The suave style of America's dapper dynasty has arrived
Updated: 2013-10-27 23:45
US menswear giant Brooks Brothers brings fashions inspired by The Great Gatsby to China, Gan Tian reports.
A model displays clothing and accessories by menswear company Brooks Brothers. The brand has adjusted some details in fit for the Asian market — such as the length of shoulders — because Asian people have comparatively smaller sizes than Westerners. Photos provided to China Daily
A month after the premiere of The Great Gatsby in the Chinese mainland, menswear company Brooks Brothers has launched its special collection for the movie in China.
The New York-based label has created more than 2,000 pieces of 600 looks for Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, and held a show in Beijing to present some of the best.
Consumers' first question is: Can we still wear those garments from The Great Gatsby? Are these clothes, created in the 1920s, still wearable in the modern age?
"That was the big surprise we found. If you've watched the movie, I think you already know that the way we dress today is almost the same (as gentlemen dressed in the 1920s and 1930s)," says Claudio del Vecchio, president and CEO of Brooks Brothers.
"I think the foundation of men's clothes today is still the same. Of course every year, there is a different spin —sometimes very tight, sometimes loose, but the foundation stays — the shirt, the suit, and tie, the basic color … these, and the matching styles, are the same," he adds.
In 2010, the movie's producer and costume designer Catherine Martin came to Brooks Brothers, looking for inspiration for the costumes the author described in the book. They found the label has a lot of archives and pieces that could be used. It should be mentioned that Fitzgerald was also a Brooks Brothers customer, and he mentioned the label in many of his books.
It might be the sense of America that inspired the collaboration with The Great Gatsby, according to del Vecchio. Founded in 1818 in New York, Brooks Brothers has outfitted 39 of the 44 US presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
"We created uniforms for the American army, we dressed presidents, and we are in close relationship with American artists (the late Andy Warhol was another customer), and those from Hollywood. It is a typical ‘sense of America': comfortable, confident, classical but not traditional, and democratic in a professional way," del Vecchio says.
"It's ‘We are old because we are good', instead of ‘We are good because we are old'. After so many years, we are still very young."
Since the label is so American, people will wonder whether it is suitable for Asian consumers. Del Vecchio does not worry about it at all. He says the label has enjoyed great success in other Asian markets like Japan and Hong Kong.
Entering the Chinese mainland in 2004, the label now has 60 stores, half of which are in second-tier cities. Del Vecchio says in China the consumers are basically upper-middle class. During the past decade, the label enjoyed a big growth in sales, definitely meeting del Vecchio's expectations.
Because Asian people have comparatively smaller sizes than Westerners, the brand has adjusted some details in fit for the Asian market, for example, the length of shoulders and the waistline of the pants.
"We are still learning from this market. It's not changing in fashion, but in fits we do a little bit of changing," del Vecchio says.
In China, fittings are also different in sizes in regions because of the differences between the north and south, and it is the same in the United States. In the near future, the label will focus more on big flagship stores to present more collections and clothes in the Chinese mainland, instead of opening more small stores, according to the CEO. The flagship store that has opened in Beijing's Oriental Plaza recently has an area of 500 square meters, and it covers menswear, womenswear, and accessories.
"We will be more aggressive in the Chinese mainland, both in marketing and opening stores," del Vecchio says.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.