The Evolution of Menswear at Club Monaco. | A Continuous Lean.

The Evolution of Menswear at Club Monaco.

Aug 15th, 2012 | Categories: Menswear | by Michael Williams

There’s no denying the good things that are happening right now at Club Monaco. With the men’s collection in the careful hands of Aaron Levine, the product has evolved in such a good way. The fall 2012 collection (seen in the look book here) is both wearable and interesting at the same time. And it finally has a distinct personality. It represents a balance not often found in a world where everyone wants everything. Pleasingly, in this case, men actually get it.

Working with Club Monaco over the past two years (for the record; full disclosure and all that good stuff) I’ve been lucky enough to have a front row seat for this entire collection. I’m excited about how things turned out, which is why I am sharing with you — not for any other reason other than the fact that I am proud of what Aaron has done and because I selfishly want to own almost all of these clothes.

It has been great to see Aaron infuse the brand with his relentless love of product, of fabric and menswear in general. He’s a mad man when it comes to this stuff. I often found myself just standing back and smiling as Aaron showed me clothes he was making or pictures that inspired him or whatever his newest obsession was. He’s a man that found his calling and it feels great to be around. There’s something that can be said about knowing what you want to do and then actually doing it. There’s an empowering aspect to that, which I’m guessing is why this collection turned out so good.

The rest of the fall 2012 looks after the jump.


Comments: 55

55 Comments to “The Evolution of Menswear at Club Monaco.”

  1. Jones
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 10:59 AM

    How is this any different than what we’ve seen from every other menswear brand over the past three years?

  2. Cory Ohlendorf
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 11:36 AM

    It’s awesome and inspiring to see this kind of detail, style and craftsmanship at such attainable prices and by a brand to which everyone has access. Mr. Levine is the man.

  3. Maya
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 11:50 AM

    Wow, these pieces look damn good! The leather tote is amazing.

  4. JD
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 1:25 PM

    Wouldn’t be a men’s lookbook in 2012 without a complete line of jackets that are 4″ too short and a couple ladies’ tote bags.

  5. Brett O'Bourke
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 2:49 PM

    x 2 what JD said.

  6. Kyle
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 3:26 PM

    JD, first of all I hardly see any sleeves that are 4″ too short but thanks for the hyperbole, that’s definitely what message boards need more of. Secondly, keep in mind that these clothes are not being custom tailored for each of these models – they order a sample size from a manufacturer and make it fit the models that are provided for the shoot. If you want a longer sleeve then get your jacket tailored.

  7. Brett O'Bourke
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 3:31 PM

    Jacket length, Pyle. Jacket length. But thanks for dropping the inside scoop on the well-kept secret of tailoring.

  8. Kirk
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 3:33 PM

    Am I the only person who thinks Mr. Levine has ruined Club Monaco? It use to be clean, modern and minimal. Now it’s all heritage and no different than anything else. FAIL.

  9. Kyle
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 3:37 PM

    The same rule still applies doesn’t it, genius.

    You think they are tailoring the jackets for these models, no.

    by the way, your blog blows dick.

  10. Brett O'Bourke
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 4:07 PM

    No need for name-calling, Gomer. I’m sure you’re a nice kid, but those of us with pubes remember a day when sport coats were long enough to cover your bum; useful, say, when on a fox hunt or during inclimate weather. While many of the world’s finest tailors (there’s that word again!) still subscribe to such a notion, unfortunately, the same winds of fashion that suggest pants should be short enough to display everyones white, boney ankles have also been shrinking the sport coat to near hip-lengths. By all means, you should spend your hard-earned allowance on just these kinds of items … and let us know how that works out for you in a year or two, or perhaps if you find yourself in New York or Chicago in February.

    p.s. Its probably advisable for you to read this again once or twice slowly before your next reply.

  11. Adam
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 5:05 PM

    Internet tough guys are amazing.

    You sure showed him! Good thing you spent all that time showing him who the real bad-ass is!

    I am sure your reply will really make him change his views/opinions on the matter!!!!!

  12. Brett O'Bourke
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 6:16 PM

    I suppose I could have eased off the gas a bit and been more instructive. I probably shouldn’t read/reply to comments on days I skip my midday coffee.

