Saturday, April 26, 2014

At a New York Gala, the Return of White Tie

As at most fancy dress parties, the role of men at the Costume Institute gala has traditionally been to serve as a neutral backdrop for their partners and dazzling displays of the dressmaker’s art. Somehow that seemed unfair. Why, the question seemed to ask itself, should women (and Marc Jacobs) get to wear all the fun stuff? Beginning this year, they won’t.

Never one to let sartorial injustice go uncorrected, Ms. Wintour instituted a radical change in the dress code for an event celebrating both the inauguration of a rebranded Anna Wintour Costume Center and an exhibition on the great designer Charles James. She stipulated full evening dress and decorations for the men. That, for the benefit of those who grew up under the dark cloud of Casual Friday, means a black tailcoat, a waistcoat, a wing-collared shirt and white bow tie. Let’s not forget the sheer silk socks, patent leather evening pumps, medals and rosettes.

True, the closest most American guys are likely to have come to this archaic get-up is playing Monopoly. That is probably just as well, since it turns out the new sartorial ideal for Costume Institute dandies comes fairly close to that of the game board’s icon, Uncle Milburn Pennybags.

...Go out on the street, Mr. Halevi advised a reporter, and ask a passer-by to describe white tie and tails. “They’ll have no idea,” he said.

His dismal view was shared by others in the business who had little trouble identifying the source of sartorial ignorance: decades of guys dressing as if they plan to mow the lawn. “Think back to a black-and-white photo of Yankee Stadium in 1960, and every man is wearing a suit and a hat,” said Glenn Eisenberg, president of Eisenberg & Eisenberg, providers of formal wear to New Yorkers for 116 years.
Read the rest here.

No comments: