Friday’s Times ran a photo of Lloyd Blankfein, chairman of Goldman Sachs, who’s perhaps the savviest, most well-connected money man in the country. The news was Goldman’s ice cold $3 billion third quarter profit, but what struck us was the sight of Mr. Blankfein leaving the last button of his suit cuff unbuttoned. Long favored by Italians all the way up the corporate chain of command, the deliberately unstudied style was embodied by Gianni Agnelli, the iconic head of Fiat. Though we’ve long felt that American CEO’s should learn at the Agnelli altar, the sight of Mr. Blankfein roused certain sartorial misgivings.
I thought it was worth a look back at this fantastic BBC documentary about Savile Row that was originally posted on ACL May 3rd, 2008. How has The Row reacted? Since it has been far too long since I have been in London, I’m curious to hear your thoughts in the comments. Have other High Street retailers moved on to the famed street? How is the economic slowdown impacted the tailors?
Not long ago the BBC presented a facinating three part program on the world of Savile Row. In the first installment the English bespoke world is under threat from the American “High Street” brand Abercrombie & Fitch. Having previously worked on the public relations team at Abercrombie & Fitch, I am particularly familiar with the company. It is a very strategic and well run organization. A&F is a company where every decision is well thought out and purposeful, especially when concerning the brand image. I have to give credit where credit is due — the company’s branding and execution is on point with any of the luxury goods companies out there. That said, A&F’s decision to open on Savile Row while great for branding and image purposes, is painful to see and embarrassing to watch, especially as an American. The affect of mass market retailers on the institution (albeit a privileged one) of Savile Row, could prove to be disastrous. Though I suppose only time will tell.
I can’t seem to find the other two episodes…if anyone can locate them I will add to the post.
With New York fashion week within arm’s reach, The Observer’s Joe Pompeo reports on the decidedly non trendy trend of Trad. The article gets some great analysis from two very honorable gentlemen, namely John Tinseth from The Trad (which is one of my favorite reads; Tinseth has amazing taste and is a helluva story teller) and David Wilder of J. Press. I have had the pleasure of talking shop over spirits with both gents on several occasions and can say without reservation that few do it better. When I worked with David at Press I would joke that he was sent from central casting. David possesses an insane knowledge about Ivy League style and WASP culture. Many thanks to Joe for including me — this is the kind of style coverage that I love. Read the article here.
J. Press suit and Blackwatch sport coat. Photos by Lee Clower.
There is a great American Trad story in the Isetan spring 2009 catalog that I thought was worth highlighting here. The Isetan in Shinjuku is one of the most impressive stores in the world, a labyrinth of materialistic pursuits. In fact, the men’s shoe section nearly made me cry. These clothes below might not be identified or available for purchase to most of us, but I thought they are great from a styling / photography perspective. Enjoy.
The 1956 movie based on Sloan Wilson’s best seller is one of my all time favorite films. It served as the inspiration for some of my modern day obsessions like Mad Men. There are even some excellent images in Take Ivy that document the same type of Madison Avenue business man from the late 50s early 1960s. Long before we had Thom Browne and Donald Draper there was Mr. Gregory Peck in his gray flannel suit.
Who says you can’t afford anything from a Savile Row tailor. The much admired tailor Norton & Sons have recently released their Trotters Bag. Per the company website. “The Trotter, the most junior rank on Savile Row, trots between cutting rooms and workrooms, carrying bundles of cloth and trimmings to the sewing tailors and returning with sewn garments. At Norton & Sons our trotters use a traditional stout canvas Trotters Bag.”
I don’t think it gets more insider than to own one of these bags, although I would much prefer to show my rank with a Norton & Sons suit.
With the second season due to launch this coming weekend, much has been said recently about AMC’s sleeper-hit Mad Men. The newly hatched commotion around the show is great, but some of us with an interest in menswear have been hanging by a thread (bad pun, I know) since day one. The characters are great and the drama is enjoyable, but the real reason to watch is for the show’s style. To say that the Mad Men is Sex and the City for guys is wrong. Mad Men is more hardcore than that — it’s Patton meets Gordon Gekko — set in one of the most optimistic times in American history. The gentlemen at the new and very cool service focused site Valet spoke with the show’s costume designer Janie Bryant at length about the show’s sartorial inspirations.