Transfiguration: The Brooks Brothers Spring 2013 Collections Catalog

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At first I thought the cover model on Brooks’ latest catalog looks like an Italian soccer player. Then I realized whom he more closely resembles:

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The pages inside may have you exclaiming “Jesus Christ!” as well. — CC

39 Comments on "Transfiguration: The Brooks Brothers Spring 2013 Collections Catalog"

  1. John Paxton | March 17, 2013 at 7:22 am |

    This character should have been at the J. Press York Street grand opening party.

  2. John Paxton – He might be to well dressed to have been in attendance.

  3. John Paxton | March 17, 2013 at 8:00 am |

    ocbd,

    On second thought, you’re right about that!

  4. To which I can only respond, “Lord have mercy!!!”

  5. Officially done with Brooks. I like my Hyde Park OCBDs better anyway.

    (Great headline, btw, Christian. I wonder how many will pick up on it.)

  6. @AJG

    LE’s Hyde Park cloth is quite good, but they have reduced the size of their collars so that they now look ludicrous with a necktie.

  7. AJC,

    In the old days, basic knowledge about the Bible was part of general cultural literacy. I’m afraid that now one has to explain everything:

    1.
    A marked change in form or appearance.

    2.
    The sudden emanation of radiance from the person of Jesus that occurred on a mountain.
    .

  8. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

  9. @Dutch – It might be an exaggeration to say that they look “ludicrous,” but it’s true, their collars are not the most tie-friendly around. Still, as you said, the fabric is good and the price is right, and since I don’t wear a tie that often, it’s not a major concern for me.

  10. Introducing Brooks Brothers: Scruffy Fleece, the line of choice for the Cro Magnon of discriminating taste. The lustrous fabric on our exclusive line of suits appeals to his innate desire to collect shiny objects, while the world-famous Original Polo Buttondown Collar™ (now with less roll!) is just the thing for the more relaxed environment of the hunter-gatherer. Yet the non-iron finish assures Mr. Magnon that his shirt will always be looking less care-worn than his face does.

  11. A.E.W. Mason | March 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm |

    Okay, it’s official; a double suicide: J. Press AND Brooks Brothers.

  12. Dan

    Please send that to the Brooks marketing team. Humor may be the only thing to convince them…

  13. Mr. Wyllys | March 17, 2013 at 6:34 pm |

    Oh Brooks Brother what have you done…Eli Eli lama sabachthani…

  14. This was just to prepare us for the next catalog when they announce that they have removed all OCBD shirts, regimental stripe ties, navy blazers, and grey flannel trousers from their offerings.

    By the way, wouldn’t bit loafers look great with that lustrous fabric?

  15. Nobody has commented yet on that atrocious necktie or on that woman who looks like a drug addict.

  16. The photos of the York Street Party and now this catalog. There’s some scary stuff going on out there.

  17. These are some of the best comments on Ivy Style ever! Congratulations, commentariat, on a job well done.

  18. J.J. Rodale | March 17, 2013 at 10:15 pm |

    All along, we’ve been trying to protect the Brothers Brooks and J. Press from being killed, and now we discover that they decided to commit suicide.

  19. Philly Trad | March 17, 2013 at 10:19 pm |

    Christian,

    Please tell us that you’ve been pulling our leg with a phony catalog cover.

  20. Dutch Uncle | March 17, 2013 at 10:29 pm |

    “We are not good because we are old, but rather, we are old because we are good.”

    – Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brooks Brothers

    No comment!

    – Dutch Uncle

  21. @Tabor Kid

    I actually posted it on their Facebook page a few weeks ago when they published this picture. I’m still waiting for a phone call.

    And yes, Christian, the tie and lady are quite terrible. Actually, I can forgive the female model, if she weren’t wearing that lapel’d smock. The tie (the entire image, in fact) looks like something from Banana Republic circa 2003. Except they’d at least have the decency to dress the woman.

  22. Richard Meyer | March 18, 2013 at 3:20 am |

    Lord, have mercy.

  23. Richard Meyer | March 18, 2013 at 4:13 am |

    Isn’t that the American Taliban guy?

  24. Brooks Brothers an American tradition until 2013.

  25. This cover is clearly targeting the international marketplace. I didn’t know that it’s hip to wear shirts and collars that fit so poorly by traditional standards. Note jacket and collar fit.

  26. I think that there is a proper method of bringing oters into the big tent here. I think that more folks might consider the style, if they can picture themselves wearing these products.
    When you only show models who fit the perfect WASP look, others may choose to ignore the act purchasing Trad styles. Personally I think that a male model resembling a guy like Tom Selleck, is alot better wearing this style in an ad, than is a totally WASPY looking model who looks the sterotype of a 16-year old rich nerd.
    Just my humle opinion here!

  27. I think you’ve made a huge assumption here that what many would find a false note — or at least a jarring one — in the choosing of the cover model is his race or ethnicity. There are many more things in play here, including the simple notion of mood.

  28. Dan:

    Good news. It seems York Street has already won over the business of the Magnon family. Look here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulandwilliams/8554869506/in/set-72157632983604069/lightbox/ . It’s Mr. and Mrs. Magnon at the grand opening.