  13. jiheison
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 6:45 PM

    Kyle, please note that the sleeves on the jackets are only a hair shorter than the overall jacket length. Compare to a jacket that is not trying to be trendy, and you will see why these are considered short.

    It has nothing to do with the models, or whether or not the jackets were tailored for these shots.

  14. chuck
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 7:07 PM

    Hey. Big assumption that we all have white boney ankles. I have black ones.

  15. Bob
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 8:20 PM

    Geez. You all sound like the real housewives of the internet. Bitchy!

  16. Brian
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 8:47 PM

    Some great comments here (in all seriousness).

  17. Tex
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 9:16 PM

    I think some people come on this website, and a multitude of others, and forget that what we like depends on taste. That’s it. If you’re not into the way a garment looks, or wears, don’t buy it. So, if you don’t like that the sleeves are a bit shorter than you’re used to- don’t buy the piece. Conversely, if there’s something about a look that you’re into, but maybe you are a bit uncomfortable with how it’s rigged- simplify it. Break the look down and pick and choose what, if anything, you find to your liking. It’s really that simple. All the internet tuffster shit is really annoying. As a point of clarification (and I cringe as I say this…) “as someone who works in the menswear industry” and has to send out product to shoots all the time, shit gets altered/mended/generally fucked with all the time. It all depends on the model, the stylist, etc. I’ll make one final point.With regards to product, a lot of man hours and a lot of hard work and energy go into making what you see in a look book possible. Criticism and opinions will always be asserted and as consumers it’s our job to vote with our dollars, “likes”, etc but to dismiss that work so cavalierly or disrespectfully is pretty juvenile.That’s not directed at anyone in particular on this thread but I do frequent the site and people talk a lot of shit that they wouldn’t say in the designer’s face.

    Oh, and I dig the look. I remember when CM was super clean, euro minimalist and all, and honestly I wasn’t really into it. Seems like the brand is progressing. If you’re not into the direction it’s going- see the above. Don’t buy it.

  18. Lucas
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 9:29 PM

    ^ That internet slap fight was pathetic. While you guys are bitching about the finer details of jacket length, I’m trying to figure out how I can pull off sweat pants and a bow tie at my next formal event.

  19. Bill
    on Aug 15th, 2012
    @ 9:55 PM

    Odd that no one has mentioned that these items are almost certainly low-quality sweatshop garbage.

  20. Andy
    on Aug 16th, 2012
    @ 5:10 AM

    Is that guy in the first picture wearing black pants + brown shoes?

  21. Coleman
    on Aug 16th, 2012
    @ 6:55 AM

    @Bill Really?! And you have that confirmation from where? I dunno how many Camel Hair Topcoats get assembled in sweat shops… That’s a hell of an accusation.

  22. Ian
    on Aug 16th, 2012
    @ 9:36 AM

    This is great. Club Monaco lost me years ago, I check in every once in a while and found nothing. But what I see here, I could wear!

  23. Marquis de X
    on Aug 16th, 2012
    @ 11:27 AM

    So under Levine’s directorship CM has gone away from the Thom Browne influence, and into the heritage zone. It’s nice, I guess. Of course this blog likes it; he helped it happen. Overall, it looks like some BR stuff when they go for a camping theme, although CM fits are shorter and slimmer.

    I would like to see those patterned pants, though.

  24. Florian
    on Aug 16th, 2012
    @ 12:53 PM

    It all looks so stiff, cheap and uninspired. Another brand jumping on the heritage bandwagon, 5 years too late.

  25. Kyle
    on Aug 16th, 2012
    @ 3:07 PM

    rereading these comments made me realize my life is a complete joke, off to the asylum i go.

  26. zyxwvutsr
    on Aug 16th, 2012
    @ 8:47 PM

    Now Club Monaco wants men to look like women?

  27. Will
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 8:44 AM

    Those multi-colored giraffe-print pants are daring and great. Count me in!

  28. david
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 12:32 PM

    It all looks really generic to me. Thankfully most of you haven’t been fooled.

  29. Michael Williams
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 12:47 PM

    This comment thread renews my faith in the quasi-insane voice of ACL’s vocal minority.

