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Hegemony is a Hideous style statement.

'A man of true style should be noticed for who he is not what he wears' is a statement that is all too easily misinterpreted. It does NOT mean that what he wears is of no consequence. Quite the opposite in fact. But what he wears must describe what he is . . . seamlessly.   This is a challenge for many men for whom translating their 'inner me'  in visual terms is even harder than it is in verbal ones.

Its not that men are lazy as such, but that a certain indolence is the sad but inevitable result of the establishment of the Suit as the sine plus ultra  if acceptable male dressing. In fact the trouser suit is arguably  the single most significant visual sign of male power that the western world has to offer. Despite being constantly tweaked it is virtually fashion proof - no wonder it has had more longevity than any other sartorial form.  A good suit maketh a man especially in the public space at work and on high days and holidays but the rest of the time he can feel free to bum around in fleaces, canvas cargos and holey rugby tops without lessening his stake in the world . . . . . UUUUUUUGH Hegemony is a Hideous style statement!

It must be said that the trouser suit is (conceptually and aesthetically speaking) a beautiful thing and an icon of modernity akin to the light bulb or the silicone chip. BUT the down side of men being provided with this precious and historically weighted object and thereby 'told' how to dress in order to look smart is the complete dearth of visual/ sartorial imagination and the almost total repression of creative pleasure in dressing up that has resulted in the brains of 80% of the male population of Great Britain and probably 95% of males across the Atlantic. The general conservatism of the Esquire 'Best Dressed Men List' is merely another example of this. The list is a full and frank demonstration of the extraordinary but true fact that a man's individuality has to find its expression in the details (sometimes microscopic ones) of his tailoring.

I am sure I will come back to these musings at some later date but I have to confess that I have been much preoccupied after having been set the challenge of reviewing what I freely confess is the heavy female bias of my style icons list. The criteria that make a man a style icon seem so different to those of women and relatively few of my male clients and acquaintances will actually admit to actually having one or even having thought about it.  They look baffled when I ask them whose style they admire.


But for some the truth or dare response is a lusty confession that is immediate and unashamed especially after a few drinks at a dinner party. ‘Lenny Kravitz’ offered one media pundit, with great enthusiasm I would LUUUUUUVE to dress like him. ‘Paul Weller’ offered a ‘director of menswear’ almost swooning with admiration. My own dear other half whose, style I admire enough never to dare interfere with, will always say Steve McQueen in a short sleeve sweatshirt in the Great Escape is his pinnacle of sartorial cool.  But then he also always cites Jules Holland and Prince Charles (interestingly they are good friends I have been told) as men who know how to dress.


I have my theory about this – because being his partner I guess I can pick apart the poor man's sartorial predilections in public:  Jules Holland is cool because he knows how to translate a chappy well tailored look into something a little more ‘rock and roll’ (but not too much) that suits most men and keeps them looking slick once the sartorial and physiognomic ‘challenges’ of middle age creep in. Prince Charles, is cool because he still manages to retain a certain stealth eccentricity within the bounds of his unwavering British traditionalism and even more painfully unwavering ‘good taste’.  This is a balance that other men of limited wealth and limited taste can only dream of achieving.


I conclude that all three of these men - McQueen, Holland, Windsor, - are unique versions of a sort of unassailable masculinity articulated through ‘a certain style’: . . . tough, smooth, gentlemanly men’s men whose clothes describe 'who they are' . . . well within the mould of a traditionally tailored masculinity but subtly rebellious with it.


Anyhow here are the provisional results of my research: An Icons List for Clients and blog followers alike to pillage from.


Sartorial Aesthetes and Decadents: Beau Brummel, Oscar Wilde, Quentin Crisp, Andy Warhol, The 18th century Macaroni, Henry Holland.

Androgenes (subset of latter): Boy George, David Bowie, Eddie Izzard, Kurt Cobain Noel Fielding (of The Mighty Boosh).

Debonair: Terry Thomas, Brian Ferry, Cary Grant, Graham Hill, Jules Holland, Noel Coward, PDiddy, Peter Wingard, David Walliams, Roger Moore (as Bond).

English Gent (subtle variation of latter): Robin Hood, Sir Frances Drake, David Niven, John Steed, Alan Wicker, Frank Muir.

Easy Maestro (its all about the music honestly):Nigel Kennedy, Rufus Wainright, Lenny Kravitz, John Lennon, Miles Davis, Nick Drake, JayZ.

Greatness having Been trust upon them: Lapo Elkann, Prince Charles, Tom Ford (crown prince of fashion), Henry VIII, Prince Albert of Monaco, Guy Richie (always now madonna's Ex).

Immaculate (Male) Authority: Giovanni Agnielli, Barak Obama, Humphry Bogart, Sean Connery (as Bond), Michael Caine (The Italian Job).

Rebels Without a Cause: James Dean (obviously), Marlon Brando, Chet Baker, Elvis Presley, Joe Strummer, Ian Curtis. Mark Bolan.

Romantics: Lord Byron, Adam Ant, Jimmi Hendrix, Prince, Russel Brand, Mick Jagger, Johnny Depp.

Urban Cool: David Hemmings (in Blow Up), Jean-Paul Belmondo, Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Starsky and Hutch, Paul Weller,

Refuseniks: Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall, Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Marco Pierre-White,

All American: Robert Redford (As Gatsby) any Ralph Lauren Model, Brad Pitt.

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