15 July 2010

BeSpeak, BeSpoke, BeStylish - A Night With Flusser

I tried to edit these down. I really did. But Alan Flusser's digs are too amazing. The understated and rich luxe of 3 East 48th is unlike any haberdasher you've ever seen. Last night folks gathered for a demonstration of BeSpeak, an iPhone application to assist in getting dressed. I haven't tried it yet but will.

Chris Hogan of Off The Cuff worked with Flusser in getting this whole BeSpeak train outta the station. To sum up, it's like having Flusser and his associate, Mark Rykken giving you advice while your looking at clothes. Better these two than the wife or girlfriend, "Hey, honey. This tie really pops with your shirt."

There is no 'poppin' at Alan Flusser. Only understated and restrained goods presented logo free. There's a lot to see in NYC. Flusser is something you can sneak off to while the family waves signs outside The Today Show. Just be careful and save enough for the trip home.


Anonymous said...

Keep your eye on Hogan. The man thinks J Crew's duds are Trad.

TRVS said...

Swooning over that gold paisley ascot & butterscotch driving gloves stashed in the pocket...thanks for the eye candy.

Anonymous said...

That there's some high cotton.

Anonymous said...

Nothing says "understated and restrained" like a chocolate brown gingham club collar worn pinned with a gold tie.

Brummagem Joe said...

I'm a Flusser fan and have bought a couple of things off him but some of these ensembles are a bit bizarre. The check dinner coat with the orange shirt. The window pane coat with floral shirt and plaid tie. The POW check with that weird striped shirt and black tie. Jesus, if this is Flusser's current definition of style what's the world coming to. Most of the other stuff looks fairly nice though, particularly the socks and that Chesterfield in what looks like covert with the velvet collar. His place is lovely, some of these combos are not. So I hope he was doling out a decent champagne.

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with anonyous about "understated." That leopard-print throw pillow with the red shag fringe is also nice, even if it's not for sale.

Which is NOT to say that I don't like the overall look. I just think there's no need to pretend it's understated in order to praise it. Why not admit what your pix so amply document, namely that Flusser enjoys a bit of quirk and flash?

Unknown said...

Great meeting you last night!

Charles said...

How did you keep ADG out of there?

Memphis88 said...

I can't get the damn app to stay open long enough to actually use it. The thing crashes more than any app I have ever downloaded.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...


Anonymous said...

Long ago, Flusser opened up an outpost in DC, near Dupont Circle. I went in there several times, with an open-minded wallet, but I always left empty-handed, as everything seemed -- for lack of a better word -- wrong.

At some level, it's about price points. If you can afford to pay what Flusser asks, you can afford to pay Savile Row/Jermyn Street prices. (Or the Italian/French counterparts -- pace Michael Alden).

(And then there's the little problem of just how many fuzzy dice you want to swing walking down the street.)

Anonymous said...

While working at Polo, I met Mr. Flusser on several occasions (his daughter was a clothes "runner" during the Summer). I think he got a kick out of the fact that a few of us kept a copy of Clothes and the Man with our client books in the stockroom.

My father's colleague grew up in the same New Jersey neighborhood as Mr. Flusser. The most significant memory he had was of Mr. Flusser wearing penny loafers while playing. Gotta love it! That is in the blood.

Anonymous said...

Interesting definition of "understated and restrained goods." Looks like the opposite to me.

Old School said...


Anonymous said...

M. Flusser & M. Grey Don Cartier patronizing same tonsorialiste?


Brummagem Joe said...

"At some level, it's about price points. If you can afford to pay what Flusser asks, you can afford to pay Savile Row/Jermyn Street prices. (Or the Italian/French counterparts -- pace Michael Alden)."

This is true but not everyone wants to make the journeys for fittings etc. Flusser's quality is very good and you don't have to buy the floral shirts. But he does seem to have developed a line in weird ensembles, not least in his own person.

tintin said...

Anon- J Who?