  30. gabe
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 6:30 PM

    nobody mentioned the one pair of pants (the first one) that nick wooster would like, the by now predictable non wearing of socks and the indian moccasins chukas thrown in for bad measure.

  31. holden_morrissey
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 7:07 PM

    What kind of fox hunter shops at club monaco?

  32. a Human Being
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 7:42 PM

    the harsh words here hurt my fragile emotions. but it’s good to learn about style/fashion, so thanks for the tough love.

    fear not, my bruises will heal gentlemen. Chow

  33. Patrick
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 8:09 PM

    On a practical level, Kyle, how can a tailor make a jacket sleeve LONGER? Shorter, yes, by removing the sleeve at the shoulder, removing length and reattaching it, but how can a jacket sleeve be lengthened? Please advise. Thanks.

  34. Tim
    on Aug 17th, 2012
    @ 11:25 PM

    I must be missing something because a lot of these looks are great. I wish I could pull off a double breasted.. can’t. The 8th look down (herringbone jacket and pants) is awesome. Looking forward to seeing this stuff in the shops.

  35. AZ-Mod
    on Aug 18th, 2012
    @ 1:58 AM

    Just goes to show what a talented designer with vision can do to reinvogorate a brand and make it worth discussing. Who would guess Club Monaco would become interesting? Kudos to Mr. Levine.

  36. Johnny Horn
    on Aug 18th, 2012
    @ 2:08 AM

    The Sweatpants and cardigan combo is just a wrong un. One for pensioners or pipe smoking lotharios. There is some other clobber here I think is pretty cool though and I would buy…

  37. Caleb
    on Aug 18th, 2012
    @ 10:06 AM

    @holden_morrissey you do not wear club monaco to hunt foxes, but to hunt cougars.

  38. Tito
    on Aug 19th, 2012
    @ 5:04 AM

    ill-educated and poorly-spoken is definitely not sexy..
    This is the result of years of “love yourself first”, “you are SPECIAL”, “self-worth” lovey-dovey societal mantras pumped into kids from the time they are little princesses.

    Numbers don’t lie at end of the day!
    And for those that hating on the collection, I’ll see you on front row like kids buying new pair of Jordan’s!

  39. Ben
    on Aug 19th, 2012
    @ 6:23 AM

    Kirk, I totally agree with you. I think Aaron Levine has ruined Club Monaco. I was a very loyal customer up to a couple of years ago when the menswear at CM use to be clean, modern and minimal. I use to able to count on CM for clothes that I could wear to work and for casual wear. I would practically buy the whole collection. Now it’s all heritage, I have great difficulty finding even one piece to buy.

  40. Brad
    on Aug 19th, 2012
    @ 10:41 AM

    I think this all looks fantastic. Can’t wait to buy the shit out of it!

  41. ras
    on Aug 19th, 2012
    @ 2:46 PM

    some overdesigned garments and questionable styling, but i think i’ll actually check it out at the store.

  42. Richard Williams
    on Aug 19th, 2012
    @ 10:09 PM

    I’m good with most of these – with one exception. Pic #2 – sorry, the leopard pants don’t do a thing for me.

  43. ET
    on Aug 20th, 2012
    @ 2:15 PM

    Who makes the boots in the first two images?

  44. ROCCO
    on Aug 20th, 2012
    @ 7:16 PM

    The pants in photo 1 deserve a place in my closet!

  45. Frederick C. Dobbs
    on Aug 20th, 2012
    @ 8:17 PM

    It is neither a Club, nor is it based in Monaco. It is a fiction. You get what you pay for, and most of what you pay for is advertising.

  46. Ted Harrington
    on Aug 20th, 2012
    @ 11:12 PM

    Big Fan of Aaron. Big Fan of CM and not a Fan of “mean girls” in this thread writing mean shit. If you don’t have anything nice to say, shut the fuck up. Thanks.

  47. hol tha do
    on Aug 21st, 2012
    @ 9:13 PM

    Yes I agree the collection turned out “well.” For a great blogger with such particular and refined tastes about so many things, I’m surprised at the bad grammar Michael. Especially right in the last sentence. Makes me feel like I’m reading a blog written by Tony Danza circa “Who’s the Boss.”

