17 March 2014
GQ's Ireland (1962)
GQ Magazine, April 1962
While GQ seemed to be the smaller and more intellectually challenged little brother of Esquire, and I've waded thru years and years of both….GQ, for a time, stood on firm turf in the early to mid '60s... both visually and in the writing. This April issue celebrated Ireland and it has a moody and dark attitude. I love it.
An GQ is not easy to find and this came from a bound volume so scanning was a challenge. However, inspirational ideas, fashion jargon for 'stealing,' are everywhere despite the binding. Not only in unique layout, photography and stories but in the apparel itself. The nubby stripe shirt reminds me of nubby silk Rooster tie stripes -- A mitre madras shirt reminds me of…nothing. It's unlike anything I've ever seen and I'd kill to have one today. A rain coat with hacking pockets and sleeve turn ups? I'd buy that. I'm even saving up for a Jill Gill - - the NYC artist of all those beautiful whiskeys.
I know fashion designers dig thru these old mags but do fashion editors? I'm guessing most do not. And for the very first time, during NY Fashion Week, my hunch was confirmed from widely divergent sources regarding what we'll call, "Fashion editor illiteracy." "He didn't know shawl from peak." "Zip knowledge of apparel history." "I had to explain canvas construction." "All he liked was black." You get the idea.
I sat in front of Nick Sullivan at Esquire and in a couple minutes he showed me a 1950's Mac hanging on the back of his office door and pointed out the construction suggesting it might even be my size. We discussed the military influence of clothing and why stealing unit insignia was not only vulgar but unnecessary. And sure, there was the 24 hour "shoe-cam" which was monitoring what he wore on his feet everyday…but the man was fashion literate. That much you could not argue.
G. Bruce Boyer bemoaned the GQ of today doing a 20 page spread on jeans and t-shirts. It's what they know, Bruce. But I'm guessing there's an archive somewhere in that GQ office and I'd like to suggest it would be a lot more fun to go thru than the PR pitches.