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The Sartorialist


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

14th St. - Dress Over Jeans

It has been a slow and incredibly painful experiment to watch but I think some girls are finally getting how to wear a dress over jeans. It never seems to work in the summer, so maybe it is just a layering thing to be done in Fall/Winter.

I should have asked this girl how influenced she was by the recent Marc Jacobs show or if a little guy with longish brown hair and new giant glasses had been stalking her right up until fashion week.

click on the photo to enlarge image.

Men's Vogue -2nd Issue - I Want To Love You

I just picked up the second issue of Men's Vogue - I want so bad to love it but.....

Maybe I misunderstood the audience Men's Vogue was going for but I got the impression that they were targeting the slightly older, sophisticated man that wants something a bit more refined than the current GQ selection, but still no less fashion relevant - GQ for the Borrelli, Bergdorf set. The first issue was great and raised the bar of excellence in men's fashion magazines.

Maybe the first issue just set the bar a little too high.

In my experience, the men that are over 25 and still into fashion are really into fashion, and there is currently a giant void in the magazine market for that niche - perfect timing for Men's Vogue - but this issue has very little real fashion coverage.

The main fashion editorial is a blandish suit story featuring Paul Bettany of the upcoming movie "The DaVinci Code". I guess it is ok but it is just missing that pop of something really special or inspiring. The suits are all a taupy-tan-ish and paired with uninspiring tonal shirts and ties. Putting together exciting (but not necessarily over-dramatic) suit/shirt/pocket square/tie combinations is exactly the kind of direction men want from fashion magazines. The front of the book articles all look very interesting but it is the meat-and-potatoes fashion coverage that I want from Men's Vogue, not more political critiques from a fashion magazine.

The styling of the Tiger Woods story is completely forgettable and the accessories coverage is all golf shoes and golf gloves.

Considering that it is much more difficult for men to dress really great in the high heat of summer, an issue like this could be a valuable tool. Color was all over the runways for Spring 2006 and is in the stores in a big way right now, how about a little direction from Men's Vogue on how to make color work for men over 30 in both our work and causal wardrobes? There are two ties "of color" in the entire magazine.

By far the best fashion is a story called "Life Studies" that was shot on two "real people": "literary power broker" Luke Janklow (shot in his own jacket) and "public intellectual" Noah Feldman. It just proves my point that real guys are so much more aspirational than what the runways and magazines are feeding us.

Men's Vogue has access to all the best brands in the world, so why are so many of the same brands that are already featured in GQ, Esquire, and seemingly every other men's magazine also in Men's Vogue. Can't anyone break the advertisers grip?

Dear Men's Vogue,
We had an incredible first date but the second was a bit shaky; everyone knows I give it up on the third, so I'm crossing my fingers you bring the heat for the next issue.

Stefano Tonchi, New York Times Magazine

Black Tie & Jeans

Another Lady Of A Cetain Elegance

That Skin II

Monday, February 27, 2006

Hamish Bowles......European Carry-All

Layers Of Black

For me, the whole look is all in this close-up. The tiny, motorcycle-ish jacket, layered over the lady-like cardigan, on top of sexy slim jeans. The zipper pulls are icing.

Backstage........Frayed Tweed

Notice the frayed, upturned bottom edge of the jacket.

The Tiny Suit

The Sartorialist In The Press

I hate to admit it but I am a little bit proud of the write-ups The Sartorialist has been getting lately. Here are two,

Fashion Wire Daily

The Sartorialist: A Blog with a Difference
By Massimo O'Neil
February 18, 2006 @ 9:26 PM - Paris
Everyone is talking about fashion blogs at the moment, even if most of them read like stream of consciousness fashion warbles from the seventh row. 

One site with a difference, however, is The Sartorialist, a wee mouthful of a name, we’ll agree, but a novel bite-sized approach to fashion. 

Created by Scott Schuman five months ago, the Satorialist is essentially a men’s wear visual blog, which interprets fashion by concentrating on how editors, critics, buyers and models dress, rather than taking its lead from the catwalks. 