TRVS- Appears we're in the minority. Which is always a good thing.

Anon 11:41- Nice goods as they say in the trade.

Anon 12:27- Here in NYC, there is an army of men parading around in Hermes belt buckles and Ferragamo black suede lug shoes. The look is loud. Very loud. Flusser's stuff is not mute but the taste level is beyond anything 99.9% of men could ever accomplish on their best day.

It's not my style but that doesn't mean I can't appreicate it. My love of Trad is in large part because of its simplicity. I could never match patterns like this. But if I could. And had the resources? I would.

Joe- Flusser pushes the edge. I think he always has. When I worked at Brooks Brothers I'd sit in the back with the suit guys and main line Flusser's book, Clothes and the Man. I remember what he did with the madras sport jacket on pg 178 and thought the guy was certifiable. Today, that combination is, if not tame, on the more Trad/ Ivy side of everyday. Flusser's always gonna be way ahead of us. I expect it from an artist.

I do appreciate your being specific with your criticism when most negative comments lack details. For that you win the prize. Send me your measurements and I'll have Rykken make you up that covert coat.

Kurt- Good points. Flusser is quirky. Can quirky be understated? I think it can. Tom Ford is quirky and vulgar. And LOUD. There is zero restraint. Clothing holds up a mirror to the wearer. If you like Tom Ford's style you'd probably pimp your sister and call yourself Huggy Bear while hanging out with a couple undercover cops who drive a butt ugly car.

For me, Flusser and Rykken speak to the more creative path. I just wish I could afford it.

Skip- Same here. I lost you when I went in search of the Pimms Cup. Hope you had a great time in NYC.

Memphis 88- I've heard that.

Lwing- He's on the beach. In his Belgians. Talking Nascar with the locals.

LBT- So is California, mate.

Anon 21:41- What's wrong to you may be nirvana for me. I remember finding a Flusser suit at Filenes in Chicago in the early 90s. It was beautiful and too small. Knocked down from something like $1,400 to $500, I was so pissed off I couldn't squeeze my ass into it.

Anon 21:57- It's interesting how all of these men, Flusser, Lauren, Banks, Hilfiger, Abboud, etc. They all had this passion for the cloth as kids. It doesn't really matter if you like their aesthetic or not. You gotta admire their passion.

Anon 22:11- But not to me.

Old School- Men's Wearhouse is around the corner.

Tater- I thought I could count on you for something more clever.

tintin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brummagem Joe said...

"I remember what he did with the madras sport jacket on pg 178 and thought the guy was certifiable."

I'm familiar with the pic and although I hesitate to disagree since were usually sympatico (Steinbrenner excluded) madras jackets were not that unusual in 1987 or thereabouts when the book was published. I'm a fan of Flusser's and think he's made a hell of a contribution to raising the visibility of good men's clothes but this stuff was butt ugly. Now there's nothing wrong with butt ugly per se because it can be quite appealing (eg. that Nissan Cube car)but this is embracing ugliness in the search for effect. You can be bold but pleasing (eg. the Paul Stuart Phineas Cole line)I'm sorry but most of these items don't stimulate the eyeballs, they offend them......And I have a covert coat (which probably cost me a lot less than a Rykken production)..... best

tintin said...

Joe- I'm not talking about the jacket. I'm talking about the tie and shirt combinations (they're 2).

I find your Nissan Cube car ugly without redemption.

Look, taste is a subjective thing. But you're saying, 'my taste is better than yours' and that's cursi. Be careful. Live and let live. You just sank 100 feet with the Nissan comment.

For more about Cursi go here:


ADG said...

You know I can't comment on any of this with objectivity. The taste level and fuzziness is immutably sublime. But damn, Unit, can my boys gain any more weight? Oy.

brohammas said...

OK, you said before that exposure was my first step on the path to acceptance. Now you have me scared.
If i find myself so far down this path that one day you see me wearing a yellow paisley ascot and bows on my shoes, please punch me in my face. I will refrain from returning the favor unless I reaqlize that you are in fact responsible for me finding such a getup appropriate...
I'm off to find a pair of jean shorts and some multi color athletic shoes.

tintin said...

