Makers of Melbourne kicked off its annual series of men’s style discussions with a bang on Tuesday night, hosting tailoring, literature, design and arts luminaries from London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney – each with a unique take on the historical, social and cultural context of men’s fashion.
Journalist Sarina Lewis from Makers Of Melbourne moderated the style panel discussion, 'Fashion Maketh The Man', hosted by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), as part of the 2014 Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program.
Panelists included Roger Leong, curator fashion and textiles from the National Gallery of Victoria; Sydney-based bespoke tailor John Cutler; fashion and denim designer Roy Christou; celebrity stylist Philip Boon; plus online via Skype, author of 'The Coat Route' Meg Lukens Noonan (USA), and from Grenson shoes, Tim Little (UK).
A few curious facts we took away from the 90-minute panel discussion:
1. Man’s current obsession with body sculpting finds an echo in the original Dandies who padded the breast and shoulders of their suits to provide the classic ‘V’ shape, a look to denote masculinity.
2. The term ‘bespoke’ originates from the traditional idea that a fabric has been spoken for by a client – be+spoke. It is much more than the idea of made-to-measure, pointing to a relationship and exchange between tailor and client.
3. Buttons changed, not only approaches to tailoring, but the very fabric of society: the importance of children in the modern family is said to have occurred as a direct result of reduced baby mortality rates courtesy of clothing and blankets that could be buttoned for extra warmth. Apparently we only grew attached when we knew we could keep ‘em alive!
Keep abreast as Makers of Melbourne continues throughout the year to profile the cultural cogs in the Melbourne landscape – personalities that influence how we dress, and how we think of ourselves and our city.