    “Dis collection looks real good Angelaaaaa.”

    I love ACL. I love all of you. God Bless America.

  48. Michael Williams
    on Aug 21st, 2012
    @ 11:20 PM

    @hol

    I’m human and I don’t think a few small grammar mistakes really matter much. You know what I am trying to say in the post don’t you? So who cares. I like mistakes, let’s you know i’m not a fuckin robot.

    I’m just trying to share with everyone the things I think are interesting and good. I just want to point out the positives — unlike you I suppose. So deal with it or go read The New York Times. —ACL

  49. Andy
    on Aug 22nd, 2012
    @ 9:55 AM

    I have to agree with everyone’s comments on the boards here.
    I’m tired of the abbreviated jackets, the too short trousers, the heritage everything.
    If you pulled a hot wool jacket out of an hour long clothes dryer you could get the same effect.

    But I congratulate the designer for inserting some patterns and textures. And making interesting mixes of fabrics which take the predictability out and put some surprises back in.

  50. dave
    on Aug 23rd, 2012
    @ 11:51 PM

    I think the new CM collections are well done but very JCrew/Frontier/Woodsy/Of the moment. It however, does not look like Club Monaco, which was always a great brand for its monotone black and white modern runway and future inspired collections. This collection does not answer the question What will the customer want? it answers the question what has the customer wanted?

    Maybe it will ring the register and Ralph can buy another house.

  51. dave
    on Aug 23rd, 2012
    @ 11:54 PM

    Photos in a barn or on a pond? You never wold have seen that from the original brand.

  52. Canuck_istani
    on Aug 24th, 2012
    @ 5:39 PM

    I love the looks (as someone said the patterns and textures look cool) though half the looks – esp the lower half – could be JCrew/BR-Heritage i.e not quintessentially CM.

  53. noel tambour
    on Aug 26th, 2012
    @ 10:02 AM

    it’s nice that club monaco has given the heritage look a different proportion.
    @ Michael Williams, i admire how you handle the strong opinions on your blog.

  54. Old Man Fancy
    on Aug 27th, 2012
    @ 11:36 AM

    I got to tell you, it’s not bad. I’ve been off CM for a decade or so but found a pair of linen/cotton trousers at a second hand store recently (From s/s 12 season I believe.) The cut was perfect, the drape was nice and it cost me $16. I can’t tell you how many expensive brands I’ve tried to find that perfect, ideal cut. Margaret Howell, Jil, Dries, J Crew even… but these were the best for that somewhat loose/casual tapered leg classic silhouette. Really nice hand too. Of course not everything is perfect here (Slight puddling, bowtie w/ sweats, monogrammed velvet slippers…come on) and much of it is indistinguishable from J. Crew, Ralph, but I for one am digging the somewhat new direction. Had it stayed the B/W course, well, we wouldn’t even be talking about it.

    ~Old Man Fancy

  55. Panagiotis
    on Sep 7th, 2012
    @ 7:30 AM

    I can admire the effort of the designs and the work that went into producing the final product/photoshoot.

    Although i like the elaborate heritage look that is meant to look laid back and effortless it is really hard for me to see where a lot of this look would be applicable in an urban environment…

    Too many layers are great outdoors when the weather is nice and cool while sipping hot coffee at a mountain chalet but in any other situation in the city (where i assume most people tend to where these outfits) going from 0 degrees to 30 and back to 0 (that’s Celcius) while commuting/going to the office etc. seems like more work than it’s worth with these “elaborate setups.”

    So the shirt/tie with long sleeve polo shirt on top followed by a down vest with a think knit over it and a tweed jacket with leather elbow patches while carrying a roll-top backpack with one central pocket becomes tricky when–god forbid–your cell phone starts ringing in a crowded subway and you have to fish it out of said backpack :)

    Bottom line, I like the looks and would wear all of the above outfits, but there is a big gap between a stylized photoshoot and real life :)

    Ps. the guy under the leather tote photo should wear some socks! his top outfit looks like he’s hitting the snowy slopes (for coffee) but his feet are definitely headed for frostbite!