Saturday, 16 May 2009

VMAN and Leyendecker's vision of manhood

Mattias (left) wears a suit and shirt by Gucci, Tie by Ermenegildo Zegna, shoes by Jil Sander and vintage hat from What Comes Around Goes Around. Mattias wears a suit by Bottega Veneta, shirt by J.Presss, shoes by Emporio Armani and hat by Burberry Prorsum.

The Legends of the Fall editorial from the latest issue of VMAN has certainly caught the attention of the blogosphere and rightfully so because it really is something. It has captured my imagination more than anything my eyes have focussed on these past few months. The classic tailored suits, iconic sportswear and military-inspired pieces shot here by Kaiser Lagerfeld hark back to the sumptuous illustrations by J.C. Leyendecker. Leyendecker's name was not familiar to me before I cam across this editorial but his illustrations certainly were. Leyendecker's work depicts sartorial elegance, patrician demeanor, a certain frostiness, and an identifiable masculinity.

Leyendecker is best known for his creation of the archetype of the fashionable American male with his advertisements for Arrow Collar. Leyendecker’s Arrow Collar Man—a mascot for the menswear company Cluett, Peabody & Co.—became one of first real advertising campaigns and produced the first sex symbol of either gender. In a campaign lasting twenty-five years, Leyendecker portrayed an archetypal American masculinity that was equal parts football hero and urbane man-about-town.

Whether clutching a briar pipe or guiding a winsome debutante across the dance floor, the Arrow Collar Man embodied a vision of American manhood that was both rugged and refined—every woman’s dream. The VMAN shoot as styled by the wonderful Jay Massacret and shot by Largerfeld certainly taps in to this same vision of American masculinity. If these images were being used to try and sell me something then I have no doubt they would succeed. I will leave you with the rest of the delightful editorial to savour and enjoy...

Brian (left) wears sweater by Adam Kimmel, socks by Polo Ralph Lauren, baseball pants, boots and helmut all vintage from What Comes Around Goes Around. Travis wears jackets and hat by DSquared, trousers by Woolrich Woolen Mills, shoes Bottega Veneta and socks by Polo Ralph Lauren.

Antonio (left) wears suit by Tom Ford, shirt by Brioni, bow tie by Dolce & Gabbana. Baptiste wears suit and shirt by Dolce & Gabbana, bow tie by Thomas Pink and gloves by LaCrasia.


Cassiopeia said...

That red jacket is just too cool. The editorial is certainly excellent and thanks for the info on the illustrator - those are some fine drawings! :-)


Laurence John said...

the men in Leyendecker's paintings are far better dressed than those in the shoot. the styling is a bit off for me.

Barima said...

For fictional elegance, you cannot beat Mr. Leyendecker. There's a wonderful entry on him by from last year that encapsulates much about his gift

And while I don't wish to be negative, I wouldn't have associated the editorial with his work at all. The styles in the paintings are dead-on blends of correctness and flair

Style Salvage Steve said...

Cassiopeia: I love the Tom Ford suit jacket as well. Such luxury! I just felt it was a shame that although Leyendecker's influence was mentioned, no one else showcased his work.
Lawrence John: I think the first and last shot shown here compare nicely with the great illustrator. That said, I'd prefer to live in the time depicted by Leydendecker and dress like his American heroes.
Barima: His work certainly left an impression on because his illustrations are featured throughout the site. I agree that the styles in Leydendecker's work are a successful balance between correctness and flair but so are the editorials, they aren't quite as successful but it is hard to beat something fictional. Further, I think you have remember that the work comes from completely different eras and there are different aspirations of manhood today than Leydendecker's golden period.

Barima said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barima said...

Hi Steve. I wouldn't forget for a minute that the 2 sets of works are from different eras (many nostalgics are probably thinking "Thank goodness"), but excepting the casualwear spread, the dress of the photos is within the same canon of menswear that Leyendecker portrayed where shapes and garments are concerned (the main differences between his era and ours come down to cuts and silhouettes, and relatively speaking, the most outdated pieces in the illustrations are actually worn by the women), and for all the "different aspirations of manhood" between eras, the editorial casts a rather direct eye towards the past anyway. We're actually more likely to be in agreement here than not; it's more that I was seeing where Laurence John was coming from too. I know it's hard to beat a fiction - that's why I drew attention to it

If anything, the models themselves have the sort of physical aesthetics that inspired him. And the hair

By the way, I appreciate that you stopped by to comment on my post. Enjoy your visit tomorrow

j said...

I love looking at pictures of former eras and comparing them to the present. Ideas, style, art, concepts all move together. The rugged and refined heroes depicted in the drawings have been replaced by a kind of androgyny. Is America losing its masculinity?

Style Salvage Steve said...

Barima: Well said. We are in agreement. The poor weather today is putting me off venturing too far from the comfort of my flat..
j: A whole blog is no doubt dedicated to this very subject. I took a class at Uni where we looked at the shaping of masculinity throughout modern times. Ad campaigns along with the silver screen were great place to see masculinity in action and draw comparisions with years gone by. Masculinity in my opinion, is on the whole less 'defininite' than in previous eras. The traits we would associate with the hegemonic of yesterday might not be included in the definition today.

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iluwfashion said...

Ahhh there is a fashion God after all. Men's editorials rarely possess the opulence to capture my attention and this one is certainly worth a second look. Stylists and editors tend to be too cautious about depicting the male in a non-feminine way which most often lead to rather dull visuals. Fashion is emotions and emotions are love and women. Femininity is near inescapable if an editorial is to sway and stir emotions.

Thanks for sharing Steve.

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Paul Pincus said...

brilliant homage.

the right inspiration at the right time!!!

Booster Gold said...

I find it amazing how Leyendecker's influence is still rooted in today's fashion world.

I don't particularly like the way these were executed. The painter effect on the photos is tacky; it looks a bit careless and the models seem so small and insignificant.
I do like the American jock reference in the 2nd photo, as Leyendecker certainly loved his football players (almost all of his drawings of athletes were burly footballers with ripped shirts). I also really enjoy the Tom Ford red jacket: the shoulders are so beautifully broad, his pose so leisurely tout. The checkered pants complete the look, and is another Leyendecker reference.

Leyendecker was gay, happy in mutual love with the man (Charles Beach) that inspired Arrow Collar man (they stayed together for 40 years). He was also a fan of Oscar Wilde. Leyendecker is German French and his ritzy speakeasies at his mansion inspired F.Scott Fitzgerald to create Jay Gatsby. Leyendecker died in his upper-class garden on a summer afternoon, drinking imported iced tea, wearing an Arrow Collar shirt, lying in the arms of Beach. Because nobody liked Beach, only a few people attended Leyendecker's funeral (an obvious parallel to Gatsby's death in Fitzgerald's novel).

Booster Gold said...

oh excuse me-
J.C. Leyendecker is an American imagist. He didn't design anything, yet he gave birth to an American style.

Fun Fact:
J.C. stands for Joseph Christian.
However, because of early American nativism, he was actually born Jesus Christ Leyendecker.


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