Tag: fashion

And Brexit killed the suit, too

Tuesday, 26 March, 2019

One of the worst articles ever published by GQ appeared under the title, “The death of the suit? Thanks Brexit.” Who was responsible for this mess? Lou Stoppard. More precisely, readers were informed that “GQ’s Contributing Editor Lou Stoppard talks you through the jacket that is slowly replacing the suit”. Still, Stoppard got one thing right in the article and it was this: “You can link most current British phenomena on Brexit, or the lack of Brexit, depending on how you look at it.” Exactly.

The other interesting thing about the article is the publication date: Tuesday, 7 November 2017. The demise of the suit has been signalled for some time now and the Wall Street Journal, a former bastion of suit wearers, is finally on it. According to Suzanne Kapner today, “Men Ditch Suits, and Retailers Struggle to Adapt.” The reality of what’s going on here has got nothing to do with Brexit and everything to do with the state of the labour market. In the USA, where it’s very tight, business casual is on the rise and getting even more casual because management wants to keep workers and wants to keep them happy. If that means throwing the suit out the window, so be it.

Job of the day: Corporate Historian at Ralph Lauren

Friday, 5 October, 2018

“Corporate Historian will lead archival efforts in documenting, preserving, cataloguing and promoting the company’s 50+ year history. The Historian will also leverage the company’s archive and history to work with internal and external partners to engage audiences with the story and heritage of Ralph Lauren.”

That’s the job. If you want it, bring some knowledge to the table. For example, knowledge of twentieth century American Fashion history and general knowledge of American and New York history. Helpful, too, a “working knowledge of library database, taxonomy, and metadata.” Photoshop, InDesign and Excel proficiency are pluses.

There’s a significant media component: “Pull and capture notable quotes by and about Ralph Lauren found in editorial, social media and advertising on a weekly basis,” and a legal one: “Lead ongoing vetting process by partnering with high-level executives in design, philanthropy, and legal departments.”

Naturally, there’s “storytelling” to be done: “Collaborate with Director of Rare & Historical Collection and Director of Marketing & Advertising Assets to promote the company’s history through storytelling in partnerships with internal departments as well as potential external partners in exhibitions, publishing projects, and new media.”

Ralph Lauren’s story deserves a historian as it’s a uniquely American one of rags to riches. And, as Churchill said, “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”

Ralph Lauren

The tenth Station: Style

Thursday, 3 December, 2015 0 Comments

Style is innate, but it can be nurtured. Photos of my mother’s mother, and ones of her grandmother, show elegant, confident women wearing beautiful coats trimmed with fur, sporting graceful hats adorned with feathers and holding the finest of leather handbags. No wonder my mother understood style. It was part of her heritage and that’s why she preferred to use “style” rather than “fashion” when talking about beautiful clothes and those who wore them.


Style represented defiance. Bad weather, hard times, troubles and worries were part of life but a bit of style was an expression of boldness in the face of those forces that would destroy the spirit if they were allowed to have their way. One had to fight and the armour was style.

“What did you make of the style?” was one of the first questions asked about a formal occasion such as a wedding. Her exacting standards meant that most praise was accompanied by a “but”, regardless of the outfit. “Oh, she was gorgeous entirely, but the shoes were too flat. A bit of a heel is nice.” Alternatively, “There was no meaning to the shoes, and what harm but the dress was lovely.” Perfection was the standard, but it was rarely if ever attained in her opinion.

Style had a practical component. “Those are good shoes. How much did they cost?” If there appeared to be a sensible relationship between the price and the purchase, style points were awarded. If not, they were deducted. Shoes were the foundation upon which all style was built and my mother could spend weeks, months, in pursuit of the “right” shoes. If a suitable pair was found, they would be expected to earn their keep.

Fashion comes and goes, but style is permanent. That was her credo and, like most of her beliefs, some of which were not fashionable, it was right and remains true.

Our next station in this series of meditations on 14 photographs is Substance.


Friday, 17 July, 2015 0 Comments

“Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” — Edna Woolman Chase


DE$IGN and $TYLE and NERD$

Tuesday, 25 March, 2014 1 Comment

Thus spoke Google: “That’s why we’re so excited about wearables — they understand the context of the world around you, and you can interact with them simply and efficiently, with just a glance or a spoken word.” Along with monitoring our health and fitness, wearables will give us real-time information, and for those programmers who wish to create wearable experiences for their existing apps to see how they appear on round and square devices, Google began offering its Android Wear Developer Preview last week.

But is the hoodie-wearing brigade well placed to offer consumers stuff to wear? Of course not. Just look at how Jan Koum, the newly-minted billionaire CEO of WhatsApp, dresses. But while they might be inelegant in appearance, the nerds are very clever and that’s why Google yesterday announced a partnership with the Italian eyeglass frame-maker Luxottica, which owns the Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses lines. Remember what Patti Smith said? “My sunglasses are like my guitar.”

Note: Apple has stolen Angela Ahrendts from Burburry, to be the company’s new head of retail. She’s got a distinct sense of fashion and lots of experience running a company with lots of style. And the interview there was conducted by Joseph Rosenfeld, who styles himself as “Silicon Valley’s must trusted Brand Strategist for high-profile individuals.” Instead of hoodies, his (male) clients might be nudged towards wearing leggings.

On the bus in Seoul

Sunday, 7 April, 2013 0 Comments

The binyeo is a traditional Korean hairpin. It serves as ornamentation, but its main purpose is to keep a chignon (knot of hair) in place. Binyeos are divided into two kinds, a jam, which has a long body, and a che, which has an inverted U shape. Although binyeos are usually worn by women, they […]

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