Carmelo Pugliatti is a longtime reader of Ivy Style based in Italy. He is known in the comments section and on our Facebook group for his extensive collection of historic menswear images, as well as his incisive commentary on American culture from a European point of view. It’s especially admirable that he is brave enough to convey complex ideas with rudimentary English skills, and an apparent inability to find the keyboard’s space bar.
Our recent khaki post, which includes speculation that if World War II had never happened, khakis might never have become a staple of the American wardrobe, brought an extensive comment from Mr. Pugliatti that is worth its own post. It’s especially interesting in that it takes us from World War II right up to Ivy-Style.com itself.
Here’s what he said, edited for ease of read.
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Let us say that Hitler has died in World War I, Nazism had never took the power in Germany, and the Weimar Republic had in somehow survived. Mussolini stayed quietly satisfied with his little empire, Stalin was busy killing his own comrades, and Japan would not challenge the United States and European empires alone.
September 1, 1939, is only a peaceful day marking the end of summer.
For the United States, it’s probable that without the menace of the war, FDR would not look for a third term and the moderate Republican Wendel Willkie or the young Thomas E. Dewey (whose nomination, in a first time strong, was affected by the approach the war) is the new president in November, 1940.
Without World War II we would not have the Baby Boom, meaning no mobility of workers, no GI Bill (universities would stay elitist), and America would not become a superpower. So no Cold War, big corporations that work for the Military Industrial Complex, lower suburban migration from the cities — a different America.
From a wardrobe perspective, the ’50s and ’60s are more formal. The United Kingdom remains a global empire with unchanged power and wealth, so the influence of British style remains undisputed in the US. The London “lounge” suit remains the king of the elegant American male’s closet, with Ivy undarted/natural shouldered jackets for country and college only.
Italy stays fascist, but without the nasty Nazi influence is rose-colored glasses. But how long Italy can become rich and wealthy with the lybian oil (the only colony worth having), we would not have the explosion of fashion and creativity that Italy had in our timeline after the fall of fascist regime. So no influence of the Italian look on American fashion, and rule Britannia.
Without the Cold War and competition with the USSR, America is more socially conservative. There is less thrust for civil rights and integration, and obviously we would not have the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Without Nazism, German intellectuals would stay in Germany and not come to American universities.
Without World War II, technology advances more slowly, maybe the technological level of 1970 is the same as 1955 or so. There is less necessity for sophisticated computers, ARPANET would not exist, and probably in 2017 we would have in our home the same computer of 1990.
So this blog would not exist, and our host Chistian Chensvold would be writing editorials on the latest Savile Row novelties for Esquire Magazine. — CARMELO PUGLIATTI
Top image: Vassar’s first veterans on the GI Bill.