Dear Mr. Astaire:

Fred Astaire

By Andrew Yamato

One of the perks of working at the Custom Shop is the opportunity to peruse Alan’s archives. Primarily culled from his appearances in the fashion media going back to the 70s, they’re a fascinating glimpse into how the menswear marketplace has evolved through the decades, and testimony to the endurance of the “permanent fashion” Alan has always championed. Occasionally, a more personal bit of ephemera catches my attention, like this 1979 letter Alan wrote to his own personal style icon, the ultimate past master of male dress: Fred Astaire.     

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Coming from someone who would himself go on to become an eminent authority and mentor on men's style, it’s an appealingly humble letter — a reminder that we all learn everything from someone or other, and an illustration of how fresh and inspiring good style remains across the decades.

NOTE: The letterhead is from Alan's employer at the time, Pierre Cardin Relax licensee Eagle Shirtmakers. Within the year Alan would strike out on his own. The GQ photo spread he references in the letter is a fascinating document in its own right. We’ll take a look at that in greater detail in a forthcoming post.