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The CM Graveyard: First Sartoria Partenopea... next J. Crew?

bry2000

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The popularity of the whole soft appeal makes me think back to the 90's when Zegna came out with their Soft line. Cucinelli, LBM as described in this article, and Kiton's new KNT line, are current examples. It's all well and good to be comfortable in your clothing, but to me crosses a line when items that look like glorified track suits and pajamas are in the multi-thousand-dollar price point.
I bought a Zegna Soft suit back then and I swear it was one of my favorite suits at the time. I could not afford a mainline Zegna suit (what was called Zegna Sartoriale, I believe) at the time.
 

Aquafortis

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I bought a Zegna Soft suit back then and I swear it was one of my favorite suits at the time. I could not afford a mainline Zegna suit (what was called Zegna Sartoriale, I believe) at the time.
Yeah, my first suit was a Zegna Soft from Neiman Marcus Copley Square, Boston.

I also still have some Zegna Soft from Louis, Boston that are still super pieces, albeit a couple jackets that are ventless. :confused2:

Zegna used to be my favorite maker and used to squeeze my grad school budget to hit retail sales, scavenge Filene's Basement, etc. Pre-Ebay days for sure.
 

am55

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The popularity of the whole soft appeal makes me think back to the 90's when Zegna came out with their Soft line. Cucinelli, LBM as described in this article, and Kiton's new KNT line, are current examples. It's all well and good to be comfortable in your clothing, but to me crosses a line when items that look like glorified track suits and pajamas are in the multi-thousand-dollar price point.
I was browsing ideas for walks around a town I'm visiting next month, and a photo from a park struck me by its two extremes. On the forefront was a young child wearing a romper or whatever it is that toddlers run around in. Sitting on a bench in the background was your typical French small town grandfather, wool cap firmly on the head, pleated and carefully ironed trousers, white shirt and tweed jacket, the works.

That is when it clicked: the need for structure is inversely proportional to the shape of the wearer. All babies and toddlers are heart melting; it doesn't matter what they wear, and is generally picked for the convenience of the parent (I suspect fathers who think otherwise have not yet had to do rapid, non-cooperative nappy changes in public toilets). Conversely the elderly man's skeleton is probably bent out of shape, his gait slowed and shaken by his presumably full and satisfying life, and so he hides it all underneath baggier, heavy clothes that drape into a more even shape. The cap hides the lack of hair, the spread of lentigo. And so on.

I note that it is rare to see fits from the less fit gentlemen, particularly on the CM side of the forum. The thin, fit, generally young posters on the other hand could wear just about anything and still look good. And the neoteny of the pyjamas is a boon to them. The larger lurker, on the other hand, tried these unstructured linen-cotton drawstring fits, or those popover shirts so favoured at the moment, and found the result wanting. Because structure just works so much better, when you want to hide rather than show. It gives dignity.

I liked this short elegy on the subject (in French unfortunately).

upload_2019-3-15_1-55-18.png
 

Aquafortis

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Nice timing after I dumped most of my thoughts on this on HOF... Given the context of the question, this will necessarily be centered on the audience.

I sometimes see dress as a form of Overton window tailored at the people you want interacting with you. And the square is kind of the most variable part of the entire CM thing. It is small, it is discreet, it does not follow many or any accepted rules today when most go squareless in most of the world (despite resurging popularity). To decide to wear a square, especially outside the US, is already an act of flashiness and a hint of narcissism to some.

So in the most conservative setting, like bry above in Germany, I'd eschew the square altogether. E.g. meeting a large conservative property developer's C-level. And at conferences, my style is closer to Patrick's - if there is a square, it will be a white linen fold - but often, no square, particularly in APAC. I will always remember the near-apoplexy Jeff Hammerbacher (a Valley ex-FB big data CEO) threw some of the region's tech execs by turning up in jeans and a T-shirt to headline a major conference.

Socially it is a different matter. I want the more artistic types (more narcissistic like me? :p) to come and say hello. So out come the bow tie and more interesting, textured squares that are more commonly seen on SF. The square will be systematically unmatched with the rest, on purpose, although I try and have it further away from the tie than the shirt, if that makes sense, due to a long standing aversion (and not necessarily rational either) for matching tie and square. It's not sprezz, it is a deliberate statement whose nuances are a calling card and I've made some good friends as a result, who literally walked across the room to say hi. But there is a time and place for this and it is relatively limited (as is, to be fair, CM in a social setting more generally). And like Nicholas Atgemis in his early days I favour a conservative outfit with square and bow as flashes of colour. Love of the limit and all. I'd also stick to Patrick-style if I were in London, not that I go there anymore since us Europeans are now persona non grata ;) (may Lufthansa's A380s and 1h FRA transfers live a long and prosperous - but affordably priced - life)
Thanks for the feedback and interesting to hear about the spectrum of perception and norms around the EU business settings. My sense that outside of the (rapidly deteriorating) traditional business-wear environments in the US, the square is viewed as a bit affected. It almost seems like wearing a square at all these days is a bit of a statement, but maybe that's just my view from the virtually anything-
goes workwear environment here in San Francisco.

I was browsing ideas for walks around a town I'm visiting next month, and a photo from a park struck me by its two extremes. On the forefront was a young child wearing a romper or whatever it is that toddlers run around in. Sitting on a bench in the background was your typical French small town grandfather, wool cap firmly on the head, pleated and carefully ironed trousers, white shirt and tweed jacket, the works.

