mid-century maunderings for men who know better
Vanity Fair’s 73rd international best dressed poll, eagerly looked forward to by scions of once powerful European dynasties, BVI private box holders, minor television celebrities and “entrepreneurs”, offers much in the way of sartorial excess and vulgar accessorizing. However, if you look carefully you may find that it is possible to be well dressed despite being rich, famous and idle.
Ozwald Boateng ALWAYS looks great. Do you like how he is carrying his accoutrements so as not to spoil the lines of his suit? In fact he looks better in his own clothes than just about anybody else. He is a tailor and opened his first shop in Vigo street when he was barely thirty. His house is now around the corner, on Savile Row proper in the old Anderson and Sheppard premises, and his ready to wear line is made in the former Chester Barrie factory, so while continually striving to create something new in British tailoring, he upholds the old traditions of the Savile Row. He was the youngest, and first black tailor to open on the Row and was mentored by the flamboyant Tommy Nutter. He cites his father’s suits as his inspiration, and smoothmodernist detects a reinterpretation of the swenka style in his ‘I love Soweto collection’. Hollywood can’t get enough of his slim lines and exhuberant fabrics. Ozwald Boateng is not for everyone, but then who is?
Tom Brady is another gridiron player. He has appeared in VF over the past months as a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. He is at his zenith in Tom Ford. smoothmodernist prefers gents that dress themselves and looking back it is clear that the steady hand of a sensible bride or even a professional stylist has been responsible for his transformation. Nonetheless, there are few in the public eye that take such pride in their appearance. Well done Tom Brady.
Jay-Z beltless in Tom Ford. Perhaps that dinner jacket was just an aberration. Here he makes it look easy. It is a testament to them both. If smoothmodernist absolutely had to wear suits bought off the rack then Tom Ford would be the man to make them.
Jean Pigozzi is an art collector. “I choose amazing funny patterns and have them made in Hong Kong”. He is also, as you can see, a photographer. He lives in Geneva and apparently has a habit of forgetting where he put his jumper. He is the second man featured in this list to cite Gianni Agnelli as an influence. Here is the man himself stretching his calves at St Moritz. Dig the Omega Seamaster:
smoothmodernist declares Bill Cunningham the best dressed man in the whole list for 2012. Much-loved fashion photographer for the New York Times, he is 83 and still snapping. This is how he appears dressed for work:
And this is how he dresses to go out:
And don’t the ladies love Bill?
Here are two men that didn’t make the list. Why, who knows?
You’ve seen those ads spruiking hair dye for men. They always end up with the hitherto ignored former greyman getting stroked by some hot chick who likes to hang out in sports bars waiting for a middle-aged man that dyes his hair. Don’t believe it gents. Ladies LOVE men with grey hair. Cary Grant, Richard Gere, John Slattery, George Clooney, Hugh Laurie and…
Anderson Cooper, who clearly likes to remain co-ordinated even when a bucks night prank goes wrong. While smoothmodernist prefers trunks to briefs, Anderson’s co-ordination of hair, briefs and the second horizontal rib of his socks is subtle and sublime. This however is not the reason he should be in the 2012 best dressed list…
This is. Notice, he too, carries his necessary accoutrements so as to maintain a clean line. The Peabody award recognises distinguished public service in broadcasting. It would appear Anderson Cooper does more than wear clothes and go to parties.
Of course nobody expects to see Paul Weller on a VF best dressed list, but at 54 he still sets the pace. Despite an unfortunate penchant for button up t-shirts and a best forgotten trilby experiment, this man continues to wield an influence over modern stylists old and young.
Over the past five decades smoothmodernist has seen Weller progress from french crew to Steve Marriott backcomb to the rinsed feather cut above. Also his lapels, collars and ties have expanded outward. In his old age he has skipped the Regency Dandy period favoured by late sixties mods with no interest in Afghan robes and hemp and gone straight for the Tommy Nutter style. He also prefers seventies revival thirties-style two-tone brogues. These can be seen in the latest campaign for U.S. designer, John Varvatos.
Here he appears with acolyte Miles Kane, who seems to be wearing the Ian Mclagan version of the backcomb Weller wore through the early eighties. smoothmodernist does not endorse the contrasting lapel fabric on Kane’s jacket.
The best dressed man in September’s Vanity Fair is not on the 73rd international best dressed poll but further along in the magazine. This man epitomises everything a well-dressed man should be. He is both careless and careful of his appearance and looks as if once dressed, he forgets his clothes and simply inhabits them as a second skin. He is, of course, Fred Astaire.