Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ozwald Boateng: Who shapes your style?

The team at Ozwald Boateng kindly invited me to attend their September 22nd show in London. Due to other commitments, I am unfortunately unable to attend and report back to my readers.

Ozwald Boateng 2010 show

However, there is an iTunes audio interview (15 min) of Mr. Boateng as he strolls along Savile Row. I don't own any of his suits but he's certainly an articulate spokesperson for his firm and brand. I found this quote striking and provocative - "Once you have something well cut you can change proportions. So let's say you have a 38 inch waist, if you have a really well cut suit, you can knock two inches off your waist".

It's interesting because it highlights two profoundly different views of the suit or jacket. Should the jacket take the leading role in shaping how you look? Or should your natural form (chest, shoulder, etc) do more of the job in informing your look? In other words, should you change what you have or use what you have?

You will undoubtedly find individuals who believe adamantly in one or the other. I, for one, believe we're all better off in having both options available, experimenting and making an informed decision (or decisions), and adapting over time.

Boateng is getting at the construction of "style" and proposing the tailor play an active role in shaping it. I would add that the ability to project style depends on a few ingredients: one part material reality (i.e. I have a size 38 waist), one part self-perception and one part perception by others.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I don't own any of his suits but he's certainly an articulate spokesperson for his firm and brand."

Most designers who choose to discuss their work in public are "articulate." Or did you feel the need to mention that because Boateng is black?

sleevehead said...

Not at all. On my blog, a compliment is a compliment.