Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jesus-LFG-The Flusser Books-The Flusser DC Visit This Week

 Like a lot of my drivel, context is important-or an excuse. South Carolina hadn’t seen the likes of Flusser during my formative years-we had trad be we didn’t have Flusser. The most stylish guy I’ve ever known showed me the first book by this guy Alan Flusser. Hometown buddy WAH remains one of the most ardently stylish guys in existence and I don’t know exactly what I did to deserve his friendship but his boys are a talisman of it I suppose. His oldest is my godson and to the detriment of his grades, has pledged my college fraternity. He gave his next boy my surname. So looking back on my friendship with WAH, I seem to recall that he didn’t give me the first Flusser book. I stole it from him…or I borrowed it and forgot to return it.
 I walk in to WAH’s apartment and he has this paperback book... Making the Man. I’d never heard of Alan Flusser and certainly, had never seen a book devoted to traditional men’s clothing. To say that I was clothes crazy was an understatement and I didn’t know that anyone had really taken such an erudite approach to assembling such lore. Of course I'd been working in a traditional haberdashery and had seen, heard, touched and tasted all things trad for years. I didn’t know much about Savile Row but had survived the Disco 70’s intact and reasonably unscathed-having destroyed most of the photo evidence of my sartorial missteps. I blew through the first Flusser book in no time.

 I love the dedication in Alan's first book… "To my father whose wonderful esoteric wardrobe first whetted my appetite for french lisle, hand clocked socks, English suspenders and garters, Brooks Brothers button down shirts and alligator tassel loafers, and whose memory is never far from my mind when in my travels, I happen upon some exquisite legacy from his time, an item crafted by artists and altogher elegant.”  
 Fast forward however many years and I see an advertisement in M Magazine. Anybody remember M Magazine? It was to me a bit more traditional, less twee version of GQ. There’s a new book for sale called Clothes and the Man…now a larger, better illustrated, more comprehensive digest by this guy named Flusser.  I’m in DC for a meeting about the same time and I find Alan Flusser shirts at Britches of Georgetown. These shirts are strong to say the least. Butcher stripes and rounded collars and spread-contrasting collars and french cuffs. I don’t think I’d ever worn anything but a button down collar shirt before Flusser. And I put a collar pin through said shirts. Heresy-and damned good looking at that.

The book is off the hook. Remember, there is nothing else of this caliber and I honestly think that I read it in one night. All of my buddies borrowed it…that was back when one lived with several roomies for all of the economical reasons of post undergrad efficiencies. Shit, I think we lived in an efficiency at that time. Fake it till you make it I always say.
 The next Flusser tome, titled Style and the Man was a handy dandy little reference on where to buy high quality, well made clothing and accessories. Most of the international purveyors listed sans London and maybe a one or two-off in Paris have not seen little ole ADG walk in the door and sadly, several of those referenced that I had darkened in the States no longer exist. No offense to Joseph A. Banks. It’s a great place to go for some basic things and I always recommend Banks as an alternative to Brooks when young guys have no dosh and are just entering the workforce after school. However, when F&R  Tripler in Gotham closed its doors-a Banks franchise later opened in that hallowed space. That’s just plain wrong. 

Kinda like whoever is in the old Anderson and Sheppard location on Savile Row simply has no right to be there-doing whatever they are doing-in the same space where Max Beerbohm, my blog site nicknamesake, purchased what I'm certain, was one of his last bespoken garments…and where Astaire danced around, making sure that his sartorial contrivances were not going to be entrapments while jigging on stage and screen.
 Later my buddy Mark “Puerto” Rykken, Flusser’s general manager and business partner kept telling me about Alan’s next book...Dressing The Man. I’d gotten to know Alan a bit by then, having made enough money to flirt with Flusser togs and ultimately dive way too far into even deeper addictive sartorial waters with this group of piranhas. I waited for what seemed like forever before the Holy Grail appeared. I have to tell you-and I have a little bit of knowledge in books sartorial-this is the best book ever written on the subject-period. The Bernard Roetzel book is a distant second and Roetzel should feel complimented by that statement.
 Alan kindly signed my first copy of the great book and then just as karma would have it, my neighbor borrowed it and then moved to Europe. Bye bye Flusser tome. That’s Jesus and juju right there-getting me back for nicking WAH’s copy of Alan’s first book. When I asked Alan to sign another copy for me a few years later, he admonished me not to “eat this book”.

So LFG and I have a standard prayer list. Every night when she’s with me we go through the prix fixe roster of blessing recipients. It’s a rather monotonous-flat mention of family members that I hope upon arrival are accepted without being docked for style points. I believe in God so in my book there’s no harm in throwing a prayer up on behalf of those that might benefit. After the standard recipients are mentioned, LFG for probably six months or so then asked-unprompted- blessings for Obama before signing off with an amen. I don’t care what your politics are folks, our President needs our prayers-the world needs our prayers. This ain’t party centric as I know for a fact that Jesus and Allah are both libertarians and thespians. Now Joseph Smith-don’t get me started.

