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Alexis Walker
Category Curator

born: 1977
born in: Halifax, NS
lives in: Montreal, QC
Fashion is the dark horse of the art world; the sartorial arts are often seen as a frivilous, and less important medium for artistic expression. I think these views are completely ridiculous! Fashion occupies a special place in which art, beauty... [more]

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Unknown User says:
“Hi Alexis! Just wondering if you were still interested in an interview, I posted my email as a reply to your post on my page. All the best! -devlyn”
Posted over 5 years ago
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I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of my top 5 best dresses fellows in honor of my love of menswear.  These guys were/are all impeccable dressers, but with a wide variety of persomal style.  I think what they all share is fierce individuality, sophisticated tastes, and a sense of daring.  Although I can think of many others who are also inspired dressers ( Brian Ferry, Oscar Wilde, John Galliano, and obviously David Bowie), these men were/are so stylish and sexy, that to me they personify the quintessential dandy.


 


1. Keith Richards


My all time favorite man!  Richards has always epitomized the rock and roll outlaw, and his rebellious fashion sense brought together a mish mash of cultures and eras.  I personally liked Richards the best in the seventies with his bespoke 3 piece suits, fedoras, skarves and leather.  His girlfriend at the time, Anita Pallenberg, was also a fashion icon.  The two of them together were like fabulous psychedelic peacocks.  Fab!



 


2. Lapo Elkann


This heir to the Fiat fortune is known for both his scandalous lifestyle and his elegant tailoring.  Elkann's grandfather was Fiat founder Gianni Agnelli, himself a fashion plate in the 1950s and 1960s.  Apparently on Agnelli's death, Elkann inherited his wardrobe ( a magnificent collection of bespoke suits and accoutrements).  He always looks so refined and put together, but with a definate edge and attitude.  I big time heart Lapo!



 


3. Franz Lizst


Lizst is considered to be one of the greatest piano virtuosos who ever lived, but he was also a famous romantic era dandy.  Over the course of his life Lizst left a trail of broken hearted women (including a Countess who left her husband and children for the pianist).  You can always spot a dandy by his beautiful suits, but it goes much deeper.  A true dandy's life is dedicated to the art of personal perfection in every way; they are really uncapable of loving others as they love themselves above all else.  The look in his eyes says it all; Lizst is untouchably elegant, cold, confident, and refined.  Again, heart!



 


4. David, Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII of Great Britain)


The British invented dandyism in the nineteenth century. Between their mighty armies (filled with well dresses officers) and Savile Row expertise, London was the established as the center for sartorial male elegance by the Romantic Era.  David, Prince of Wales was considered to be the finest dresser in the world during the twenties and thirties, and really personified the classic British dandy.  He set international trends with his quirky colorful sportswear, and more relaxed cuts of suits.  As king, Edward VIII shocked the world when he abdicated his throne in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. I think he should also be remembered as one of the best dressed men of the twentieth century.



 


5. Marcello Mastroianni


Last but not least, Mastroianni's suave and easygoing style in the late fifties really set the stage for sixties men's fashion.  Through his sporting of elegant, close fitting suits in films like La Dolce Vita, Mastroianni helped popularize 'The Continental Look,' and Italy became the fashionable center for menswear for a time.  These continental suits were more youthful and simple; they were not the padded bulky business suits of the autere 1950s businessman.  By the sixties, the focus of fashion has switched to youth culture, and Mastroianni became an icon of Italian style.


“I keep on looking back :) It's really nice from the past to the future. ”
Posted over 3 years ago
“Nice outfit! :) ”
Posted over 3 years ago
“ditto, and a big fan of Marcello. Love that they are on the same list. ”
Posted over 4 years ago
“Nice list. Big Keith fan!”
Posted over 4 years ago
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I know I've written about Betty Catroux before, but she is one of my favorites.  Her personal style iss so dark and masculine. Betty's love of black and leather set against her white blonde hair makes her such a cool and sophisticated beauty, and a longtime muse to Yves Saint Laurent.


Here are some great photos of Betty...I just love her! You never saw her in revealing dresses or bright colors, yet her femininity and sex appeal is undeniable.  


Betty Catroux is a fantastic fashion icon, and a worthy subjet for my menswear theme.  Enjoy!





