Sunday, August 18, 2013

Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion

I missed this exhibition at the Rhode Island School of Design this summer but this walk through and commentary courtesy of A Suitable Wardrobe gives you a good idea of the scope and pieces in the exhibition. It goes without saying that one of the highlights is Fred Astaire's evening tails.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Barry Lyndon and the importance of wearing hats

Robert Everett-Green, a writer at The Globe and Mail, recently reached out to me regarding Stanley Kubrick's film Barry Lyndon based on the novel by William Thackeray. I haven't met many people who have actually seen this masterpiece, but Rotten Tomatoes has it right. As Everett-Green puts it well in a short piece, the film goes beyond being a mere historical drama that dresses its character in period costume to something that approaches sublime.

Everything comes together in this film in a marvelous way such that the story of a lonely individual, framed by his raw ambition and desire, reveals an even larger, more daunting web of aristocratic expectations, which itself is set against a backdrop of warring European monarchies (Seven Year's War).

Everett-Green quotes the English historian Richard Cobb, “Clothes called to clothes, cutting out words and greetings.” A wonderful and telling quote, referring to that set of unspoken cultural forces compelling men and women to dress alike while also driving them apart in the end.