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A Visit to Luisa Via Roma

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I have made a few attempts to understand the dark other side of Styleforum, Streetwear and Denim. All have been unsuccessful. I remember one foray into the WAYWT thread that started with me running face-first into a picture of a guy wearing a shirt made out of wood. Ten minutes later I retreated to Classic Menswear.

But when @Synthese volunteered to be my Virgil on a voyage to his hand-selected curated capsule collection of Florentine SW&D stores, I gathered the courage for another expedition. After finishing our fair duties for the day, Jasper led me our first stop, Luisa Via Roma. From the outside, it seemed more like a nightclub than a clothing store. Some sort of paparazzi crowd had gathered outside, taking pictures and bobbing to the bloopty-bloops coming from the store's speakers and echoing into the early evening air. We pushed our way through the crowd and into the fluorescent interior. As we entered I looked up just in time to read the beginning of the inscription over the door: "Lasciate ogni speranza...."

The men's clothes are upstairs, of course. Wouldn't want to make the ladies climb the stairs in their heels, I suppose. The shoppers seemed to be divided into performers, like the guy in makeup, tights, and a cape, and spectators, like me. We hit the shoe section first. The typical conversation went like this -

(I pick up some bedazzled sneaker curiously)

Me: People wear these things?

Jasper: I mean...those aren't really my style.

(Turn over sticker, notice $1k+ price tag, shrug)

I did notice some hi-tops that had excess circumference at the opening, which the laces were meant to gather together to give it a bunched look, sort of like the waterfall effect produced by a larger sleeve fit into a smaller armhole on a Neapolitan jacket.

The suits they had combined trendy details like skinny lapels, piped lapels, or a quintet of metal sleeve buttons with industrial construction. I did see an Armani suit that would get a lot of criticism on this side of board for the reasons that it is made by Armani, uses a shiny synthetic-blend fabric, and doesn't even claim to be #handmade. Despite all these damning faults, the suit was nicely designed and the construction was clean and light.

But most of the non-suit clothing left me 1) wondering what kind of non-ridiculous person would be interested in wearing these things, and 2) not feeling inspired enough to embrace the ridiculousness. Some of the pieces seemed to require a how-to manual just to figure out how to put them on in such a way that they wouldn't fall off. Jasper did his best to stick up for some of the designers and explain to me the ethos behind them, but he seemed to be running out of enthusiasm, and I could barely hear him over the store music anyway.

On the way out we stopped at a rack full of Saint Laurent Paris, Zara's Hedi Slimane's takeover of YSL. The designs were tired and the leather felt like plastic. I left the store feeling like I had just walked through an alien museum: there was clearly some high-level design, but without context some of it felt flat and tacky. I was like a child who wanders into the middle of a movie and wants to know...why does this t-shirt cost $450? I don't know if as an outsider I was able to use a fresh eye to cut through the groupthinking, or if I just didn't know enough to understand each designer's intent, or if there's any difference.



post #2 of 26
I can appreciate some SW&D looks, and I'm partial to wearing selvedge denim jeans + hiking boots + OCBD + A2 jacket on the weekends, which isn't really streetwear but isn't classic menswear, either.

However, a lot of streetwear (like a lot of haute couture nowadays) seems more like some sort of joke perpetrated on the general public by fashion designers - a sort of performance art, perhaps - rather than clothing that's meant to be worn by most people.

That, and the prices are just farcical. As you say, bedazzled sneakers with faux-leopard skin for well over $1k and t-shirts for $450???
Edited by Journeyman - 3/23/14 at 4:41pm
post #3 of 26
To be fair, Luisa via Roma is the worst in class. It's eurotrash on steroids.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
The second stop on the Jasper SWD tour was much more satisfying. Story on that forthcoming.
post #5 of 26
Incidentally, Brioni is selling a "jogging suit" for $1600.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

The second stop on the Jasper SWD tour was much more satisfying. Story on that forthcoming.

I'll have to show you a few more stores next time we are in Florence.
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LA Guy View Post

Incidentally, Brioni is selling a "jogging suit" for $1600.

Kiton is an even worse offender with stuff like this.
post #8 of 26
I suspect the widespread detachment of price from quality is greater on the SW&D side of things than it is in CM (a knock on the producers and their marketing/pricing, not on the style itself).

