Ivy Trendwatch: Danish Modern

OK, I think it’s time to accept that this Ivy-is-the-new-preppy thing may be much bigger than we expected. You know that’s the case when European artists start getting in on it.

Close Up And Private is a “photo project” (I couldn’t tell if it was a clothing line or an online magazine, and apparently it’s neither) by Danish photographer Sergei Sviatchenko. The splash page features suede tassel loafers and cuffed trousers with no break. It’s a sign of what’s to come in the photos, which are a kind of cross between modern prep and the Japanese book “Take Ivy,” as seen through the eyes of a European fashion photographer.

The shots include a veritable checklist of the Ivy-Prep canon: Baracuta jackets; knit, rep and bow ties; wrinkled oxford-cloth buttondowns; club collars; university-stripe shirts; cardigans; duffle coats; Fair Isle sweaters; argyle socks; cable-knit crewnecks; desert boots; penny loafers; longwings; engine-turned buckles; madras and herringbone.

Plus a bunch of weird Euro stuff.

I think the expression on the guy below says it all. We’re a bit bewildered, too. — CC

Addendum: Nice shout-out from Valet. Thanks, guys.

9 Comments on "Ivy Trendwatch: Danish Modern"

  1. foolio_iglesias | September 23, 2009 at 5:11 pm |

    Very nice.yes.The whole key is not to present every element simultaneously,it can come off as a bit contrived.Unless however,you nail it like the gentlemen in exhibits 1-4….

  2. I wonder what it means when people costume in clothing not only from a different era than they live in but from a different culture.

    My view is that the Ivy look is, for many American men who attended universities, a way of dressing that helps them identify with American university men going back to about, say, the 1920s. This is meaningful not only to those who identify with the Ivy League colleges – which I don’t – but to those who went to other universities, especially Southern and Midwestern ones as many images on this blog attest. I think men of a certain mindset like to feel a sense of continuity with men from a prior era that they perceive to have been like themselves. I think that we appear as nothing more than a quaint affectation to most people.

    The fact that Ivy style periodically comes in and out of style for the general public or for foreigners – since the late ‘70s as a preppy caricature – may be either flattering or downright annoying to American men identify with Ivy styles but, ultimately, it’s irrelevant.

    But don’t foreign men have some clothing culture of their own from prior decades with which they can identify? Periodically I’ve seen clothing items from British university traditions advertised for sale that – apart from the striped ties Americans adopted as our own “traditional” attire decades ago – never appeal to me since I don’t identify with the culture from which they came. Likewise, emulating the most culturally specific items of British “country attire” (e.g., “breeks” with knee socks and waistcoats) strikes me as a costuming affectation whereas American outdoor clothing that originated 70-90 years ago (Filson cruisers, rubber leather “Bean boots”, etc.) doesn’t feel that way(to me).

    I think there are similar phenomenons among men who like to wear items cued from their military service era, blue collar occupations, various outdoor sports cultures, Western wear and so forth. They wear them for decades as it pleases them and watch in bemusement or annoyance as fashion designers periodically issue clothing “inspired by” some era or activity that the original wearers can instantly spot as the attire of posers.

    On a slightly related topic I’ve only recently become aware that several acquaintances – ages ranging from mid-20s to early 70s – in the small, remote Western mountain town where I live are Dartmouth graduates. Most of them are current or former U.S. Forest Service employees who started out in Dartmouth’s long established and highly regarded forestry program. At least one of them was probably on campus when the Japanese Take Ivy photographers covered Dartmouth decades ago. But I’ve never seen a single one of them dress in any item of clothing that might remotely be described as Ivy. Instead they wear clothing that identifies most closely with what Forest Service employees, loggers, road and trail contractors and firefighters wear in the mountains or in items identified with the local Nordic skiing and bicycling culture. Perhaps they have a secret stash of Ivy attire that they take when they travel back East.

  3. “weird Euro stuff” – lest we forget, the whole Ivy-Prep thing, as you phrase it, has its roots in ‘Euro’, specifically it is at heart an Anglo-Italian aristocratic style which was so beautifully democratised in post-war America. All Ivy fans are essentially paying homage to ‘Old Europe’ every time they don a slab of natural shoulder tailoring and penny loafers.

  4. Natural shoulders and penny loafers aren’t weird, but the things in those photos are.

    America was founded by Europeans. How much would you like to take credit for?

  5. At best, to describe this series of great pictures as ‘a kind of cross between modern prep and the Japanese book “Take Ivy,” as seen through the eyes of a European fashion photographer….Plus a bunch of weird Euro stuff.’ is rather myopic.

    What’s interesting and rather funny about this post is that so much of what is considered a veritable checklist of the Ivy-Prep canon and intended to affirm core American style values, is in fact from somewhere else.

    Surely the Fair Isle sweater isn’t called the Fair Isle sweater for nothing, nor is the Argyle sock, the Oxford Brogue (you guys like to call it a Wingtip)…the Harris Tweed jacket…the Baracuda Jacket..the Duffle coat…Clarks boots…and so on and so on.

    There’s an urge to establish cultural identity which goes way beyond clothing right now – especially in the US, but like many other things in life, not exclusively. This post seems symptomatic of that desire to claim cultural territory and primacy and that’s not wholly justified.

    Messrs. Sergei Sviatchenko and Nello Russo deserve better.

  6. Not surprising, garmsville is based in London.

  7. Laguna Beach Trad | September 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm |

    “…lest we forget, the whole Ivy-Prep thing, as you phrase it, has its roots in ‘Euro’, specifically it is at heart an Anglo-Italian aristocratic style…All Ivy fans are essentially paying homage to ‘Old Europe’ every time they don a slab of natural shoulder tailoring and penny loafers.”

    Well said!!! Ivy/Prep style, like all that is beautiful and good about America, comes from Britain and Europe. I get frustrated with the stodgy trads who perceive ‘Trad’ (or Ivy or Prep) as something uniquely American, when, in fact, it is derivative.

  8. Some of the trad critics are right in that some trads place an over emphasis on American items, and do not allow for Italian and English items beyond the obvious canononical ones.

    However, 21st-century trad, as we know, is not attemptiing to be a recreation of 1962 Ivy, so the crticism is meaningless.

    However, saying that the Ivy League Look is not distinctly American, simply because it uses items like blazers, tweeds and rep ties taken from traditional English dress, is ridiculous.

    That’s like saying jazz isn’t really American because the instruments were all invented in Europe.

  9. “America was founded by Europeans.”

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but America was founded by men born and raised in, well, America. True, they considered themselves British subjects–and were–until British rule became intolerable.

    But yes, their ancestors came from Europe, as did the fine people of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Is it any wonder that our clothing reflects that heritage? Is it any less a wonder that each has gone its own way, sartorial or otherwise, after separation?

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