Monthly Archives: February 2012

Hackett Spring Summer 2012

While the U.S. will always look to Ralph Lauren as the definitive American brand, the United Kingdom has its own unique, albeit smaller scale clothier, to stand behind.  Hackett, founded by Jeremy Hackett and Ashley Lloyd-Jennings in 1983 began as a second hand store on “the wrong end” of New Kings Road in London.  The store quickly developed a strong reputation based on its penchant for timeless used goods that appealed to the British population.  Within a couple years, Hackett recognized that the vintage market was not a realistic route if the brand wanted to keep up with demand for quality clothes.  In response, Hackett began producing their own line of garments that lived up to the standards of the traditional used pieces they had established their brand upon.

Jeremy Hackett Photo Courtesy the New York Times

The brand’s designs were guided by the knowledge of its founders, most notably Jeremy Hackett.  Hackett left school at the age of seventeen and began working in his local clothing store, trading an academic background for an education in menswear.  Hackett moved to London a year later and shortly thereafter began working at a tailor’s shop on renowned Savile Row.  Utilizing his expansive knowledge of men’s clothing, specifically the quintessential British look that Savile Row had come to define, Hackett steered his namesake brand toward becoming the authority on British style.  This was represented in the early years by Hackett’s “Essential British Kit,” a collection of clothes that embodied the archetypal English aesthetic.  Over the years Hackett’s accesible style helped the brand expand throughout not only the United Kingdom, but into other countries as well, ultimately making it a dominant fixture throughout Europe.

Hackett Spring Summer 2012

Hackett’s ability to maintain their classically tailored essence while keeping designs relevant and modern has made the brand desirable for decades.  This interplay is exemplified by Hackett’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection.  With this offering Hackett pulls from the classics, both in cut and in design to create pieces that both allude to the past and express modernity.  The core of the collection titled, “The British Explorer” features desert tan blousons, sand khaki suiting, white trousers, and safari jackets.  Hackett has also included the formalwear they’re known for, this time pulling inspiration from the 1960’s with slim-fit suiting, cutaway collared button downs, and windowpane checked blazers.  Unfortunately Hackett does not currently have any U.S. locations but certain items are available on Yoox.

Hackett Spring Summer 2012

Hackett Spring Summer 2012

General Dwight D. Eisenhower Talking to U.S. Paratroopers Wearing Cargo Pants

In 1938 the British Military modified the trousers in their archetypal Battle Dress Uniforms to include a single patch pocket on the left leg, thus creating the first pair of cargo pants. These trousers were fairly crude, featuring an impractically sized and poorly placed pocket that ended up being quite useless for the British soldiers.  Therefore, when the United States Military adopted the concept in 1942, they knew the design would have to be rethought in order to work for the newly established Paratrooper Units.

British Soldier Wearing an Early Version of Cargo Pants in World War Two

Cargo pants were ideal for the U.S. Airborne squads that had limited space to carry supplies as their backpacks were filled with parachutes.  In response, the military developed the M42 Paratrooper Suit that provided sufficient storage for all the paratrooper ammo and gear.  While the suit’s jacket was merely a modified version of existing World War Two outerwear, the trousers were an entirely new design, featuring dual patch pockets on each leg.  These pockets were close enough to the body to not get snagged during a jump, long enough to store anything, and had a two button closure for easy access to supplies.  The pockets proved to be critical for the troopers during combat and were a brilliant way to keep vital reserves, such as ammo close at hand.  As a result, the pockets were appropriated onto trousers by the other branches of the military, making cargo pants ubiquitous throughout the armed forces.