Stitchy loves him some brands; I'm interested in his thoughts on this.
post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claghorn View Post

I suspect the widespread detachment of price from quality is greater on the SW&D side of things than it is in CM (a knock on the producers and their marketing/pricing, not on the style itself).

Stitchy loves him some brands; I'm interested in his thoughts on this.

I think that at this point, this argument would be like asking which ugly girl is fuglier.
post #10 of 26
It also may be that my view of CM pricing is greatly influenced by AV's here, who generally represent better bang for your buck than and B&M store or mainstream CM brand. From what I can tell, the AV culture on the other side isn't nearly so robust, so they have to pay mainstream prices to get comparable quality.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
I would guess (again, I'm guessing) runway brands sell a lower % of their products at full price, so the full price gets jacked up higher, which exacerbates the problem. So the starting price is really high, but nobody is paying it.
post #12 of 26
I like the 5 button sleeve jacket. Reminds me of the "twist" details Paul Smith has been doing for 20+ years on his apparel. There is no reason why all suits, jackets pants must have the same uniform cut and details.

The "ahem" luxury sneaker segment makes perfect sense to me although most are ugly as sin. The good ones are cool looking, comfortable and make a fashion statement. From the designers perspective they make perfect sense as a mega profit center.

I like art T-shirts but couldn't bring myself to spend $300+ for one. Plus I would probably look silly so that one is best left to young, skinny dudes.
post #13 of 26
I think that there are two topics here. One being aesthetic and the other being price point.

As far as aesthetic goes, and this is only judging from the few pictures in the OP, the items featured are not at all representative of any of the wide variety of aesthetics that are seen, and appreciated, in SWD. At least as far as I have seen in the year or so I have been reading the thread daily. I have not seen anyone wear shoes like that all, and the jacket is hard to judge solely from a portion of the sleeve. As far as suits go, there are few, if any, SWD suits that are seen there, its not really an aesthetic I see people there go for. Most of the time, if someone is wearing a full suit, its actually an MC suit, or perhaps a slightly gothed out SWD suit.

As a matter of fact, the only SWD suits that come to mind are Synth's gray Cloak suit, and perhaps a gray CP suit that maybe lmao has worn, but I could be misremembering that second one. And neither of them were adored with ostentatious piping or metal adornments.

Now that I think of it, a lot of the Valstarino, ts(s), niche and SS stuff that @unbelragazzo was trying on, and seemingly enjoying, at NMWA yesterday, are much more representative of what is seen and enjoyed in SWD. Sure the goth look is something else, and not something that many MCers enjoy, although I do, but its also only a portion of what is worn in SWD.

Regarding price, for me, price points have long ceased to surprise or intrigue me. When I was at The Armoury yesterday, I was shown a shirting fabric swatch. It was a simple white broadcloth I think, with a sticker price of $1,727. Is it outrageous? Sure, but I don't think anyone, or certainly as many people, would be as bothered by that as they are thousand dollar shoes that look like they came from Hot Topic. They would simply say its not for them, but it most be a heavenly cotton from a mill par excelance (sp?), and hence the price tag.

I don't know what percentage of items across all aesthetics are sold at full retail. You have RTW shoes/boots on both sides of the wall that cross the 2k threshold. You have RTW MC suits that hit 5k and SWD outerwear as well. But I believe the fact remains, that many of these items do sell at full retail. Most likely to non SF types, at boutiques and high end department stores, probably to people who have a lot of money and don't even look at the price. Whoever it is that is buying at full retail, I think the very existence of the steadily high full MSRP from high fashion houses must tell us that enough people are paying that for them to keep at it. As they say, why does a bear shit in the woods? Because it can.

I'm not asking anyone to pay full retail, nor am I saying that quality, construction, or even the level of luxurious and ostensibly rare fabrics fully justifies these prices. I am just saying that people pay for it, and beyond that, it ads to the brands image that we all perceive, and perhaps enjoy, in one way or another. I have a strong feeling that we would not feel the way we do about brands like Kiton or St Crispin or Rick or Ann D if the full prices were not what they are. It lends an air of exclusivity and fanciness that makes all our balls tingle when we land one of those pieces, even if we land it second hand or highly discounted on Yoox. And for those that think its all a load of shit top to bottom, and only buy from small batch SF type brands where they feel the price is more commensurate to value, thats up to them.