A 38-year-old fashion “veteran,” Schuman worked on the wholesale end industry before launching his own designer showroom, Schuman, which represented young talent like Peter Som and James Coviello. 

Schuman’s prose style ranges from complimentary to laudatory without, happily, plunging into the muck of obsequiousness that afflicts so many bloggers. 

“At it's core The Sartorialist is a mens fashion blog which started because all of the "real" industry guys I knew were so much better dressed and inspirational to me than anything I would see in GQ or other magazines,” Schuman told FWD. 

Blessed with a good eye, neat prose and the boundless energy of bloggers, Schuman is on track to 55,000 visitors/110,000 page views per a month. Readers also get to comment on The Sartorialist’s point and shoot portraits and commentaries with comments of their own. And folks like Carine Roitfeld, Jim Nelson, Meredith Melling Burke and a certain Irish critic we enjoy reading don’t escape unscathed. 

Despite his fresh eye, Schuman does not entirely avoid that old fashion virus – taking oneself a tad seriously. 

“Since The Sartorialist runs 98% of my own photographs, in an abstract way, I'm like a cross between Cathy Horyn and Bill Cunningham,” opines Scott. 

Don’t just love the chutzpah. Try it yourself. 


The professional fashion business is so publicist and celebrity infested that it's almost impossible to enjoy the clothes-- we avoided the tents at Fashion Week like they were infested with avian flu. That's what makes the Sartorialist blog so refreshing-- it's just pictures of stylish people on the street, with the occasional comment: "I could be wrong but this really looks like a French take on American classics. If you click on the photo to enlarge it, notice this is another young guy wearing a tie bar. I smell a trend." The site is sort of a more populist version of the Look Book feature at New York Magazine. Fun!

The German Journalist

Michael Fink, Fashion Director, Saks Fifth Avenue

14th & 9th Ave

Sunday, February 26, 2006

It's All About The Knee Length Coat

Wrap it Up

Saturday, February 25, 2006

WOW !!!

Who doesn't want to grow older as gracefully as this super cool couple.
Click on the photo to enlarge the image

The Sale Of Jil Sander - Part II

Change Capital Partners ,the company that recently bought Jil Sander, must really have some big balls.

Not only are they going to try and revive a house that has been treading water ( more like rapids) for the last 4 or 5 years but they are going to do it with a designer ,Raf Simons, who has only one women's collection under his belt.

This past Friday, Change Capital Partners announced dramatic growth and expansion plans with an eye to selling off the company in 3-5 years. What Balls! Just think about the pressure on Raf to immediately come up with an exciting, buzzbuilding vision for his women's work. I'm sure the women's RTW is more than half of the overall Sander RTW business, I would guess at least 70% (I will have to find the exact number), Raf has to hit the ground running.

Raf had to know of the upcoming sale but do you think he wanted the plans to flip the company to be so openly announced? If the horizon to sell is 3 years, then Raf has ,maybe, 3 more seasons because at the half way point ,if the results are not on track, don't you think the investors ( who have no other high-end fashion businesses) will start getting a little nervous. Will they start shopping for another new designer and start all over again?

I would love to be in those meetings a year and a half from now, when Raf is seriously trying to explain to the investors ,in a language they understand (numbers), why it hasn't happened yet. (if it hasn't)

Design wise, Raf really only has two extreme ways to go to make a dramatic statement. He can either play it safe, hoping the long suffering Jil customers rally around the brand (which they have been asked to do a lot lately) or go very high-concept in design in hopes of attracting new heat to the brand. With so much pressure to make Jil work, what will this do to his own signature collection which is the best work he does?

Again, Change Capital says they have no interest in bringing back Jil, but doesn't everyone want to bring back Jil?

So what do you think? Will this fourth revival be the new Golden Age for the Jil Sander company or will it just fade into oblivion?

