A Menswear Memoir

The Present and How It Got That Way

 

What'd I Say?

Have you ever read an old interview that you've given or something that you've had published somewhere and felt, like, uck; "What was I talking about?" I have. No fun.

So all the more satisfying to be doing some research for a blog piece I'm working on and come across an interview that appeared on a Finnish site called Keikari.com a year or two ago. I think the most satisfying thing about it, besides not sounding like a complete Bozo to myself, was that I still believe what I said. It means I'm getting down to the core of myself, somehow, getting rid of the chameleon skin that changed to meet the next reporter, or fit in with the next big thing, or trend, or whatever. Not that it's Voltaire or Mark Twain, but it's really me, and that's kind of reassuring somehow. Take this quote:  

NH: Only the authentic thing, the original, will do. NO BULLSHIT. Ever. That is the essence of classic style: it’s the real thing. Fashion, as I understand it, is new for newness’ sake, pushing the envelope, like modern in the artistic sense, great for hanging on walls maybe; but clothing should not call attention to the wearer. That’s indicative of character traits that are just, well, not on. Ostentation, excess pride, lack of solidity. What does the clothing say about the wearer? Not to say trends are bad; things change. But good style adapts the trend into itself and moves the individual along a continuum. Skirts for men, for example, are exciting fashion, but bad style.

Maybe I'd leave out the expletive next time, but mostly I'd say the same thing today. And then there was this exchange: 

VR: What’s your definition of style?

NH: That which gives the wearer an air of confident, dignified grace. Style is the personal definition of the individual; it is the refinement of the person, the definition of his or her character. Clothing does not have style; people do.

Yes!

The most painful alienation a person can suffer is alienation from himself. I know; I've been there. So to read something I've said that I think "That's pretty much exactly what I think!" is kind of exciting. You who've never had a moment of neurotic self-criticism may not recognize this, and so God has blessed you. For those of us who come to it later, though, it's sweeeeet. 

If you're interested enough to have read this far, you might want to turn to the interview itself: http://www.keikari.com/english/interview-with-nick-hilton/