on the list, and high up on it as well.

i do not disagree per say, nor do i think brioni should not be on the list. i was just saying that that should not take away from the importance and great accomplishments ascribed to RL. smile.gif
post #96 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaplan View Post

Makes sense. More of a 'one iconic item' than a 'greatest menswear brand of all time'.
Anyone considered Drake's? Too niche?

Way too niche. While I like Drake's products, there are a lot of accessories companies I'd put well before them in terms of overall impact. Probably at the top of that list should be Hermes.
post #97 of 500
Good discussion; I especially like the turn it's taken recently to more analysis and discussion than just listing "the brands I like" and calling them 'great.'

The idea and importance of a "lifestyle" brand cannot be overlooked; for the industry, I'd say it probably is as important as when RTW came out in the 1960's. Really, most of the "big" players, Valentino, YSL, Chanel, etc. first made their names with made-to-measure and couture. There was no such thing as a well-made RTW dress. What was available off-the-rack until they changed the market was mostly crap.

Likewise, in the 1970's, none of the major players had anything in mind like turning their brands into an overall aesthetic or lifestyle to attract customers. True, they ALL nearly dissolved themselves with over-licensing, but that's not the same thing.

RL's genius, and then others like Tommy Hilfiger who did it a little down-market, was to create a unique lifestyle, aspirational aesthetic that people liked, but that wasn't just licensing his name onto a bunch of crap, like YSL, Dior, and Valentino did.

Given that all of them are doing it now, it's therefore important to remember who did it... perhaps not FIRST... but at least enough to create an empire. Armani, who is one of the very few to make his fortune by actual CLOTHES (most others do it through fragrances or accessories) didn't ever really create a lifestyle.

Versace was another who came close, though his overall aesthetic (and price point) were always going to be a little too much for the average customer. RL's genius is/was somehow to have lines at all pricepoints, without any of them really diluting the others. I still have no idea HOW he's managed that.
post #98 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

RL's genius is/was somehow to have lines at all pricepoints, without any of them really diluting the others. I still have no idea HOW he's managed that.

if the professor agrees with me, than i must be right. smile.gif

i dont think anyone really knows, hence, he is still the only one.

very interesting about the RTW evolution btw, did not know that.
post #99 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

if the professor agrees with me, than i must be right. smile.gif
i dont think anyone really knows, hence, he is still the only one.
.

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...
post #100 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

Bummer, because really, I think that the influence that Nike has had is undeniable. Filson, Pendleton, those are more debatable. And I really think that Stussy has had as much influence on how men dress today than any number of fancy names.
[...]
Two words: white tee.
[...]
Yes, and they were instrumental in bringing "conservative" Italian men's fashion to North America. Cerruti does it too, and iirc, it started earlier than Zegna, with Hitman, where Armani got his start. But it never got the penetration that Zegna had, and imo, success is an important criterion in this case.

Good points all around. Also agree about Stussy. They're probably one of the top five brands when it comes to real world impacts on how men dress today, but since we're sticking with tailored wear ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post

Good discussion; I especially like the turn it's taken recently to more analysis and discussion than just listing "the brands I like" and calling them 'great.'

I agree.

I'd like to explore this idea of John Paul Gaultier a bit more. I think it's worthwhile to talk about Armani, Jil, Lang, and Prada as having really big impacts on how suits were shaped in the 80s and 90s, arguably even a bit today, but did Gaultier's work have any lasting impact? I ask because I genuinely don't know. Much of the stuff I've seen and read of him seems to be very conceptual, and "confined" to the designer world. Again, not to say that conceptual contributions have no merit, but when trying to weigh ... say, how Thom Browne affected certain silhouettes in recent times ... I think it would be interesting to know.

Also curious to know Fok's reason for including Gianfranco Ferre.

Regarding Kaplan's suggestion of Drake's - I think this is one of those brands that we happen to like, but it would be hard to call them one of the "top 50 greatest menswear brands of all time" (of the caliber and influence of Armani, Ralph Lauren, Brioni, etc). I may take some flack for this, but I personally only really like the stuff designed by Michael Hill anyway; not so much the earlier stuff. Fok's Hermes suggestion is a really good one, though I think of them more as selling women's accessories.

Incidentally, when thinking through these companies, it's kind of nice to remember how recent "clothing brands" are in the history of men's clothing. I think that's somewhat easy to forget in today's world, where essentially everything is a "brand."
post #101 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

I'd like to explore this idea of John Paul Gaultier a bit more.
Gianfranco Ferre. ."

