08 February 2013
Boast: Walking the Line
It isn't a mystery that a reborn tennis brand like Boast is able to do what so many others have failed at. That is, taking preppy and making it adult. Brands, many with solid credentials like Brooks Brothers and J Press, vie for the youth market by dumbing down classics -- the very classics that attracted the kids in the first place.
I remember we used tennis ball cans in college to drink water. I never did get used to the taste, and I never understood why Brooks Brothers knocked off Rugby knocking off Brooks Brothers in the Flatiron store. Or why J Press, who has consistently partnered with all the wrong people, created York Street. A line that looks like it was slapped together in two weeks.
What happens is the classic core, the guts if you will, slide off the table and are replaced with a tweaking notion of 'edge.' Edge is just another word for bad taste. Like Nascar, country music and tattoos... Frankly, I'm not so sure looking like you stepped off the infield of the Charlotte Firecracker 500 is a good idea.
Boast has come up with classic and understated apparel that harkens back to its roots. Back in the early '80s, the Japanese Maple Leaf was the ultimate of cool but not trendy. Sophisticated and reserved. Hell, damned near invisible if you didn't frequent tennis courts.
I'm not above admitting this collection hit dead center of my nostalgic center lobe. That little wrinkle in my brain where grits, banana pudding and country ham all hang out together waiting to be nudged...
Along with my college women's tennis team of 1981... in their short white tennis dresses, Tretorns and thin gold necklaces drooping into their sweaty and freckled cleavage.
Back to this century, Todd Snyder (coming soon) presented his "Rebel Gentlemen" collection earlier in the day at Lincoln Center. A stone faced and somber show that will be praised by all the wrong people as "edgy." And all the wrong people will wear it.
Boast stuck to bright colors and mined the '70s and early '80s with respect, a lotta thought and I like to think some maturity. Easily wearable today and I'll bet 20 years from now. Designers like to tweak classics so they can call it their own. It's almost always a bad idea.
This stuff is simple. Rugbys, jackets, tennis shorts, it's what American designers have been known for - what we do better than anyone. Nothing here is fake. Well, maybe it is. I dunno. But it doesn't look fake or phony or wrong. In short, it works.
I don't know if anyone else thinks so.
I mean, here's a guy who looks like the Paul Stuart logo.
I was in an interview for an insurance job not long ago. HR had Googled my name and I was asked by a confused 20+ year insurance man, "What the hell are you doing blogging?" I replied, "I don't play golf."
Despite the hipsters and the tools and the garmentos, it's great fun to to do this and more so when someone pulls off a line that works. Because, at the end of the day, I don't golf...but I do play tennis.
Boast Fall 2013 presented at the Harvard Club, NYC, 2/7/2013