This is a lovely short film shot by Andrew Yamato for The Museum at FIT. It’s for their new exhibit on 1930s fashion, titled “Elegance in an Age of Crisis.” For more, you can check out the second half to this video, which focuses on womenswear, as well as the special we shot on the exhibit’s opening day. 

For those unable to visit the museum, a book accompanying the exhibit is available for pre-order on Amazon. I’ve already bought my copy and am now eagerly waiting for it to arrive. 

"Elegance in an Age of Crisis" Exhibit

I swear, New York City seems to get all the awesome menswear-related events. Sample sales, tradeshows, and really, really fantastic exhibits like this one. 

The Museum at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) is holding a special exhibitions gallery from February 7th until April 19th on the fashions of the 1930s. That’s the decade that’s most often considered the “Golden Age” for classic men’s style, and the single most influential time for how we think of classic men’s dress today. 

The exhibit will feature both men’s and women’s clothing, and have a number of outstanding examples of bespoke tailoring from that period. Seen above? The first is a cream jacket from Rubinacci, a tailoring house in Naples, Italy. It’s made from tussah silk, which is a textured material somewhat like the nubby stuff we see advertised today as “raw silk.” This was considered to be a very aristocratic cloth at the time in Naples. The man who made the jacket was Vincenzo Attolini, a Neapolitan tailor who’s most often credited with having invented the soft shouldered, “deconstructed” Neapolitan cut. It is a style that today has defined Neapolitan tailoring. 

The smoking jacket you see in the middle was made by Gardner and Wooley. It was tailored from green velvet and satin. Gentlemen used to wear these at home when they were smoking tobacco (usually in the form of pipes or cigars), or just when they were lounging about, entertaining guests or hosting semi-formal occasions. The jacket’s purpose was to prevent smoke or ashes from getting onto the wearer’s business clothes or formalwear. 

Finally, the three-piece suit you see at the end was made by Anderson & Sheppard in London. It’s difficult to tell from the small photo, but if you look closely, you can see the chest is cut a bit full. Notice how there’s extra cloth that “drapes” vertically near the armholes? This is what’s known as the “drape cut,” a style that was invented by the Dutch-English tailor Frederick Scholte and then popularized by Edward VIII (better known to some as the Duke of Windsor). Scholte later passed his technique on to an apprentice named Per Anderson, who of course is the “Anderson” in Anderson & Sheppard. It may interest some readers to know that the drape cut was also the precursor to the zoot suit, which was a style deeply embedded in both jazz music and racial politics in 1940’s America. Many may be familiar with the history of the Zoot Suit Riots

Anyway, as I was saying, the exhibit opens next week. It was co-curated by Bruce Boyer, a remarkable menswear writer (having penned some of my favorite books, such as Elegance and Eminently Suitable) and a previous guest in our video series. I’m deeply sad I’m not in NYC and thus won’t be able to go. On the upside, there’s a book being released that will give a more in-depth study of the clothes featured. I’ve already put in a pre-order. 

Ivy Style Symposium
The Museum at FIT, which has been holding the special exhibition on Ivy Style, is having a symposium on the same subject November 8th and 9th. The list of scheduled speakers is impressive. Included are menswear authors Bruce Boyer, Daniel Cappello, Jeffery Banks, and Doria de La Chapelle; bloggers John Tinseth of The Trad, Dusty Grainger of Maxminimus, and Clark Aldrich of The Daily Prep; industry folks such as Richard Press, Paul Winston, and Michael Bastian; and finally a bunch of academics who have written on the subject of men’s dress. The presentations and subsequent conversations here are sure to be worthwhile. 
If you’re interested, you can read more about the symposium here. The deadline for pre-registration is October 26th. Tickets aren’t cheap ($100 for both days to the general public), but students get in free with proper ID. 

Ivy Style Symposium

The Museum at FIT, which has been holding the special exhibition on Ivy Style, is having a symposium on the same subject November 8th and 9th. The list of scheduled speakers is impressive. Included are menswear authors Bruce Boyer, Daniel CappelloJeffery Banks, and Doria de La Chapelle; bloggers John Tinseth of The Trad, Dusty Grainger of Maxminimus, and Clark Aldrich of The Daily Prep; industry folks such as Richard Press, Paul Winston, and Michael Bastian; and finally a bunch of academics who have written on the subject of men’s dress. The presentations and subsequent conversations here are sure to be worthwhile. 

If you’re interested, you can read more about the symposium here. The deadline for pre-registration is October 26th. Tickets aren’t cheap ($100 for both days to the general public), but students get in free with proper ID. 

Ivy Style Exhibit Coming to FIT: Sept. 14th - Jan. 5th

If you haven’t already heard, The Museum at FIT in New York City is hosting an exhibition on the classic American “Ivy League style.” The exhibit, simply titled Ivy Style, will show the development of the look over three distinct periods: the interwar years of the 1920s and ’30s, the post-war era to the end of the ’60s, and the style’s revival from the ’80s to present. In the first period, the interwar years, American clothiers Brooks Brothers and J. Press took classic English pieces such as tweed jackets and polo coats, and appropriated and modified them for young men in elite East Coast colleges. After the second World War, the “Ivy League look” started to disseminate across the United States. OCBDs, khaki chinos, and penny loafers were adopted by a much larger, more diverse population, including working class GIs and jazz musicians. Finally, after a period of dormancy in the 1970s, Ivy League style started to see a revival, from the ’80s until today. 

The exhibition will be on view from September 14th until January 5th. The museum is also running its annual fashion symposium on November 8th and 9th. This year’s talk will be connected to the Ivy Style exhibit and will feature speakers such as Bruce Boyer and Christian Chensvold, as well as other scholars and designers. We’ll publish info on that symposium as the date approaches, but for the time being, we encourage you to check out the exhibit. 

For those not lucky enough to be able to attend, know that a more in-depth study of the Ivy League look will be featured in the accompanying book, also titled Ivy Style. It will contain essays written by the museum exhibit’s curator, Patricia Mears; scholars such as Dr. Peter McNeil, Dr. Christopher Breward, and Dr. Masafumi Monden; and leading menswear writers Bruce Boyer and Christian Chensvold. Boyer and Chensvold, in my opinion, have written (and continue to write) some of the best material on classic men’s style, and I’m really looking forward to reading their new project. You can pre-order it now on Amazon