Who's That Girl

On The Steps......Belted Red Fur Coat

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Curmudgeon’s Lament

A Curmudgeon’s Lament, or
Musings of an Old Ivy Leaguer


G. Bruce Boyer

When I was growing up back in the late 1950s, the matter of dress for young men was relatively simple. When a boy reached adolescence he would put away much of his childhood wardrobe -- whatever that might have been -- and begin to wear a basic outfit that would see him through the college years and beyond. It was a time before the designer revolution in menswear, before the Ralph Laurens and Versaces, the Armanis and Paul Smiths, the Dolces and the Gabannas. A simpler time.

It was a time when there were basically three types of clothing stores. There was of course the traditional store for the traditional American business look: conservatively cut suits, safe shirts (the majority of which were white, with one or two collar styles), and discreet foulard or striped neckwear. Then there was the somewhat “sharper” store, a more courant version of the trad store, more upscale, hipper, more for the man who was known for caring about style. In the late ‘50s this store took on a bit of European flair. The clothing was called “Continental”, meaning Italian, to distinguish it from British. There had been a tradition of British clothing here, but the Italian thing was new.

Finally there was the Ivy League shop.

Called "Ivy League" or “campus” shop because the style had originated, evolved, and took it's strength from the prestigious Eastern Establishment universities. After World War II young men of growing middle class means attended these institutions of higher learning in droves on the G.I. Bill of economic assistance. What they found was that they could construct a basic campus wardrobe without a great deal of money and effort. There was high serviceability and low maintenance to the college wardrobe of the day.

The basic items were the oxford cloth buttondown shirt and cotton twill khaki trousers. Six shirts, three white and three blue, and two or three pair of khakis would do the job. In cooler weather, a Shetland crewneck sweater in any color was added. A pair of brown penny loafers and white tennis sneakers (possibly a pair of white or tan buckskin oxfords) constituted the acceptable range of footwear.

For outerwear, a cotton gabardine balmacaan raincoat (always tan), and a stout duffel coat (in tan or navy) were all that were needed, although many men also had a cotton gab golf jacket, also in tan. Mountain climbing parkas, safari jackets, trout fishing coats, barn coats, and equestrian slickers were all thought of as exotic sportswear.

Everyone had a tweed sports jacket (Harris or Shetland) and/or a navy single-breasted blazer for semi-dress, and a gray flannel suit for dress. Summer semi-formality was assured with a seersucker or tan poplin suit; some had madras sports jackets; for the more formal occasions a dark Grey or navy tropical worsted suit. A half-dozen ties (regimentals, foulards, or dots), and the necessary complement of underwear, socks, pajamas, and handkerchiefs filled out the basics.

Cut, fit, and quality were what was important. If it was all properly fitted, of the acceptable cut, and made well, these items would do a young man proud, no matter where he was going, or what the occasion, from a faculty tea to a classy dance.

And it wasn’t a matter of being simply less sophisticated either. There were intricacies of cut and quality to these basic garments that belied their straight-forwardness. Good jackets, for example, were always three-button and natural-shouldered, softly constructed in the chest and cut on the easy side. Lapels extended about a third of the way to the shoulder line, and aficionados were quick to note the hook vent in the rear. Trousers were also cut easy, just this side of baggy. Everything, needless to say, shouldn't look too new. Quality used to imply longevity in those days. Raincoats, khakis, shoes, and tweeds were all expected to be slightly scuffed and rumpled. A soft patina of age was desirable, and total effect should be rather a studied nonchalance. An old money sprezzatura was the style.

Those dozen garments or so weren't the be-all and end-all, of course. There were myriad other attractions for the dandies amongst us. Silk knit ties (plain black or navy was best, with square-cut ends) and paisley pocket squares, odd flannel trousers, broadcloth tab-collar shirts, cordovan brogues and scotchgrain wingtips, navy worsted pinstripes with vests, white duck trousers for summer, and lambswool turtlenecks for winter. The sophisticated young man may have splurged for a camelhair polo coat. Everyone seemed to have colorfully striped surcingle belts with brass horseshoe-shaped buckles. And the brightest Argyle socks.

For most, the subtleties of double-breasted jackets and grenadine neckwear, of suede town shoes, enameled cuff links, covert cloth chesterfields, and cashmere cabled hosiery were not imaginable. But then neither were exterior logos, Italian designers, or microfibers.

