Thom Browne for Moncler, Fall 2009.

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Eddie Bauer is credited for inventing and patenting the first quilted down jacket in America, back in 1940.  However, Moncler is synonymous with ‘down for the jet set’, and for Fall 2009 they unveiled Gamme Blue– a collection designed by Thom Browne.  The looks are classic Thom Browne in terms of tailoring, and the very ‘tight and trad’ color story echoes Moncler’s heritage.  Some of the looks are very editorial, and therefore down-right silly.  Others are just what you expect when you think Thom Browne + Moncler. 

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Moncler’s story goes back to 1952 when they started producing technical mountain sports gear.  They say their first down jacket came about when the Moncler workers made them for their own wearing inside the factory during the colder months.  Necessity is the mother of invention, right?

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Link to Gamme Blue story and images

Link to Moncler.com

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COOL HAND LUKE | SOMETIMES A CHORE COAT CAN BE A REAL COOL HAND

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Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman is a classic film, and without a doubt one of my favorites.  It’s Newman’s greatest performance, in a film loaded with powerhouse acting.  You’ve got George Kennedy, Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton, Jo Van Fleet, Strother Martin (What we’ve got here is “failure to communicate”) and Dick Davalos, to name a few.  Don’t know who Dick Davalos is?  He played Blind Dick, and is best remembered as Aaron Trask, opposite James Dean’s Cal Trask in East of Eden.

Speaking of James Dean– the role of Lucas Jackson would more than likely been his– not Newman’s, had he not been killed in a fatal car crash.  Dean would have starred in The Left Handed GunSomebody Up There Likes Me and probably Hud as well.  Not to take anything away from Paul Newman, but Dean was definitely the bigger star back then, and his passing gave Newman a clear path to instant stardom.

26469_2Cool Hand Luke is visually rich with incredibly authentic sets, cultural cues, wardrobe and styling. I wanted to live in that prison bunkhouse.  What was so bad?  They got to hang-out, enjoy cold drinks, eat eggs and such.

I became obsessed with the old chain-gang garb, and own several beat-up, RRL denim chore coats because of it.  Chore coats are an iconically American piece– worn by laborers, convicts, artists and plain everyday folk.  And another American icon– the classic chambray workshirt is in there too.

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There was nothing not to like in this film– even the hair.  Carr the floor walker, and Blind Dick had very cool D.A.’s.  And what about the incredible score, Harry Dean Stanton’s crooning, and Paul Newman singing and playing banjo on Plastic Jesus?  The film is pregnant with comparisons of Luke to Jesus. Luke is their leader– his crucifixion pose after eating the eggs– “stop feeding off of me!” alluding to communion– Dragline as ‘Judas’ bringing the cops to Luke in the final scene– on and on.  There are some many famous lines in Cool Hand Luke that I could be here all day– “shaking it up here boss!”

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Black Fleece on Bleecker.

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It’s no coincidence or surprise at all, that the previous post on Mad Men got me thinking about Thom Browne…

There seems to be some activity over at the soon-to-be Black Fleece shop in the West Village.  Thom Browne & Brooks Bros. acquired the space some time back, and workers are finally on the scene– painting walls and cleaning up.  Let’s hope it opens soon.  Thom Browne has given rise to an army of well-dressed men in their shrunken suits & bare ankles- I’m just not sure the look is for everyone.  If I were a statuesque guy, I might feel like I was wearing my little brother’s suit.  Know your limitations guys.

 

Junya Watanabe Spring 2009

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Junya Watanabe’s (of Comme des Garcons) Spring 2009 collection is a very fitted & fresh mix of American menswear “classics with a twist”.  Collaborations with iconic prepster brands- Brooks Brothers, Levi’s, Lacoste and Baracuta made for some funky updates to familiar models, patterns and fabrics.  What also makes it youthful is eye-catching denim pieces and cool hats thrown in.

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JEFFREY BANKS | GREAT AMERICAN FASHION DESIGNER

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The impeccable designer and author - Jeffrey Banks.

Jeffrey Banks, great American fashion designer.

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Jeffrey is one of those guys that seems to have been born with impeccable style.  As a high-schooler working at the legendary shop Britches, he was tapped by Ralph to come work for him.  Ralph became very fond of Jeffrey– he even lent him his own personal tuxedo and pumps for his Senior Prom.  Polo was a small company back then, so he worked directly with Ralph as his design assistant, and they are still close today.    Jeffrey, passionate about design, made the decision to leave Polo and finish his studies at Pratt Institute and Parsons.  Jeffrey later designed for Calvin, and Merona Sportswear, among others. He launched his own menswear collection in 1977 to much acclaim, and is among the “who’s who” of fashion and a longtime member of the CFDA.

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Shearling trench coat by Jeffrey Banks.

Jeffrey Banks incredible shearling coat.

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One of my many obsessions in life is Shearling coats.  So when Jeffrey showed me  this clipping of a shearling trench he did years ago- well frankly, I lost it. Thanks Jeffrey.  Yes, thanks for creating a huge, gaping hole in me that can now only be filled with a shearling trench coat.  This is one of the most chic and sexy pieces I have ever laid eyes on.  It’s no surprise though, coming from Jeffrey- one of the most dapper guys going, and a two-time winner of the Coty American Fashion Critics award.   Continue reading

The Schott Perfecto- The Original Wild One.

 

 

The Schott Perfecto 618

My last post on Evel Kneivel really got me thinking about motorcycles and their impact on American fashion and culture.  There is no better example than the Schott Perfecto 618.  First introduced in 1928– and still made here in the U.S.A.–it is the original motorcycle jacket and still considered the gold standard to which all others are compared.  The now classic double riders zip-front design was prized by bikers not just for it’s tough looks- when fully zipped it kept the wind and chill out.  

 

The Wild One-  Marlon Brando & company 1953.

Marlon Brando as Johnny, leader of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in The Wild One.

 

The Perfecto took on cult status thanks to 1953’s The Wild One starring Marlon Brando.  It soon became a symbol of rebellion and was widely banned from schools during the 1950s.  The vintage Perfectos (and a lot of the motorcycle jackets back then) were made of thick horsehide– durable as all hell, but they took some breaking in.  If you’re lucky enough to find a vintage Perfecto, snatch it up- they are rare and highly coveted.  

 

Link to Schott Perfecto

 

 

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