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Richard James circa?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I was having an argument with a friend over brunch about how long RJ has been in Business. My guess was 10 years, his was late 90's (based on the Savile Row store opening). I found a mention of him in Flusser's  Style and the Man (1996) in his review of Beams in Tokyo. However, I can't remember RJ on SR in the mid 90's. The website mentions "A little over a decade" (but when was that written?). So when did RJ started his biz and where? RJman? Anybody. Thanks W.
post #2 of 13
10...9...8...7...6...RJMan?...4... (At least a dozen years, btw. Expert answer to follow.)
post #3 of 13
post #4 of 13
RJMan, this is like me letting someone else answer a "rules" question. For shame.
post #5 of 13
LOL Can't a guy walk home? Do you _know_ how hard it is to surf the net on a Blackberry? Richard James opened his first shop on Savile Row in 1992. Prior to that he had been a designer, sort of like an edgier Paul Smith, with critically well-received collections showing in Paris. He designed a line called Aguecheek and I believe a little later launched under his own name. He ran into problems with backers who pulled out, causing several shutdowns of the line. The last happened in 1990-91,when a backer seemed interested in using the designer as a loss to offset his restaurants. After a year's hiatus, he opened on Savile Row. Originally the idea had been for him to design for the tailor Anthony J Hewitt, but by opening the plan became that the shop would sell bespoke tailoring by Anthony J Hewitt (in Richard James' designs,perhaps) as well as a range of James' designs in knitwear, shirts,ties, etc. After a few dry months the shop took off, with Viscount Linley as the first high profile customer. RJ moved into his current space in 1998 or so, methinks. The bespoke tailoring is now done by James Levett, who moved out of Anthony J Hewitt and set up on his own. FYI, Richard James moved from being a fashion buyer at Browns to being a designer around the mid 1980s. About 20 years or so.
post #6 of 13
Quote:
I was having an argument with a friend over brunch about how long RJ has been in Business. ...
By the way, this is something one would only read on Style Forum.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by William Massena,Mar. 14 2005,19:12
I was having an argument with a friend over brunch about how long RJ has been in Business. ...
By the way, this is something one would only read on Style Forum.
AlanC, what if I told you that the original conversation was : "Is Etro an Italian RJ or is RJ a British Etro? (solely on RTW)" ?  I can't imagine what people, if any, around us listening thought. Thank you all, RJman thanks for the detailed answer. You were late but yours was the best
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Quote:
(AlanC @ Mar. 14 2005,17:41)
Quote:
Originally Posted by William Massena,Mar. 14 2005,19:12
I was having an argument with a friend over brunch about how long RJ has been in Business. ...
By the way, this is something one would only read on Style Forum.
AlanC, what if I told you that the original conversation was : "Is Etro an Italian RJ or is RJ a British Etro? (solely on RTW)" ?  I can't imagine what people, if any, around us listening thought. Thank you all, RJman thanks for the detailed answer. You were late but yours was the best
I see what you mean. What a stupid argument. RJ is clearly an English Etro....(dodges hard roll thrown across table by RJMan)
post #9 of 13
I think he started selling his collection at Brown in 1989 or 1990 as I bought a black silk evening waistcoat by RJ in 1990.
post #10 of 13
I have an RJ tie that must date from 1990 or so as well--lime green with white daisies; as I recall the keeper is marked simply Richard James London. I don't get the RJ/Etro comparison, though. To my mind, Etro has always been All About The Paisley--paisley, of course, being understood in the most generous and expansive way. I can't think of a similar encapsulation for Richard James.
post #11 of 13
I agree. Comparing Richard James to Etro is one-dimensional. The chief argument is that they both make striped shirts. Both have been doing so for years. I think RJ's stripes have a much more British feel (and are better made) than Etro's, with a hearkening to 1960s loud shirts. Indeed, one can make the case that Etro is simply aping a 1960s British look with stripes and paisleys, a safer designer hippie look than Lucien Pellat-Finet. This leaves out Richard James' experiments with denim and camouflage and his brilliant and original uses of color, not just in those old suit linings but in the insides of wallets and belts, or as clocks around socks, something that every designer since has aped. It ignore's James' reverence for the details of British tailoring, something Etro started copying a few years ago, churning out suits that looked like what RJ has done for years. It also ignores that RJ designs are often creative yet classic enough to wear year after year, something most designers can't offer. In most cases -- one can argue otherwise about his suits, maybe -- the quality of manufacture is such that the garments will last, last, last. Harrumph.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
......  The chief argument is that they both make striped shirts.  Both have been doing so for years.  I think RJ's stripes have a much more British feel (and are better made) than Etro's, with a hearkening to 1960s loud shirts.  Indeed, one can make the case that Etro is simply aping a 1960s British look with stripes and paisleys, a safer designer hippie look than Lucien Pellat-Finet....
I disagree with RJman about Etro... I find Etro's shirts at least as good as those made by RJ (The non buttondown Etros). I find some of Etro's colour combinations in their stripes utterly sublime, and owing nothing to the British aesthetic of the 60's, and to me, much more adventurous and daring than RJ. This season Etro seems to have been getting their inspiration from the various tribal designs from New Guinea, and using some of the body markings and headdress colourations in thier palette.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
This leaves out Richard James' experiments with denim and camouflage and his brilliant and original uses of color, not just in those old suit linings but in the insides of wallets and belts, or as clocks around socks, something that every designer since has aped.   It ignore's James' reverence for the details of British tailoring, something Etro started copying a few years ago, churning out suits that looked like what RJ has done for years. It also ignores that RJ designs are often creative yet classic enough to wear year after year, something most designers can't offer.  In most cases -- one can argue otherwise about his suits, maybe -- the quality of manufacture is such that the garments will last, last, last. Harrumph.
I am talking about the RTW collections here. I think they are many similarities between RJ and Etro. While RJ gets mostly inspired by Savile Row and adds some little details that might look new and interesting to a younger crowd and mainstream fashion, the funky linings, camouflage, denim that you mentioned . Etro did also bring original reintepretation. The  use of  two buttons collar, the diagonal stripes, the use of multi color stripes, etc...were adopted early in the Etro collection. One needs to look at H by Hillfiger or even enter a Banana Republic to noticed that "stylists" or "Designers" such as Etro, Richard James, and Paul Smith which were once considered a bit Dandy and risque to wear by the mainstream are now copied for the masses.  The Prada, Helmut Lang or even Jill sander were copied very rapidly by stores such as Zara because they were mostly for the Women Market while Smith and James and also Etro were targeted to men, it took a while to get its root. Our  Sunday brunch conversation was mostly about who really originated it. Paul Smith seems to be the obvious candidate but we felt that he tried to spread his reach by diluting the look and the brand.  We concluded that it was a late eighties interpretation of Savile Row meets Carnaby St (I guess that would be somewhere around Regent street?). The look was perfect for the nineties when youngster made tons of money and got rid of the grungie look but still wanted to establish their difference. The idea was that this was not business as usual, business has changed forever,  you can now wear a suit with horrible sneakers. William
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