There also didn’t seem to be the questions of what to wear when. We certainly knew when the occasion called for a tie, and gym clothes were confined to the gym.

It was, as I say, a simpler time.

Cathy Horyn's NYT Milan Reviews - I Know She Didn't Just Say That!!

I'm reading Cathy's NYT Milan reviews today covering Burberry and Gucci- of everything she wrote (most of it seems pretty reasonable) the one line that stood out above all the rest was -

"the first models came out in silk print minidresses, Jim Gold, the chief executive of Bergdorf Goodman, turned and shouted, "We're selling Gucci ready-to-wear better than we ever did under Tom Ford"".

Oh no she didn't !!!

She's calling out Jim Gold!

At first, I thought it was just Cathy being Cathy (like Manny being Manny, did I stump you again?)

Maybe Cathy was just overstating for emphasis or dramatic effect but today I spoke to a few people who would have a good take on the situation and they seemed to think it wasn't so far fetched.

The question now is - Is Cathy a Hollaback Girl?

The Blonde Army

The Fulton Street Fish Market

I use to love shooting early on summer mornings at the Fulton Street Fish Market. There was never an end to the characters that were in and out of that place; salty old-timers, young studs, guys on parole, a toothless old-lady that sold newspapers from a shopping cart - you name it, they were all there. Somehow giant dead fish just couldn't compete with the fish mongers for visual interest.

When I first saw this kid (above) he was sitting just exactly as you see him in the photo. The guys that worked at the market were so use to photographers that they never paid attention to them anymore. Now that the fish market has moved to the Bronx to a state-of-the-art temperature control covered space it just doesn't hold the same gritty appeal as the old spot downtown.


On The Street.......Sixth Ave

It is nice to see monotone done with a color other than black.

All In The Mix

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Young Yves Saint Laurent?

Long Blonde

In The Crowd.....Crested Navy Blazer

The Plot Thickens - Jil Sander Sold By Prada To Equity Fund

So now it gets really interesting -

Are the Jil Sander collections this season strong enough to stand on their own without Prada's protection and patience?

How many seasons does Raf have to turn it around before he gets the door?

How long before Jil is back at the company?


That Skin

New Barker Black Website

The new Barker Black website is up and it looks great!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Michael Williams, NO.9 Public Relations

I always wondered where "trads" (traditionalists) came from? Was it something you could be born into or ,more likely, was it something you adopted after flings with New Romantics, Rebel, Jock, Nerd or Euro?

Recently I met Michael Williams, a cool, young, New York trad who owns NO.9 Public Relations. He is the perfect example of how any style (no matter how potentially unhip), if mixed the right way and worn with a certain attitude can work on almost anybody, any age.

The Sartorialist asked Michael a few questions about his personal style.
Describe your personal style

Personal style quirk
I love to change outfits in the middle of the day.

You build your daily look around your?
Everyday its something different... sometimes shoes, sometimes pants,
other times a jacket or shirt.

The first thing I look at in another Sartorialist's outfit?
Overall fit

I always break this fashion rule.
Brown & Black or Navy & Black

I never break this fashion rule.
I really don't follow "fashion rules" I like to wear what feels good
and looks right to me.

Must have item for Fall 2006
Anything from Michael Bastian AW06

Favorite store(s)
J. Press – NYC
Steven Alan – NYC
By George – Austin
American Rag – LA
Cable Car Clothiers – San Francisco

Style icon

Worst fashion mistake
Shirt collars over jacket lapels

Favorite item of clothing
Some great vintage woven shirts from J. Press in the 80s

Favorite "fashiony" movie
Wall Street , American Psycho – basically any 80's prep movie

Guilty pleasure
Tote bags, Denim

Most overrated item in menswear
Made in Italy

Most underrated item in menswear
Made in USA

Most stylish city
New York

When I was high school I wore?
Penny loafers

Shine your own shoes?
Of course

I always dress my best for….?
Carnegie Hall

Cathy Horyn's NYT Milan Reviews - What?

