Join Richard Press Wednesday in New Haven as he talks and signs copies of “Ivy Style” at The Yale Bookstore.
Yesterday the MFIT’s “Ivy Style” exhibit closed its doors. It was a fantastic experience for all involved, especially Richard Press, who earned a pair of gilded loafers for his efforts.
The MFIT has a nifty site devoted to the exhibit that we never linked to until now. It, along with the records of the exhibit itself, should go a long way in preserving the history of this style for the future, something that had never really been undertaken until the MFIT’s Patricia Mears decided that the Ivy League Look was worthy of museum attention. — CC
Recently menswear writer Eric Musgrave wrote a piece for Yale University Press’ London Blog ran a story on the MFIT book “Ivy Style: Radical Conformists.”
After calling for historians to focus more attention on largely anonymous retailers instead of big-name designers, Musgrave makes the following plea that will surely resonate with those who take their tradition straight and don’t need any contemporary twist watering it down:
My biggest problem with modern “interpreters” of Ivy style is that this singular phenomenon does not need “interpretation”. Thousands of men, I am absolutely certain, would be delighted today to find exact replicas of the classic Ivy League garments of the 1960s. Yes, they would need to be resized to fit modern bodies, but they would not need to be altered greatly. Ivy style is a pure (and purist) delight. To tinker with it is like “updating” champagne by flavouring it with cherry or bilberry. Best not bother!
Musgrave also wrote the forward to the just-released book “Menswear: Vintage People On Photo Postcards,” a fascinating glimps of regular gents from decades past, many of whom were extremely dapper. — CC
The Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology has released a video of Richard Press leading a tour of the “Ivy Style” exhibit. Click here to check it out. — CC
Despite our latest storm detaining some attendees, the MFIT’s “Ivy Style” symposium went off with a bang. Presenters included co-authors of the accompanying book; Patricia Mears gave an overview of how the exhibit came about and Bruce Boyer talked about the jazz musicians who took up the Ivy look in the ’50s and ’60s. (Continue)
Amory Blaine, hero of Fitzgerald’s “This Side Of Paradise,” proudly declares himself a romantic, not a sentimentalist. The difference is that while the sentimentalist naively hopes things will last, the romantic knows they tragically won’t.
A reference to this passage from Fitzgerald’s debut novel closes an interesting meditation on the MFIT’s “Ivy Style” exhibit — so much so that we thought it deserved its own pointer post.
The essay appears in the Princeton Alumni Weekly and is written by Gregg Lange, from the class of 1970, or the class that systematically dismantled the Ivy League Look in their four years from 1966-1970.
Lange begins by noting Princeton’s legendary status as fashion leader:
… the exhibit’s entry gallery bluntly attributes the creation of Ivy Style to Princeton. Noting our remove from the urban hustle and the homogeneous student body in the ’20s, it presents Tigertown as the perfect incubator for the studied, painstakingly crafted casual look that remains with us in various forms today.
But his most interesting passage comes later, a terse summary of the Ivy League Look’s rise and fall:
Some of the crucial steps along the Ivy style metamorphosis of the last 90 years are quirky: the raccoon coat (which apparently turned up first at Princeton, of course, in 1921); the monumental introduction of the “odd jacket,” initially half a tweed suit, to become the sports coat, ubiquitous badge of academia; the integration of khakis from returning World War II vets into the look in the ’50s; and The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, the archetype of establishment conformity. After my generation tried to kill off anything that wasn’t tie-dyed (and of course, failed), the thunderous counterattack of The Preppy Handbook in 1980 – the wannabe bible of Amory’s grandchildren – gave new vigor to Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and the other various acolytes around the high altar of Brooks Brothers. And there the look holds firm today, with a significant number of fashion houses still achieving liquidity through button-down collars, rep ties, and very scary things with little ducks on them.
Visit the PAW website for the full story. — CC