Im not sure what my point is, but those are my thoughts @Claghorn.
post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by in stitches View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I think that there are two topics here. One being aesthetic and the other being price point.

As far as aesthetic goes, and this is only judging from the few pictures in the OP, the items featured are not at all representative of any of the wide variety of aesthetics that are seen, and appreciated, in SWD. At least as far as I have seen in the year or so I have been reading the thread daily. I have not seen anyone wear shoes like that all, and the jacket is hard to judge solely from a portion of the sleeve. As far as suits go, there are few, if any, SWD suits that are seen there, its not really an aesthetic I see people there go for. Most of the time, if someone is wearing a full suit, its actually an MC suit, or perhaps a slightly gothed out SWD suit.

As a matter of fact, the only SWD suits that come to mind are Synth's gray Cloak suit, and perhaps a gray CP suit that maybe lmao has worn, but I could be misremembering that second one. And neither of them were adored with ostentatious piping or metal adornments.

Now that I think of it, a lot of the Valstarino, ts(s), niche and SS stuff that @unbelragazzo was trying on, and seemingly enjoying, at NMWA yesterday, are much more representative of what is seen and enjoyed in SWD. Sure the goth look is something else, and not something that many MCers enjoy, although I do, but its also only a portion of what is worn in SWD.

Regarding price, for me, price points have long ceased to surprise or intrigue me. When I was at The Armoury yesterday, I was shown a shirting fabric swatch. It was a simple white broadcloth I think, with a sticker price of $1,727. Is it outrageous? Sure, but I don't think anyone, or certainly as many people, would be as bothered by that as they are thousand dollar shoes that look like they came from Hot Topic. They would simply say its not for them, but it most be a heavenly cotton from a mill par excelance (sp?), and hence the price tag.

I don't know what percentage of items across all aesthetics are sold at full retail. You have RTW shoes/boots on both sides of the wall that cross the 2k threshold. You have RTW MC suits that hit 5k and SWD outerwear as well. But I believe the fact remains, that many of these items do sell at full retail. Most likely to non SF types, at boutiques and high end department stores, probably to people who have a lot of money and don't even look at the price. Whoever it is that is buying at full retail, I think the very existence of the steadily high full MSRP from high fashion houses must tell us that enough people are paying that for them to keep at it. As they say, why does a bear shit in the woods? Because it can.

I'm not asking anyone to pay full retail, nor am I saying that quality, construction, or even the level of luxurious and ostensibly rare fabrics fully justifies these prices. I am just saying that people pay for it, and beyond that, it ads to the brands image that we all perceive, and perhaps enjoy, in one way or another. I have a strong feeling that we would not feel the way we do about brands like Kiton or St Crispin or Rick or Ann D if the full prices were not what they are. It lends an air of exclusivity and fanciness that makes all our balls tingle when we land one of those pieces, even if we land it second hand or highly discounted on Yoox. And for those that think its all a load of shit top to bottom, and only buy from small batch SF type brands where they feel the price is more commensurate to value, thats up to them.

Im not sure what my point is, but those are my thoughts @Claghorn.

To be clear, the tl;dr of my piece shouldn't be: "I thought SWD sucked...I went to a fashuns store, and I still think it sucks."

It was more about the retail experience and items available in this particular store. The opening is more to give my perspective coming into the store and introduce the project Jasper and I conceived rather than ask a question that the post will answer. It's more kind of "reaction of a CM poster to this streetwear store" rather than "Synth tries to convince UBR SWD>CM." I wouldn't expect LVR to represent all of the SWD side of Styleforum.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

To be clear, the tl;dr of my piece shouldn't be: "I thought SWD sucked...I went to a fashuns store, and I still think it sucks."

i did not think that. i was just sharing my thoughts on the general matter. i was moved to do so. smile.gif
Quote:
It was more about the retail experience and items available in this particular store. The opening is more to give my perspective coming into the store and introduce the project Jasper and I conceived rather than ask a question that the post will answer. It's more kind of "reaction of a CM poster to this streetwear store" rather than "Synth tries to convince UBR SWD>CM." I wouldn't expect LVR to represent all of the SWD side of Styleforum.

i knew you were leading up to something. lurker[1].gif about your guyses upcoming joint project!
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