Haute Couture

By Daniel Blockert|May 20, 2017|General Menswear, Menswear|0 comments

The big couture brands don’t get a lot of love from the menswear aficionados anymore. There are several reasons for this. One reason is that the menswear crowd is obsessed by craftmanship and detail. It is not enough if a garment looks good, we want to know who made it, how it was made, where was it made, which materials were used etc. The days when the couture brands made their living by making bespoke garments for wealthy people are long gone. Today they make money by selling a brand, a look, a lifestyle. Details and craft are not that important for them anymore.

Another reason is that the menswear crowd is usually picky about quality vs price. This might surprise some people. If you know the cost of a bespoke suit from a good tailor, it would be fair to assume that the people who are buying such suits are not bothered by cost. In my experience, that is not true. If we know that a suit is bespoke, fully handmade using the finest fabrics and materials, superbly constructed and made by a worldclass tailor, many menswear enthusiast would be willing to pay a pretty substantial price for such a suit (providing we have the money of course!).

However, we would be much less inclined to pay two or three times as much for a garment just because there is a famous logo on it. Today most of the big fashion houses don’t have production in-house anymore, at least not for menswear. Instead they source from other makers, mainly in Italy. It is usually pretty easy to find out who the maker is. People who are experts in reading labels can tell in seconds. If you know what the maker of, let say a suit, would charge for a suit under their own brand, and you then see that a suit made by the same maker and in exactly the same quality cost at least twice that much when it is sold by a more famous luxury brand, it becomes a lot less enticing.

There are exceptions of course. Sometimes the big houses have designers that become so influential and iconic that they not only change the course of fashion, but also influence more traditional menswear. Historically there are plenty of such examples, but in modern times these designers are few and far between. Tom Ford’s time at Gucci is one of the exceptions. Tom Ford’s distinctive aesthetic that revitalised Gucci is not really my style. But beyond the highly sexualised ads and runways (that today, at least to my mind, often feel creepy and voyeuristic, if not downright misogynistic), Ford’s designs became highly influential and he has of course continued to be so under his own brand.

So when I stumbled onto this jacket in a small second hand shop that clearly did not know that they had a rare garment in their shop, I couldn’t resist. And the price was ridiculously low. It is not a unique piece. The jacket is RTW and made in Italy (I havent’ checked the maker yet but I have a fairly good idea). The fabric is a cotton/silk blend, perfect for warmer weather. The quality is decent, but not more. But it has the hallmarks of the Gucci/Ford era with the wide lapels and strong shoulders. Normally I would consider changing the shoulder to a softer padding to make it more contemporary, but in this case it would destroy the whole aesthetic of the jacket.

The Gucci jacket was worn with an Eton shirt, Tom Ford tie, ps from Canali, Tom Ford pants, shoes from Carmina and Dick Moby shades. Click on the headline for more pics.

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