The sport coat

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by AvariceBespoke, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    Among other things, modernity is about consumption, mass production, disposability, and at at least a partial nod to egalitarianism. These aesthetics are best captured by RTW designers who produce seasonal clothing and disposable "looks."

    It's this premise I disagree with. It sounds like you are describing one significant aspect of the socio-historical phenomenon of modernism, not what is fundamentally modern. While modernism led to innovations in disposable goods that could be mass produced, it is not defined by such things. Rather, modernism is the drive to dispose of what is needlessly assumed in favor of what is objectively superior. This can lead to both disposable things and things of permanence--and it doesn't always mean newer and more contemporary. When rationality and science don't reveal something superior to what's already being done, a good modernist may stick to tradition and rely on the wisdom of experience.

    Twentieth century technnology gave us all sorts of advances in synthetic fabrics and mass production techniques, but how many people think poly-blends are more comfortable than high quality pure cotton? A nylon windbreaker has certain advantages over a tweed jacket, but I am not convinced it is objectively superior.

    An argument can be made that synthetic materials and mass production offer efficiency that traditional tailored clothing can't, but the overall benefits may not be greater. Whether that matters to you is a question of what kind of modernist you are, not whether you are one.

    It's the post-modernist that is more likely to value the contemporary for the sake of it being contemporary.
     


  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    An argument can be made that synthetic materials and mass production offer efficiency that traditional tailored clothing can't, but the overall benefits may not be greater. Whether that matters to you is a question of what kind of modernist you are, not whether you are one.

    It's the post-modernist that is more likely to value the contemporary for the sake of it being contemporary.


    Things are clearer with clothing.

    Both Modernism and post-Modernism have spoken definitively about clothing, and that speech is distinctly anti-tailoring. A bespoke garment as we understand here is about skillful adaptation of classic male dress to the individual tastes and form of the client. It is artisanal and personal, and not modern.

    When it comes to clothing, the modernist solution is to offer a vast array of pre-made objects, most cheap, some not, from which people express their individuality through selection and combination, and in many cases, their social status and identity through disposing of how they appear one day and adopting new pre-made objects the next.

    Again, I can't name a modern bespoke tailor...can you?

    No one gets confused that Slimane, Ford, Browne, etc. etc. (take your pick from the changing multitudes) are modern (in the latter two, more post modern if we want to be dry.) That is the direct route to being modern, not having your middle aged or octogenarian Italian or English tailor make you your usual jacket, but in Moonbeam or Millionaire rather than Glorius Twelfth.


    - B
     


  3. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    ^^^ Oh, I don't disagree that most modernists would probably reject bespoke tailoring. But that doesn't mean there is no modernist rationale supporting it. So, if you are looking at modernism as a static collection of views subject to consensus determination, you are completely right: bespoke tailoring is not modern. But, as I've pointed out, modernism is not about particular looks, designs, or approaches, but rather about a particular mindset. After all, a basic tenet of modernism is that consensus itself is meaningless.

    Of two people in a the same tailored, classic outfit, one may be modern while the other is not. It all depends on why he dressed that way. This is why I think so many of us like classic, tailored clothes and modern design at the same time--they aren't necessarily so disparate.

    BTW, I don't think Slimane is modern at all. He relies heavily on the suit format; a real compromise. Modernists tend to go one way or another: (1) wipe away what's been done, or (2) failing a informed guidance on how to proceed in that manner, slowly evolve what's been done already.
     


  4. Dewey

    Dewey Senior member

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    Vox, your definition of modern clothing works for me.

    I'dd add that a postmodern wardrobe would have a mix of styles borrowed from disparate times and places. A few bespoke items mixed up with many mass-produced items would make a postmodern wardrobe. If your desire for a bespoke suit is of a piece with your desire for all the best this and that from all places and times -- e.g., your desire for Australian chelsea boots, Scottish sweaters, shimmery kimonos, and vintage smoking jackets, then your taste for bespoke is quite postmodern.

    To be pre-modern in your love for bespoke clothing, you'd have to wear nothing but artisanal or homemade clothing. Like the Amish. Or Sator.

    We are all postmodern. It is the condition of the age we live in. This internet forum is one of the most postmodern things there could be.
     


  5. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Of two people in a the same tailored, classic outfit, one may be modern while the other is not. It all depends on why he dressed that way.

    True...one might sorta be modern in aesthetic inclination, and one might sorta not be, be in neither case are they likely to be perceived as modern by others.

    It's like whipping out a fountain pen, or wearing a watch. There is an unavoidable throwback element to being in coat and tie today...even in coat and no tie.

    This is why I think so many of us like classic, tailored clothes and modern design at the same time--they aren't necessarily so disparate.

    I think that this is a sampling error related to a third attribute: propensity to interact on the Internet.


    - B
     


  6. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Like the Amish. Or Sator.

    That is a wonderful turn of phrase.


    - B
     


  7. nmoraitis

    nmoraitis Senior member

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    Again, I can't name a modern bespoke tailor...can you?
    - B


    Djay?
     


  8. George

    George Senior member

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    Doesn't modernity put a high value on individualism?
     


  9. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I'dd add that a postmodern wardrobe would have a mix of styles borrowed from disparate times and places. A few bespoke items mixed up with many mass-produced items would make a postmodern wardrobe.

