What’s up, guys? Or shall I say….…. Good morrow….. Sophisticat’d men…. Because this week, WWD reported that men are getting very refined in their online shopping habits. A Lyst study commissioned by the paper shows that over the past year, men have gravitated away from “directional brands”– the ones that ply luxury streetwear – and are instead reaching for “pure luxury players,” a list that’s topped by Gucci and also includes Moncler, Givenchy, and Ralph Lauren.
That’s right: the hypebeast hath become the hypegent.
Maybe men, like me (a woman), have been reading nonstop Evelyn Waugh, and what else can you wear while having a champagne picnic with your teddy bear? Maybe these men read the Fall 2019 Trend Report, which predicted the return of good taste and a renewed interest in heritage brands and new designers who just act like their forebearers.
Men’s buyers tell WWD that this is the shift from casual dressing to a “high-fashion, post-streetwear” world; in other words, the natural order of the trend cycle. But over the past 15 years, even as the trend cycle continues its usual churn, fashion has been getting more and more casual. The formalness of runway fashion in menswear has ebbed and flowed, but this e-commerce-driven shift, in which men are actually buying more tailored clothing and more subtle stuff that’s less graphic-driven, suggests that the tide is really reversing, and not just in the minds of designers. HMMMM!
Speaking of fancy men: Keith Richards! Richards’s backstage demands are legendary. He loves, for example, Shepherd’s Pie, and has a rule that only he is allowed to “bust the crust.” In addition to this culinary eccentricity, it’s now emerged that Richards has two other significant items in his backstage arsenal, per the following from the Daily Mail:
- Keith Richards has ashtray that absorbs smoke for the benefit of Mick Jagger
- Guitarist's motorised ashtray taken on tour so as not to upset Jagger backstage
- The 75-year-old also has a hotel bell so that he can summon his guitar technician
That really says it all, but we’ve got a vague word count to reach here, so I will add that it is touching to think of Richards, who has a long history of aggravating Jagger, trying to be so considerate of his friend’s recent health ailments. And not doing so by so pedestrian as measure as quitting smoking, but by buying a weird – fancy – invention, the kind of thing that James Spader might have added to his wedding registry at the Sharper Image in 1987. And what is a Fancy Man without his trousseau – his keys and and half a Valium in his vide poche, his handkerchief embroidered with something like, “Le Schnozz,” his walking stick with a secret flask inside, his motorised ashtray, and his hotel bell to ring the trusty old guitar technician in two shakes of a lamb’s tail (which can presumably be slain by Jagger’s personal chef to, oh heck, make another batch of Shepherd’s Pie)?
Now onto something more stylish, more subtle, more tactile, more homespun, more breakable, more delicate: is this the summer we hit Peak Ceramics? Ceramics have been hot for a while, but now, people with other amazing jobs and talents are here to inform us that by the way, they also make amazing pots.
It was a year or two ago that you may have noticed your friends emailing you to come look at a bunch of pinch pots they’d labored over, glazing them in unfriendly green shades. “Blah, blah, blah,” they probably said, adding a bunch of stuff about how cool ceramics are, including something along the lines of, “Japan.”
But since then, that passion seems to have trickled up into the minds of some real geniuses, and this summer Ceramics as a Side Hustle hit record heat. Antwerp Six’er Ann Demeulemeester was in the New York Times last week talking about her beautiful new line of plates and glasses. In fact, in the past month, the paper has published nine stories about people who either make (just for fun!) or collect ceramics – including Jonathan Anderson, who has made ceramics a part of the oeuvre at Loewe, where is the creative director. Two different artists make ceramics out of designer shoes. I suppose working with the hand has never felt better, especially if you are a fashion designer, a job that can now be done via Instagram and a few vague hand gestures. See you at the potter’s wheel, Fancy Men!