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 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”.
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.
Date: Wed, Oct 7, 2009 at 5:16 PM
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.