Reflections on "Trad Seminar by Alan Flusser," Men's Club magazine, 1982

 
  A blue and fuscia plaid tuxedo shirt is the unlikely centerpiece of this most informal of formal looks.The French vanilla tuxedo trousers are picked up on the lapel by a yellow boutonniere, while sky blue hose peek out from burgundy velvet slippers trimmed with black bows. It’s a totally original look, wild in its elements but utterly proper in its harmonious assembly.

A blue and fuscia plaid tuxedo shirt is the unlikely centerpiece of this most informal of formal looks.The French vanilla tuxedo trousers are picked up on the lapel by a yellow boutonniere, while sky blue hose peek out from burgundy velvet slippers trimmed with black bows. It’s a totally original look, wild in its elements but utterly proper in its harmonious assembly.

 
 

By Andrew Yamato

No one knows classic menswear like the Japanese. I mean really knows it — accruing vast research libraries on the subject, combing through flea markets for authentic specimens, documenting and cataloging their finds like so many Victorian naturalists. While the Easy Riding western world was gleefully casting off its meticulously constructed menswear traditions in the 1960s and 70s, it was the Japanese who picked up the pieces from the side of the road, dusted them off, and installed them as icons of timeless taste. Little surprise that when Alan Flusser emerged on the fashion scene, resplendently and unapologetically classicist, he was immediately Big in Japan.

 
  Our sartorial gatekeeper, in the suit made famous by the Prince of Wales (or was it the suit that made the Prince?): chalk-striped double-breasted flannel in a soft drape cut. Brown suede shoes complete the royal salute.

Our sartorial gatekeeper, in the suit made famous by the Prince of Wales (or was it the suit that made the Prince?): chalk-striped double-breasted flannel in a soft drape cut. Brown suede shoes complete the royal salute.

 Rus in urbe:  pinned club collar, repp tie, cream wool tattersall waistcoat, fawn garbardine suit, hand-framed argyle socks, and crocodile loafers.

Rus in urbe: pinned club collar, repp tie, cream wool tattersall waistcoat, fawn garbardine suit, hand-framed argyle socks, and crocodile loafers.

The 36-year-old captured in this 1982 spread for the highly influential Men’s Club fashion magazine is Alan at his most exuberantly dandyish. Defiantly anachronistic elements (collar pins, boutonnieres) play with unexpected color combinations for an effect that transcends nostalgia. Indeed, these clothes were actually very much of their fashion moment, as the 1981 Granada adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited had been a transatlantic blockbuster — the Downton Abbey of its day —  inspiring a mainstream mania for the interwar Anglophile style that had already been inspiring Flusser for years. (The Gordon Gekko look Alan would go on to famously create for the 1986 movie Wall Street was itself a slightly less whimsical, more aggressive iteration of this same aesthetic.)

  Alan wears an ancient madder silk dressing gown over silk pajamas and velvet slippers in this  boudoir  ensemble. The monogrammed breast pocket carries a pocket square, of course!

Alan wears an ancient madder silk dressing gown over silk pajamas and velvet slippers in this boudoir ensemble. The monogrammed breast pocket carries a pocket square, of course!

  Astairity: A lavender cashmere cardigan over a yellow polo and grey tropical wool trousers   .

Astairity: A lavender cashmere cardigan over a yellow polo and grey tropical wool trousers.

 

We don’t often make such drapey and dandyish clothes anymore. The only thing truly permanent about fashion is change, and tastes — including Alan’s own — have trimmed up and stripped down over the past thirty years or so. But this is the stuff that got me dressing in the first place. Reading Alan’s Clothes and the Man and watching Brideshead as a student in the 90s transported me into a more elegant and romantic world than I’d known, and I’ve been trying to spend as much time there as possible ever since. I’m in good company these days, as menswear classicists worldwide have coalesced into an influential style tribe, and I suspect they'll find Alan’s “Trad Seminar” as interesting and inspiring as did the original audience of Japanese style-obsessives in 1982.    

 
  These broad pleated lilac trousers conjure the “Oxford bags” worn in the 1920s by British undergraduates and imported to the States by visiting American students.

These broad pleated lilac trousers conjure the “Oxford bags” worn in the 1920s by British undergraduates and imported to the States by visiting American students.

  Cream gabardine trousers: once upon a time the grey flannels of the summer wardrobe. Wearable with almost any sportcoat, conferring a sense of easy relaxation about everything except stains.

Cream gabardine trousers: once upon a time the grey flannels of the summer wardrobe. Wearable with almost any sportcoat, conferring a sense of easy relaxation about everything except stains.

  Ivy staples: madras buttondowns, nubuck moccasins, and Shetland sweaters. Only a popped polo collar portends the “preppie.”

Ivy staples: madras buttondowns, nubuck moccasins, and Shetland sweaters. Only a popped polo collar portends the “preppie.”

 Men's Club:  The original Japanese men's fashion magazine.

Men's Club: The original Japanese men's fashion magazine.