January 13, 2010

On lapels

Ann Hollander, in her book Sex and Suits, writes the the taming of the lapel and collar between 1750 and 1800 is the real beginning of modern suit tailoring: “Its collar was forced by clever cut, steaming and stiffening to curve up and around the neck, to fold over and open out in front, and to form lapels that would obediently lie down and align themselves smoothly with the body of the coat.”

I love the way she writes about suits. There is something so BDSM in her language.

You can hear the crack of the whip and how it goes loose with obedience, curves and stiffening.

In Ann’s sartorial universe, lapels could be the boned corset underneath a Turnbull and Asser dress shirt.

Lapels are, can be, should be: kinky, dangerous, sleek . . . when buying a suit, you deserve lapels that are potent and have some or all these qualities.

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