As 2020 winds to a close, taking everything with it, let’s catch up on the latest news on a snowy day here in the Northeast.
I) As we opined recently, comedy is officially dead. Or at least it’s not cool. Which at least means cool isn’t dead. Recently Rowing Blazers “dropped” a Babar The Elephant “collab,” and this may be cool or funny or both or neither. Which reminds me… back in 2006 I wrote a piece for the LA Times Magazine on high-priced cashmere sweaters featuring Curious George. Wouldn’t you know it, the headline read “Cashmere cashes in on cool.”
If you can’t afford this $325 cashmere sweater because you’re mildly concerned about the current economic situation, by the way, RB has a link where you can buy it in four interest-free payments.
II) The French magazine L’Officiel reports on the Dark Academia trend, citing as its chief virtues the important point that anyone can wear tweed, regardless of gender identification, which is something that may not have crossed your mind. Also laudable about the trend is that it subverts the very thing to which it pays tribute, kind of like a Rian Johnson “Star Wars” movie:
The academia aesthetic views knowledge as king, and its subscribers have formed a welcoming community around the desire to learn. Just as anyone and everyone can be a scholar, academia is open to all who value intelligence and sophistication, meaning it’s a particularly welcoming community for androgynous, non-binary, and LGBTQ+ individuals. The academia aesthetic revolves around the classics—in dressing, novels, movies, architecture—but it’s progressive when it comes to breaking stereotypes related to gender and fluidity in aesthetics.
Looking to the heritage of Ivy League universities for inspiration, academia seeks to emulate the sophistication and status of established educational institutions. The elitism of these groups gives academia a sense of legacy, while also being subverted by a more diverse community.
A key element to embracing the classics is nostalgia. Many followers of academia find inspiration from imagining private school life in the early 19th and 20th centuries, particularly from films like Dead Poets Society (1989) and School Ties (1992).
III) Next up, Die Workwear! has a lengthy feature on Brooks Brothers and the closing of its factories, for those fascinated by the workings of the apparel trade. And MR reports on the fate of the Lanier Apparel Business, which owns Southern Tide, Lilly Pulitzer, and other brands.
IV) Here’s Inside Hook with a story on the cool sensibility of director Wong Kar-Wai, in which the term “Ivy style” snags a mention. His film “In The Mood For Love,” set in Hong Kong in the early ’60s, is a masterpiece of atmospheric cool as exemplified by lead actor Tony Leung. And Maggie Cheung is right there at the top of my list of captivating cinematic beauties.
The detached cool vibe of the film may provide orientation for living through the present moment. Just don’t became completely cut off from your feelings and incapable of acting upon them, like the characters in the movie. This is a moment in which you need a cool exterior to navigate the outer world, and the vibrant tech-unsullied soul of a Romantic poet. Basically the fire-and-ice temperament attributed to Eugene Delacroix.
‘I’m afraid that the suit people go to work is a thing of the past,’ Spencer says of the smart office tailoring that once dominated many men’s work wardrobes. As we’ve been confined to our homes, 2020 has seen a significant spike in the sales of the designer’s loungewear pieces, be it Milan jersey slim tracksuit trousers or dressing gowns in windowpane check organic cotton cloth, half zip sweatshirts in cotton fleece or multicoloured melange socks. ‘I think we actually sold out of tracksuit bottoms at one point,’ he laughs.
Here’s what “comfortable” manly dress and “safe” indoor activity could look like for the foreseeable close-your-eyes-it-can’t-be-real future:
(Unseen is the robot ball-feeder on the other side.)
VI) By now people not cut from the same cloth as us, who don’t understand the critical relationship between standards of dress and morale, are already tired of dressing for Zoom meetings. Eight months ago they began in their usual khakis and jeans, but soon realized that their lower half didn’t matter, and so they began ordering sweatpants, since there’s nothing to do these days but shop online anyway. Pajamas were the next stage in the descent to sartorial hell, and now a new company called DickPrint is encouraging workers under house arrest to labor in their underwear as a means of salvaging some sense of virility amid the dark eunuch-like cloud of 2020 that hovers over us.
With many of us still working from home indefinitely, we’ve all adapted our WFH attire to fit a more relaxed work environment – many of us have been guilty of rocking pyjamas bottoms while presenting a professional top half for Zoom meetings. But now, as Christmas is fast approaching, a new trend can be seen among lifestyle and fashion enthusiasts – underwear loungewear. DickPrint is an underwear brand giving men a chance to boldly show off their manhood and build confidence within themselves.
VII) And finally there’s this discussion of Ivy-Style.com from Style And Direction, a new YouTube channel that is certainly headed in the right direction to epitomizing the era. — CC