ADG- Most of us are packing it on, Dustbin. How you manage to avoid similar fate amazes me. Although, you seem to be losing your hair. I find it odd that bald(ing) guys are always thin while full head of hair guys get fat. I figure soon you'll shave your head, grow a van dyke and buy a Harley.

Brohammas- That's not an ascot but a scarf. And bow'ed shoes are for evening wear. I'm probably not tall enough to punch you in the face but I am good at kicking big men in the shins and running away.

Just look at the pictures -- Lllllloooookkkk at the picccccttttuuuureeeesssss....

Brummagem Joe said...

"Look, taste is a subjective thing. But you're saying, 'my taste is better than yours' and that's cursi."

Tintin...Of course taste is entirely a personal matter....and I'm making no comment on yours but upon Flusser's combinations, if that's the right word. And I've most certainly never said mine was better than yours. I've made some awful choices and have photos to prove it. You're as entitled to like Flusser's combos as I'm entitled to sink a 100 feet in finding a certain whimsicality in the ugliness of the Cube......Res ipsa loquitur as you're fond of saying. And while we're on the latin quotations...Pax

Brummagem Joe said...

tintin...this will make you laugh....well it may do. My bride occasionally picks up old freebie mags left in a basket at the local library and she brought a few home yesterday including an Automobile magazine from late last year. Guess what they picked as the "Design Car of 2010"....I'm not making this up honest

tintin said...

Joe- Pax? Always.

Automobile Magazine? Jamie Kitman is my hero but I doubt he had anything to do with the Design Car of the Year based on this love letter to the station wagon.


I would kill to write like Kitman.

Brummagem Joe said...

"I would kill to write like Kitman."

I'm not familiar with Kitman or even the magazine really but I was sitting there leafing through it in a desultory way, and fell out of the chair laughing.

OTC said...

Had to finally get my two cents in here. Tintin, thanks so much for coming to the shindig! Great shots, I may be stealing some for the BeSpeak FB page (attributed of course!).

ADG, you were very much missed but at the same time I heard something about a beach, so good on you!

Anon #1, I recognize that anti-J. Crew lingo...though I believe I said they are updated trad.

I find the discussion about the various mannequin pics interesting. Just like with any designer's runway show, most of the outfits highlighted are conceptual and designed to elicit inspiration and creative thinking about getting dressed in the morning.

Sure, I suspect that Alan or Mark would toss on those duds without hesitation, but for most guys they are a sartorial stretch, as evidenced in these comments. That's fine, they are not for everyone but they are educational.

After after debriefing with Alan and the BeSpeak team I'll tell you this - no one I have ever met has a greater understanding of color, proportion, pattern, balance and contrast than Flusser. Could you wear those outfits? Sure, if they fit your style and you don't give a damn what blue suit-red ties guys have to say.

Take a good look at the combination of tone and color, scale and pattern. It's masterful and, by the way, very difficult. It may look slapdash and avant garde, however its anything but. Men used to be colorful and creative while still being strong and masculine and personal - ever see color phots of the Duke of Windsor? That is what's being represented.

More importantly, they give you a little insight into the creative juices of a guy who can actually pull it off because he already has dressing inside the lines down cold.

Family Man said...

My belated 2¢.

My first reaction was along the lines of, wow! Those are some, um, interesting combinations.

I then realized that the mannequins were not showing what someone might wear; they were more conceptual than that. For example, I can't imagine anyone wearing the plaid DJ with the orange shirt--but it's an extraordinary presentation of a concept. I would never, ever wear the outfit directly below Flusser (who really needs a good barber)--but I appreciate not only the quality of the goods but the exquisite combination of patterns.

ADG is able to stay thin because he has to keep running away from all the people who want to beat him up for wearing such fruity clothes.