  29. Anyone remember the “Boys in Company C”? The haircut scene? Went something like this: (Sgt.) “Well hello, Jesus…..” (to barber) “Be sure to give Jesus a good haircut.”

    That’s what is wanted here.

  30. Richard Meyer | March 18, 2013 at 5:18 pm |

    Even a caveman can wear this.

  31. Richard Meyer | March 18, 2013 at 5:20 pm |

    @ Tabor Kid: I think that’s Mr. and Mr. Magnon. @ Jim: Yes, that does bring otters into the big tent.

  32. I find it ironic, that the shirt shown is one of their traditional,US made all cotton, non treated shirts. That only represents about 2% of the shirts they offer these days, and the only one I purchase. When I was there a few weeks ago there was only one vertical shelf of these shirts, offered in white, blue, yellow (I think), pink, and this blue stripe. There were dozens and dozens of shelves, of their Malaysian made treated no-iron cotton shirts, in many many patterns and colors.

  33. Their suits look really funny, fit bad on people of all proportions, and are sewn (“assembled”?) using techniques inferior to those used by Sears, Roebuck in its catalogue suits 50 years ago. Their wool fabrics, even the fancy Italian stuff, feel cheap and plasticky. Their dress overcoats are styled like old army-issue jeep coats from Bastogne. Their neckties tend to be bright and glossy with cartoonish colors. Their logo show up on everything, like Polo circa 1989. Their sweaters are poorly made, incorrectly sized, and vastly overpriced. There is no longer any sense of style — any style — or purpose or reason for being. It’s just bad stuff.

  34. Christian: “There are many more things at play here, etc.”

    What might those other things be?

  35. Look at the comments above, including your own.

  36. @Dutch Uncle – another irony, ‘Vecchio’ in Italian means ‘old’….

    @Tabor Kid – you almost cost me my job as I read your comment while ‘working’, opened the photo and emitted an eruptive laugh that made colleagues choke on their candybars. Thank you nonetheless for a moment of hilarity in a rather gloomy period.

  37. Man…you guys are really crucifying them.

  38. A.E.W. Mason | March 22, 2013 at 2:32 am |

    Note the piece entitled “Bright Young Things” near the back of the new Brooks Brother’s catalogue. (The “new” Brooks Brothers, indeed.) Note that the word “YOUNG” is in a point type twice the size of the other two words. With this, Brooks Brothers invites us to “follow [the] adventures” of Kiel James Patrick and friends on Twitter. “Bright Young Things” was the original title of Evelyn Waugh’s novel “Vile Bodies,” a satire on the lives of young, decadent social wastrels flitting about England between the Wars, drinking, taking drugs, smashing up things and people (hmm, sounds Gatsby-like). Brooks Brothers (along with J. Press) used to reflect not YOUTH, but a subtle and graceful sobriety befitting people who were responsible adults. It was so long ago (pre-1960s) that we forget that it was precisely that to which young people used to aspire. In a sense, too, it was particularly “American,” inasmuch as by 1918 America was embarking on her role as a kind of “parent”—financial and otherwise—to a bickering and out-of-control Europe. Today, one could say “we’re all out-of-control now.” So, yes, Brooks must emphasize its new “YOUNGNESS”; grace, manners, restraint—and, apparently, shaving—no longer entice the buyer who aspires not to be himself, but a character out of a Waugh novel.

  39. I think that the cover of the Spring 2013 Brooks catalogue was surely intentional, after all, why wouldn’t you feature Jesus Christ on the cover during Easter season? What a wonderful endorsement for the religious.
    On a more serious note, however, I would like to point out to all the doomsayers that there are actually many things which Brooks does quite well. For those people who moan and groan about the deteriorating quality of the products, have they actually shopped at a Brooks store lately? I’ve been a shopper with them for the last 30+ years, and my father and grandfather shopped there before me, so I’ve seen and experienced the changing fortunes of the company. There was a time when I stopped shopping with them entirely. What has pulled me back, and has continued to keep me going back, is the rededication to quality and innovation that Claudio Del Vecchio brought to Brooks when it could have faded away into obscurity. Do I like everything they do? No, but I like enough of what they have that I feel I can always find something in their stores that I would want.
    Reading the preceding comments (some of which are very funny, by the way, and some of which are just ludicrous) , I am reminded that there really are a lot of people who really do love this brand and have made it a part of their lives. I would point out, however, that change in styles, design, etc., are necessary parts of any business if it is to remain successful in order to survive and prosper. I do think that whoever was a part of the group at Brooks Brothers who culled the images for this catalogue can be legitimately faulted for poor aesthetic choices as far as the layout and presentation is concerned. Conveying the idea that the company is now becoming global could have been far more effectively conveyed if we had seen photos taken on the streets of London, Paris or Santiago with Latin, Asian or African faces (and not just white faces-in the interest of full disclosure, I am white, myself) showcasing the casual elegance that American style and Brooks Brothers represents, rather than this pastiche of images that look as if they were assembled by a team of MBAs (Masters of Brand Annihilation) bent on demonstrating how hip they are.
    Be uncomfortable and challenged by change if you must, but also, be realistic and keep things in their proper perspective. Brooks will surely go through some more changes as it moves forward, but I am looking forward to what the future brings rather than crying about the spilled milk of the past.

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