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Posted about 1 year ago
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Lately I have been more and more interested in menswear.  I have always loved and studied womens fashion, but on a trip to Paris recently I saw the military uniform collections at Les Invalides.  It was amazing; the beautifully tailored uniforms made me swoon thinking about the officers swaggering around town. 


The more I think about men's fashion the more I appreciate the subtle attention to detail.  I love that good menswear is really all about the man; all the great dandies had impeccably flawless personas to match their fine tailoring.


I read something said about Nancy Cunard once (a great beauty and arts figure in the twenties).  Someone described her as 'masculine and metallic;' how fabulous is that! That is exactly what I want.


 In my younger years, I really liked dressing in feminine, layered and pretty clothes.  Lately, I am more and more attracted to dark colors, and masculine tailoring.  Nothing looks better or more sexy on a woman than a fitted blazer and trousers.  There's something wonderfully subversive about it, but at the same time you never feel more feminine.


So, in honor of my menswear obsession, here are some posts on the boys.  Here are some photos from the recent fall 2010 collections...



Comme des Garcons



Raf Simons



Yves Saint Laurent



Rick Owens

“Good stuff! Glad the fashion sense of myself and my fellow gender is being noticed and appreciated. ”
Posted over 4 years ago
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I thought I would post some images of Andre Courreges sixties space age fashions today.  Courreges, along with Parisian couturiers like Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin were largely reponsible for the youthful and fun space age looks of the mid nineteen-sixties.  Courreges had recieved his training under the great couturier Christobal Balenciaga; while Balenicaga's clothes should be considered as modern masterpieces, Courreges took things a step further and made fashions for the future.



His clothing from the sixties is characterized by their simple cuts, often A-line silhouette, and often monochromatic color schemes.  In addition to his futuristic fashions, Courreges often designed matching sunglasses, go-go boots, and helmet-like hats to match his dresses.  One of his most famous clients from the decade was the French pop singer Francoise Hardy; she preferred to wear his simple pant suits for her public performances.


 


I hope you like his work; Courreges is one of my favorite designers of the twentieth century.  I guess what I like most about his work is that it never takes itself too seriously.  His dresses were haute couture, but their youthful energy makes me long for an era when fashion was about having fun, expressing your individuality, and making bold statements through dress.



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A couple of weeks ago, I went to see the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to see their current exhibition, John William Waterhouse: Garden of Enchantement.  Not only is an exhibition like this a unique experience (it has been since the 1970s since Waterhouse had his last retrospective show), but it is a chance to see some of the most beautiful, romantic, and magical paintings of the late nineteenth century.



Waterhouse is a bit of a sphinx; not a lot is known about his life.  Although he left behind a great body of work, the man himself remains to this day a bit of a mystery.  His work is often associated with the style of the Pre-Raphaelite painters of the mid nineteenth century; he was in fact born in the year of the group's first major exhibition.  Although his style is reminiscent of artists like Dante Rossetti, he was active from the 1870s onward, and developed his own unique visual language.  His paintings show romantic and mystical visions of ancient myths and the medieval era.  His subjects are often women (many femme fatales), and their radiant natural beauty is totally captivating.



From a fashion history point of view, Waterhouse's work gives insight into the dress reform movement that was well underway by the 1880s, and also the Arts and Crafts movement in Britain.  Mainstream fashions of the late nineteenth century were characterized by the hourglass corset; an often painful garment that could deform the body, and cause women much restriction in their daily lives.  Waterhouse often depicted women from eras that predate the corset (like ancient Egypt or the Medieval era), their bodies are natural and free under beautifully draped robes.  Many Pre-Raphaelite painters hung out with avant garde women who would wear looser, historically inspired fashions.  While these women were not mainstream fashion leaders, their unconventional good looks and looser garments definately had an impact on the artists they associated with.  Many Pre-Raphaelite painters preferred dramatic looking women, and their preference for red-headed beauties is clear from looking at Waterhouse's femme fatales.



One of my favorite aspects of the exhibition was the inclusion of Melissa auf der Maur's recent short film, Out of Our Minds.  Auf der Maur has said in the past how much she loves the work of Waterhouse, and how for years she carried around an image of his masterpiece The Lady of Shallot as a kind of personal talisman.  The magical watery world depicted in her film, and the fact that redhead Auf der Maur looks like a Waterhouse beauty was a nice contemporary twist at the end of a great retrospective.  This exhibition is on display now until February 7, 2010 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


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