25 February 2013
Brooks Brothers: Don't Bogart the Red Fleece
Mercer & Sons, 2010
Go Army (far left)
Jay Kos, 2008
Red Fleece sounds like a $6 Algerian Cabernet I picked up at Costco but it's actually Brooks Brothers new line for the younger customer. The one I'm too old to write for. Most of it speaks to the, Leave-it-to-Beaver cuffed jean, Red Wing, Jethro-Bodine gingham dude that inhabits New York City right now. I suspect we'll be seeing red sheep monogrammed watch caps any season.
This is a line, unlike "Own Make," that is all about tweak. And I understand young men not wanting to dress like their fathers. Rather, they want to dress like their grandfathers, smoke Marlboro Lights, hand out engraved, "Fuck Off" business cards and call themselves photographers while pictures on their Tumblers were shot by some dead guy 40 years ago. But...
There's a segment of the 2013 Fall/Winter line that takes me back to high school in Colorado where there was a Wonder Bread infatuation with the mountains, John Denver shirts (Fuck Yeah John Denver Tumbler) and Vasque rock climbing boots -- Mine were 85% Valrhona dark chocolate with bright red laces.
Throw on a Eddie Bauer down vest or better, an REI parka shell and you were ready for a drive through Garden of the Gods at lunch in a Camaro with a nickel bag and a six of Schlitz Tall Boys while a Craig 8-Track cranked out Pink Floyd's, The Dark Side of the Moon.
A couple years ago, I was invited to view the Ralph Lauren rig rooms at 650 Madison. One had the REI / Colorado aesthetic complete with waffle stompers, down vests, parka shells, crampons -- There was even an old SVEA stove. You gotta love their attention to detail.
In all honesty, I looked at Waffle Stomper Red Fleece with a great deal of nostalgia and didn't ask where it was made or where the goods were from. I marveled at the needlecords and how something, not only of a time, but of a place like Colorado, had been brought back... to a show room in Brooks Brothers. Sadly, Red Fleece is not for a 38" waist and 30" inseam but that's okay. Crank up Pink Floyd, roll up the car windows and it's 1975 again -- When no seemed to bogart or roll up their jeans.