    This has to do with what kind of post-modernist you are (if you are one), and why you do what you do. If you assemble an outfit of things from various eras and cultures because you believe they are the best, you are more of a modernist. Post-modernism rejects meaningful norms; if you cobbled together such a look because you figure nothing is better than anything else, you are a post-modernist. But post-modernism doesn't necessarily mean drawing from many different norms; it really just means the norms don't or shouldn't matter. So, a person could fashion his lifestyle exclusively with reference to Victorian England, and still be post-modern.

    True...one might sorta be modern in aesthetic inclination, and one might sorta not be, be in neither case are they likely to be perceived as modern by others.

    Well, what I mean is that I might have a modernist reason for dressing in my bespoke clothes while someone else's reasons for doing so might not be modern at all.

    Well, yes. I'm a skeptic, so I think completely new things are rare if not impossible. Thus everything is retro to some degree. But modern or not? That's a seperate question.
     


  10. james_timothy

    james_timothy Senior member

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    The defining characteristic of Modern in architecture is the reliance purely on functionality with no additional decoration. The aesthetics of the purely functional will, when adopted by all, cleanse the world of out-of-date reliance on the constructs of the old traditionalism and the world will be a better place. That would be the position of Le Corbusier and the other modernists.

    Clearly it didn't work out that way, and post-modernism has brought back decoration.

    Modernist clothing is sleek and without decoration. All design must have a rational and functional root. In this sense, the tweed jacket is anachronistic and not modern as fabrics like fleece present more functional characteristics at less cost.

    That is the position of the modernists, and it has such limitations as being unsuccessful in the aesthetics department, and not knowing the full cost of the production of modern fabrics.
    But arguing that "modernity is about consumption, mass production, disposability, and at at least a partial nod to egalitarianism" is raising a strawman modernity- that wasn't what it was about.
     


  11. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    The defining characteristic of Modern in architecture is the reliance purely on functionality with no additional decoration. The aesthetics of the purely functional will, when adopted by all, cleanse the world of out-of-date reliance on the constructs of the old traditionalism and the world will be a better place. That would be the position of Le Corbusier and the other modernists.

    Clearly it didn't work out that way, and post-modernism has brought back decoration.

    Modernist clothing is sleek and without decoration. All design must have a rational and functional root. In this sense, the tweed jacket is anachronistic and not modern as fabrics like fleece present more functional characteristics at less cost.

    That is the position of the modernists, and it has such limitations as being unsuccessful in the aesthetics department, and not knowing the full cost of the production of modern fabrics.
    But arguing that "modernity is about consumption, mass production, disposability, and at at least a partial nod to egalitarianism" is raising a strawman modernity- that wasn't what it was about.


    Hah! Well, you stated it better than I.

    I did use the small "n" modernity rather than the big "M" Modernism for a reason...I'm trying to avoid confounding the two.

    Well said though.

    - B
     


  12. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    I think this very much depends on the town, venue, the age of the wearer and the crowd you run with. For example here in England a young British man wearing a tweed jacket would not be viewed as stylish but would likely be sniggered at.

    Funny, I see tweeds in London all the time. I don't always evesdrop to check the wearer's accent, however.
     


  13. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Senior member

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    Just become a Rubinacci client. [​IMG] From what I've heard from Matt about their cloth vault, there's plenty of interesting cloth to go around. Yes to both points, but not many people mean big-M Modern when they say modern. It seems most people who use this term use it to vaguely refer to something that looks contemporaneous with popular fashion. I think there's also too much hand-wringing over how far back in time a tweed-like cloth will set back a piece of clothing. The wearer and the design of the clothing will have far more effect than the cloth. Not much Thom Browne, for example, could be mistaken for anachronism. --Andre
    I did mean modern as contemporary and not space age. There are a lot of gradations to contemporary. A tailored jacket can be contemporary because it is newly made. There is no contradiction because the jacket hasn't changed much in a hundred years; jackets (or the best of breed) are lighter and more supple. My tailor keeps his work refreshed all the time and he's the one who popints this out to me. Yeah, he's working on a 50 year old sack model but so what? The Stealth airplanes are all based on WW2 German designs, does that make them retro planes? If anyone thinks they can stop something from being more or less contemporary by posting that the very concept is absurd, then best of luck to them. I think contemporary, yet tailored clothes just might exist independently of what I post. I have measured what I can get out of discussing clothes on a forum and squabbling after treading on some petulant status quo isn't a perc. But if it makes someone feel better, it might be the sartorial equivalent of a good cry.[​IMG] I get a lot more out of dealing with people in the trade. On a lighter note, I saw someone wearing a dark olive tweed jacket and dark olive corduroys today with a red and white old-skool scarf on, that struck me as modern. Sometimes instead of jacket, odd pants contrast, sametrast is more contemporary. Some things do just go in and out of favor. I see people leaving school are really interested in "classic" clothes and tweeds are probably more popular than in recent years but that doesnt make them "more modern" than the black cashmere jacket made last year.
     


  14. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    The defining characteristic of Modern in architecture is the reliance purely on functionality with no additional decoration. The aesthetics of the purely functional will, when adopted by all, cleanse the world of out-of-date reliance on the constructs of the old traditionalism and the world will be a better place. That would be the position of Le Corbusier and the other modernists.

    This is hardline modernism--and the bar for it is so high, it is difficult not to see it as a failure. But I think you can still be meaningfully modernist if you you are driven to imrpove things through rationality when possible. In that softer light, a design can still be succesfully modern even if it does not accomplish all that was hoped for: modernism as theory rather than goal, if you will.
     


  15. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    Funny, I see tweeds in London all the time. I don't always evesdrop to check the wearer's accent, however.

    The English are in retreat in London. It's a world city but with British surveilance.

    - B
     


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