The designers at Gant Rugger appear to have hit the books in preparation for the Spring 2010 collection. Or at least one book: “Take Ivy,” the 1965 Japanese photo book hyped to the max on the Web over the past couple of years.

The sartorial motifs of “Take Ivy” abound in the Rugger collection, mixed and matched with colors changed. There are hooded rain slickers, shorts worn with white socks and loafers, skinny chinos with untucked oxfords, jeans with the pant legs rolled up, and canvas sneakers sans socks.

There’s also the wool and leather varsity jacket:

And the varsity windbreaker with striped collar and cuffs, worn with shorts:

And the hooded rain slicker, also paired with shorts:

And finally the untucked, sleeves-rolled oxford accessorized with bicycle:

Further “Take Ivy” influences can be seen in the “Road Trip” video on the Rugger website, which includes bucolic scenes of nature (very Dartmouth), and young men bicycling around a small college town. Or maybe Brooklyn.

Now owned by Gant Pyramid AB of Sweden, Gant is proclaiming a redefining of the brand based on a rededication to its 1949 origins in New Haven, Connecticut. Writes the company on its website:

After years spent scouring the US for vintage originals, sorting through dusty swatches, and searching through our vast fabric archives with an unheard-of attention to detail, the new and improved Gant Rugger is back with a vengeance to reclaim the field with a collection unlike anything else out there.

Unlike anything, that is, except “Take Ivy.”

Further:

We’re one of the very few brands still standing who were right there at the birth of American sportswear during the 1950s, and it’s our heritage that makes us who we are today.

Now don’t think I’m being censorious in pointing out the book and collection parallels: Tradition-with-a-twist is the best approach to making fashion, as it properly balances novelty with respect for the classics. There’s no need to create new forms, as they’ve all been perfected already. So cheers to Gant for keeping the taste for classic American style alive for a new generation.

As for “Take Ivy,” someone just lent me a copy and I can say it’s much more enjoyable in print than in pixels. The style and functionality of the clothes really leap off the page, or rather draw you in, revealing American sportswear at its best.

If you’re interested in The Ivy League Look, I highly encourage you to seek out a hard copy. Try your local lending library. Or eBay. Or a Gant store. — CC

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