Vintage Menswear – a collection from The Vintage Showroom By Sims, Luckett and Gunn
(£14.99 – Laurence King)
So here’s another handy ‘pocket sized’ book of what was first published as a fairly hefty tome – it’s also going to need pretty generous pockets.
I reviewed the original when it was launched five years ago and as the content remains the same (if it ain’t broke…) I make no apologies for repeating some of my earlier thoughts on this great book. Only change this time: the authors Josh, Roy and Douglas have been abbreviated, on the cover, to Sims, Luckett and Gunn – like a firm of Dickensian solicitors… love it! And small doesn’t mean reduced clarity of the images.
If you’ve ever mused over the very particular details of your parka coat, wondered just how long we’ve been wearing western-style jackets, or even questioned where designers look for inspiration, this book holds the answers. It will also put you right if you were under the impression that ‘vintage’ might more or less describe anything that was made up to and including the 1990s.
No sir, not according to Messrs. Luckett and Gunn, the founders of the London-based Vintage Showroom – one of the world’s leading dealers in vintage menswear and whose archive is frequently raided by design teams from the big brands. For Roy and Douglas, a garment would need to be at least (with just a few exceptions) 50 years old to count, as well as be a benchmark example of its type.
The Vintage Showroom also favours garments that offer functionality over fashion, so the book is divided clearly into sportswear, military clothing and workwear – all fit for purpose.
Following an introduction by style writer Sims, the rest of the book is dedicated to 130 garments that exemplify their genre. The photos – of such diverse pieces as a Phantom Racing Jacket, university boxing blazer, C-1 survival vest and denim sailor’s smock – have been clearly and meticulously executed to highlight details as well as reveal the shape and fabric. The accompanying text explains their importance and place in the sartorial scheme of things. Just makes you want to rush out now and scour antique fairs (or granddads attic…).