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Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by YoungAmerican, Sep 18, 2012.
I don't think I'd base greatness on just innovation. I actually really liked rach's treatment here
I think there are multiple dimensions to greatness. Innovation being one of them. Setting a new bar for what's possible might as well (Fok suggested GAP earlier; while I think they're outside of "tailored cloting," I like the logic). Perfecting some technique or process might be another. Etc.
Arrow was a great suggestion, by the way. I'll certainly pass that on to Jesse.
I think you're going to have to elaborate on these; I've never even heard of the second one, and doesn't Vilbrequin make swimsuits?
I could see Diesel on the list, for sure. Remember, it's not a list of brands we "like," but you'd have to agree that Diesel played a huge role in the premium denim explosion. Earlier, when I was talking about Helmut Lang, I initially also added Diesel; before those two (in different ways, of course), nobody ever really thought of spending that much for jeans, or of treating jeans like an actual fashion/luxury item.
The word "Greatest" has a lot of meaning when talking about menswear brand. There are smaller brands compare to big names, but clearly changed the way how people dress.
If talking about jeans, I would certainly add Diesel and Levi's to the list. The two brands are influential if you look at the past. Not like "Guess" stuff, it's crap.
that is EXACTLY what i think of. spot on.
also, just want to say, your work in this thread is outstanding. bravo.
Thanks, amigo. Nice to have a chance to have a good fashion discussion; it's been a while for me!
Any top 10 -- or in this case, top 50 -- list will inevitably generate controversy. Therefore, it would be prudent for the OP and Dieworkwear to clearly define "greatest" in the beginning of the article that they will be writing to minimize reader confusion and/or dissension.
If greatest = gross revenue, then RL, Levis, Gap, and Zara ought to be the top ones.
If greatest = most influential, then Savile Row tailors, with global adoption of the suit as de rigueur business wear, and Levis, with global adoption of jeans as casual wear, should be the top 2.
But if greatness also encompasses factors such as innovation, uniqueness, and accessibility, then it gets tricky.
IMHO, greatness ought to be a combination of all of the aforementioned factors. How much each factor weighs in the definition of "greatness" is the difficult task the authors will have to face.
A few more words on Brioni, and as a sideline Pierre Cardin:
Since 'greatest' is very fuzzy, but 'moves the needle" is an important element, I think Brioni could be on the list for several reasons. The only issue is where it ranks.
While the current Brioni is the Continental-style outfitter of the internationally well-dressed (like a Bond or two) the original Brioni was influential differently: As the fashion show innovator, the Cinecita-visiting Hollywood star outfitter, and as the US presenter of Roman style. From the mid-50s on, they were featured in dozens of department stores across the United States, a move featured in LIFE magazine.
The result of this was an american version of 'Continental" style that was the most important countercurrent to the Ivy League through the 50s and 60s. Structured cuts, tight fits (especially in trousers), and shiny fabrics were hallmarks of this style, something flashy, sexy and disreputable. Joseph Abboud writes about these twin streams in his memoir, as have many others.
So in terms of "moving the needle", they're definitely in, just as much as Pierre Cardin for his influence on silhouettes of the 70s.
One elephant in the room, on no list posted so far, is the US Army.
It is not a 'designer' in the sense of being a single person, nor is it a brand of clothing originally intended for retail sale, but in terms of affecting how American men have dressed in the past 100 years, whose influence has been greater?
This is separate from the military influence on designers, which is pervasive: for example. Scholte's drape cut was inspired by the way fabric fell from shoulder to waist when guardsmen belted their coats.
Some more direct influence of the US Army:
From WWI: when and how men wore undershirts, also possibly (must check) the attached shirt collar.
From WWII: Khakis/chinos, the Eisenhower jacket, etc.
From Korea/Vietnam: The M65, camo, etc.
For millions of men, the military was their first school in how to wear and care for clothing, and the time in uniform was a hugely influential example (be it positive or negative) in how to dress in civilian life. In this age of the volunteer army, fewer men who patronize this board may have direct military experience, but the clothing influence remains.
Some of this influence is on streetwear, and so it should be at the top of that list as well, but as tailored clothing grows more casual, the military influence becomes even harder to ignore. PTO (Derek) recently did a post on three levels of formality in khakis, for example.
^^ VERY interesting thought about the army ^^
indeed. you should foray here, more often.
I actually had that on my list and bumped it. My bad. Arrow totally deserved to be there, for that contribution (attached collars) alone.
But if this is about brand, than Ralph Lauren is far, far more important than any of them. Hedi Slimane would have been stuck in the netherworld of fashion, and J Press and Savile Row had very limited appeal.
The question isn't just about originality.
I'd be hard pressed to make a case for any of these three, except *maybe* Scholte, if it's the same Frederick Scholte that we are speaking of.
Sulka was essentially a high end men's haberdashery. Except for having nice clothes, it didn't "move the needle" in any meaningful way.
Vilibrequin, I'm really not sure about the case for it at all in any top 50 list. Maybe a top 1000 list, and then we'd have to stick in Billabong and other surf companies ahead of it, probably, and probably companies like Reef.
Frederick Scholte is credited with the "English Drape" cut. However, seeing how English tailoring is perceived, still, I am not sure that he can be credited with moving the needle much, if at all. Certainly, he didn't have nearly the influence of Poole in making Savile Row *the* tailoring destination. And though his cut was adopted by another great house, the English definitely never got away from their reputation as a place to get "military" like suiting.
I'd amend 1, agree with 2 and disagree with 3 mostly.
Sulka had a distinctively peculiar taste in neckwear styling that often ignored the traditional patterns and weaves without being considered in (too) bad taste, and were favored by showbiz types and mobsters like Lucky Luciano. Fondly remembered, but not top 50 material.
In terms of influence, the Prince of Wales is widely regarded as the man who helped Americans 'move the needle" in the 30s when we Americanized the coat silhouette known as the drape cut. This held sway through the 30s and 40s before bowing out in exaggerated form as the "Bold Look" postwar. And the drape comes from Anderson & Sheppard, which grew out of Scholte's firm. Henry Poole was the biggest house on Savile Row, to be sure, but they and most of the other houses hewed closer to a structured cut with a military or equestrian heritage.
The drape cut, transmitted via 1940s Cary Grant and other Hollywood types, was the dream Ralph Lauren has refashioned again and again over the past 45 years.
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