THE TSY FASHION FLASHBACK | AMERICAN MENSWEAR DESIGNER ICONS

Ralph_Lauren 1970s

The Coty (American Fashion Critics’) Awards first officially acknowledged excellence in menswear design back in 1970, with the honor going to none other than Ralph Lauren.  It signaled a new designer age in American menswear. True men’s fashion icons emerged and soon became household names — Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Alexander Julian — all went on to become institutions that inspire, influence, and in the case of Ralph, still strongly lead to this day. It’s a time in menswear that I’m unapologetically nostalgic over, having largely missed it– but I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a few legends of that golden age, and never miss an opportunity to mine them for all the nuggets I can get.

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American fashion icon Ralph Lauren working in his office --1971.

American fashion icon Ralph Lauren working in his office, 1971.

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Back in the early 70s, Jeffrey Banks (now a legendary fashion designer in his own right) was hand-plucked from Britches of Georgetown by Ralph Lauren personally, and came to work for him as a part-time design assistant.  Part-time because Jeffrey was still in high school. Jeffrey shared a story with me of when he had to get a shipment of hot-selling shirts over to Bloomies quick– Ralph’s orders. Time was tight, and Jeffrey was getting the runaround from receiving department at the store– so he decides to cast store policy aside and brazenly walked through the front doors of Bloomingdale’s 59th Street, both arms bursting with shirts for the Polo shop, much to the chagrin (read: screams) of the operations staff at the store. Here are your shirts, have a great weekend.  Love it.

Sometimes rules are for schmucks and you simply have to take matters into your own hands. Ralph certainly didn’t get where his is today by politely following the rules, he led. See, when you work for Ralph, you quickly realize that you’re a part of something much bigger than yourself, and there’s this incredible power of the brand behind you moving mountains out of your way. It’s a pretty awesome thing really.

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Ralph Lauren checking out the Polo boutique at Bloomingdale's  --1971.

Ralph Lauren checking out the Polo boutique at Bloomingdale’s, 1971.

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Corporate Rock?

 

CBGB

 

Varvatos on Bowery

Hanging out this morning reading the daily news, I came across an article in the L.A. Times on John Varvatos.  It was about his upcoming runway show in Milan and hopes for the line going global, etc.  Going through the article, it rattled off some of his accomplishments over the last 9-10 yrs-  his great rock-flavored menswear, inventing the laceless Chuck Taylor, turning CBGB into a clothing boutique… stop right there.

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