World War Two Paratroopers Wearing Cargo Pants

In the 1990’s cargo pants were adopted by various circles, in particular the camo heavy hip hop community and began to embody a new, civilian persona. Recently cargos have seen a strong revival in the menswear community with the tapered cargo trouser. Other than having a smaller leg opening, this newer interpretation is slimmed down in the pockets so they stay taut and don’t break up the silhouette. The pockets add a practical touch, and a nice, personal detail to an already essential pair of pants.  Here are a few great options:

Epaulet Slim Walt Cargo Trouser

Ovadia & Sons Pierre Lambswool Flannel Cargo Trouser

Incotex Aged Cargo Trouser

Unis Sullivan Slim Cargo Trouser

Michael Bastian Snap Zip Cargo Pants

IWC Big Pilot's Watch

Air Force and Navy pilots regularly subject themselves to conditions far more severe than those experienced by the average person. High altitudes, low temperatures, tight quarters, perilous missions, these are all daily circumstances for fighter pilots.  To compete with these perilous situations military pilots have to be outfitted with hardwearing flight suits, helmets, and equipment.  One of these special accouterments is a watch that can withstand the elements at over fifty thousand feet where the extraordinarily high air pressure, and complex flight instruments have a tendency to cause normal watches to become grossly inaccurate.  

Backing on a Special Edition Big Pilot's Watch Paying Homage to the U.S. Navy's Top Gun Flight School

IWC (International Watch Company), the illustrious Swiss watchmakers, was the first to develop a flight-ready watch in 1936 with the “Special Pilot’s Watch.”  One of the earliest models of this piece was the Big Pilot Watch, IWC’s largest watch ever and a true testament to the size of Pilot Watches and the unprecedented amount of features packed into one timepiece.  Beginning with the face of the watch, the Pilot Watch’s dial is reminiscent of the look of a cockpit with bold clear numbers and dashes for easy readability, a crucial attribute for pilot’s who did not have time to waste trying to read a cluttered dial.  This face is protected by a dense, airtight piece of glass that is designed to shield the watch’s movement from any debris that could potentially float in mid flight.  Below the dial is the movement itself, an unbelievably precise arrangement that is still to this day a marvel of modern watch manufacturing.  The movement is encased in a layered multi-component structure that protects it from any magnetic waves or atmospheric interference that might disrupt the watch’s accuracy.  

Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Miramar

The Pilot Watch was expertly designed as the optimum watch for flight personel, and it certainly lived up to its claim.  Thanks to its unrivaled accuracy, the watch has been adopted by the venerable British Royal Air Force and the United States Navy as well as countless other commercial, private, and military pilots for over a half century.  Today the Pilot Watch comes in an array of different models, each maintaining the original characteristics of the watch, such as the legible face and the trademark triangle at twelve o’clock, but also adding in various other dials, stopwatches, and unique details.  For more information on this momentous timepiece, you can visit Hodinkee, the upmost source for anything watch related or IWC’s own website.

Airplane Detail on the Dial of a Big Pilot's Watch

Air Force Pilots Wearing MA-1 Jackets

In the 1950’s the U.S. Air Force took a massive step forward with the invention of jet fighter planes.  These aircraft could reach higher altitudes than ever thought imaginable thus giving the military an obvious newfound edge. While jet planes were an advantageous invention for the U.S. they also posed a problem for the pilots themselves, as the upper atmospheres had significantly lower temperatures.  Up until this period pilots wore fleece-lined leather jackets that functioned adequately during lower level flights, but with jet aircraft these jackets posed a potential hazard to the pilots.  If the jackets got wet, wether from simple precipitation during flight or from rain as the pilot walked to the aircraft, this would cause the jacket to not only bulk up but also freeze at the lower temperatures, which could be deadly for the pilot.  As a result the military had to design a more streamlined, lightweight jacket that would not only avoid freezing, but also not impede the pilot’s movement in the new more confined jet cockpit.  In response to this demand the MA-1 bomber was developed, a polyester lined, dual pocket, nylon jacket with an elastic cinch bottom.  This jacket solved all the existing problems as the polyester lining was able to brave the frigid temperatures, and the cinch bottom and nylon front kept out any precipitation.  Nylon had not been previously utilized in manufacturing military clothing as it was mainly reserved for parachutes, but in this case the material was ideal because of it’s light weight and water repellency.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower wearing an Eisenhower Jacket

