Each week, the Open Thread newsletter will offer a look from across The New York Times at the forces that shape the dress codes we share, with Vanessa Friedman as your personal shopper. The latest newsletter appears here. To receive it in your inbox, register here.
Hello and happy Friday. Hope everyone has had a chance to digest the opening episode of the final season of “Game of Thrones” and prepare for episode two. Already I sense a potential epidemic of long dramatic robes looming for the autumn/winter shows. (Speaking of which, The Times has launched a “Game of Thrones” newsletter, so be sure to sign up.)
But that’s a whole seven weeks away, which in fashion is eons. Let’s talk for a minute about something that happened this week, which may have gone under your radar but is worth noting.
Gucci announced a new addition to its app: “Gucci Places,” a section that features — yes — places that have inspired the brand in some way, complete with info on the topic.
So? You shrug.
Well, here’s the thing: If a user is near the place in question they will get a push notification inviting them to visit, and if they do so they will be able to signal their participation and win (or buy) a patch associated with the place. Which they can then sew on their backpacks or leather jackets or what have you. In other words: it’s a Guccified version of Pokémon Go! Pretty clever, really. It increasingly seems to me that games are the next big fashion frontier. I mean, if you want to create a community, what better way? How many of you spend your commuter time on public transportation engaging with, say, Ninja Pizza Girl or Crashlands? Admit it.
And imagine the possibilities.
Earlier this week Patrice Louvet, the new chief executive of Ralph Lauren, wrote a post on his LinkedIn page about his new job that contained this tidbit: “To grow, we’re exploring how to deliver state-of-the-art digital experiences at every point in a consumer’s shopping journey.” What if that included creating a Ralph Lauren mobile game? Where, for example, you could compete in an exciting simulation on a polo team with, say, Nacho Figueras, the brand’s face? As far as I’m concerned, it’s a no-brainer. Wouldn’t you sign up to play?
While you’re mulling it over, for your reading pleasure consider the latest incarnation of the Pirelli calendar: a retelling of “Alice in Wonderland” with an all-black cast. Meet Nike’s rising-star sneaker designer, a young female engineer. And mourn the demise of another retail stalwart, the Alfred Angelo wedding chain, which has left a panoply of brides in a panic. Have a good weekend!
Not Your Average Department-Store Window: Beginning today, the brand Vetements unveils a window installation at Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York flagship. A mountain of old clothing — a combination of donations from Saks employees and out-of-stock merchandise — fills the windows and serves as a kind of direct message on consumerism. The pile will grow every night until August 10, when the items will be donated to RewearABLE, a green clothing initiative that benefits adults with developmental disabilities.
Q: Hi, I identify as a cisgender gay male and enjoy pushing the envelope when it comes to fashion. I’ve recently taken to wearing male dress pants that are cut midcalf — similar to women’s capris. I bought them on a recent trip to Europe and absolutely adore them in the warm D.C. weather. The fabric and cut are all professional materials (khaki, linen or worsted wool). I’ve gotten some pushback from coworkers that such a “look” is unprofessional. Do you agree? — Tyler
A: I, too, have a beloved pair of silk culottes and I, too, love them in summer at work. As with all things involving the unspoken dress codes of the office, however, the answer to your question depends on your job as well as on the way you wear your pants.
Challenging clothing convention in, say, a media or advertising agency where “creativity” is prized is easier than doing so in more conservative service professions such as banking or law, where hewing to a traditional standard is often a core value. And challenging convention via one garment is easier than via the whole look.
But don’t take it from me – take it from our deputy fashion critic, Matthew Schneier, who says, “Though few fashionable men I know would like to call them ‘capris,’ it is true that designers in the last few years have been inching their pant legs higher and higher up the calf. If you’re going to try them in the office, I think they ought to have a button or clasp closure; be made from an office-friendly fabric in a silhouette closer to the traditional suit shape than to shorts; and worn with the other required parts of a workday uniform: a proper shirt, jacket and shoes. You don’t want to push the envelope so much you get pushed out of a job. I salute fashion daring and do my best to practice it myself — selectively, 9 to 5, and with wild abandon, nights and weekends.” — VANESSA FRIEDMAN