I'll bite on both of these. First, Ferre: it could be a tough sell, but I could see him included moreso than, say, YSL, Dior, or Valentino (who largely only had licenses for menswear until relatively recently). He, like Versace, had a dedicated menswear line from the start that wasn't just a license. Much of the 1980's large, structured, "sculpted" look, especially in outerwear, was a result of Ferre. Versace had romance, Armani had simple/unstructured, and Ferre had the exact opposite with big, structured, heavy... armor like clothes. He never really was as famous as Versace or Armani, both because the construction of his garments required a lot of time/expense, and because the aesthetic was a little harder to wear. Nevertheless, his collections were very influential and a lot of other designers and lower-market makers copied some of his ideas throughout the 1980's. I also think we forget Ferre because from about 1998-2008 he didn't keep up or advance as much as others, and only die-hards still paid much attention.

I'll go out on a limb and say without Gaultier we'd not have had Hedi Slimane when we did. While the 1990's were all about minimalism with CK, Jil, Helmut, etc. the other side was the Gucci-esque romance, hyper-masculine or even gimmicky sexuality. Gaultier, from the 1980's on, was doing a darker color pallete, androgynous series of collections featuring strange cuts, "bondage" details, unique materials, and yet a very close attention to tailoring and couture details. Those early Dior collections, and the Hedi YSL collections, were quite similar. That skinny, asexual, "goth" yet classically tailored style was something Gaultier helped to pioneer.

edit; quick example... here's a famous Gaultier piece... from 1985.
post #102 of 500
rach summed up what I had to say about Ferre, and more, and really, did a much better job than did I about Gaultier. I credit this to his considerably more advanced age.

BTW, that 1985 piece... man, looking at that, it's hard to overstate how contemporary that looks. It could easily come out on a runway today and look interesting and relevant.
post #103 of 500
I know rach has a point about CK predating Helmut Lang, but I consider Helmut's minimalism to be quite different to what I think of CK's minimalism.
post #104 of 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

rach summed up what I had to say about Ferre, and more, and really, did a much better job than did I about Gaultier. I credit this to his considerably more advanced age.
BTW, that 1985 piece... man, looking at that, it's hard to overstate how contemporary that looks. It could easily come out on a runway today and look interesting and relevant.

I've said before that it is a sobering, wonderful experience to find some GQ magazines from 1996 or 1997 in order to see how far we've come in menswear for the range of options, choices, and styles we have and consider possible for us to wear.

For example, we look at this Gaultier piece today and it hardly shocks us. It's fresh, relevant, contemporary. However, in 1985 it was beyond shocking, in 1990 it was considered a corny gimmick, in 1995 it was giggled at and made fun of, until finally in 2002-03 it became a real choice for what a man might want to wear and "fresh."

Looking at that now and our reactions to it, it's hard to imagine what it would take today to be called "l'enfant terrible" in fashion. I respect Gaultier for always sticking with his vision and artistry, regardless of the times (and, in the 1990's/early 2000's during the Tom Ford boom, Gaultier was considered a has-been). The entire industry has come around to Gaultier, not vice-versa, and now not only does he have his own Haute-couture house, he also does it for Hermes, while putting out under his own RTW lines some of the most underrated collections out there of really nice stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

I know rach has a point about CK predating Helmut Lang, but I consider Helmut's minimalism to be quite different to what I think of CK's minimalism.

I agree, and actually (were we having a more detailed discussion) would not have put helmut in the "minimal" line. 1990-2002 Prada? yes. Jil? Yes. But, Helmut isn't really in that line. His stuff, up close, really is quite complicated with a unique silhouette that wasn't really all that slim, with detailed construction that was hardly minimal. Because he was one of the first to do a simplified color palette and introduce sportswear fabrics into his outerwear, he got lumped with the other minimal designers, but looking at his runway collections shows a big range of stuff... floral pattern pants, gold, silver, or copper colored leathers, LOTS of bondage straps, lots of pockets. etc.

He was much more avant-garde than minimal, though in general discussion it's easiest just to lump him with Prada and Jil.

Really, I'd say Helmut is closer to, say, Yohji than he would be to JIl Sander. Further, I'd say that Helmut is/was a true unique original... but unfortunately not all that influential in terms of changing the way we think about dress. Helmut did what Helmut did... and then he quit. Those who definitely took from Helmut's DNA... Neil barrett, Ennio Capasa for Costume national... aren't really that influential.

If anything, Helmut's greatest design innovation and impact are in being one of the first to do "premium" jeans. Until Helmut (and Diesel, to a lesser extent) the idea of spending $150 on jeans was laughable. frown.gif
post #105 of 500
Yeah, nice summary.
I like to think the "nice deets bro" nerdery we have about interior construction might be partly attributable to him.

Or maybe that's only on the internet. Certainly in menswear it seems that those things are part of the sell.
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