While the jacket was first and foremost a military garment, it was both practical and simple enough to effortlessly translate over into civilian life.  MA-1’s became a staple within both the hardcore punk and hip hop communities throughout the latter twentieth century.  As a primarily casual jacket, the MA-1 design took on a new more formal approach when it was combined with the Eisenhower Jacket, a timeless unlined wool officers jacket that resembled a sport coat.  The MA-1’s dual pocket front, cinch waistband, and full closure, were combined with the Eisenhower Jacket’s thinner construction and more dignified look to create the modern blouson.  Today blousons are made from any number of lighter-weight materials, primarily suede or cotton and are a comfortable medium between formal and casual.

A.P.C. Cotton Twill Bomber Jacket

Ami Raglan Sleeve Suede Bomber Jacket

BLK DNM Suede Bomber Jacket

Ralph Lauren Purple Label Padded Suede Jacket

Loro Piana Suede Bomber Jacket

The title of Todd Snyder’s Fall 2012 presentation, “An American in Paris,” sounds just as appropriate for a movie as it does for a menswear collection.  Yet the clothes almost seem to portray a movie narrative themselves, telling the story of what happens when American G.I.’s fresh from World War Two leave the front lines for some time away in Paris.  The outcome is a fascinating interplay of rugged military pieces with more tailored urban garments.  Slim cargo pants and suede bombers are presented alongside two button blazers and formal vests giving the collection a complex yet wearable aesthetic. Snyder’s color palette continues to mix military with European, utilizing army-esque drab greens and bright oranges, with more muted grays and browns that echo the city streets of Paris.  Where the collection really thrives is in outerwear, offering everything from a traditional deep navy trench coat complete with epaulets, to a thick knee length parka with a fur-lined hood, to several top coats in a variety of weights and fabrics.  Todd Snyder brilliantly pulls from prominent trends in menswear and expands upon them to create a collection that is both progressive and appropriately modern.  Here are some standouts from the collection:

Photos via GQ

Michael Bastian‘s Fall 2012 collection is inspired by the Extra Men, 1970’s playboys that were a consistent presence amongst the New York socialite crowd.  These were the men that stood out in a crowded room, instantly drawing people in through their ability to dress, entertain, and charm better than anyone else.  Just as these unique attributes made the Extra Men the pinnacle of New York City social life, it is the smaller elements of the collection that make it so remarkable. Bastian’s collection is not only founded upon clean, well-fitting silhouettes but it is in the details (elbow patches, intense cutaway collars, contrast buttons, dog patterning etc.) that he gives each individual piece a distinct edge that makes it undeniably his own.

The concept of the Extra Man is also reflected in the blend of casual and formal pieces.  These Extra Men would have looked just as appropriate in Bastian’s pinstripe suits and double breasted blazers when out for a night, as they would in the shawl collar sweaters and brown leather jackets during more dressed down occasions.  The Extra Men were extraordinary gentlemen that are not only from a bygone era, but almost seem forgotten themselves.  By pulling inspiration from these individuals, Michael Bastian not only resurrects their spirit but also continues to steer American menswear back in a more refined and stately direction.  Here are some standouts from the collection:

Photos via GQ

As his first runway show, one would think that Billy Reid‘s Fall 2012 collection was all about progression, but for me the story was truly about balance.  Reid is already renowned for letting his southern background shine through in classically inspired American designs, yet this year there was clearly a lot of other influences at play.  When discussing his influences, Reid spoke of trips to both Paris and London that inspired him and played a big role in creating this year’s collection.  The collection took the tailored look of traditional Southern formalwear, stripped away the dandyism, and replaced it with luxe European inspired details.  The European mentality of buying thoughtful cornerstone pieces was clearly evident in investment pieces such as leathers and furs.  Clean silhouettes, gorgeous fabrics, and stately colors ran throughout the collection, giving it a perfect metropolitan look.

