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What are the greatest menswear brands of all time?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by YoungAmerican, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. hendrix

    hendrix Senior member

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    and doing a collaboration with Radiohead probably wouldn't be considered selling out either. Doing a collaboration with H&M? possibly, for the reasons that rach points out.

    I'm not saying they're completely analogous, but you can't ignore the similarities.



    I feel like you're talking about commercial integrity, not necessarily artistic integrity.

    Also, when this happened, it's not like Lanvin or Missoni were obscure or even particularly artistic in their creations. Don't get me wrong, I like both brands (especially missoni) but they were already pretty big names at the time.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  2. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Not for these two brands, because their patterns/fabrics/colors WERE their artistry. Obviously, Lagerfeld's high-collar shirt or a Jil-cut jacket can be done in cheaper fabric... but you can't take a company whose artistry IS its fabric and way of using that fabric in unique ways onto cheap fabrics. It's not a translation of their DNA into another field... it's sort of a mutation. ;)
     
  3. hendrix

    hendrix Senior member

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    well, yeah, it is considered a sellout by purists and I tend to agree. Not much point in buying a missoni sweater that's made of average fabric.

    That's kinda my point, I don't really see that much commercial differences between the music industry and fashion. They're quite similar IMO.
     
  4. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    Including Ralph Lauren in a list of greatest menswear designers is like including McDonalds in a list of greatest restaurants; it is true according to the way market democracies value things but it tells us a lot about market democracies...
     
  5. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    What's McDonalds' Purple Label? Or even Polo for that matter. For most people, Polo is very expensive. McDonalds is cheap for most people. Kirkland or H&M or Forever 21 would be the McD of fashion IMHO, not RL.
     
  6. JensenH

    JensenH Senior member

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    And from which P.R. article or autobiography did you gleam this?



    Interesting inference. Are you saying that ethnic-sounding surname should never be used? That it is something shameful and should be hidden from the public?

    FWIW, I have been assumed to be Jewish because of my pro-Israel stance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  7. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    You forget that Jil Sander was all about luxurious fabrics and extremely expensive construction to make a seemingly plain garment very attractive. I was looking at some of the stuff Menichetti did for her first menswear collections, and there was a reason that a simple moleskin shirt jacket cost $450, in 1998 dollars. That same piece today would probably sell for close to $1K. I'm actually reminded of this because I recently got hold of some vintage deadstock Jil for my wife, and the construction on the skirts is impeccable, and the materials used were beautiful and expensive. So, you could easily say that J+, the materials for which would charitably be described as "garbagio", falls into the same category. The cuts of the jackets were superficially similar, the end.


    You'd never put McDonald's into a list of the world's greatest restaurants, just as you"d never put Ralph Lauren (or franklly, most of the SF MC approved brands) into a list of great designers. But McDonald's would certainly be placed highly in a list of "Greatest Food Brands", for any number of reasons, and this discussions is focused on "menswear brands", not menswear designers. So, categorical mistake. The list of greatest menswear designers would look radially different from the list i proposed for this particular exercise, though there would be some overlap, clearly.
     
  8. JensenH

    JensenH Senior member

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    RL deserves to be #1 if the ranking criterion is solely based on gross revenue, followed by the likes of Nike, Gap, Levis, Zara, and H&M.

    But if creativity, innovation, and influence are given more weight than the all mighty dollar in the definition of greatness, then RL does not even belong in the top ten.

    If this is a suit-centric list, my top 5 would be:

    1) Savile Row (as an aggregate of the various storied tailor houses) -- The birthplace of the modern suit which is de rigeuer business wear all over the world. Innovative and influential.

    2) Brooks Brothers -- Mass production of RTW suits made them assessable -- both geographically and financially -- to the masses, thereby influenced how millions of people dressed for about a century. Originator of the sack suit. Assessable, influential, and innovative.

    3) Armani -- Revolutionized the suit which hadn't changed much for several decades. First to use wool crepe, which was heretofore considered as women's fabric, as suiting material. Low lapel gorge, padded shoulders, and elongated jacket combined to give a casual elegant look. The drape (due to the softness of the suiting) and the silhouette are unmistakeably Armani. One could argue the current preference for Napolese soft construction is a natural progression of Armani's removal of stiffness from the suit. Innovative, influential, assessable, and eminently wearable.