That is when it clicked: the need for structure is inversely proportional to the shape of the wearer. All babies and toddlers are heart melting; it doesn't matter what they wear, and is generally picked for the convenience of the parent (I suspect fathers who think otherwise have not yet had to do rapid, non-cooperative nappy changes in public toilets). Conversely the elderly man's skeleton is probably bent out of shape, his gait slowed and shaken by his presumably full and satisfying life, and so he hides it all underneath baggier, heavy clothes that drape into a more even shape. The cap hides the lack of hair, the spread of lentigo. And so on.

I note that it is rare to see fits from the less fit gentlemen, particularly on the CM side of the forum. The thin, fit, generally young posters on the other hand could wear just about anything and still look good. And the neoteny of the pyjamas is a boon to them. The larger lurker, on the other hand, tried these unstructured linen-cotton drawstring fits, or those popover shirts so favoured at the moment, and found the result wanting. Because structure just works so much better, when you want to hide rather than show. It gives dignity.

I liked this short elegy on the subject (in French unfortunately).

View attachment 1143866
Largely agree with you here about structure making the fit look great, and also giving the less fit opportunities to look excellent. So, an extension of your thesis stated inversely could be put as: unstructured garments will be proportionally less flattering based on the fitness of the wearer?

The structure question is also interesting because of its inherent ties to traditional associations vs. current perceptions in the fomality/casual dichotomy. With the contemporary rapid casualization of attire, business and otherwise, the term "casual sportcoat" has almost become an oxymoron, due to what seems like an increasing reality that wearing a sportcoat, period, constitutes "dressing up" and leans towards the formal. And the popularity of makers like Cucinelli and others excelling in the wave of the casual shift, are effectively exploiting the continued desire to stand out and feel special because you're wearing a $3,000 garment made with luxurious fabrics from a curated collection - especially given the quickly homogenizing workplace dress codes, and dilution of, if not total obscuration of the hierarchical representations that attire has traditionally conferred.
 

Gus

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Bummed to see Simone Righi's shop in Florence close. The story is posted on his IG (you have to click stories to see it)

https://www.instagram.com/frasidisimonerighi/
So sad to have seen that. Simone was such a stylish, creative, interesting and friendly guy. I will miss visiting his shop. He had such a good eye for suggesting different colors, patterns and accessories while also being able to discuss music and art (His own paintings decorated the shop and scarves).

And, yes, if we want to see independent stores succeed, we must buy things from them.

IMG_4720.jpg


IMG_4856.jpg
 

bry2000

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Why is he closing? The usual rising rent, customers buying on-line? or something else like wants to retire and no family to pass the business to?
 

am55

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Largely agree with you here about structure making the fit look great, and also giving the less fit opportunities to look excellent. So, an extension of your thesis stated inversely could be put as: unstructured garments will be proportionally less flattering based on the fitness of the wearer?
I think there is always danger in collapsing into one dimension what lives in multiple. But if I had to, I would say the Overton window tightens upwards with time and the inverse of genetic luck in formality and structure.

The problem is defining what you define as flattering. This is more easily understood in womenswear: very few young women in great shape today, although they have the choice, will purposely pick a more understated, figure-hiding style (except in Japan and a few other enclaves). If you are a 20 year old professional model, even in torn denim shorts and a T-shirt you represent an almost Classical ideal of human beauty. Why hide in the clothes of your grandmother? And when they cover up it is to play with shapes and colours to make an even bolder statement, to enhance rather than smoothe. Conversely grandmothers will generally be more careful, although we have all seen those who think they still "have it"...

I liked the end of Houellebecq's latest book, where he pointed out that both Proust and Mann eventually reached the same conclusion, that all the culture and civilisation in the world was worth nothing before youth, the greatest treasure and source of beauty. I am definitely guilty of quoting Chateaubriand far too much these days but he did quip that "Glory is to old men what diamonds are to old women: they decorate them without managing to make them beautiful". And perhaps it is anti-American to "give up" and accept your fate, your age, your genes and play along, which is why the New World is where you find a much higher concentration of too tight, too short clothing on (The Parisian Gentleman-reading) men who'd benefit from a more classical approach.
 

jrd617

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Glad to see this thread steering back to the original topic of store closings. Too bad about that one in Florence.
 

Aquafortis

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Glad to see this thread steering back to the original topic of store closings. Too bad about that one in Florence.
That is terribly sad. However, I for one sincerely hope this thread is not sustained by stories about store closures, and brands folding.
 

jrd617

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That is terribly sad. However, I for one sincerely hope this thread is not sustained by stories about store closures, and brands folding.
I did make the thread. It's become too much like that Noodle Thread.
 

ThinkDerm

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Why is he closing? The usual rising rent, customers buying on-line? or something else like wants to retire and no family to pass the business to?
I've been there several times. Crazy expensive. Never could find anything I wanted to buy, despite best intentions. Everything was too funky or basic, and I have the basics more than covered. The last time I was there, 2 years ago, it felt like it would close. Shop was way too small, hours posted were not kept, one man operation, and he was really a reseller with no specialty or anything to be known for. Everything in shop was done better by stores around him in Florence. No niche.

Outside of his shop, I often saw him on his bike around town, very distinctive. Nice man.
 

othertravel

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I did make the thread. It's become too much like that Noodle Thread.
Somebody posted a few years back that Canali closed one of their factories. Hope they're doing better since the Kei line seems to be a hit (I also just ordered my first MTO from them). They also used to make great shoes but have noticed a drop off in finishing lately.
 

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