Photos via Women’s Wear Daily

This is the final part of a weeklong series honoring the style of culturally significant New Yorkers.  Today features three legendary New York writers that were not only inspired by the culture of the city, but became essential to that culture through their work.  

Tom Wolfe

Borsalino Hat – Richard James Two Button Linen Suit Jacket – Richard James Linen Suit Trousers – Isaia Frank Dress Shirt – Paul Smith Polka Dot Silk Tie – Chavret Silk Polka Dot Pocket Square – Crockett & Jones Hallam Shoes

John Updike

Moscot Vilda Glasses – Ralph Lauren Black Label Anthony Wool Gabardine Suit – Gitman Vintage Oxford Shirt – Thom Browne Striped Tie – Ovadia & Sons Black Calf Pebbled Leather Milford Double Buckle Shoe

Jack Kerouac

Baracuta G9 Harrington Jacket – Folk Gingham Check Linen Shirt – Filson Bridle Leather Belt – Levi’s Vintage 501 Jean – Alden Indy Work Boots – Lucky Strike Cigarettes

This is part two of a weeklong series honoring the style of culturally significant New Yorkers.  Today features five New York Musicians spanning across decades and genres. 

Miles Davis

John Smedley Belvoir Merino Wool Rollneck Sweater – Steven Alan Jersey Reverse Seam Long Sleeve ShirtMismo Bridle Leather Belt – Epaulet Slim Walt Trouser Natural Irish Linen – Drakes Gentlemen’s Cotton Socks – Mark McNairy Tasselled Pebble Grain Leather Loafers

Simon and Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel: Thom Browne Classic Three Button Wool Blazer – Ralph Lauren Purple Label Button Down – Alexander Olch Solid Linen Twill Tie – Imogene + WIllie Barton Black Rigid Jeans – Loake Bayswater Chelsea Boot

Paul Simon: Billy Reid Tweed Wool Suit Jacket – Gitman Vintage Oxford ShirtDrakes Untipped Woven Boucle Silk Tie – Billy Reid Tweed Wool Suit Trousers – Paraboot Coraux Shoe

Bob Dylan

Johnstons Blackwatch Cashmere Scarf – Post O’Alls Engineers Jacket – Gant Rugger New Haven Button Front Shirt – Levi’s Vintage Clothing 1960’s Striped Tee – Levi’s Vintage 1960s 605 Jean – Wolverine 1000 Mile Black Boot

A$AP Rocky

Comme Des Fuckdown Beenie – BLK DNM Leather Motorcycle Jacket – Y-3 Wool Cashmere HoodiePigalle Short Sleeve Shirt – DRKSHDW By Rick Owens Jersey and Poplin Cargo Pants Rick Owens Mens Leather Sneaker

With New York Fashion Week starting this week, the inundation of new trends and styles in the city will be staggering.  But I wanted to take a step back and dedicate this week to the enduring characters of New York.  These filmmakers, musicians, and artists that not only live in the city, but through their work have helped to define what it means to be a part of New York.  So in their honor, all this week I’ll be making kits inspired by those that best illustrate what it means to have New York style.

Woody Allen

Moscot Zelig Glasses – A.P.C. Harris Tweed Blazer – Kent Wang White Rugby – Incotex Slim-Fit Cotton Blend Trousers – Brooks Brothers Argyle SocksFlorsheim Markham Shoes

Jim Jarmusch

Linda Farrow Luxe Titanium Aviators – Filson Mackinaw Wool Cruiser – Norse Projects Cornprint Shirt - Ralph Lauren Black Label Slim-Fit Jeans – Mark McNairy Brogue Boots – Marlboro Reds

Spike Lee

Moscot Grunya Glasses – New York Yankees Fitted Cap – Brooks Brothers Corduroy Bomber JacketGitman Brothers Vintage Linen Chambray Shirt – Unis Gio Pants – Jordan Spizike Mars Blackmon


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