After being left utterly inspired by last nights Fashion Pioneers talk our desire to provoke discussion around menswear has undoubtedly intensified. Before we bask in everything that the weekend has to offer we just have to continue our discussion around personal moments of style. There will always be snapshots of style which we look back on that evoke an odd sense of pride or happiness, others might make us cringe, question our sanity before diverting the blame on to the shoulders of an era or an embarrassing trend that once seduced us.
For me, the least stylish moments are the clearer of the two. I have far too many memories of Margate 'geezers' wearing sharp rectangular toe loafers with their ill fitting jeans and tight, unbuttoned party shirts. I still have nightmares. I have even more distinct memories of myself wearing whiter than white Nike Air Max trainers, footballs socks tucked in Nike jogging bottoms and a Fred Perry or Lacoste polo shirt completing this ensemble. The famous Gore Vidal springs to mind when I think about these unfortunate episodes, "Style is about knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn." At these moments of my youth I was the antithesis of style. I looked ridiculously because none of it was me. Anyway, enough admissions from me (for now at least). Here we add to our latest topic by asking three more of our favourite menswear characters to discuss their own moments of style. Why not make yourself a cup of tea and reminisce with tales of Matt Fox's first tuxedo, Paula Gerbase's early obsession with colour and Imran Amed's discovery of 'his designer'.
Tell us about your most stylish moment or memory. And the least.
Matt Fox, shopkeeper, Fine and Dandy
"My most stylish was when I bought my first tuxedo. I was right out of college and living in New York City for the first time. I was working for a theatre company and knew that there would be several events coming up requiring black tie. After doing the math I realized it would be much more economical to own than to rent. I remember clearly being attended to by the eager salesman at Eisenberg and Eisenberg (a NYC institution) and the pride I felt in making that purchase. The salesman then sent me to the tailor next door and I was thrilled with the idea of clothing being altered to fit ME. I picked up my new, customized tuxedo a week later, just days before my first formal event with my company. I wore that tuxedo with such pride, like a matinee idol in an old black and white movie.
My least stylish (or perhaps another most stylish moment) was during my fourth grade Spring Chorus concert. Between sets my older sister came running back stage to tell me that the entire family was totally embarrassed by what I was wearing. Apparently I missed the memo and while the entire chorus was dressed in white long-sleeve dress shirts and black dress pants, I was wearing chinos and a mint green polo shirt (collar popped of course). I didn’t notice how out of place I was until my sister pointed it out and then I was mortified. I laugh now at the image of a sea of 9 year-olds in white with me in the middle popping out in mint green."
Paula Gerbase, designer of 1205.
"When I was eight years old I was living in the US with my parents, and went through a particularly colourful phase. It is not one that reflects my aesthetic these days, but it is a phase that I admire for my absolute freedom to choose what I wanted to wear regardless of whether it was appropriate or if it matched with anything else I had on. As well as colour, this period was led mainly by a need for extreme comfort (hence lots of jersey and baggy sweaters which you can see in the picture).
If there is one piece of clothing that absolutely defines this year in my life, it has to be this ridiculously insane multicoloured / multitextured winter coat which I believe even had mirrors attached to it in panels along the side and back.
I wore the coat for a year or so and it rolled around in the back of my cupboards for quite a few years after, even moving with me and my family to various countries, until it ended up in Switzerland, when my mother finally decided to donate it to charity around 1997.
Fast-forward to 2004, and I'm walking through the corridor of St Martins during my Womenswear BA, and who/what do I spot with the corner of my eye, but my tutor David Kappo wearing my multicoloured coat!! We had a long chat about it and apparently he had bought it in a charity shop in Paris .... The coat had really done a world tour, only to find me at a completely different period in life, quite an amazing path for a single garment!"
Imran Amed, a fashion business adviser, writer and entrepreneur, and Founder and Editor of The Business of Fashion.
"On my most stylish moment...For a couple of years, I have been getting some clothes tailored by ICHO in Japan, who have a knack for understanding my personal aesthetic. Whenever I'm in ICHO, I feel great (here I am wearing a few pieces), and my friend Diane Pernet says that I have found "my designer". They are amazing.
On my least stylish moment...Growing up in Canada I used to perform in a show choir, a la Glee, and although we sounded great, unlike the stars of the television show, our costumes left a little bit to be desired. Picture an offwhite, synthetic tuxedo with emerald green bow tie and cummerbund. Enough said."