Today in Cathy Horyn's reviews for NYT covering the women's collections from Milan, she hails Raf Simons work for Jil Sander as "A Man Who Gets Women".

She writes "he must have spent a lot of time contemplating women" - What?

To prove her point the Times runs the three pictures below from the Jil Sander show, What?

Sorry, but these looks do nothing to capture the diversity of sexiness, gentleness and strength of the modern women I know.

The collection looks just exactly like what it is - a very talented menswear designer trying to figure out how to translate his aesthetic to women's while still honoring the reputation of a major design house.

The real kicker , though, is that in the very next paragraph she condemns Consuelo Castiglioni work at Marni' (and "female designers" in general) by writing "Why can't female designers create fashion commensurate with the largeness and complexity of their lives?". What?

Raf is the star with that collection and Marni and Prada get thrown under the bus?

Cathy sums up Prada by saying "the murky layers, and the metropolis backdrop, came too close to Marc Jacob's recent show". What?

That is Miuccia's fault?

Did Cathy see these looks from the Marni show?
Not only is this a new more sophisticated, sober, less BoHo-ish look for Marni but it speaks much more to the masculine/ feminine, sweet/sinister. refined/raw lives of modern women.

To The Next Show

Michael Roberts, New Yorker Magazine

Check The Archives

The February archive (which is on the righthand side) is already jammed packed with more images from fashion week that don't show on the first page. If you get a chance, check it out.

Checked & Balanced

The Photographer

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fashion Friends

The Green Dandy

Giorgio Armani, Fall 2006

There is a whole new generation that will never see Giorgio Armani the way I saw him when I was growing up. When I was in college Armani was the hot youngish designer, easily the most important and directional designer in the world (for both men's and women's, no one currently can say that) but still a small business. At the same time Yves Saint Laurent was an aging design superstar who was reaping the rewards of having built an empire but now held little allure to the younger fashion-sensitive generation. At the time I couldn't imagine any girl I knew wearing anything from the YSL runway, I also couldn't imagine not wanting every single item from the Armani shows.

With his Fall 2006 collection Armani has officially accepted the torch of "grand old designer." I cannot imagine any recent Parsons graduate panting over the uptight/uptown ladylike looks that dominated Armani's runway this season. Don't get me wrong, Armani is still a master but it just doesn't speak to that young customer the way Marc or Prada do currently (actually it has been slowly happening for years, but this season Armani has now officially "jumped the shark").

Armani's biggest challenge is not lack of or waning talent but the lack of motivation to change. He is so hooked-up in China and other emerging markets that the bottomline will keep bouncing along nicely regardless of what is happening in the press reviews. The only thing that these shows will effect is his legacy but it is not easy to walk away, just ask Brett Favre (did I stump you?). I have a crazy idea, Helmut Lang designs Emporio Armani and when Giorgio is ready to retire Helmut takes the lead, could you think of any recent de-companied designer that could potentially do a better job?

On The Steps

So which would you pay more for, her coat or to get your hair to look like that?

On The Street.... Tribeca, New York

At The Tents -The Belted Coat

Don't you think that this is exactly how Slimane wants to see his work worn?

Jil Sander - Fall 2006 Standing Still

The Jil Sander apologist keep saying that Prada shouldn't change the brand too much; they should be faithful to Jil's vision, make sure not to alienate her customer. Prada listened and now they are slowing killing the brand.

Is what we are seeing from Raf, below, what got us all excited about Jil in the first place? What made Jil's work in the 90's so exciting was not just her minimalistic design, but the fact that it looked so good against what else was out there. The most important designers at that time were minimalist (Jil, Helmut, and don't forget Marc Jacobs was one of the best at the look) but fashion has moved on, Marc has moved on and up, but Helmut is gone and Jil (or at least the people running the business) just stands still.

Raf is a great talent and I know this is his first women's collection but will these looks put Jil back on the map (or, even more importantly, back on the rack) as one of the most directional houses?

I want my Jil back!

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