Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why American Styles dominate Euro Styles: Metrosexuality






A Frenchman friend of mine got mad at me today and complained "what about European vintage clothing?" I had to explain to him that in my opinion there was no such thing!!! He was quite offended...what about Chanel, Dior etc....I replied this is not clothing. Clothing of the street or the basic designs we all wear were not created by Dior or Chanel. Modern work and street wear produced in the modern industrial age were in fact developed in America. The great brands of the 20th century flourished in the New World while Europe was embroiled in WW1 and WW2. North America rose as an industrial superpower, untouched by the wars there was time to develop the new styles synchronous to the new needs of a new age, and with new machines to produce them. My thesis that the best tailors of Europe, mostly of Jewish backgrounds fled to North America and built the modern clothing of today. While Dior et al may have created fashion haute, the major impact of modern clothing was worn and designed for the street. That being said, there are distinct differences between European styling and North American. Compare this Nazi jacket to the American A-2. While menacing, the Nazi jacket is somewhat ornate and fussy, starkly contrasting the simple functionality of the a-2. Shall I say metrosexual vs masculine. While quite scary, this fussiness exists in European styles today, and the masculinity that built the American clothing industry is sadly disappearing.

2 comments:

  1. read the piece about the German and the American uniform pieces on your site. I started a comment and it went off to god knows where .. so I will do this on email for your blog if it interests you. As I have to sell what I write its better that I can make a rich text and maybe use it elsewhere.

    Fascinating proposition. What I started to say is that the German stuff is clearly authoritarian cop stuff. Its intent is not civilian in nature but part of the "shock & awe" crew to attempt to scare the hell out of a civilian population and thereby subjigate them as slaves. Most of the haute couture stuff is similar in nature .. to intimidate those who can not afford it. And contribute to the self engrandisement of those that can. This is distinct from the Coco Channel early designs that created new territories, and industries. I recently saw a beautiful vintage Hermes leather g8 jacket on auction ... but it was really a copy of the designs made for the U.S. Navy in nylon and cloth. With some reference to French military uniforms fro WW1.

    The WW 2 uniforms of the American had a distinctly civilian influence, like the one you show. The leather jacket certainly derived from hipster motorcycle riding culture, that of the mechanized cowboy. The hat ... by its markings from the China Burma India Theater (CBI) and mostly flying C-47's supply and troop transport planes (the army air force version of a long haul truck) over the Himalayas ... a baseball derivative ... the American depression version of Roll & Roll. (If ya played well enough; ya had work.) /could be an enlisted man as officers has the "crush hat" but many tired officers flew their "trucks" like they drove them before the war. Putting in a good hard days work as comfortably as possible. These were work cloths from a culture that knew how to work in a industrial environment & culture.

    Inside the Jacket looks like a theater made Blood Chit which would explained in Chinese under a Chinese flag that the aviator was separated from his plane and was there to help get rid of the Japanese. Anyone helping him back to Allied lines would be rewarded. Originally these were of leather often made in India and sewn on to the back of the jackets. Alas, the lucky guys found out it was better to place them inside the jacket rather than help make a good target. Placement depended on whether or not the guy was right or left handed as it was usually sewn on three sides, leaving the top open so it served as a map pocket. Socially relevant is the concept that someone in an advanced aircraft might well find himself needing and asking for help from a peasant. And that help would be grateful received and honestly compensated.
    .

    The work uniforms seemed pretty variable for combat troops. These were civilian soldiers from a society used to looking for work. CBI & south pacific flyers sometimes used an M-41 field jacket or its navy equivalent .. sans epaulettes as they were more manuverable in the plane, warmer in cold and more open in heat than the more dramatic leathers. Soonr eplaced by early cloth and early nylon flight jackets . Often patched and stitched due to wear and tear. The B-10 cloth very similiar to the A-2 leather but warmer and more comfortable ... morphed into B-15 having the hand warming pockets of the field jackets and P Coats. The cloth coats were painted and patched like the leather jackets often to the point that the unit patched displaced the identity patch which then was sewed to the waist band. So these guys had a real identity. The fellow filling the uniform was more important than its impression. As opposed to the German stuff which was more of a brand. From a culture based upon deceptive marketing.

    These folks were not slobs, they were just wearing work clothes. The dress uniforms were equally well made and more in keeping with a well made civilian suit. The dark officer shirts, lighter ties , gabardine pink pants, etc. Quite, and apparently deliberately different that the decoration for a corrupt European prince ling or a present day bozo dressed in a fitted flight suit landing on an aircraft carrier wherein its sailors and marines were dressed in low bid Chines coats and Vietnamese hats purchased from ostentatious corporate "friends" quick with a campaign bribe and fast to send the money on self aggrandizing preset day "haute Couture" suits, of half the quality of WW 2 issue.

    The validity of the clothing is borne out by its results. I saw a New York Times Magazine Photo of a group of US Army Soldiers dressed out like Darth Vader early on in the Iraq war clearing an Iraqi bedroom amidst children and mothers. Scary enough to make children cry. Called Prof. Nagel's War ... what else but a professor could explain the benefit of showing the entire middle east Darth Vader invading the bedrooms of woman and children. (Nagel is now at a DC "think" tank.) Relate that to the German Uniform ... and how these brands ended. The results of dressing troops aggressively appears to be loosing wars. As per your premise, it does seem there is more to these uniforms than fashion.


    comment from a friend

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  2. Did you censor the swastikas off of the German jacket's patches or have they been cut off?

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