Out of the blue one night LFG drones through the standard menu, then rolls on into the President Obama blessing and then before saying amen says “and Alan Flusser”. I posited an audible on that one and as I chuckled I asked why she decided to pray for Alan and she said “I don’t know daddy, it just came to me”. Folks, it was cute but I don’t trifle with higher influences so I told her how sweet it was to mention Alan in her prayers. She’s known Alan all her life and she never calls him Alan or Mr. Flusser. It’s always been “Alan Flusser”. It’s cute. Alan has two grown daughters and I remember standing in his office with LFG when she was about two years old. Alan has an otherworldly eye for texture-color-style and assemblage and he glanced LFG up and down in my arms and said … “Well done”. He was talking about the girl-not her clothes.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let Alan know that LFG had prayed for him so I wrote him a quick note. Here’s the one he sent back in reply.
 Alan is a superb writer. The Flusser Custom Shop mailings are literary works just like the old Banana Republic catalogues used to be. The Flusser gang will be in DC this week. Here is the catchy email coming out of Camp Flusser making the local devotees aware of his arrival.

From: Alan Flusser
Date: Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 5:16 PM
Subject: Washington
To: __________________

Dear Folks,

In the spirit of discerning dissent, we arrive at "Disfunction Legislative Central" to conduct our own fashion tea party aimed at upending the nation's current sartorial mediocrity and malaise. Between the hours of 1PM Wednesday Oct. 14th. and 1PM Friday Oct. 16th. at the AKA White House (1710 H. Street NW, Wash, D.C. 20006, tel 202 904 2500), activities commensurate with such goals will be taking place in the form of individual treatises and all manner of pontification on the rare masculine art of fine habiliment. Alternative neckwear, outerwear, innerwear, footwear, anklewear, and everymanwear, festooned by the occasional three-piece, will be amongst the subjects at hand. Oh yes, hands will also be on the menu, as in, to dress. Lives will take on more color, spirits will be lifted, wallets will leave lighter, slimming torsos to silhouettes. Is there anything that we, your humble servants at The Alan Flusser Custom Shop, will not do in service of Man and Country?

All luxury purveyors need business so if any of ya’ll desire the Flusser experience, swing by their suite this week. I’ve not a penny to spare so my purchases will be limited to …………shut up.




Rasputin said...

Flusser desreves all the prayers he can get. He's the standard bearer of a sorely tattered standard. If you don't think style is dead and buried, fly on a commercial airline sometime.. last one I was on, Uniform of the Day was PJs, flipflops and BO...

tintin said...

What always impressed me about Flusser's writing was his (and your) lack of boiler plate. It seems the vast majority of what passes for men's style commentary starts off with six paragraphs of a garment's 'history' with two sentences of how not to wear it, one sentence of how to wear it and some doofus sign off from the author (not that you have a doofus sign off, Dustbin).

Flusser gives you the heart of it with his interpretation which is always elegant, smart and expensive. He's a joy to read. Over and over and over.

Clinton said...

As always ADG, a veritable pleasure to read.

The Sluice Box said...

Your posting brings me back to dim memories of being tucked into bed and the ritual prayers. This practice will no doubt number among your daughter's most cherished childhood remembrances. It certainly speaks well of you as a father. -Aaron

The Whole Gang said...

Thanks for another good post- We "came up" in a great time. Sure,everybody thinks the golden age of men's clothes was prewar, but you have to admit, the last 25-30 years have brought us the return of natural fibers, the rise of lots of affordable handwork, and the worldwide marketplace in a box on the kitchen table. Somehow, the back and forth of widths- lapels, ties and cuffs- seems to have settled down, or maybe we are just old enough to consider ourselves above it. For MY nickel, we have a better selection of Ye Olde GTH Trousers than ever before and at better prices relative to everything else in this expensive life. Probably the best part of middle age for the traditional dresser is the sheer accumulation of 30 years of collecting. Molto Graze.

Rodeo Princess said...

I'm going to have to get these books!

ackred said...

Fluser's books were some of the first I picked up on style.(beside The Preppy Handbook) They are detailed and full of great advice. My wife is going to make me stop reading your blog because it costs us money, first the madras shirt from Rugby and now the new book by Flusser that I did not know came out.
Have a great day.

ADG said...

Rasputin...I agree and perhaps I'm in denial but I still think I'm too young to be these much of a contrarian...deportment-manners-style-it's gone.

TinFour...Flusser is a damn good writer. You wait till you learn about his next book.

Sluice Box...Aaron,I'm not doing anything special. I'm just doing what I think we should be doing for LFG.

Whole Gang-Agreed....and, if we live a few more decades, we are certain to see some of the cycle repeat itself. All Life is Transitory.

Rodeo Daddy....Just get the latest Flusser book and you'll have them all essentially. Can't believe you don't already have it.

Anonymous English Female said...

ADG - I enjoyed this post, I would love to read Alan Flusser's books, I will look out for them. Someone should inaugurate a National Flusser Day to promote stylish and elegant dressing. May be the Maxminimus Sartorial Committee of which LFG is obviously a key member, together with Gordon Gekko could start a campaign to lobby President Obama himself who would surely be a sympathiser ?

Patsy said...

reading your blog lifts my spirits!

Hiram said...


I have two of those books....and I remember "M" magazine very well, in fact, I saved one or two just the the hell-of-it. Really good reading and pictures. I was sorry to see it go. Happy traveling!

Conor said...

Well that's just about the sweetest thing I've ever heard.

Never read any of the books, but they have it at MH Frank and it sure looks nice.

Anonymous said...

DTM has an interesting section where he outlines how certain classic elements (e.g. the straw hat, the camel hair coat) became incorporated into the canon.

Helpful for discussions that take place on certain sites that usually start with the question "Is (insert article of clothing here) Trad?" Traditional can still be dynamic.

Elizabeth said...

Send native runner with cleft stick bearing your Cordings order to 19, Picadilly tomorrow afternoon. Not sure that Hatchards will stock Flusser but have bearers on standby anyway.