    4) Slimane for Dior -- the next innovator after Armani. His influence went beyond the skinny suits that are still favored by today's hipsters, as evidenced in the trimmer silhouette in mainstream tailored clothing. Innovative and influential.

    Toss up among:

    5) Versace -- Big shoulders and dizzily colors (think Miami Vice where many of his jackets were featured). Peacocky and of questionable taste to many, his impact was nevertheless huge during the mid 80s to the early 90's. Innovative and influential -- if only for a limited time.

    5) Napolese (as an aggregate of Attolini, Borrelli, Kiton, Rubinacci, et al) -- Tweaking the Anglo look with natural shoulders and softer suiting, the Napolese elevated suits to an exalted level with impeccable workmanship and superb fabrics. While not innovative, they moved the quality "needle".

    5) Brioni -- others have already wrote on this, so I won't repeat.



    .
     
  9. unbelragazzo

    unbelragazzo Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    :facepalm:
     
  10. Klobber

    Klobber Senior member

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    If using mass market arguments, then Hugo Boss deserves a strong shout. They invented the fused jacket and approximately 95% of all suits sitting on store racks are entirely fused (I count half canvassed / single floating chest piece canvas jackets as part of the fused catergory).

    While fusing is despised in this forum, this cheap production technique made suiting affordable to the masses where traditionally a man could typically only afford one or two suits.

    However, to call Hugo Boss a great menswear brand would be pure blasphemy.

    To rectify this, I think a stronger emphasis should be placed on design versus marketing genius. Just my two Deutschmarks.
     
  11. JensenH

    JensenH Senior member

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    :nodding:
     
  12. Saturdays

    Saturdays Senior member

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    I don't recall, was not anything recent. I've read more than one story though - I just remember this one in particular because it was much different than other stories -albeit still within compass of most.


    Without any guidelines, anybody can make any list at this point. Some criteria is necessary, I imagine OP is taking into account only those who mention brands and their specific criteria (without us knowing what it is), laughing, and making his tally.

    Interesting thought crossed my mind, is the brand great if nobody knows about it? A random joe-schmo won't know what Kiton is. Hell most people I know don't even know what RLBL and RLPL are. How can a brand be great if people don't recognize it? Most people don't even understand what the BB logo stands for.

    Anyway, we'll never agree what criteria to use, unless OP really answers since this is for his article.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  13. Saturdays

    Saturdays Senior member

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    Some guidelines:







     
  14. eddievddr10

    eddievddr10 Senior member

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    ding! ding! ding!
    This whole thread reminds me of High Fidelity...and thats not a bad thing :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  15. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    We're so in sync on this sometimes it's scary; I had a whole different post written when I mentioned Jil above, qualifying it EXACTLY with the mention of fabrics as a key to her appeal. I edited it back to avoid another "wall of text" and let it stand, as my overall point was the same.

    As for old JIl, it is amazing how "expensive" it was at the time, but how relatively reasonable it seems today. I could pull the tags on some of my old JIl "tailor made" button downs, which were $275 back in the day. You can't even get a tshirt for that now. :lol: Likewise, some of the old bags in buffalo, elk, and other nice skins were $1100-1400.

    The two most expensive, comparatively, items I ever bought were a pair of YSL Hedi silk karate pants, which I think were $620 or so back in 2000... and the black painted blue jeans from 2003 Follow Me. I also bought an embarassingly bad, but extremely well constructed, Gaultier sailor sweater from the Rue Vivienne store long, long ago that cost more than the plane ticket to get me to Paris. THAT sweater got a lot of jokes... I think my sister has it now. (haha)
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  16. JensenH

    JensenH Senior member

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    You have raised a good point. This is where " influential" comes in. Except for the fashionista, Slimane is an obscure name -- perhaps unknown to even some SFers. Yet his influence has a huge impact on the clothing industry.

    Accessibility is another important component in my definition of greatness. Kiton is inaccessible to many due to his price point and limited distribution channel. Thus, regardless of how well made are his suits, he can not rank higher than B.B. or Armani whose products are inferior but are more accessible -- not to mention they are more innovative and influential.
     
  17. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    Almost the exact opposite of this. I think you miss my point by so much that it would take too long to explain, and this thread is not the appropriate place.
     
  18. NORE

    NORE Senior member

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    You are an idiot in a very large way.
     
  19. romafan

    romafan Senior member

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    Has Pierre Cardin been mentioned yet? :confused:
     
  20. FlyingMonkey

    FlyingMonkey Senior member

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    Yes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012

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