Thursday, 12 July 2012

Sharp Suits by Eric Musgrave.

Suits is my pictorial celebration of men’s tailoring over the past 150 years or so. Alongside about 26,000 words, there are almost 150 images in the 200-page hardback and I worked hard to find pictures that were not too familiar. The book was published by Pavilion (part of Anova Books) in September 2009 and it was launched with a brilliant party at Richard James’ main store on Savile Row. The luxury cloth merchant Dormeuil and the prestigious Italian menswear brand Pal Zileri both produced limited editions of the cover wrap for special clients. Anova used the front cover image of a Ted Lapidus suit from 1966 on its seasonal catalogue.
Eric Musgrave in

Eric Musgrave CV
Jan 2011 to present Freelance writer / fashion industry consultant
Jan 2010 – Jan 2011 CEO designate (Jan-June 2010), then CEO, UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT)
Oct 2006 – Dec 2009 Freelance writer / fashion industry consultant
May 2006 – Sept 2006 Director, Good Results PR.
Sept 2003 – May 2006 Editorial Director, Drapers
Oct 2002 – Sept 2003 Editor-in-Chief, Drapers
April 2000 – Oct 2002 Editor-in-Chief, Drapers Record and Menswear
March 1998 – April 2000 Event Manager, Menswear Exchange London (Emap’s bi-annual menswear show)
June 1996 – March 1998 Associate Publisher, fw (ex-Fashion Weekly), Brand Manager, 40° (Emap jeanswear show)
May 1994 – Jan 96 Deputy Editor, Sportswear International (top European magazine for the jeanswear sector, based in Milan)
Jan 1991 – May 1994 Freelance journalist, working for Sportswear International, Textile View (Amsterdam),
Vogue, Esquire, The Sunday Times, The Independent on Sunday, Financial Times, among others
Dec 1989 – Dec 1990 Editor, For Him Magazine (now known as FHM)
Feb 1988 – June 1989 Editor, Fashion Weekly
June 1986 – Oct 1987 Managing Editor, International Textiles (a tri-lingual fashion forecasting magazine based in Amsterdam)
March 1984 – May 1986 Editor, MAB News (a menswear trade title) Launch Editor, For Him Magazine (launched April 1985, now FHM)
Feb 1982 – March 1984 Deputy Editor, Men’s Wear
Jan 1980 – Feb 1982 Reporter, then News Editor, Drapers Record

in Savile Row Style Magazine

Just as English has become the language of the international business world so English suits have become the uniform for any man aspiring to business success. Not necessarily English-made suits, of course. But suits of a style refined and perfected by English tailoring houses.

Eric Musgrave’s impressive book, Sharp Suits, provides a timely examination of this phenomena, charting its creation, establishment and on-going appeal, with a wealth of splendid photographs that will be a delight to suit aficionados everywhere.

Musgrave is a former Deputy Editor of Menswear, and an established and respected writer on men’s style. And he has brought to bear his long experience in the field to cover all aspects of the suit's appeal, from sober classic to outrageous extrovert.

The suit is all things to all men, and this book shows its chameleon ability to cover all tastes. The elegance of classic is epitomised by Cary Grant, quoted as saying “ My father used to say ‘Let them see you and not the suit. That should be secondary.” At the other extreme are Zoot suits, Elvis Presley and Ziggy Stardust.

The influences of Italy and France and America are given generous acknowledgement, with illustrations of suits from a cavalcade of famous designers.

Suits for different occasions from the 1910s, above, and below the iconic figure of Patrick Macnee from 'The Avengers' TV series of 1960s.

But it is the personalities that shine here, the men that have motivated changes and inspired others. From Edward Vll as the leading royal style leader, through showbiz stars such as Cary Grant, David Bowie, Sean Connery and Brian Ferry, to the makers themselves in Tommy Nutter, Ralph Lauren, Armani, Tony Sinclair, Pierre Cardin et al, Musgrave spotlights how each has put his on stamp on the suit's evolution.

This lavishly illustrated volume by a dedicated follower of suit fashion is the answer to those who claim that the suit is outdated, who suggest that casual wear is the way ahead.

Each generation brings its own influence to bear on the suit, while T-shirt and jeans remain much the same for successive generations. And, whether in the sombre business model or the flashiest celebrity effort, this book shows that there is nothing like a suit to suit a man.

Published by Pavilion Books, price £25, ISBN 978-1-86205-852-1

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