The Suit: An Appreciation
We’re knee-deep in Milan men’s fashion week, and suit aficionados—myself included—should be happier than pigs in, well, what pigs like to wallow in. Womenswear designers have lately been hearing the call of the suit, too (witness the power-suit-heavy Fall ’10 collections), and looking at both those ladies’ options and the finely tailored Italian versions currently parading through Milan, it’s easy to see why. There’s something so perfect and self-contained about a great suit, whether it’s a classic version, like Ermenegildo Zegna’s, or a jazzed-up new standard, like Prada’s denim-on-denim (pictured), or Martyn Bal’s new eighties revivals at Versace. The suit is a uniform, but worn right, it can be one in the best possible sense of the word—something worn because it enables. I think that’s what Rick Owens was getting at, when, a few years ago, he professed his admiration for the Parisian interior designer Jean-Michel Frank, who whittled his wardrobe down to one perfect item. “Supposedly he has 40 identical gray flannel suits,” he said. “That always impressed me.” Find what really works, and don’t change it. Or change it ever so slightly to fit you. That’s what I thought when I read Karen Wright’s catalog of her run-ins with the incomparable painter David Hockney in More Intelligent Life. Tucked away at the bottom was a great little detail: Hockney, who has famously taken to sketching using iPhone (and now iPad) apps in place of pencil and paper, has his suits altered to accommodate. Each one—even his tuxedo—has a deep inner pocket sewn into the jacket, one that precisely fits the iPad. If you want to be a master, you’ve got to dress the part.
Photo: Marcio Madeira / FirstView.com