Fantastic Man's Buttoned-Up book...
"The simple act of fastening a shirt's highest button and the plainness of the look it creates belies a variety of intricate and complex intentions," Gert Jonkers and Jop van Bennekom declare in unison to begin Fantastic Man's exploration of the buttoned-up shirt. To mark one hundred and fifty years of the London Underground, Penguin have released twelve books to celebrate each line and our favourite men's fashion biannual trundles along the East London Line and notices that few shirt buttons are left undone. Encompassing music, street style, fashion, portraits, an examination of an examination of collar shapes and archive images, the reader is taken on an enthralling expedition.
Having enjoyed the journey from Paul Flynn's schoolboy rebellion to admiring Jop van Bennekom's close ups of construction, eavesdropping on Gert Jonker's conversation with Neil Tennant to stalking the style of today's East London boys, it is Alexander Fury's essay that has left the lasting impression. In his entry, Alexander Fury asks and duly answers an interesting question. "So how much significance can we ascribe to the buttoning and unbuttoning of a collar? In fashion circles, it's the equivalent to a tectonic shift: it may seem small, but it often ricochets off the Richter scale." It certainly is. The tinkering of button undoing by Tom Ford at Gucci has long been felt whilst the precision of the lean precision of Hedi Slimane at Dior Homme still reverberates today. From Ford's sexualisation to Prada's seedier experiments and Simons' continued exertion of youthful control to Ossendrijver's blurring of formal and casual, the effects of button fastening ripple long after the shirt has been tossed in to the laundry basket.
A visual statement. A revelment of sartorial (dis)comfort. An act of social rebellion. A historical mark. A celebration of a subculture. A mark of territory. Over its one hundred and twelve pages, the paperback demonstrates that just how the seemingly simple act of button fastening has all manner of repercussions. Ultimately it is a celebration of a detail, a quirk of individual and collective style. Are you buttoned-up? What does your shirt styling say about you?